Catalanos Making It A True Family Night At Stafford Speedway For Whelen Mod Tour Event

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Stafford Motor Speedway is known for a family atmosphere.

The Arute family has owned the Connecticut half-mile for more than four decades, and their name is no stranger to race fans. Some of them race, while some of them are in management, and some do both.

When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Stafford on Friday night, there is another family that will be at the track making a little bit of their own history. The Catalano’s, including Tommy, Timmy and Amy, will all attempt to compete together on the track in the Stafford 150.

It will be the first time in their Whelen Modified Tour run that all three of them hit the track at once. They have done it before on the Race of Champions Modified Tour, but, the experience of doing it on NASCAR’s highest Modified level is going to be special. Both Tommy and Timmy will be going wheel-to-wheel with their mother during the 10th race of the season.

“Both my husband and I used to race against each other, so we met at the race track,” Amy Catalano said. “I have about 25 years of it.”

The family is already off to a strong start this season before Amy even hits the track. She’s been running B-Modifieds in New York, and has made a habit of having success at places like Chemung Speedrome, Spencer Speedway and Lancaster Speedway over the years. Tommy is the defending Sunoco Rookie of the Year on the Whelen Modified Tour and has one pole and three top 10 finishes this season.


Timmy, who is in his rookie season, earned his first career top-five at Wall Stadium Speedway in May. In total, there are five of the Catalano brothers. One of them runs B-Modifieds with Amy, another is going to be debuting a Super Stock in the near future, and one is in go-karts at just seven-years-old. He recently earned his first career win.

“Before I had all of the kids, it used to be a joke, but when I had the first four I said to people that I had four tire changes but I needed a spotter,” Amy said with a laugh. “It was never the joke that they were going to take over the racing and we were going to quit, but, I never anticipated they would all like it. They all have different personalities and they all deeply love the sport, whether it’s working on it or racing them. Every one of them was at the race track within a month of being born. The last one was born during the week and I raced that Friday night.”

Even though Tommy started on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2017, and took off last year winning the Rookie of the Year crown, Amy always had other plans until he started having success.

RELATED: PIT BOX: Doug Coby Returns Home Looking To Pad Points Lead

“We started racing weekly and the very first time we chased a title, we had no idea, but someone told us we were going to win the NASCAR New York state title,” Amy recalled. “We never even looked at the points, but I lost it by three and the next year we accomplished it and won it. My goal was always to run the Whelen Modified Tour. Even when Tommy started, we were going to get our feet wet and I was ultimately hoping to run myself. But Tommy started doing so well, and Timmy started saying he wanted to do it, so I let them have it.”

Now, she’s kind of stuck in the middle of what might be a competitive race among the three on Friday night. Obviously the bragging rights are going to be high for whichever of them finishes ahead of the other.

“They started begging me a few weeks ago that they wanted me to fill out my dream, they told me I had to do it,” Amy said. “They even said they were going to sit out for me, but I told them we had come too far for that. They convinced me that I am going to like Stafford. Last year they convinced me to run a Valenti Modified Racing Series race at Thompson and we said if I finished top 10 I would run a Whelen Modified Tour race. I finished there, and they are holding my feet to the fire now.”


She also knows it’s going to be a major challenge, not only while hanging left turns on the historic Stafford half-mile, but in the pit area preparing the cars, and on pit road during the race.

“Even having two cars is a little bit stressful for us,” Amy said. “The problem for us is that we have a very small crew, with just three guys from up home. That’s really all we bring with us. We just try and get the rest of the crew from race-to-race. Stafford was strategically picked because it’s one tire per stop, and we won’t need five guys for each car over the wall.”

No matter what the results, it’s going to be a special night for the entire family. But one of the major parts of the experience is going to be the ride to, and from, the track. The family rides in the same hauler, with three cars all in one.

“A 15th to a 10th place finish would be as good as a win after being completely blind to the track, I’ve spotted there, but I haven’t turned a lap on the track myself yet,” Amy said.

“We used to have two double haulers, but we decided to sell all of it and get one so we could be together. We wanted to ride, talk, laugh, be disappointed — we wanted to through all of it together.”

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes:

  • Ron Silk enters the Stafford 150 on a wave of momentum he’s hoping will earn him his second career Stafford victory. Silk is coming off a major triumph in the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he took his Kevin Stuart Motorsports team to Victory Lane for the second time this season. In his last two Stafford starts, Silk has top-five finishes.
  • Former Riverhead Raceway Crate Modified champion Mike Rutkoski will attempt to make his second career Whelen Modified Tour start driving for Buzz Chew. Rutkoski finished 21st after qualifying ninth in his tour debut at Riverhead on July 6.
  • Stafford’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will also be in action. In the premiere SK Modified class, Todd Owen is the most recent event winner, and leads the championship standings by 44 points over defending champion and former Whelen Modified Tour regular Ronnie Williams.

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  1. Doug no comment???, this is what you were hoping for

  2. Amy vs. Melissa. Advantage should go to Melissa since she has experience at Stafford and drives an LFR. This should be interesting.

  3. I watched the NHMS replay today. Showtime absolutely cleaned out Woody not once but twice.

    Thanks to JBon, Zachem withdrew from Stafford.

    Friday should be interesting.

  4. JD,
    You’re laying the drama on pretty thick with the “Thanks to JBon, Zachem withdrew from Stafford.” comment.
    I’ve been covering this sport for 25 years and in almost every race I’ve watched in that time there have been crashes. And after crashing people fix their cars and come back and race again. I’ve even seen people get wrecked in heat races badly and fix their cars before the feature. Zachem runs part-time. Let’s not act like he had a 200-race consecutive streak going and it came to an end. He races part-time and his team had two weeks to fix their car for Stafford and they chose not to do it. Most full-time teams would have been ready for Stafford following a two week break.

  5. Fast Eddie says

    Earl your theory is correct, HOWEVER… the reality is very different. Amy has been very competitive in the NY area and I think a top 15 is a definite possibility for her. Melissa will be lucky to make the field and will most likely drop out with “handling” or “suspension” issues after getting lapped many times. I’m not badmouthing anyone, but this is a typical race result for her. I must admit, she has seemed to be running a little better on-track this year than previous ones. I sincerely hope that continues for her and her team.

  6. No one can insert a dagger better then you Elect in the least amount of space with just the right twist of the blade to cause the most damage. A suggestion however. Don’t be dead weight in the process. Say something interesting about the topic which in this case has multiple layers.
    Amy has been on my radar only since New Smyrna, 2018 but she has decades of experience. Woody Pitkatish? She’s smooth, patient and doesn’t race unless she can be competitive.
    The Catalano’s are such a rich topic, one of the best stories of 2019 in my view. I hope we have a lot more insights and anecdotes about their exploits before tomorrow so what we see can be appreciated even more for how special it is going to be.
    Top tier modifieds: One mom, two sons, one transporter and a long ride to the track and back. Who will have bragging rights? Predictions? Don’t waste your time.

  7. If he didn’t get wrecked he may have elected to fix the car and run Stafford, no? He did register for the event and all.

    Getting a little snowflake syndrome around here. Sensitivity Training will be next.

  8. JD,
    I think you need to look in the mirror for the Snowflake Syndrome. You come here and make excuses and look for a scapegoat to blame for why someone isn’t competing in an event two weeks after a crash. As I said before, people crash and get crashed all the time, and then they fix their cars and race again. From your comment you’d think Zachem’s car left the track as a fully crushed vehicle with a bag of broken parts on the side, all because of the big bad mean and scary Justin Bonsignore. You came here playing the “poor Zachem the victim” card and then toss around words like sensitivity and snowflake? Really? All that said, Zachem enters and withdraws from a lot of events pretty regularly so who knows.

  9. Melissa drives a Fury car, remember she switched sides. As far as Amy is Melissa, gotta go with Amy, she drives that car hard every lap. She may even finish better than her son’s. It would be cool, but at the same time the boys would be forced to hear ” you got beat by your mom” hope all 3 have good productive night at Stafford. Best of luck

  10. Proof of why we are just a bunch of knuckle dragging, sexist old farts:
    -any comparison of Amy Catalano and Fifield is based on the existence of anatomy only. In reality it’s like comparing Ryan Newman when he visits the NHMS modified race to Wade Cole and you’d never hear smarty pants nonsense about that ever.
    -Assuming the boys should beat mom and that anything else would be a surprise is not reality at all. She has beaten them frequently in their various careers and they know who the boss is and show her more respect then they’ll ever get in this forum. What would cause a cool front to move on the ride how would be racing contact within the family.
    Amy Catalano may be new to us but she’s an institution in ROC country that think of her first as a top driver and less as a woman. It may take a while for us to catch up.

  11. Hillary 2020 says

    So now we’re comparing Amy Catalano to Woody Pitkat. Christ

  12. Whoa, did you forget your meds today? You got all that from my comment about the 51 dumping the 20 and 36. Too funny! Far more thought than the 2 seconds I used up typing it.

    I couldn’t even care less that Zachem withdrew. Just playing up the drama that is about to unfold tomorrow. Click bait if you will. You are in the click bait business afterall.

    Big Bad, Mean, Scary Justin Bonsignore! Love it! That’s comedy gold.

    Message received though. I can take a hint. I’m outta of here. Dareal, the podium is all yours.

    All the best.

  13. wmass01013 says

    No need to do any AMY VS MELISSA deals, this will be the 1st time racing at Stafford for Amy, and as we all know Stafford is a tough track to get a handle on, plus her 1ST WMT race Against mean JBON and flux capacitor Coby, Hot Ron Silk, plus her 2 sons, will be interesting to see her run, again no need to add gender to the deal!
    WOW JD so easily offended

  14. Wasn’t inserting any daggers, I know you had mentioned earlier how you would like to see her race the tour ,just thought you would have commented sooner , I’m looking forward to see how she does, hope she does well and is back in fall

  15. Don’t get so offended Hillary. My point was each had decades of experience and success along the way.The point was to contrast it against the ridiculous Fifield/Catalano comparisons.
    That’s my opinion. This is fact so you can better judge if this is something or hype.
    February, New Smyrna. Included the likes of Preece, Coby, Hirschman, Emerling, Blewett, Nocella, Hossfeld, Solomito, son Tommy and other experienced journeyman drivers in what at the time was considered a first rate field with A list equipment.
    Ms Catalano’s vs Tommy’s results on 5 consecutive nights:
    12/19, 6/5, 6/16, 6/4, 16/3
    Night 5 she got taken out by some bonehead driver I can’t recall but I do remember her walking across the track fuming and giving someone the stink eye.
    No she won’t take your breath away with her racing moves. She’ll run a steady, smart race that may just make you wonder how’d she do that with a decent finish.
    Mamma beating her sons isn’t the exception, it’s the rule.
    In three races in the ROC I have her with finishes of 11, 9,and 6 at Spencer, Jukusa and Lancaster.
    Fifield indeed. They both have women parts…….that’s the only similarity.
    Intimidated….please. I don’t know if she’ll have an impressive run. Seems like given the points Tommy and Timmy would be the priority in equipment and the pit crew will be spread very thin. On the other hand she is on record as saying she will not race just to participate.

  16. Race/participate? So in your expert opinion Doug, which one does Melissa do?

  17. Ham handed gotcha question Earl the answer to which you may not have been hit over the head with but was provided nonetheless. Instead of joining you in your fixation of Fifield I’ll pivot off your obsession to make another point.
    Barney, Solomito, Blewett, Rameau, Amy’s sons, Summers, Heagy, Nocella, Fortin, Carroll, Putnam, Pitkat are amoung Ms Catalano’s competition is my best guess baring a mishap of some kind. How will she qualify? Hmmm, I just don’t know. I’m thinking fairly well? She’s smooth as glass.
    Look at the field. Once again it’s just terrific. Very strong through the top 20 or so. The Sizzler was a caution filled wreck fest and the average for Stafford is around 10 cautions when things go well. Expect the unexpected like Goodale winning in 2017 or the other Bonsignor last year or Lutz maybe. Everyone mentions Santos in the 36 at New Hampshire and he’s back and being ignored. Could be Sapienza’s first win. Dowling’s there again and this time probably checked the rear end twice so he may be a shocker of a win in the Tomainomobile.
    It’s a crap shoot in the middle of the pack. If Amy is good at dodge ball she may do well. 17ish cars should finish on the lead lap an if she’s one it will be a rousing success.

  18. You dodged my question. I nicknamed you he spin doctor well now I will add another, Doug the dodger. If Amy is a good dodge ball she may do well? Then what does Melissa have to do to do well in your humble opinion?

    OOPS, just saw the practice times and I know it is early, Amy, first time at Stafford 24th 19.02, Melissa who knows how many times at Stafford, last spot 34th 20.15.

    Not bad for a first timer, Go Amy!

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