Fast Friends: Bryan Narducci, Marcello Rufrano Close On Track And Off Track At Stafford Speedway

Marcello Rufrano (left) and Bryan Narducci (right) face off for the SK Light Modified championship Sunday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Courtesy Venetta Narducci)

STAFFORD – On Sept. 7, Bryan Narducci used a low move into turn three on the final lap to get under Marcello Rufrano for the lead and take the win in the SK Light Modified feature at Stafford Motor Speedway.

After the race some of Rufrano’s crew members weren’t very happy with the move Narducci put on Rufrano to steal away the spot through the final corners.

And Rufrano himself after the race? Well, he was in victory lane celebrating with Narducci.

“It does get kind of weird sometimes,” Rufrano said. “It kind of ticks off your crew when you’re not as mad. We all work really hard and me and Bryan obviously work really hard. We’re still learning but we’re still trying to have fun at the same time. It’s kind of hard to be the way we are but still be friends.”

That pretty much illustrates the relationship between the two teenage drivers who are tied atop the SK Light Modified standings at Stafford Speedway with one event remaining.

Sunday, at the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford, Narducci and Rufrano will face off in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature in what is essentially a head-to-head battle for the division title. Whoever finishes highest in the running order wins the championship.

And while there might not be an easy favorite to pick for wagering purposes, one can bet that whichever of the two comes in second will probably be the first heading to congratulate the other on the championship.

“I’ll definitely be one of the first over there to congratulate and tell him what a great year we had,” Narducci said, when asked what he would do if Rufrano wins the title. “Hopefully that’s not the outcome. It’s a 50-50 shot.”

Said Rufrano: “At the end of the day we’ll still be shaking hands and still be punching each other in the shoulder. It’s cool to have that with a driver. You wish you had that with other drivers, but when you grow up racing with someone for so long, at the end of the day it’s just like back when we were kids racing each other so that’s the way we still think.”

The 18-year old Rufrano, in his second year in the SK Light Modified division at Stafford, has a division leading six victories with 11 top-five’s and 16 top-10’s in 20 starts. Rufrano also competes full-time in the SK Modified division at Thompson.

Narducci, 17, is a rookie in the SK Light Modified division. He has five wins this year with 15 top-five’s and 16 top-10’s in 20 starts.

The pair grew up racing together as part of the Wild Thing Karts program at Stafford Speedway.

“We always had fun back in go-karts just to hang out together,” Narducci said. “I think it’s cool that you can carry it on almost 10 years later and still be good friends with somebody and race really well with them on the track and have a lot of fun in general.”

Said Rufrano: “Me and him and [Stafford SK Modified division driver] Mike Christopher Jr. really got to know each other well racing on Monday nights [in the Wild Thing Kart program]. We kind of always had the same driving style. We used to have fun doing all that stuff when we were kids racing each other. And as we got older our driving styles never really changed. When you grow up with someone that long and get to connect with them in some ways that you’re good at, it really in a way shows, we’ve been really good friends for so long, me and him have had so much being with each other. When we get on the track we always go race each other real hard and it’s kind of a fun thing between us, like we’re racing go-karts. It’s not even like competitive racing.

“We’ve kind of got a mutual thing between us. If he’s going to run me hard I’ll run him hard too. It’s kind of the thing we’ve got and that’s pretty cool.”

Both Rufrano and Narducci have earned national recognition by NASCAR for their efforts.

Rufrano, who also competes in the SK Modified divison at Thompson Speedway, was recognized recently by NASCAR for winning the UNOH Youth Achievement national title as the top NASCAR Whelen All-American Series driver under 18 years old. Rufrano turned 18 on Sept. 17. Narducci was second to Rufrano in the final Youth Achievement Award national standings by two points.

Narducci was recognized last week by NASCAR as the Whelen All-American Series Division III national champion. Rufrano finished third in the Division III national standings.

Both drivers said they will treat Sunday’s feature like it’s any other weekly event.

“I’ll look at it like it’s a regular race and once I get past halfway I’ll kind of sort of look where he is and I’ll make sure if he’s in front of me I’ll keep him right in front of me and try to make a move,” Narducci said. “If he’s behind me I guess from the beginning you kind of just want to keep an eye on him and keep him behind you. Just race your normal race and just stay focused.”

Said Rufrano: “I usually think of all the races as every week brings me a different race. But going into this one, I’m really not going to treat it any different. At the end of the day it’s just another race with a little more [at stake]. But I usually don’t think about that stuff when I get behind the wheel. I only worry about me, myself and I. That’s kind of helped me be a little bit better of a driver because usually when I start worrying about things I start driving like crap and really can’t control myself.”


  1. All I have to say to both is, race the track, know your limits, race SMART stupid hurts and stay friends for ever.

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