Stafford Notes: Chris Meyer Scores First Late Model Win; Tyler Chapman Tops SK Light Mods

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

STAFFORD – After years running a Street Stock at various tracks around the state, Chris Meyer made the jump to the Late Model division at Stafford Speedway in 2022. 

With a second season behind the wheel almost completed, the Franklin driver was beginning to let some personal doubts creep in. 

Friday at Stafford Speedway Meyer got to kick those doubts out of his head. 

Meyer drove away from the field to win the 30-lap Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Speedway. 

It was the first career Late Model victory for Meyer. 

“It means a lot more than I can even explain,” Meyer said. “We ran Street Stocks for a long time. One of the big questions for Street Stock guys when you go up to the big time of local racing, can you win in a Late Model? We started doubting a little bit. I was, my guys weren’t. They knew I could do it. They tell me every week, ‘You’ve got it man, you’ve got it what it takes.’” 

Meyer ended the season fifth in the Late Model standings. 

“This race is for my dad,” Meyer said. “My dad, no matter what, been doing this together for 16 years. He’s wanted to do this, and was the one that was kind of resistant to going up to this division. We did it and I can’t be here without [him].”

Wayne Coury Jr. of Fairfield was second and Paul Varricchio Jr. of Berlin third. 

Kevin Gambacorta of Ellington, who finished fifth, had already clinched the 2023 Late Model championship before Friday’s event. 

Tyler Chapman of Ellington got his fourth victory of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. 

George Bessette Jr. of Danbury finished second in the feature to clinch his first title in the division. Meghan Fuller of Auburn, Mass. was third. 

Bessette edged Brian Sullivan by four points in the SK Light Modified standings.

Five drivers were awarded new Leaf fire suits on Friday as part of the Ted Christopher Drive For Safety Initiative. The safety equipment award program is organized annually by Christopher’s widow Quinn Christopher. 

One driver in each division was randomly drawn and awarded a new fire suit Friday. Winners included Mike Christopher Jr. (SK Modified), Meyer (Late Model), Fuller (SK Light Modified), Jeremy Lavoie (Limited Late Model) and Travis Hydar (Street Stock).


  1. The live wire

    Great job 👍

  2. Congratulations to the Mad Pup and Team 39!!!

  3. Shawn did George Bessette jr decline to be interviewed? One of the most exciting championship battles ever at Stafford and he gets one sentence at the bottom on the late model article 🤷‍♂️

  4. Henry Lecomte says

    I just feel Mike Christopher should have given the suit to another driver not saying it was rigged however doesn’t look good.

  5. Henry,
    It was the same drawing process for each division all night. Nothing was rigged. Any why shouldn’t he be eligible to win it? The contest was for all competitors at Stafford and he’s a competitor there. Mike Jr. doesn’t organize or put on the program that awards these safety items each year.

  6. What an incredible run by the Pup last night- came from 13th to second passing the 46 under green for the championship with a broken hub/brake rotor. He said he had to pump the brakes down the straights to get some pedal for the turns… Nothing was stopping this kid last night

  7. Suspicious Stagger says

    The lack of any information on the SKL race is extremely disappointing, as there was big coverage leading up to such an amazing point battle. Bessette and Fuller put on one hell of a show last night and are not even getting much coverage for it.

    The late models were a snooze, Tyler Chapman won, Bessette won a championship, and Fuller finished on the podium. I dunno, I think all three of them deserve more coverage than this cherry picking.

  8. Fenders Galore says

    Good job Meyer!
    That’s a darn tough division to score a win in! A lot of those competitors have 15+ years experience in the LM class…

    With the good driving, and Bob Fill assisting with the setup prep, more wins are coming!

  9. Don’t you think “cherry picking” is a little strong?
    This is a tough weekend for the big guy. There was Stafford to cover in person while keeping tabs on what’s going on at Thompson. Stay on high alert for what Thompson does today, then stand down and prepare for Thompson tomorrow. A huge day coverage wise with so many divisions in play including two big tour modified races. Add keeping up with social media and moderating our pearls of wisdom it’s a lot.
    I’d prefer the term “picking your spots”. Or how about this, covering as much as you can with limited resources and time.
    Try writing just one story regarding one race, do it late at night, get the quotes and have every detail factually correct. All this coverage isn’t free it’s just no cost to the reader so what’s to gripe about.
    Don’t like it, get your pick and shovel and do a little mining on social media. True you have to commit more time to digging up the skinny but it’s usually there if you dig deep enough.

    Love Chris Meyer and glad to see he broke through with the win. How many drivers admit they were reluctant while dad was the one looking to move up. Sure miss him though in the Street Stocks.

  10. I find it strange that the tightest championship battle in the most exciting, most competitive division at Stafford this year doesn’t get a picture or a headline. I bet this kid passed more cars this year than any competitor this year. Had to take a 3 week no handicap penalty to boot. I bet Doug can dig that stat up

  11. The SKL race was the show of the night. Watching the Bessette and Sullivan battle it out lap after lap for the championship was great. The Street stocks put on a good show once they got going. The SK’s were OK, I was hoping Eric Berndt would perform better but I believe he finished 14th one spot out of the TC shootout. Nice to see Mike Christopher get a win. The Limited lates had significantly more cars than late models. I see a trend developing. Crate engine classes have more cars than their big brother/sister non crate engine class. It was nice to see Meyer get his first late model win. A few burnouts on the way to victory lane last night. I am sure the local animal shelter will be happy about that. It’s all about the pets in need.

    car counts
    sk 21
    skl 30
    lm 12
    llm 18
    SS 23

    The car counts seemed down in most divisions. Not sure if it was the weather, the wreckfest they had last time our or Thompson. running. The only Sfafford SK I saw at Thompson was the Puleo 7 car who won a shortened 20 lap Sunoco modified feature containing 6 cars. I heard reinforcements were on the way. A few SK and SKL drivers mentioned going to Thompson. Thompson TT mod count and street stocks looked good. I thought the crowd was pretty good at Stafford, everyone I normally see at Stafford was there. I was expecting a few would have been at Thompson. I hope Thompson did OK for crowd. I was on my way home from Stafford just after 10pm no later than 10.15. Overall, great night at the track.

    May try to support Thompson tomorrow, though not sure I have a seat cushion big enough. I think they could use some of my money. Have the Thompson promoters stated publicly what their plans are for next year.

  12. Doug,
    Appreciate your words. I don’t necessarily think I owe anyone any sort of full or detailed explanation. I’ve put a lot of effort into this little space on the web over the last 12 years and I could never put into words how much I genuinely appreciate all those who support it, whether through relationships as marketing partners or just loyal readers. And even for people who aren’t fans of this site or how it’s operated, I don’t have any issues with them either. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions and I’ve never operated this website trying to make everyone happy. But when it comes to those bent obsessively on spreading hateful, attacking vitriol directed at what I do or me personally, they sap any desire to want to glorify the achievements of those they’re directly connected to. The results of six races run on Friday night were reported on this site along with those who won championships in each division. Nobody was left out, everybody was mentioned in the reporting from the track. That’s all I really want to say.

  13. You say you don’t write articles about people to spread rumors or cause any negativity but you had no problem putting a picture of Tom Fearn losing his ride. Tom has done alot for stafford over the years and has won numerous races. But you couldn’t wait to write that article which should not have been released.Have some respect

  14. I don’t write stories about rumor or gossip. I write factual news stories concerning the local racing scene. Tom Fearn is the all-time winningest Late Model driver at Stafford Speedway and he was released by the team owner that he has driven for since 2012 and won multiple championships with. That’s a major news story directly related to the local racing scene and it should be reported. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t report it. It’s not a rumor, it’s a factual action that took place. And me writing the story is not the cause of any negativity. Is it a negative story? Sure it is. Is that any reason not to report it? Absolutely not. No disrespect to you, but you clearly don’t have any understanding of journalism or covering any type of subject.

  15. Suspicous Stagger says

    I said “cherry picking” and meant it strongly. I think the commenters alongside me agree that not interviewing or attempting to interview the champion after blowing smoke with a poll and articles is a rookie journalist mistake. Even if you dislike the person, you interview both ends.

    How many women podium in the SKL without starting on the pin every week because they haven’t won and are through the handicap system? Not often. Fuller was overshadowed truly here.

  16. Man this is wild isn’t it? On the one side members of the peanut gallery whining about the lack of coverage, on the other complaining about coverage they think should have been crickets. Maybe it says something more broadly about the rampant cynicism that permeates our society today but I have a different theory. It’s laziness. More specifically entitled laziness.
    How you can gripe about that little story on Tom Fearn makes no sense on any level. A race was coming up, Tom was going to be in a different car did you think no one would notice and wonder why? The story printed could have been a press release from Fearn Motorsports. We all wanted to know details about the reason for the split but we also know it’s none of our business. So it provided the absolute minimum to explain the situation going forward isn’t that what news of any sort is for?
    Look at that entry from csg, great isn’t it? Shows the guy knows what he’s talking about, provides information we the readers may find interesting with a little well identified opinion. The guys really making this forum a community adding to it, not just throwing darts at it.
    Then there’s the whiners. Getting pissed about something and just hammering away. No thought, no research, nothing just a gripe about the content of a web site that provides them stuff they contribute nothing to. More then anything it’s mind numbingly boring. The place for that inane nonsense is social media that specializes in one line reactions with no thought.
    We all saw the race so it’s not like there was no coverage. If you like Bessette put a couple paragraphs together, mention his accomplishments, show some stats it’s all available right on the Stafford web site. Put it all together, check your stats, edit it then give it away for free and let the rest of us whine about what you included, didn’t include or insult you for writing it in the first place.

  17. Suspicous Stagger,
    Where did I say I disliked any of the subjects involved? Nobody was shorted of any coverage. Everything that happened was reported. I can give you the number for my web hosting company if you’re interested in starting your own deal. Apparently you’ve already knighted yourself as an expert on journalistic ethics and matters.

  18. Knuckles Mahoney says

    Shawn: I really like this web site and all, but look at the 5 articles above this one and tell me it doesn’t look different or even personal. C’mon man.

  19. Knuckles,
    Read the response to Doug above. Not going to keep repeating.

  20. The sk race between the 82 and 24 was really good, swapped the lead a few times good side by side racing. Unfortunately the 24 didn’t fair to well in the TC race

  21. Suspicious Stagger says

    The SK Light Division is promoted as one of the biggest, hardest hitting, most competitive fields at Stafford. The 2023 season was filled with storylines written by the drivers, fans, and teams as the season went on. Numerous rainouts, suspensions, wrecks, etc.

    “Bessette edged Brian Sullivan by four points in the SK Light Modified standings.”

    Boring. Shawn, if you’re the actual expert in journalist ethics do your part. “Nobody was shorted of coverage.” Correct, yet vague coverage of personalities with huge influence. As a freelance journalist like yourself, in the matter of business, I would toggle focus on large topics such as Bessette winning the SK Light championship for more revenue and clicks instead of Tom Fearn and Stu having a personal problem and writing a few words about THEIR BUSINESS and monetizing it. Someone deciding to part ways because of personal issues is a big story, but not something to inflate the curiosity of your readers to dig and whistleblow information for you to write about. You dabble in a very gray role which I personally believe is right. But you focus on the wrong things to write about in the sake of actual discussion worthwhile, arguments you desire. Not true grassroots racing stories.

    R/RaceDayCT right here

  22. Suspicious Stagger,
    As I’ve said already, please read the comment above in response to Doug. And I I apoloigize but you lost me here when you said I shouldn’t write a story about the all-time winningest Late Model driver getting fired by the car owner he has driven for for more than a decade.

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