Chasing The Win: Jon Puleo Ready To Go Victory Hunting In SK Light Mod At Stafford In 2020

Jon Puleo in action (Photo: Courtesy Stafford Speedway)

Jon Puleo arrived at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2019 as a rookie in the SK Light Modified division who showed immediately he was ready to land in victory lane at the historic facility. 

Unfortunately for the Branford 16-year old, grabbing that first checkered flag at Stafford was something that eluded him in 2019. 

And so Puleo will return to Stafford in April with that mission of winning even further focused. 

“Our main goal is just to go in there and try to win and if you keep winning a championship comes with it,” said Puleo, who won the SK Light Modified championship at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in 2018. “But I’m just focused on getting a win right now. … Especially coming off a winless season, we just want to go in there and get the win. We’ve just got to take it week by week, that’s what we always do.” 

In an ultra-competitive SK Light Modified division at Stafford in 2019, Puleo ended up sixth in the standings with eight top-five finishes and 14 top-10’s in 20 races. 

“I just had a lot of fun racing with those guys up front,” Puleo said. “I learned a ton in [2019] racing with all kinds of people. And [not having spotters] really taught me a lot. … Waterford you probably had three to four guys that could win. Me and my dad, we went into the SK Light division and we decided to run Waterford because it was a little bit less money-wise. As soon as we headed to Stafford it was a whole new ballgame. That’s the best facility in the Northeast in my opinion. And it’s awesome when you get to race with so many good guys and you learn so much off of other guys and it’s just a ton of fun.” 

But going winless in 2019 despite running near the front in many events was a bitter conclusion for Puleo. 

Jon Puleo (Photo: Courtesy Stafford Speedway)

“We were pretty frustrated but we kept our heads held high,” Puleo said of going winless in 2019. “I had a few miscommunications on restarts and we just missed it a few nights. … We were frustrated, we wanted to win more than anything. But the opportunity that I’ve gotten at such a young age that I am that I can’t really complain.

“I came off a really good year at Waterford and we knew the bar was a little bit high with the competition and just more races and everything,” Puleo said. “As much as I would have liked to win, I’m grateful for the opportunities we had and the good runs that we had. 

“I had three seconds to [Teddy Hodgdon IV], who ends up going on to win the championship,” Puleo said. “… It was just a lot about learning who you’re racing against. Me and my dad felt like we had a really good car every week and some nights it was the car and some nights it was me and we just couldn’t put the whole puzzle together. We were just one little piece away. We’re ready to capture that in 2020.” 

In 2020 Puleo returns to competition at Stafford with a new ride to climb into. In the offseason his team acquired the SK Light Modified Marcello Rufrano drove to a track championship at Stafford in 2018. 

“It’s huge,” Puleo said. “We actually got the championship car that was Marcello Rufrano’s. I’m looking forward to getting into a proven car. That wouldn’t be possible with [car owner Vin Beedle] and support from Mr. Rooter Plumbing.” 

Puleo said in addition to running at Stafford his team will field an SK Modified at Thompson in 2020 and hope to compete at the Speedbowl if the facility reopens. Getting to the SK Modified division at Stafford is already on the mind of Puleo. 

“That’s the show, that’s everything,” Puleo said. “I would love to be a part of that.” 

Listen To More From Jon Puleo from the recently released Episode 68 of Unmuffled

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  1. 8 top 5’s and lead races only to have someone break his heart at the end. Guaranteed to win this year and may vie for the championship.

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