Wild Thing Kart Grad Steven Chapman To SK Light Mod Full-Time At Stafford In 2019

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

After a 5-race foray into Stafford Speedway’s SK Light division in 2018, 15-year old Ellington native Steven Chapman will join the division full time in 2019 and challenge for Rookie of the Year Honors.  Chapman is a graduate of the Monday night Wild Thing Karts program at Stafford where he won the 2014 Tiger A championship and the 2016 Jr. Outlaw championship.  With three top-10 finishes in his brief 5-race stint during the 2018 season, Chapman is looking forward to racing full-time behind the wheel of his #14 Chapman Apartment Homes machine.

“I’m really excited,” said Chapman.  “I got a taste of the SK Lights at Stafford, Thompson, and Waterford this past season and I won my very first start at Waterford, so I’m extremely excited.  Going from Tiger Cubs through Junior Outlaws in Wild Thing Karts really taught me a lot.  The karts are just like modifieds so you can’t really make contact with other karts and being around all the great people involved with the Wild Thing Karts was a really big help.”

While Chapman’s five-race schedule was the first time he had been behind the wheel of a modified at Stafford, he looked like a seasoned veteran.  Chapman had to start in the back of the pack due to being a new driver late in the season, but having to start in the back and find his way through the field didn’t faze him in the least bit.  

“I had several practices and races at Waterford before we came to Stafford, so that really helped give me a feel for the car and when we came to Stafford, for whatever reason things seemed to click for us,” said Chapman.  “Stafford was definitely different from Waterford with more open turns, longer straightaways, and tougher competition, but I loved racing at Stafford.  I learned a lot by having to start in the back and having to pass cars.  I feel pretty confident with a great crew behind me and Brian Sullivan setting the car up.  We’re rebuilding the car and getting it ready for the upcoming season.”

With two championships and over 20 feature wins during his time in the Wild Thing Karts at Stafford, Chapman is accustomed to winning races.  Although he will be a rookie in 2019, his mindset hasn’t wavered at all from going out to win races as well as the championship.  Chapman will be looking to join Michael Gervais, Jr. (2009), Matt Galko (2010), and Jeremy Sorel (2014) as SK Light rookie drivers who also won the championship in their rookie season.

“In 2019 we’re going for Rookie of the Year and we want to win the championship,” said Chapman.  “We only ran 5 races at Stafford to get my feet wet and allow me to run for Rookie of the Year this season.  I know what I’m getting into for next season and those 5 races will give me a head start over some of the other rookie drivers who haven’t raced at Stafford in a modified yet.  We’re fast enough and we have the right setup in the car so we’re going to try to win both the championship and Rookie of the Year and it would be really cool if we could do the double.”

Chapman’s best finish during his 5 starts in 2018 was a sixth place effort in his very first start on Aug. 3.  While Chapman would go on to record two more top-10 finishes, he thinks he was very close to getting a win and will be anxious to get his first win and more during the 2019 season while at the same time soaking up as much information as he can about his new SK Light ride.

“We thought we were going to get a win last year but we had a couple of close calls,” said Chapman.  “I’m hoping we can get at least one win and hopefully we can get a couple of wins and that will help us towards winning the championship.  There’s still a ton of stuff for me to learn and work on while driving the car.  I need to learn how to adjust the brakes, I need to get better at shifting, and little things like that to work on.  I have to thank all my sponsors, Chapman Apartment Homes, K & W Custom Auto, NAPA Tolland, Competitive Edge Coatings, Critical Signs, and Brian Sullivan, Rick and Rob Derkee, Jim Sullivan, Jim Speilman, Bill Neiman, Glenn, Ted, and my Mom, Dad, and 2 brothers for all their help and support.”

The 2019 SK Light season will kick off at the 48th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® on April 26-28. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now by calling the Speedway Box Office 860-684-2783 or online at www.staffordspeedway.com.


  1. One of the many things Stafford gets right that is completely under the radar for we Friday night fans is the Wild Thing Kart series. The list of kids that have graduated to Streets, LLM’s and SK Lights is very long. And they do it very young. Bassett wins the Street championship at 15 for crying out loud.
    Where do they want to get to? Modifieds. Chapman isn’t messing around and is skipping the fendered cars. Bassett will step a toe in next year while still racing some Street events. Megan Fuller would like to race a modified and would tomorrow apparently were funding available which dad Rick says is not.
    We in the stands just see cars on the track so it’s hard to know the demographics of the drivers other then sex unless you’re an avid profile reader. But man there are a lot of very young drivers.
    We can thank Stafford for doing everything they can to nurture their participation. One thing that annoys me is 25 people waddling out to victory lane from the stands to take pictures after a feature race. What I’ve learned as Rick Fuller said is that entire victory lane process is a huge deal for the young drivers. They aspire to get to the top three just to get recognition and be interviewed.
    Another thing that annoys me is Mark Arute. So important to local racing yet never heard from here or anywhere in an interview. Apparently I’m all wet on that as well. Mark Arute’s cell number is available to most all the teams I’ve heard said. He is routinely out and about checking on drivers after accidents and congratulating kids in victory lane and making them feel important.
    I’d say after reading Mike Serluca doing battle with the fan base Mark Arute and the entire upper management at Stafford have their priorities just right even if we fans can’t readily see it. The show is the teams and cars. No one ever bought a ticket based on anything an owner said in an interview. You’re welcome and encouraged to contact Stafford via email, phone, Facebook or Twitter as they say on the web site. Otherwise the Stafford exec’s will remain in the shadows and that seems to work just fine.

  2. Stuart A Fearn says

    I can assure you Mark Arute, Tom Fox, Lisa Arute, whoever you need to talk to is only a phone call away. Even before I brought 3-4 cars a week they would answer the phone and spend the time to talk and more importantly listen. Now, the input doesn’t always get implemented because they have the entire operation to look at so my brilliant idea doesn’t always get into the play book so they say.
    Mark is very hands on, in the infield for most races and I see him around the podium frequently myself. I’d have to assume he is close by or there for every division. He doesn’t want to make it about him and puts the right people in place to make the events, nights, seasons run quite well. I think they have been quite successful operating for many years so that itself is a testament the philosophy is working.

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing