Moving: Tony Membrino Jr. Taking SK Mod Team From Stafford To Speedbowl For 2021

Tony Membrino Jr. celebrates winning the final the SK Light Modified feature of the 2016 season and the division championship at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

When Tony Membrino Jr. ran an SK Light Modified at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the first time in 2015 he said the connection he felt with the facility was instantaneous. 

The Berlin driver will make that special connection a regular part of his life once again in 2021. 

Membrino said Friday that after four years in the SK Modified division at Stafford Speedway he will leave the track and run full-time in the SK Modified division at the Speedbowl in 2021. 

“There was a bunch of reasons all put together between professional, personal and some racing related,” Membrino said. “It just made more sense to make this type of a change. It’s the best thing to do at this point in time. We’re excited about it. We had a good time down there in 2016. It will be fun. I’m excited.” 

Membrino has run regularly at Stafford since 2008. He won a Street Stock division championship at the track in 2010 and captured SK Light Modified titles there in 2013 and 2016. 

He sits third on the track’s all-time SK Light Modified win list with 15 victories, two behind Chris Matthews’ 17 wins and one behind Joey Ferrigno’s 16 victories. He won seven of 17 SK Light Modified events in 2016 at Stafford on his way to the 2016 division title. He also has two Street Stock wins at Stafford. 

After winning SK Light Modified championships at both Stafford and the Speedbowl in 2016, Membrino made the jump to the SK Modified division at Stafford for the 2017 season. He was 16th in points in 2017, 16th in 2018, 14th in 2019 and seventh in 2020. 

“It’s been awesome,” Membrino said. “I’ve been racing there since 2008. Going on a lot of years and a lot of laps there. Four years in the SK [Modified] there, the one word I could put on it is humbling. Going from being on top of the world, or at least it felt like it, from 2016 with the SK Light [Modified]. Going into the SK [Modified] in 2017 we had high hopes and moderate expectations and goals. Realistic I would say. But it’s just such a competitive and cut-throat division, it really knocks you down off your pedestal. It was a big learning experience too.” 

After making two starts at the Speedbowl in an SK Light Modified in 2015, Membrino had a historic season at the facility in 2016 winning seven of 14 SK Light Modified features to capture his first championship at the track. 

“It was instantaneous the connection there,” Membrino said. “Just from the track itself to the other competitors to the people working at the facility, even the people that are just there in attendance. It almost felt like a homecoming type of thing. We just loved it. … I’m really excited about going back. Everybody on the team is really excited. Everybody has been so supportive of it and that’s really exciting.” 


  1. Guess he believes in the old saying “If the heat is too hot get out of the kitchen”

  2. I remember the Membrino/Barry SKL battles at Waterford, the two kids put on a great show.

  3. The SK’s have humbled a lot of SK Light drivers at Stafford.
    Smart move. Stafford will be more loaded with A list cars and drivers this year then ever. Go where you have a shot at getting a podium finish and not have to hope for a blue moon to have it happen.

  4. SKLight Fan says

    At least he knows when to take a step back and regroup. Some “drivers” just continue at a level they just can’t compete. He will have a good chance of running top 5 weekly and maybe even a win. Rocco, Moeller, and Berndt are Stafford guys who won at the Bowl last year. Good Luck

  5. Membrino states “A bunch of reasons” He was not good enough, own it.

  6. Is the Buzel kid still in the SK’s? Moved up from the SKL’s after winning the championship at Waterford. Haven’t heard anything about him.

  7. Changing Gears says

    Winning 3 Stafford Championships ,not good enough is harsh,Lots of good cars at stafford,he ran between 8 th and 12 th consistantly.respectable.Fela has no clue what it takes.Grandstand driver i do believe.

  8. The ‘bowl is a shorter commute.

  9. Changing Gears let me qualify my statement. Certainly good enough racing SKL. The article was referencing his move to Waterford with the SK. Eighth to twelfth was not good enough hence his moving on.

    No need to for baseless insults my friend, but maybe you should take a course in punctuation and capitalization.

  10. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Buzel has been racing SK’s at Waterford the last few years. Building a new car for this season.

  11. Tony Jr has proved himself in the past especially winning SKL championships at the three CT tracks in the same year. I think it was just time for a change of scenery in the SK’s and that change could pay dividends. Good luck young man.

  12. Buzel never showed me anything in an SK and was a little erratic in the lights. Maybe he should have stayed in an SKL for a while longer and got more experience before moving up.

  13. I thought the idea was to be insulting. If you’re using metaphors that imply the guy thinks he’s not good enough to compete at Stafford and bailing out then double down by actually challenging him to admit it what is that if not an insult. And completely wrong in my view.
    Membrino came in 7th in points with a couple top 5’s and was really fast at times. A marked improvement from the 14th place finish the year before. Check the laps times. The difference between 2nd and 13th can be a tenth of a second. They’re racing in insanely tight lap times. If Membrino comes in 7th in points he’s not only good enough to race at Stafford he’s been competing at a very high level.
    He was good at Stafford, is moving on and it has nothing to do with the heat in any part of the house. He can win at the Speedbowl. At Stafford the top 3 are like banging through a brick wall and the top five like wading through a moat to get to the brick wall.
    I’ll miss him.

  14. Changing Gears says

    Fela.Thank you correcting my homework..Will take a class in English, Literature,or any others that will help.In any case,you should sit in the Grandstands with someone who has a clue as to what they are watching on the track,MY FRIEND..Thanks Doug for the helpful stats.

  15. A change of scenery can be a good thing. If you are not happy with the results try something different. The competition at Stafford is fierce while the competition at the bowl is good but not quite to the same caliber as Stafford. Its probably a good move. I wish him and his team the best of luck at the Bowl.

  16. A couple people are forgetting the biggest difference between the SKL and SK isn’t what’s under the hood but what’s in your pockets. Membrino has mentioned on numerous occasions how his team is a low budget one. To come 7th in points on a low budget, and his first time in a non race works car, which he’s been in his whole career, says something. Don’t forget, in the SKL he had 17 wins in one year, with one car, and one engine between 3 different tracks. If you think its a matter of talent you don’t have a clue. He is very talented and has shown how much he likes the speedbowl after competing there for only one season.

  17. So, y’all are believing that the 🚽 is opening this season?

    I don’t know how, after all these years, anyone can have any confidence that the place will open, or anything promised will happen. If it does, it will be a miracle.

  18. Any predictions of SK car count at the Bowl tomorrow (opening) night?

  19. Rafter Fan,
    Really hard to guess on any number. Only four teams showed up to the divisional information meeting. Judging from a photo gallery I saw posted by a competitors it looked like there were about 10 teams there for practice. The track hasn’t posted any information publicly about any competitors expected to race there in 2021 for any division yet. The rosters on the website are from 2019. It almost feels like they don’t want people to know what’s on the roster. My educated guess would be less than 15 cars, but you never know.

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