Fired Up: Bryan Narducci Bounces Back From Losing Ride To Win SK Mod Feature At Stafford

Bryan Narducci celebrates his first SK Modified victory Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – On Sunday veteran team owner Billy “Bear” Calicchio informed Bryan Narducci that he was fired from his SK Modified ride at Stafford Speedway. 

On Friday at Stafford Narducci – behind the wheel of Keith Rocco Racing SK Modified – offered Calicchio the perfect response for quitting on him. 

In dominating fashion, Narducci stared fifth, swiftly marched to the lead and cruised away from the field to easily win the 40-lap SK Modified feature at Stafford.

It was the first career SK Modified victory for Narducci, of Colchester, who is in his second year in the division. 

“This is for all the haters this week that said that I couldn’t get it done,” Narducci said. “They said the car I was in was good. They said ‘It won last year, so why can’t you get it done?’ So this is for all them that said I couldn’t do it. Here we are.”

Matt Vassar of Plantsville was second and David Arute of Tolland third. It was the first podium finishes in the divisions for both Vassar and Arute.

Narducci spent his rookie season in the SK Modified division at Stafford in 2020 driving for Todd Owen. The pair parted ways in the offseason and Narducci landed with Calicchio, who was making a return to running full-time at Stafford. Narducci had one top-five and two top-10’s over the first seven points events of the season for Calicchio. 

Calicchio said he made the decision to fire Narducci partly because he wasn’t pleased with his performance in the car. 

“I like to think that I’m a decent driver,” Narducci said. “Over the last six or seven weeks [Calicchio] made me feel like I sucked. To go out there and win like this, that’s pretty special and says a lot.” 

Narducci finalized the deal to drive for Keith Rocco Racing this week about 24 hours before Friday night’s feature at Stafford. 

“I don’t know what to say, the minute I went out in practice and we ran a couple laps I knew it was stout,” Narducci said. “I knew Keith gave me a great piece. We ran good in the heat race, it was a little free. I told Keith and he dialed this thing in. I’ve never driven a race car that was that good. Forty laps, every single lap it was absolutely phenomenal.” 

Narducci passed Doug Meservey Jr. for the lead on lap four and never trailed again on the way to becoming the seventh different winner in eight SK Modified division events in 2021 at Stafford and the 89th winner in the division’s history at the track.

The 20-year old Narducci is in his sixth season running full-time at Stafford. He had six wins over two seasons in the Limited Late Model division (2016-17) and 13 victories over two years in the SK Light Modified division (2018-2019). 


  1. We just witnessed a blue moon event. Not just Bryan’s win but the entire podium, dearth of cautions, the new top tier getting the closest and the old top tier struggling back in the pack.

  2. Congratulations to Bryan great to see you back in victory lane

  3. Bear who? says

    @doug pound sand buddy. Krr car kid dominates. 14 car was junk. Kids a wheelman

  4. Congrats to Brian Narducci and crew. Fitted to the car on Thursday and winning on Friday, it doesn’t get any better than that. Maybe this win secures a full time ride. Either way, great job .

  5. Uconnjohn says

    I’m not really a Bryan Narducci fan but this story is pretty amazing!

  6. Totally dominated the field. Where’s the Bear

  7. I predicted this if you look at my post from the other article. Way to show them Bryan.: where is bear?? Up a tree looking for honey?? Lol

    Seriously hope bear looks at his junk and sees what a world class guy like Rocco can do to rebuild a kid who felt like he sucked!!

    Yes Bryan celebrate and “suck” all the beverages down while you realize what a life lesson bear just taught you.

    Way to show them. I bet Todd Owen was proud of your big win too. He is another good man!!

    Now go get someone with deep pockets to rent the car the rest of this season. I am rooting for you!!

  8. What a difference a day makes.

  9. Who Cares says

    Yo! Bear 🐻 I here Glen Reen is looking for a ride maybe you two should get together, you both SUCK !

  10. Wow! That’s all I’ve got. Congratulations Brian and new crew!

  11. Between this and the Preece Truck win, what a great way to start the day over morning coffee!

    I like this kid, he can really wheel a race car..

  12. Pound sand aye! No won’t be doing that but I did pound the books and video.
    “Bear who” harkens back to 2019 when Narducci was checkers or wreckers winning 8 races but ending the year 5th in the standings and generating similar comments that he was the next great thing in Stafford modifieds. But he wasn’t he was a young driver still learning and the grind in the highly competitive division and reality would soon commence.
    Was Calicchio’s car junk. Maybe after the DNF’s in Bryan’s 2nd and 3rd outings in the 14 but there were high points as well. Like the first race where he started 23rd and finished 7th and the top 5 just two weeks ago. If you did check the lap speeds the 14 was always within a couple tenths of the best cars so it was clearly not junk. So what was different here?
    It’s a KRR car to start with. Proven commodity and more consistent.. In this race Narducci made two racing moves of note. The first being on lap three diving low to pass Vassar. The second stalking then passing Meservey on lap 8 and a bit sloppy at that driving Meservey up the track to do it.
    The only caution on lap 2 and by lap 11 it was Narducci, Vassar and Arute that went on to the podium.
    A “wheelman” you say. Not sure what that means but I think it’s more an insult to actual wheelmen. A raw talent perhaps. One that has made significant progress since the petulant days of 2019 but has not earned the title “wheelman” yet and the Meservey pass shows that pretty well.
    Tell you who is becoming a wheelman after years of grinding and working on his craft is Stephen Kopcik. He showed it once again last night generating a championship level performance getting what he could and avoiding trouble.
    It was a blue moon event. Kopcik and Hines the fastest cars on the track would have contended for the win were there a caution or cautions but thankfully there wasn’t. Narducci is a heart warming story but the entire podium was as well in my view. All these guys grinding and grinding week after week, year after year and now break through the SK top tier brick wall for their moment in the sun.
    I’m thinking young Bryan is more reflective then the halcyon days of 2019 when he had super powers and could do no wrong. Struggling to contain his emotions and deflecting credit to KRR and his supporters an indication he gets it. There will be more tough days and learning ahead.

  13. knuckles mahoney says

    Well if this doesn’t put egg on the face of bear. I’m LMAO

  14. A car within a couple of tenths of the top cars is not a winning car. Come on man, to be a winning car you have to be a couple of tenths faster than the top cars and there was no way the 14 was making up 4 tenths. You don’t have to pound books and video to figure that out.

    The 14 was not a winning car and when he got in a winning car, he won. Period, finished business, end of story.

    Love ya man but another lost battle 😀. Sorry, just fact not speculation.

    Yep the 14 should go to Waterford where HP is not key and that freshend up T/A engine will probably run just fine as long as they have a good set up and driver.

  15. Just a point I was thinking about. Rock has been inconsistent at best at Stafford. Very un-Rocco like. Could it be he’s taking care of a few to many cars, and there by lessening his own? Just asking!

  16. 2021 looks like a year for early bear hibernation.

  17. Fast Eddie says

    Congrats to Brian Narducci and KRR!! Been watching Narducci for a while and always thought if he could not get too impatient he’d do well in an SK.

  18. You don’t have to pound books and video to figure that out, that’s all you need to know and period, finished business, end of story. That’s old Cactus Earl in a nutshell.
    But of course it’s not the end of the story, racing is a great deal more complex then your simple Earlisms and if you want to view this forum in terms of winners and losers knock yourself out but in my view that speaks to your limitations not mine.
    Last night Bryan got track position early and made the most of it. He was off a tenth from Kopcik and Hines but track position is everything on a larger track especially with no cautions.. While two tenths of a second is cavernous at the Speedbowl it’s respectable at a half mile track. The top 15 frequently compete in a window that is two tens of a second the reason passing is so difficult at Stafford.
    To you Earl, Narducci’s win may just be your latest summation of a situation that has to have a good guy and bad guy and in this scenario Calicchio the bad guy. I don’t view it that way at all and the break up one the didn’t acquit either party with a great deal to be proud of. To you he had a KRR car, started 5th, finished first end of story. To me after re watching the race it was a win dependent on a number of things falling into place that produced an extraordinary race result against all odds. To you combining the KRR car and Bryan’s brilliance this should be the first of many top tier finishes for him. I’ve followed Bryan’s career going back to the LLM’s. To me it is one step in the maturing process as a driver that he’s still in the early stage of and the odds of it being repeated anytime soon will require another blue moon. Ask Andrew Moeller how hard it is to get a repeat win in the SK’s at Stafford.
    A shout out to the new announcing team of Ben Dodge and Kyle Rickey. Dodge has good and bad nights announcing and last night he brought his A game in my view. All kinds of anecdotes and behind the scenes tidbits like Owen not making the Thompson open having to work on repairing cars. One of which was Arutes who ended up getting his best finish ever so nice job Todd. Buckler is perfect on pit road and can get more out of drivers sometimes when they are in a foul mood with his imposing presence.

  19. Doug, you are the one that made the statement about the 2 tenths, not me. If you are two tenths slow you need to make up that two tenths and add another two tenths to pass for the win. You state you were a race car driver and you should know how it works. Maybe that’s not how it worked back in the day however this is the new millennium, racing is different today you old geezer 😀.

    A win is a win, Narducci’s win will go down in the record books as a win, makes no difference when, where and how he accomplished that win. What makes it special is he got fired on Sunday and raced the following Friday in a different car and won.

  20. Not a Narducci fan either, but come on man. The kid loses his ride on Wednesday, is fitted in a KRR car on Thursday and winning on Friday. If that ain’t the proverbial cinderella story, I don’t know what is.

  21. Earl, babe come back to me.
    How does this
    ” If you did check the lap speeds the 14 was always within a couple tenths of the best cars so it was clearly not junk. ”
    Become this;
    .” If you are two tenths slow you need to make up that two tenths and add another two tenths to pass for the win.”

    You’re arguing with something I never said. I was making the point Calicchio’s cars weren’t junk and they most certainly are not. You’re talking about winning races.
    Coming in 5th is not junk. Driving from 23rd to to 7th in his first race for Calicchio is not junk. Fast lap times of 19.27, 19.25, 19.41, 19.42, 19.54,19.50,19.43 compared to the KRR car fast time of 19.46 is not junk.
    Narducci said that if the funding is available he hopes to drive Rocco’s car the rest of the season. That will give us plenty of time to see exactly how much of a difference the car has made if any. I say his pass of Meservey was sloppy and he has a lot of work to do on refining his technique. We shall see if that proves to be the case and if not you are welcome to remind me of that when the time comes.

  22. Before you respond or even if you have Cactus Earl know this.
    I relent, UNCLE, no more. All true. Narducci was in a KRR car and won, Calicchio’s cars were junk and that is the reason he didn’t win. Racing according to Earlisms where details never matter and there’s no more left to say, case closed.
    You’ve left me a weeping mass of insecurity, doubt and frustration Earl so since this is all about wins and loses for you, you win.

  23. goes to show pettie horse power is the way to go that helps alot

  24. Doug has it ,started near front lap times about the same as all year also many guys down on power as they will be putting new motors in for the 5 k next week. Only 1 yellow is huge . World is off its axis when you have 3 cars on the podium that have never been there. Things will probably be back to normal this week. Bryan’s a good kid but will never have the success in sky’s he had in lights where he could flat foot it and drive thrue.takes a lot more finesse with the power in traffic . Congrats on the win

  25. Lug Nut,
    I remember when Bryan first got in a Limited Late Model at Stafford and a lot of people around racing said: “He’s a nice kid, but he’ll never win at Stafford.” And he won immediately. And then I remember when he said he was going to SK Light Mods and a lot of people around racing said: “Yeah, he had some wins in Limited Late Models, but he’ll never be able to win in SK Lights.” And all he did was win everywhere for two years. There are a lot of people like you who just continually downplay the talent and ability he has. Maybe because you don’t posses it. Maybe because he beats your favorite driver. Who knows. But I do know it fuels him by constantly being told he’s not good enough and proving people like you wrong.

  26. Chucky Love says

    i think ALL know who Bear is and how he operates. I think evryone should stay away from the Bear trap only Suckers will play with that trap .

  27. What kind of trap does Silly Bear have? What year car is it? What motor? How old?

  28. Who Cares says

    Who cares ! An thank you bear I won the pool $ in the shop on how long you’d last this year; Bear Reen Racing it’s coming !!

  29. Shawn I’m not a hater would be perfectly fine if the kid goes out and knocks out a bunch of wins Bryan made a lot of us proud going out and winning 2 national championships .god knows I don’t have the kind of talent to do that .these were my opinions of what I’ve seen in the last year and a half,as someone who’s been a crew member in late models pro stocks and sk’s for 35 years.bears car looked pretty good with Eric berndt winning 2 of 6 starts at the bowl and Thompson last year who knows who will be in that car the rest of the year but don’t be surprised if there’s a few more wins. Sometimes a driver crew chief combo just doesn’t work and that’s fine nobody to blame just move on.

  30. Lug Nut,
    You sound like someone back tracking quite a bit for getting called out. You basically offered up two reasons why you thought his win was a fluke (other guys with tired motors, only one caution). And then you said of Bryan: “Will never have the success in [SK’s] he had in lights.” He just won a race a in a division that many around the country called one of the most competitive and talented in short track racing. Not knocking Bear’s cars or his knowledge, but being competitive at the Speedbowl and being competitive at Stafford are two very different animals (no pun intended). Eric Berndt had two wins for Bear at Waterford last year and a fifth place in one start at Thompson and that was fantastic for both of them. And I’m in no way saying that Bear won’t find success at Waterford, but to make the blanket statement that Narducci will never be a consistently successful competitor in SK Modifieds is quite a reach to make about someone who has less than 20 career starts in the division.

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