Stafford Open Modified 80 Registration Now Open

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)
Eric Goodale celebrates victory in the Bud Light Open Modified 80 last July at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor)

Registration for the 2019 Open Modified events at Stafford Speedway has officially opened.

Stafford Speedway officials have announced 2019 rules and registration fees for the slate of 2019 Open Modified 80 events including the return of both the Twisted Tea Open 80 on Friday, June 14th and the Bud Light Open 80 on Friday, July 12th.  New for the 2019 season is the addition of the May 10th Open Modified 80 event for a total of 3 open style races on the calendar.

Both 2018 events were thrillers.  In the Inaugural Twisted Tea 80 former SK Light Modified star Tommy Barrett, Jr. made his return to Stafford in dramatic fashion by pitting early and holding off a hard charging Rowan Pennink for his first Stafford win in over 3 years.  The Bud Light 80 went to Long Island’s Eric Goodale as he dominated the race and grabbed his second career Stafford Speedway win.  Each of the winners received a special bonus in victory lane, 80 Twisted Teas for Barrett and 80 Bud Light’s for Goodale.  Both drivers are expected to return to the Open 80 events in 2019.

“We were happy with both of the open modified events in 2018,” explained Stafford Speedway GM Mark Arute.  “We had two world class brands support those events which helped make them a success and both Twisted Tea and Bud Light have signed on to present the June and July events again in 2019.  The winners will once again enjoy ice cold Twisted Teas and Bud Lights in NAPA Victory Lane.”

Registration for the 2019 Open 80 events is discounted to $50 per event and $125 for all 3 events for any team registering before March 1st. Registration fees will increase to $75 per event through the week of the scheduled event at which time the entry-fee will increase to $125. All teams our encouraged to register early to receive a reduced registration fee, contact the speedway office (860) 684-2783 or register online here.

“We’ll have a posted entry-list of all the teams that have registered for the Open Modified events at, today through race day” continued Arute.  “Fans never have to question who will be attending our events.  We publish all our entry lists and highlight those teams and their sponsors on and all our social media platforms in the weeks leading up to the event.  Be sure to follow our social platforms and stay tuned to throughout the off season.”

Early entries for the Open 80’s have already begun to roll in with Stafford SK veteran Todd Owen filing the first entry. Owen, in the process of building a brand new Chassis Pro Modified for these events, is looking forward to the 2019 season.

“It’s pretty exciting for us to be building our own Chassis Pro car for the Open Modified shows,” explained Owen.  “We’ve run at Stafford, Thompson, and Waterford with the SKs and the Tour car is a different animal with the horsepower and bigger engines so we’re looking forward to the challenge. It’s going to be a different element than the weekly races with the longer distance and pit strategy, any time you can do something new it’s always exciting.”

The Open Modifieds are set to make 3 stops at Stafford Speedway kicking off May 10th with the Open Modified 80, continuing with the Twisted Tea Open 80 Friday, June 14th, and concluding Friday, July 10th with the Bud Light Open 80. 

For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at

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  1. This is why I love these Opens. They’re like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.
    Owen building a new tour car. That alone could be the price of admission in the first race to see him shake it down if in fact is it’s first race.
    Out of left field is Kreig Heroth. Who the heck is he. Turns out he’s a ROC country guy with the better part of two decades of experience and tons of success in Oswego Small Block Supers. 4 ROC races last year…….not good results. Why he signed up so early is anyone’s guess but it’s this sort of addition that makes it so fun. Hope he shows up.
    Eric Goodale is an early signer as well. Love the guy and glad he’s made Stafford events a priority. What’s he race like 40 events every year. Last year he was at New Smyrna for the week, raced all 16 NWMT events, the Stafford Opens and VMRS events.
    No Bonsignor or Hirschman for sure but definitely a front runner on occasion and a backbone of modified racing. If there’s no Goodale in the tour type event it’s not as good. Would love to know the engines he has in his inventory. Also how his chassis program is shaking out.
    7 cars so far and counting. A great start.

  2. More evidence for Doug’s “box of chocolates”. Interesting to see Cam McDermott entered. I have only seen and heard of him running SKL and SK before. From what I’ve seen before, I’d bet he does well in the Open.

  3. Cam ran the SK’s in 2017 and was stout on most occasions. Solid second tier for sure. How you can dig into the weeds Eddie and recognize his move up given all the different tracks you take in is amazing.
    Another great addition from last year.

  4. It seems like there were a few who were on the list, who did not show last year. You won’t know till race night. I just hope they get a good field of cars, like 25 or so would be nice.

  5. Doug, there’s a lot of things I have a tough time remembering, but I do pretty well remembering racing stuff! He was running an SK Light at Thompson when they first had them as a weekly category and was dominating the class. JH, I hope you’re right. I think something in the 24-28 range would be great!

  6. Crazy in NY says

    You’ll maybe find this interesting Doug. Keith Heroth uses a Spaffco and speaks highly of the support they get from Kenny and company. Only one in upstate NY I believe. They had motor demons most of last year and that set them back. He’s won a bunch at Oswego in the limited Super class and is new to TT Modified racing. Good kid seems down to earth and ready to learn.

  7. That is interesting about Kreig. It’s also interesting that he is still newish to modified tour racing and signs up for a race or races that are one heck of a haul. Hope he makes it and having one or two more ROC country entries would be even better. Although them using the spec engine kind of limits that possibility I guess unless Stafford changes it’s rules. That I would love to see them do. Something like the ROC with weight. Works at Spencer that’s a bit like Stafford. I’m not seeing the 2019 on the Open rules yet. Is change afoot?
    I believe 25 or so signed up last year and we got twenty in each show. Some mocked the quality and quantity. I thought it was a great show nonetheless. 25 cars in the second year should be a minimal goal one would think.Fingers crossed.

  8. Crazy in NY says

    oops my bad it is Kreig not Keith as I wrote. Thank you Doug. I don’t think the purse is quite large enough to draw many outside the environs of SMS but if pavement racing is scarce in NY this year who knows. Spec’s outside the Tour ( or even inside) are not a good thing for Modified racing IMHO.

  9. Agreed on the purse. Not disclosed yet as far as I can see and hope springs eternal for an upgrade.
    I suppose you’re right on specs as well. I just see the success of TTOMS and the more open format and am envious. Maybe as they say it just isn’t wise on the bigger tracks.

  10. I guess in my mind, open means open, not open to everything except.

    So I guess Tri Track is the only true “open” series presently out there. Stafford 80’s are what I consider an open race with shades of grey.

    Stafford 80’s not on my list for 2019, Tri Track events absolutely, several WMT races and the first Bull Ring Bash to decide on the whether I will attend the next two.

    Sorry Doug, just can’t share your enthusiasm about the Stafford 80‘s, waste of my hard earned time and money.

  11. I am not all that excited about the Stafford open modified races. They didn’t get a great field last year and it didn’t seem like it was worth the extra money. The majority of the field was made up of their SK drivers pulling double duty with a few outside drivers mixed in. The competition didn’t seem as good as a regular SK race which really is a credit to their weekly program. Personally, I think Stafford has too many specials, there 22 events and about 11 of them are increased admission specials. I doubt Stafford will increase the purse much or open up the rules as they seem quite content with what they got last year. So much so, they added a 3rd open and dropped a MRS show. With the increased competition of open style tour type modified series next year, I would expect them to be pretty stagnant in terms of car count and depth of field. I know the MRS has a race the day after the May 10 race, and MRS has a conflicting race scheduled July 12th so I wouldn’t expect much support from MRS drivers for those shows. Does Stafford have a points championship for the 3 race open series? That might help increase the car count.

    I will take the tri track series over any racing series out there. They have a great mix of drivers, the purse and cost to compete are as driver friendly as you will get. They actively pursue sponsorship to help the racers, see recent Ricky Miller sponsorship announcement. I remember one of their early shows at LEE the guy who finished on the podium for the consi said it was the most money he ever received racing a modified. He didn’t make the feature. In my opinion, it is the best bang for your dollar around. With that said, are they perfect no. I do hope they revisit the Hirschman tire saving strategy provisional rule for next season.

  12. Keep you heads down my fellow Stafford fans we’re taking incoming.
    Love your comments CG. You always make good points and lay the case out well. So following your posts you’ve said in the past you don’t like regular shows because of the black hole the LM’s and LLM’s create in the competition. An opinion I share completely. Now it appears you don’t think the Opens have any merit either. That’s fine. Entertainment is in the eye of the ticket purchaser but you guys are harshing my buzz for the Opens next year. So I’m going to defend the Stafford faithful to see if I can make a credible counter argument.
    The Stafford Opens are not the TTOMS or any other open. The TTOMS is hands down the pick of the litter so if it’s a zero sum game go to the TTOMS events. Aside from the 5 TTOMS events there is room for more racing entertainment in the summer and Stafford has offered an interesting new product that deserves consideration.
    Staffords Opens count on the Stafford regular patron base and marginally draw additional fans looking to see tour modifieds. The crowds at the two events last year with near perfect weather were good. I saw the VMRS races as well and can say with a fair amount of authority the Open races with tire changes and more drama were clearly more entertaining even with fewer cars. The TTOMS events draw people that are hours away and find it more them worth the drive to see the great shows they offer.
    There are 9 special events not 11. Including Modifiedz Night that is only 20 bucks and in my view one of the best special events of the season. Nine specials can be too many or not enough depending on your point of view.
    On July 13 Staffords Open included Goodale, Rocco, Dowling, Silk, Pennink, Savary, Ethridge, Christopher and Barrett in the field. A stout field for sure including local favorites and perfectly adequate.
    On the same night Lee had Rameau, Patnode, Nocella, Pitkat, Ricci and others clearly favoring the northern tier modifieds. Also a stout field for Lee and perfectly adequate.
    Do I want to see 20 cars next year? No and I don’t care if there are competing events. Stafford has made a commitment to the Opens so it’s time to make them to step it up. If that means more money or a three event championship then do what you need to do to get a quality field. We all agree that there are way more choices for tour modified teams next year so it’s time to bring the A game.
    If they do stagnate as CG suggests that will be disappointing for sure. However if the weather is good and the field is exactly as competitive it will still be money well spent in my view. Keeping in mind the base of the program still contains the very competitive SKs and SK Lights for a total of 60 to 70 modifieds at one show in one night. The July event also includes the TC13 so that is a bit more entertainment as well.
    What I think it boils down to is the depth of your interest. If you want to see some of the best modifieds with spec engines or otherwise you can’t miss going to TTOMS events. If your interests are more track centric and you have an interest in many of the modified teams across three divisions then Stafford is the place to be for their Opens.

  13. “If your interests are more track centric and you have an interest in many of the modified teams across three divisions then Stafford is the place to be for their Opens.”

    What does the weekly show have to do with the Opens or any other add on series? The Open (with shades of grey) is a stand alone event and should be treated as such. So you should also be saying if your interests are more track centric and you have an interest in many of the modified teams across three divisions then Stafford is the place to be for the WMT or VMRS.

    “If you want to see some of the best modifieds with spec engines or otherwise you can’t miss going to TTOMS events.” IMO, absolute true statement from the prospective of purse, open competition and car count.

    Sorry Doug still not drinking the Kool Aid……………

  14. I’m not asking you to drink anything you don’t want to drink humphry. But when you are saying what I’m drinking tastes bad and you’re to smart to consume it I just feel a need to defend my beverage choice.
    In my view the Stafford opens are not a stand alone event. They are an entertainment package with a price of $30 that includes three modified divisions all of which I like. The way I see it they are asking a mere $11.50 additional over a regular show to see tour modifieds. I’d go to a tour modified only event and consider myself lucky to get in for $11.50. So the $30 clams is a great value in my view. And if it’s Bud Light night i may save a few bucks on beer or get a free hat so the value just piles up.
    In this thread I’m merely saying each is a good choice depending on the fans interests.
    You like Coke, I like Dr Pepper. I may not drink Coke but I sure as heck am not going to try to convince you Coke isn’t a first rate beverage. Nor am I receptive to anyone implying that Dr Pepper is not a tasty libation as well.
    Man I my thirsty now. Time for a Sam Adams.
    Happy New Year!

  15. I will give Stafford a chance. I do every year. For the past few years, I typically start off strong and go to most of the shows through May then I start picking and choosing concentrating on regular shows. I think they have a very good SK SKL and Street stock races. I just don’t like a few things about their program which ends up keeping me away.

    I like the idea of an open mod competition at Stafford. I just don’t think it is going to grow much with all the other modified touring series, the various conflicts and what not. Not Staffords fault at all just everyone wants to start up a modified series. All these series are competing for the same dates, the same pool of cars and drivers. Its going to affect all these TT modified shows. Then Stafford open mods further handicaps themselves with rules that apparently restricts a good portion of the modifieds in the area from competing. I will agree the tire change does make the opens more interesting than the MRS shows. The field is probably better too in terms of quality. I don’t know which series schedule was released first but MRS has not been shy about scheduling and rescheduling make ups over these open mod events. My guess, MRS losing a race at Stafford to another open isn’t going to sit well with them.

    Stafford announced 9 specials. I am guessing 4 TT tours, 3 open mods, modfieds night, and sk5k make up the 9 they announced. We will see once pricing is announced if there are 9 increased admission shows or more. Last year, I remember I was going to go one Friday and they had an extra distance late model race which they charged a couple extra bucks. I don’t think they count that as a special but they charged a special price last year. I remember thinking I would like to go but they should pay me 2 dollars to sit thru the extra laps of a 12 car late model race. Then I thought surely they will schedule the big special race last and I can leave early. Nope not special enough to end the night but special enough to increase the price. So basically at the end of the day, half their shows are a special price when you factor in rain outs as they will make up the increased admission shows and cancel the regular shows.

    I applaud your love for Stafford. It is a great track. Has had the best weekly field of cars in the SKs. If you go to other area pavement tracks, Stafford is better than most. There was a stretch where I wouldn’t miss a show. I just think there are areas their show can be improved or altered to make the show better for people in the stands. The only way I know how to voice my opinion is through these forums and with my wallet. I enjoy the dialogue, everyone here wants to see the area tracks succeed. No one likes the alternative.

  16. wmass01013 says

    Mark Arute is a smart man and knows what he is doing, you used to have 4 WMT events with the Memorial day Friday race troubled with weather and the fact people go away for the weekend leading to average crowds, so they tried to reduce the laps and payout before finally changing to a less dollar MRS race, now since they tried 2 open races which seem to be the new WAY of scheduling things you can have 3 TOUR type OPEN races with the cost 1/4 of a WMT or 1/2 of a MRS race, charge the same dollars to get in, get a few BIG name teams and make money.
    I didn’t go to both last yr. will I this year? who knows!

  17. Fast Eddie says

    If Stafford wants a bigger open mod field, I think the only thing that will make a difference is $$. I think that’s the biggest reason for the TriTrack count. Hopefully they don’t have any kind of separate points championship. I think having each as a stand alone event gives more options for teams to run without being concerned with chasing points.
    My 2 cents on the Doug/cg/humphry debate: $30 for the Open is maybe $3-5 more than TriTrack, but you will also see 20+ SK’s and 20+ SKL’s. VMRS vs. Open: If I’m at work that Friday, I’m twice as far from Stafford than Lee. However, looking at the additional open wheel racing at each event, 60-70 Mods in 3 classes vs. 20-25 Mods & 10-12 small block supers? I do like Lee, but I’m going to Stafford!

  18. Fast Eddie, I agree, and I’ve been saying that for a long time. These open ‘series’ should stop with the points and championship fund. Award a bigger purse at each event instead. Make each event a stand-alone event, no points, just all out racing with no concern about points.

    Given Richie Evans’ status, he was asked at a big open even, given his schedule and points racing, why he races at open events, he answer was simple, “$15,000”.

  19. So the Open is an entertainment package? And when the WMT or any other tour is on the card for the night that is not an entertainment package? So far I only see about out 5 or 6 cars signed up on the website for the Open. I know it is early but…………….

    I agree with Fast and Darfeal, stand alone event, no point fund, put up the big bucks and they will come. I know it would certainly get my attention if I was an owner.

    WMASS makes some good points as well reference the financial benefit to the track by what they have done.

  20. factnotfiction says

    Humphry there’s 14 signed up for all 3 shows – here’s the link:

  21. wmass nailed it. It’s not just pushing the VMRS series out it’s a two year process of pushing as many tours out as possible including the failed MTS from a couple years ago and the super modifieds. Now the VMRS takes a hit. More in house special shows including Modifidz Night, SK 5K and even Street Stocks are getting more love. Late Models as well but the logic behind that is really baffling.
    It’s their track so put on the shows yourself and keep more money.
    Now the NWMT that’s in a class of it’s own and untouchable I would think.
    Ronnie Williams now on the list of 14 with a car owned by his mom. I can see why the regional travelers looking for the headliners would snore at that sort of development. For we locals it’s something to look forward to along with Todd Owens new entry and Cam McDermott.
    Etheridge and Flannery signed up. Hoping for Silk, Barrett and Pitkat soon. An eclectic group with a strong Connecticut vibe. It’s early but it seems to be shaping up nicely.

  22. Unless I misread there are 13 as Rocco has two cars entered and I can’t see how he will drive both at the same time.

  23. factnotfiction says

    if there was any question if humphry is a miserable old hag or not that last comment confirms it.

    “So far I only see about out 5 or 6 cars signed up on the website for the Open.” -Humphry

  24. It’s Rocco/Rufrano. Confusing for sure.
    One would think it’s Marcello’s ride since it’s a family funded car and he’s moving up to Sk’s this year.
    Rocco doing the testing on it maybe?
    Rocco maybe driving it if the 57 does not pan out? Isn’t that his Thomson SK ride. What’s up with that?
    Think that’s confusing. Check out all the multiple driver rides in the SK team listings at Stafford.

  25. With just a few exceptions, the Open entries represent local SK runners who also have the equipment to run Tour type races. Unless major players like Silk, Hirschman, et al are going to enter, I think I’d rather see another extra distance SK event (twin 40s or 50s, without an overall winner?).

  26. Fast Eddie says

    Rafter, I think there was a few more than a few exceptions at the Opens last year. Also, I believe it’s some of the Tour (WMT & VMRS) drivers that have SK rides, not the other way around. In most cases it’s completely different teams and equipment. To me one of the fun things with Tour or Open events at Stafford is like a Modified version of “The Posse vs. the Outlaws”. You have the drivers that run Stafford regularly vs. the “Tour only” drivers vs. the Tour drivers that used to run Stafford regularly.

  27. Great point Rafter and Doug it is confusing indeed. Don’t want to say much though or I will be accused of being a miserable old hag LOL………….

  28. Stafford has an SK Open race with separate open rules. It’s the SK 5K. It’s a great race with great money but it’s all the usual Stafford SK guys.
    As opposed to the Opens where you see new faces or old faces in new cars as Eddie says. Is Dowling the same guy in the 36 as he is in the 00. I suppose. But it’s different everything except Dowling.
    Last year about 7 out of the top 10 were not Stafford regulars. Barrett and Goodale won. That’s pretty different isn’t it?
    Works for me anyway.
    Rules are out. Still no SK’s with 4 barrells or specs.
    Steel blocks mandatory but otherwise it seems like the rest of the components are pretty open. Don’t we like these non spec engined cars and aren’t they in a growth phase? Nothing against the NWMT cause they are top dogs but aren’t these cars more in the spirit of what a modified traditionally has been?

  29. Growth phase? I think you will find the steel block tour engines have been around forever, 18 degree and 23 degree with Pontiac or Brodix aluminum heads. Problem is they are very expensive to build and the spec engine is basically plug and play for about 38k. Speaking with a tour regular the other day and he told me good luck with getting an 18 degree or 23 degree built or freshened in a reasonable time frame when you can take delivery of a new spec in about 3 weeks, freshening about the same amount of time.

  30. OK so what do we know about engines:
    -according to Rob Fuller built engines cost approximately $15000 more then spec’s. The downside being the blocks need to be replaced every 5 rebuilds or two years.
    -18 degree heads represent the state of the art with better flow characteristics and generate approximately 20 to 35 more HP then 23 degree heads.
    -At the Musket last year the announcer made a huge deal of Preece driving Curb’s car powered by a traditional built engine. Leading one to believe built engines are virtually extinct in NWMT racing.
    -Stan Mertz is running tour races this year with his Thompson SK. He has sad to have tested on various tracks and determined that the SK package with it’s weight advantage is a great advantage in conserving tires on long runs on short tracks. Consequently he may use that strategy in some longer races while switching to the 4 barrell for tour races that may involve segment sprints.
    – Stafford’s Open rules allow any carb to be used with cast iron, bow tie heads using certain part numbers.GM or Dart.

    What we don’t know:
    -Do VMRS style built motors cost as much as a NWMT built engine? If these spec engines cost so much less and trade build complexity for weight displacement and CFM advantages why do we hold the NWMT in such high regard? On the surface it looks like the VMRS guys are spending more on engines………..or are they.
    -Stafford won’t allow SK’s to run their Opens mainly for two reasons. They can’t be competitive on a larger track even with a weight advantage and they’re Stafford’s main attraction. Never give your meal ticket the option to pick a more lucrative race. But they could very well show up in real numbers at the smaller tracks in significant numbers. Could that be the growth I referred to?
    -Stafford’s Open rules allow certain cast iron, bow tie heads to use any carb. Is this a lower cost option to build a competitive Open modified and how many teams are doing it if any?
    -Generally speaking the Open engine rules stipulate steel rods, aluminum pistons and a max 12 to 1 compression ratio without a weight penalty. SK rules generally the same except for an 11 to 1 compression ratio. Is it possible to convert to a dry sump and mount new heads on your SK block that are rule compliant that get you to 12 to 1 compression and produce a safe competitive engine at a cost saving? Perhaps 18 degree heads or bow tie heads and enjoy the unlimited carb rule?

    I don’t know there is a growth spurt in Open and VMRS engine styled modifieds. I’m basing it on anecdotal evidence. Like the fact a VMRS can get upwards of 40 modifieds for a non conflicted mid season race while the NWMT tends to muster 30 or so cars. Like the fact Todd Owen and Cam McDermott are fielding cars for the Stafford Opens and I’m pretty sure they aren’t spending 50 grand for their engines. Like the fact Stan Mertz is planning on trying his hand on smaller tracks using the SK package in open races.
    While I don’t know for sure what these guys have into their cast iron block style tour engines there is good reason to believe there are lower cost options to fielding a competitive cars. Especially on smaller tracks.
    I fully admit to trolling for information from anyone that knows more about the engines then me which is pretty much everyone.

  31. Not sure where the HP numbers came from on the 18 & 23 degree engines but I think they are a tad bit off. And what does the steel head VMRS tour engines make for HP especially when they are allowed to run any size carb? Don’t forget that the 18 & 23 are on the 390 carb and each has a different booster rule.

  32. And let’s remember that NASCAR told the engine builders that the SPEC engine will not affect the 18º engine business.

    I don’t think a new 18º engine for Modified racing has been built in over 4 years.

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