Return Team: Joey Ferrigno, Tony Membrino Jr. Joining Forces At Stafford Speedway For 2022

Joey Ferrigno (left) and Tony Membrino Jr. (right) will team up in the SK Light Modified division at Stafford in 2022 (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Returning is the key word when it comes to a newly paired tandem in the SK Light Modified division for the 2022 season at Stafford Speedway.

One driver is returning from missing most of last season due to injury, the other is returning to a division he dominated a few years ago.

In 2016 Tony Membrino Jr. and Joey Ferrigno locked horns in a fierce battle for the SK Light Modified championship at Stafford Speedway. Now the two former feisty rivals will be teammates at the historic half-mile oval.

Membrino, who edged Ferrigno by 26 points to win the 2016 SK Light Modified championship at Stafford, will return to competition in the division at the NAPA Spring Sizzler. Membrino will drive a second car owned by Ferrigno. Membrino will compete in selected events during the 2022 season at Stafford driving for Ferrigno.

“I think it will be a pretty damn good collaboration,” Ferrigno said. “We can definitely learn a lot from each other working together like this. We’re bringing together two teams that have experience battling for championships at Stafford and two of the top-three drivers on the track’s all-time win list. It’s a cool deal.”

A hard crash in the fourth race of the season at Stafford last May left Ferrigno with a broken back that forced him to miss the remainder of the year.

Ferrigno has 16 career SK Light Modified wins at Stafford, which is second on the track’s all-time win list behind Chris Matthews’ 17 victories. His last win came in 2018. Membrino, with 15 career victories in the division, sits third on the SK Light Modified all-time win list at Stafford. His last victory was in 2016.

“Some might call us ‘Team Has Been’,” Ferrigno said. “Neither of us has won a race in a few years.

“We were sitting around at dinner one night and we were tossing the idea around. I finally had enough stuff to put a second car together. And over some pasta fagioli and a bottle of wine a deal kind of came together. His dad was looking for a team to work on this year because he still wanted to be involved in racing with Junior not driving. So he came over to help our crew and I’ve actually learned a lot from him.

“Our first couple years racing together, we were oil and water. We never really talked to each other. … Halfway through the year when we were battling for the championship [in 2016] Tony broke his engine one night in practice and I went over and I offered him my backup car and told him I’d rather beat him on the track than in the pits. That night we had a couple beers after the races and at the point we became pretty good friends.”

Membrino had a historic 2016 season driving an SK Light Modified. He won seven of the 17 SK Light Modified features at Stafford and the track title. He also won seven of 14 races at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on the way to winning the championship at the shoreline oval. He also recorded two wins over four starts that season at Thompson Speedway.

Membrino moved to the SK Modified division at Stafford following the 2016 season. After four years running in the division at Stafford Membrino moved to the SK Modified division at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the 2021 season. He was winless over five seasons in an SK Modified.

“The SK Modified’s humbled me in a heartbeat,” Membrino said. “It is kill or be killed and you’re on kill mode every lap. You have to be, otherwise the guys that you see shining are going to swallow you up.”

Membrino stepped away from racing full-time before the conclusion of the 2021 season.

“I really didn’t have interest in racing every week anymore,” Membrino said. “I just don’t want to do it at the capacity that I was doing it before. It was basically like working two and a half jobs just to go to a race track every single week. This is something where I can go to the track and do what I love and I can really have fun and I there’s not that big ball and chain of a commitment that goes along with it. I know I might sound like a prima donna saying all that, but I think there’s a lot of drivers that would prefer to do the same thing.”

Membrino said his focus when it comes to racing life is with his 9-year old stepson Peyton, who ran his first season in Quarter Midgets at Silver City in Meriden in 2021.

“Last year I got text updates more often on his races than I was actually there to see,” Membrino said. “He won three races last year and I missed one of them because I was busy getting my ass kicked at Waterford. That’s really why I have no interest in racing there anymore. I’m not going to miss out on that kind of stuff.

“I had no real plans [for 2022]. I was trying to put something together. I was really interested in the Open Modified class, I had a couple irons in the fire, but they just didn’t pan out. I was just kind of on the assumption that I would spend the year at the Quarter Midget track with my stepson and I would have been completely fine with that. And then one thing led to another and this came about.

“Joey kind of put it out there and it almost felt like he wasn’t going to let me go away quietly. It wasn’t something that he like said ‘Hey, do you want to?’ and I didn’t ask him. It was just kind of like, ‘Ok, this is what we’re doing.’ It was actually pretty funny how it all panned out.”

Membrino insists he will not be one of those drivers who says he’s coming back part-time only to return to racing full-time.

“This isn’t me pointing to the outfield, but let’s just say all the stars align and everything goes my way and we win at the Sizzler, well, you’re not going to see me at the next race on a Friday night,” Membrino said. “That’s not the plan and that’s never going to be the plan. This is just some chances to go out and have fun.”


  1. That’s really awesome for both Joey and Tony

  2. No you certainly don’t sound like a prima donna you sound like a smart guy managing racing to suit your interest and not letting it manage you. Looks like you just got hitched, a game changer so that’s the priority now.
    You’re in the record books as a champ a big deal by any standard.
    Enjoy racing. I know I’ll enjoy seeing you this year when you do compete.

  3. Stuart A Fearn says

    i saw Hollywood yesterday at practice and we chatted for a minute. Reading this about his 9 year old, I hope not to see him the rest of the year. Enjoy the time with your boy.
    I’m sure I will see Tony around but sparingly is great, very glad to read this, thanks for the story Shawn

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