Growing Lineup To Keep LFR’s Rob Fuller Busy At Sunoco World Series Weekend

Rob Fuller (right) with Rob Fuller Motorsports crew chief Stephen Kopcik earlier this season at a Whelen Modified Tour event at at Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON – With his Rob Fuller Motorsports team putting together a year with championship-like numbers from driver Chase Dowling, team owner Rob Fuller is hoping to close out the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season on a positive note Sunday at the season ending Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway.

But Dowling, the team’s manager, and crew chief Stephen Kopcik, will be expected to handle the load of operations when it comes to the weekend action at at Thompson for the Rob Fuller Motorsports team.

For Fuller, the focus on his team is secondary next to keeping an eye on the every inflating customer base of his chassis company, LFR.

Fuller’s LFR Chassis will be in action with ten teams for the Sunoco World Series 150.

In addition to his own team with Dowling, Justin Bonsignore’s M3 Racing team will close out their first season with LFR equipment, having already clinched their first series title before the last event of the year. Doug Coby’s Mike Smeriglio Racing team is finishing up their fourth season with LFR, having won three consecutive championships before this year with the equipment. Also driving LFR equipment this weekend at Thompson will be Bobby Santos III, Melissa Fifield, Crait Lutz, Dave Sapienza, Chris Pasteryak, Blake Barney and Burt Myers.

“Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come,” Fuller said of growing lineup on the Whelen Modified Tour with LFR products.

Bonsignore’s dazzling championship run with first year crew chief Ryan Stone has turned heads. Bonsignore has won seven of 15 events this year, has 11 top-five’s and has top-10 finishes in all but one event. Before a 12th place finish at the NAPA Fall Final 150 at Stafford on Sept. 30, Bonsignore’s worst finish of the season was an eighth place.

“It’s funny because Ryan Stone and I spoke a couple months ago and he’s like ‘Man if you don’t sell a bunch of cars over the winter this year then you’re just never going to sell cars.’” Fuller said. “It’s starting to come around. We don’t want to have every car there, we just want to have the majority of the top-10 and I think that’s where we’re leaning.

“At one point at Stafford when the red flag was out [during the NAPA Fall Final 150] a spotter came up to me and they were like ‘Six of the top cars are all LFR.’ That was a pretty cool moment.”

The top three cars in the standings, Bonsignore, Dowling and Coby, are from LFR. Ten of 15 series events this year have been won by LFR cars with Bonsignore’s seven wins and one win each from Dowling, Coby and Santos.

Fuller said getting Bonsignore and his team on board was a priority the same way getting Coby and team owner Mike Smeriglio with LFR was a priority for him four years ago.

“Truth be told, I’ve been chasing those guys for two or three years now,” Fuler said of Bonsignore’s Ken Massa owned M3 Racing team. “I’m a people person and I see where there’s a lot of talent and that’s usually where I try to market my equipment. It’s just a situation where they had a crew chief who as an employee of the other manufacturer there. If they decided they were going to go LFR they were going to need a crew chief. [Team owner Ken Massa] called me in November and said ‘We’re going to go LFR, do you have any idea about a crew chief?’ That’s how we got Ryan [Stone] to come back. After we moved LFR back to the New England area he took a job over at JR Motorsports and was doing something that he always thought he wanted to try and he tried it and got it out of his system. At the end of the day he realized his passion for the Modifieds and he decided to move back to Connecticut and it just happened that the timing was perfect to put a pretty killer package together.

“The equipment helps. You’re only as good as the equipment you’re in. But at the end of the day it’s a people thing. The first guy I chased Phil Moran because he’s one of the best guys on the [Whelen Modified] Tour and if I could get my equipment in his hands it would only help me and help my product and help everybody in the long run.”

Fuller points to Coby’s championship runs as proof positive of the strength of LFR. Coby’s first title with Smeriglio in 2014 came before making the switch to LFR.

“In 2014 he won the championship but he won one race,” Fuller said. “They had no poles. You just look at stats. I’m a big numbers guy. I don’t listen to people. I don’t listen to gossip. I look at numbers. Numbers don’t lie. Stats don’t lie. So far every car that has come on board has, knock on wood, been able to catapult their teams to the next level. No pun intended, but that’s kind of where we got the motto for the company because it is another level. It’s another level customer support, another level of technology, another level of Modified racing and that’s pretty cool that it’s all turning full circle now.”

For Fuller, the next realm to be chased is the SK Modified market. But Fuller said his West Boylston, Mass. based company is taking their time before pouncing.

“It’s not that it’s on the backburner, but we just can’t prioritize it,” Fuller said. “At the end of the day I think what’s going to happen is kind of like what I did with Draco Springs. If I could get the guys in the [NASCAR Monster Energy] Cup Series happy and lean on their engineering and lean on their technology I could come up with a really nice product that the short track market would obviously have gains from. I kind of approach the Modified chassis thing … it’s kind of like if I can make the [Whelen Modified Tour] guys happy then making the SK [Modified] guys will be a lot easier.

“You can only learn so much when you’re out there for a five lap practice session and you’ve got 40 laps to race. Your notebook is going to take twice as long built. With the Tour guys we go testing all the time and you’re running 150 laps races. … If I can use the data that I’m collecting on the Tour and then apply it to the [SK Modifieds]. We’re going to go after that market, don’t get me wrong. We just want to do it when the timing is on right. … We’ve got to prioritize because we are very limited right now with our resources and what we can possibly do. There’s only seven days in the week and we’re already working all seven. … But when we do it we’re going to do it right and I’m looking forward to doing that.”


  1. Great insight into the mind of Rob Fuller

  2. We don’t know what it’s like to work for Fuller. Obviously he’s a successful entrepreneur, technically oriented and is a crackerjack salesman as well. I know he’s great with fans and promoting the sport. But what kind of a boss is he?
    Bet he is super demanding. The type of guy that is on duty 24/7 and may expect his people to have the same commitment.
    Most of us have had bosses like that. And it works well if they are fair and respect the employee. If he or she is demanding but completely oblivious to the different goals employees and those in charge have and demand a commitment that mirrors theirs that can be a problem.
    Dowling is moving on. Seems like on a good basis and hopefully they can notch a win in their last race together. At least last race of this chapter. I do think most highly of Fuller and LFR and think they are the center of the universe for the immediate future of local modified racing. On the other hand I’m happy Dowling will be out and about and picking his spots ala Woody Pitkat and not tied down to one situation.
    All the signs are pointing to win-win here.

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