Closing Kick: Adam Gray Rallies On Last Late To Top Michael Bennett In Late Models At Stafford

Adam Gray (97) edges Michael Bennett at the checkered flag to win the Late Model feature Friday at Stafford (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Stafford Motor Speedway is known throughout short track racing as the home of the SK Modifieds.

But Late Model driver Adam Gray is on the campaign to give his division its due.

Friday night at Stafford he was playing dramatic showman for that campaign.

Gray came out on top of a dramatic last lap battle for victory with Michael Bennett in the 30-lap Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

After losing the lead on in turn one on the final lap rallied off the final corner and edged Bennett for the victory by inches at the checkered flag. 

“I’ve got to tell you, whenever anybody talks about Stafford they talk about the SK Modifieds,” Gray said. “I think they’re missing the boat. The Late Models are the show here.”

It was the second victory of the season for Gray, of Belchertown, Mass. 

Bennett, of Willington, was second and Kevin Gambacorta of Ellington third. 

Bennett used a lap 16 restart to go from third to first past Andrew Durand out front. 

On a lap 17 restart Gray went to second and quickly found Bennett’s bumper. 

On lap 20 Gray used the low lane off of turn two to get by Bennett for the lead. 

Bennett stalked back to Gray and calculated to make the move for the win coming to the white flag. Gray and Bennett made contact coming to the white flag with Bennett diving low into turn one to take over the lead. Gray attempted to cross Bennett over off of turn two, but Bennett was up to defending his advantage. Gray found a lane under Bennett into turn three and the pair came off the final corner side-by-side and continued the door bumping to the checkered flag with Gray winning by inches. 

“Tonight was tough,” Gray said “We were battling the car all night. But I was getting good in and good out [off the corners] and we made it work.” 

Said Bennett: “Hard racing. That is short track racing. That’s what it was. It was fun. I can replay it in my head a million times and I’m sure I will this week. I thought I made the right move. I waited until the last lap. It just didn’t work out for us this time.”

Adam Gray celebrates victory in the Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)


  1. A certain amount of adrenaline fueled exuberance is expected in victory lane but stating the Late Models are “the show” may not be far from wrong. Gray and Bennett put on a clinic for Late Model racing as the laps wore down. Two tough as nails experienced racers going at it in a full contact drill with no spins. Well done guys.
    On the opposite end of the spectrum was Ryan Fearn. Apparently disqualified for some transgression on pit road, collected in a wreck before he’s able to retire and seen pounding on his car in the infield. At 23 it may be time to take a breath and appreciate everything you have even when things are going about as bad as they can. Since starting your dad has always provided top equipment that could win and you did on a fairly regular basis. Might want to consider just how lucky you are compared to a lot of other racers out there that do not have the same advantages. It’s a privilege to consistently run in front at Stafford and to be a winner. If you take all the people that race at Stafford there are only a precious few that get the experience of racing for the win on a consistent basis. Seen pounding on your toy like a petulant child in front of the crowd and across the country on FloRacing is not a good look.

  2. If the late models are the show they shouldn’t need a late model drivers only meeting after the regular driver’s meeting to be told its a s__t show and they will be parked if it keeps up , it seemed to work as this week was good but one week doesn’t make it the show, keep it up

  3. Doug really hit the nail on the head with all his comments. Especially on Ryan Fearn. He is a good driver in excellent equipment. Unfortunately didn’t he just return from a 2 week suspension for basically the same thing he was DQ for on Friday night ? Then ignored the black flag for many laps until involved in a wreck. Then throws a temper tantrum on national TV. He should be tossed for the rest of the season. He needs time to address his anger issues and to grow up before he hurts someone.

  4. Congrats to Adam and the whole #97 team. Great job

  5. Uconnjohn says

    I enjoy all the full fender divisions at Stafford. Really enjoying the return to prominence of the Late Model division. Lots of different drivers can win on any given week. Now just need 3 or 4 more teams to show up for the Ltd Late Model division.

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