SK Light Modified Preseason Preview At Stafford Speedway

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

After five victories last year and a second place finish in the divisional standings by two points, Bryan Narducci is the championship favorite in the SK Light Modified division in 2019 at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

The 2018 SK Light season at Stafford saw an epic duel that came down to the final laps of the final race of the season with Marcello Rufrano edging out Bryan Narducci by 2 points in the race for the championship. 

With Rufrano moving up to the SK Modifieds® in 2019, Narducci becomes a heavy favorite for the championship but there are 46 other SK Light teams who also want to win the championship.  We review some of the favorites here.

The Rundown – SK Light Modifieds


#01 Bryan Narducci – After losing the 2018 championship in a late race crash with eventual champion Marcello Rufrano, the #01 team is back looking for redemption. Coming off a 5-win season, Narducci is the heavy favorite for the 2019 championship.

#55 Teddy Hodgdon – Entering his 2nd season in the SK Light division, this Danbury, CT driver loves running the outside groove. After scoring his first career modified win last summer, this driver is hungry for more trophies. Expect the #55 to contend for the title.

#76 Mark Bakaj – Some may call it a comeback season but Mark Bakaj returned to Stafford’s SK Light Modified division in style, grabbing 2 wins and 14 top-5’s. Following a nearly 5-year hiatus from competition at Stafford, Bakaj should be a championship contender in the Paul French prepared car. 

#7 Alexander Pearl – Momentum is a big part of racing and Pearl has it after winning his first career Stafford feature at the NAPA Fall Final. This team has big confidence rolling into 2019. This smooth, calculated driver should contend for the title. 

Ones to Watch

#87 Joey Ferrigno – Following an up and down 2018 that included 1 win but too many DNF’s to count, this veteran is looking to bounce back and make a few more stops in NAPA Victory Lane.

#22 Wesley Prucker – Another driver that couldn’t catch a break in 2018. The Stafford, CT native is back for a fresh start on a new season. After grabbing his first career win in 2017, Prucker knows what victory lane tastes like, and of course he wants more. 

#54 Mikey Flynn – Due for a win, due for a breakout season. Entering his 2nd season in Stafford’s SK Light division this driver could easily grab a win or two in his signature green #54 car.

#8 Norm Sears – Stafford Speedway veteran with 3 Street Stock track championships to his name. Sears has been learning the ropes of piloting an open wheel car for the past 2 seasons. With a lot of laps around the half-mile, this team could click off some good finishes.

New Faces

#14 Steven Chapman – Wild Thing Kart graduate and Ellington, CT native, this youngster is set for his first full season at Stafford. After making 5 starts in 2018 this driver has shown he’s not afraid to be aggressive. Watch this team in 2019.

#31 Noah Korner – One of the highly anticipated rookies, Korner is a talented driver with a lot of experience in Legend cars. Korner will team with his brother Glenn, who competed for a full season at Stafford in 2017. Don’t be surprised if the #31 notches a win in 2019. 

#37 Chris Bagnall – Moving up from the Street Stock division, Bagnall is one of many rookies preparing for the 2019 SK Light season.

#57 Jonathan Puleo – Another driver who competed at the Waterford Speedbowl in 2018. Puleo has 1 career start at Stafford which resulted in a top 10 finish. Can the 2018 Speedbowl track champion translate his success to the big Stafford half-mile?

Bottom Line

Major competition and a lot of new faces will be the story for the SK Light division in 2019. 47 teams have pre-registered for the new season including 11 rookies. Expect more of the same as 2018, big packs and tight racing. 

2019 SK Light Roster

2018 SK Light Final Points Standings

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  1. Al Coholic says

    Quite the field! Could be 35 plus cars this weekend!!! It should be an interesting show!!! Lets see if there are any sleepers in the field not worthy of mention in this article making it to the podium!!!

  2. Don’t count out the female drivers. With Cassandra and her KRR set up and Samantha Anderson and the knowledge of Ken Barry. Funny how they didn’t make the list.

  3. Al Coholic says

    First off Shawn i wish to apologise to you and the Arutes… My comment was in no way to be insulting to you w/ your excellent coverage nor was it meant to be insulting the Arutes…. My only point i tried to make was there’s alot of cars with teams in this line up…. Don’t count any one out… They have all worked hard all winter.. perhaps i should think more about the way i word things.

  4. Al Coholic,
    I didn’t have any issue with any comment you made.

  5. How packed are the SK Lights? There’s four cars listed in the roster before you even get to the 1 of Bob Charland.
    I have to say those are the best lists reflecting pretty much the way things shake out going into this new year. Accept Norm Sears. What’s up with that? Chris Mathews deserved that spot as one to keep an eye on based on last years results.
    The thing is, what typically is expected to happen usually doesn’t in the SK Lights. Yes Narducci is a prohibitive favorite based on last years performance and didn’t miss a beat at Thompson on Icebreaker weekend. However no one expected Narducci to have the season he did last year nor a few of the other race winners so counting chickens before they hatch may be premature in this division.
    What insult? The chicks didn’t make the list and Say who never mentioned Racedayct. Then Al apologizes for something never said so this member of the peanut gallery is wondering if anyone reads what’s written or are there grudges afoot.
    The chicks aren’t mentioned and for good reason. They mostly didn’t qualify under the categories offered. That’s the problem Stafford, there could be a category for the women to wet the appetite for their fans of which I am one. Or maybe it’s not proper form for the track to lump the women as a separate category. I don’t have that limitation so let me give it a try.
    It was reported that Cassandra’s ride had bent parts they found over the winter that may have affected performance and they’ve been fixed. Then there is the fact it’s a KRR prepared car. Cole has made steady progress so far and her stated goals are to communicate better on how the car is handling so it might be improved and get a top 5. I bet she accomplishes both.
    You could argue that Amanda West is the top returning woman. 5 top 10’s, no easy accomplishment in the Lights, in only 14 races in her rookie season. May be a sleeper so keep an eye on her.
    Sammi Anderson, perhaps the most interesting woman in the Light field this year. Her Street Stock rookie year did not produce pretty much of anything for a resume although her car was fast on occasion. Now she moves up to the open wheels she says suit her driving style better with more control and finesse. It’s Moeller’s former Spafco ride so we know it has the potential to win. Sammi’s debut at the Waterford finale last year….not good. My view she’s fearless but needs to survive for a while in the big fields at Stafford. Keep the wheels on, learn, finish and about mid year maybe surprise a whole lot of people.
    Alina Bryden raced three times last year. Best finish 13th but the last car on the lead lap. Says the team in coming out swinging this year at Stafford and has an old hand Wade Gagner as crew chief. The 48 has a new paint scheme and could be racy so keep an eye peeled for them as wall.
    All information accumulated for articles and press releases appearing in RaceDayCt, Staffords team roster listing and results, Race Monitor and Facebook. Apologies for anything incorrect and please correct as needed.
    The SK’s are the headliner for sure and the LM’s listed as the second division but face it. No division puts on better races then the SK Lights. This will be another banner year of thrills, photo finishes and unknowns showing up on the podium no one predicted.

  6. Fast Eddie says

    WOW! That’s a lot of SKL’s! Depending on car counts any given week, I wonder if Stafford would have a Non-Qualifier’s race. Maybe a 10-12 lap race to give more chances for driver and setup experience. Winner/highest finisher not making the field next week gets a provisional. I would think it would be good competition and of course more Modified races for the fans as well.

  7. The lites put on a better show than the tour, so do the sk’s. the bore tour is fast, but all it is is single file ( I can’t even call it racing) driving around, just like xfinity and the cup car’s. I don’t see why the tour packs people in at Stafford, I guess younger race fans don’t understand what racing is! i’m talking teens to 40 yr. olds.

  8. the sk lites and sk’s put on a show. the bore tour just drive around single file. there fast, but big deal.

  9. David John says

    OMG. Why didn’t they mention all the mid pack and back runners too? Don’t they understand that everyone gets a trophy today? Mommy, Daddy, where’s my press release? I’m supposed to get one too. It’s all your fault Shawn, even though you didn’t write any of these preseason preview pieces. It’s all your fault.

  10. Al Coholic says


    I do read peoples responses and also realize Shawn’s comment was not directed to me. However, after reading my original comment i felt my tone was not appropriate so i decided to clarify my self, that’s ok to do isn’t it?

    On another note the weather is not looking good this weekend nor does it for next weekend. This no practice time before the first show is pretty scarry..

    Perhaps this may be a good time to bring up about the need for spotters in the Lites… We are going to have 35 plus cars on the track, some of them rookies with little to no practice time. The lites put on i believe a great show and its extremely expensive to field a car… Lets give them a chance to survive and put a voice in there ear with a chance to survive. Any comments about the no spotter rule in the lites any one??

  11. I am NOT a fan of spotters in any division. I think that drivers with spotters lose a little bit of their situational awareness. Many of the top touring series in dirt racing don’t use them. Racing would suffer some short term as drivers learn to deal with not having god in their ears, but would improve long term.

    My $0.02. Worth what ya paid for it.

  12. Other then the SK’s where spotters are mandatory they aren’t for any other division if I’m reading the rules correctly. Two way communication is prohibited in the Streets and LLM’s but I’m not seeing you can’t have a birdy chirping in your ear if it’s incoming only.
    Now if you saying make it mandatory that doesn’t seem reasonable putting that additional burden on teams.
    I wish someone could explain why the LM’s have so much detail about what you can and can not do with their radios. Very bizarre how they outline specifically so many things that aren’t mentioned anywhere else.

  13. bonnie c gottier says

    I think that the lights should be running 40 laps, They are more exciting than other divisions and the crowd loves them. Twenty laps just dont get it done.

  14. Bonnie,
    Why mess with a formula that’s very clearly creating exciting events?

  15. How do you disagree with Bonnie while agreeing so strongly with the reason for the suggestion.
    They are more exiting then any other division and the crowd does love them as the standing and clapping dramatic finishes have attested.
    From time to time people have suggested different tires, engine changes, distance changes spotters and more. Why try to fix what isn’t broke.
    The SK Light division is what every promoter dreams of when they attempt a new division. Great car counts with a pipeline of equipment and new drivers, side by side racing, photo finishes and crowd appreciation.
    They should be the second division.

  16. Doug,
    I’ll admit, two years ago I was on the bandwagon of lobbying to make them 30-lap features, but the more I thought about that you realize by doing that you suddenly change a lot of the factors that make the 20-lap features so good. So yes, why mess with a recipe that seems to be working exactly as most would hope?

  17. Fast Eddie says

    IMHO, this category is the ultimate SK Light/Sportman Modified category anywhere. It is also the premier training program for moving up to SK/Sunoco Modifieds as well as Tour-type Modifieds. If the feature were to increase, I would say change it to 25 laps, but other than that just leave it, ’cause it’s working just fine!

  18. Promoters dream is right. Don’t have to pay a decent purse and they still get cars. Wake up skl owners – try a collective bargaining and maybe you will get what you deserve- 2nd tier division and 8 k purse. No doubt it’s the best division and l believe if they paid a good purse and went to a real 604 crate engine you would have 40 cars like years ago when sk’s started

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