Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Starrett Tools Joins Stafford's SK Modified® Contingency Program

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Starrett Tools Joins Stafford's SK Modified® Contingency Program

Stafford Springs, CT)---In recent years the racing in Stafford’s SK Modified® division has been second to none, with weekly excitement and jaw dropping finishes.  The 2018 season promises to be much of the same with a driver roster full of young talent and crafty veterans.  New for the 2018 season, Starrett Tools has signed on as a contingency partner for the entire season, awarding a $150 bonus each week to the winner of each SK Modified® feature.

“All of us here at Starrett are looking forward to supporting the SK Modified® division at Stafford,” explained Jim Taylor, VP, L.S. Starrett Co.  “The SK Modified® division has been thrilling fans with excellent racing the last few seasons and we are excited to partner with Stafford to bring a weekly bonus for the winner.”

The Athol, Massachusetts based Starrett Tools has shown that they are committed to Modified racing in the Northeast.  Last month Starrett announced title sponsorship of the August 3rd NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Starrett 150 at Stafford as well as the continued backing of Whelen Modified Tour drivers Matthew Swanson, Timmy Solomito, and Jimmy Blewett. 

“We are really honored that Jim and the whole Starrett team have joined our weekly contingency program,” explained Stafford General Manager Mark Arute.  “As we always stress, weekly racing is our focus and supporters like Starrett make that possible.  With another $150 weekly bonus to the SK Modified® division, the SK purse continues to grow.  All of us at Stafford want to thank Starrett for their investment in the program.”

The 2017 SK Modified® season was one to remember.  In a classic young gun versus veteran story, two-time Stafford SK Champion Keith Rocco edged former SK Light competitor Chase Dowling for the 2017 track championship in a battle that came down to the final race of the season.  Both drivers are set to return in 2018 to chase the track championship

“Starrett Tools is definitely making a name in local auto racing from the Whelen Modified Tour down to Stafford Speedway,” said 2017 SK Modified® track champion Keith Rocco.  “It’s great to have a big name company like Starrett coming on board to help support the SK Modified® division.  I know $150 might not seem like a lot of money, but if you win 5 races, that adds up in a hurry and it’s a big help for teams.”

Founded in 1880, Athol, Massachusetts based Starrett Tools has set the standard for fine precision tools for over 138 years. Starrett Tools is best known for their wide product line of precision measuring tools, levels, electronic gages, dial indicators, gage blocks, and custom engineered products.  For more information about Starrett Tools, please visit them online at www.starrett.com

The 2018 season gets underway at the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler April 28th and 29th.  Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount tickets will be available in March at participating NAPA Auto Parts Stores.

For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.Source: Scott Running Stafford Speedway Press Release 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Andy Marchese Back In The Groove With Stafford Limited Late Model

Posted by Wayne G. Barber



(Stafford Springs, CT)---When the first green flag of the 2018 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season is dropped at Stafford Speedway, Tolland native Andy Marchese will be making his return to full-time racing in the Limited Late Model division.  Marchese will be piloting the #5 car that is owned by DP Motorsports with sponsorship from NAPA Tolland, Big Haus USA, and Casagrande Builders.  Marchese has made only 9 starts over the last three seasons in Stafford’s Late Model division, but he is looking forward to getting back into full-time competition.

“I got started in the Street Stock division and it took me a while to learn how to drive the car and I managed to win a couple races,” said Marchese.  “I had an opportunity to move up to the Late Model division in 2015 and although I’ve raced a couple of times a year the last few years, I’ve basically been out of racing for the last 3 seasons.  The Late Model was a massive step up for me.  Between helping Kevin Gambacorta with his #23 car and going racing in Wild Thing Karts with my daughter Dominique, I didn’t have the time to fully commit to it.  After this past season ended, an opportunity came up with DP Motorsports to run a full season in the Limited Late Model division so now I can get some seat time and experience and get back in the groove.  Honestly I think the Limited Late Model division is where I belong, I was way over my head in the Late Model division.”

With his relative lack of racing during the last three seasons, Marchese is not setting any lofty expectations for himself.  Marchese’s focus will be on getting track time and building his confidence behind the wheel back to the level it was during his stint in the Street Stock division.  

“I’m not setting the bar real high for myself this year,” said Marchese.  “My main goal is to get some seat time and experience to get my confidence back.  I’m going to take things one race at a time and see how things go for me.  It’s a big step for me to get into a Limited Late Model but I’m really looking forward to it and I’m excited to once again be a part of the full-time schedule on Friday nights at Stafford.  I would like to thank DP Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to drive the car this season.”

Marchese began his Stafford career in the Street Stock division in 2011 and he raced Street Stocks from 2011-2014.  The 2015 season saw Marchese move up the Late Model division where he ran a limited schedule totaling 9 starts during the 2015-2017 seasons.  Marchese enjoyed his best season in 2014 while in the Street Stock division where he won 2 races and finished 7th in the points standings.  The #5 car that Marchese will be driving in 2018 was formerly Al Saunders’ #04 car.

“I’m really excited about the the opportunity to race in the Limited Late Model division,” said Marchese.  “With drivers like Alexandra and Ryan Fearn, Duane Provost, and Justin Bren, there’s a lot of talent but those drivers don’t have the level of experience like the guys in the Late Model division.  When I moved to the Late Model division, I think I tried to run before I could walk.  I hope I can be competitive with the Limited drivers and have some fun again this year.  It’s Al Saunders old car, which has won races and also won a championship.  If everything works out for us we can be a real good story this season.  It would be awesome to win a race 2018.  We have the right people and equipment in place and I think I’m at the level I should be at in the Limited Late Model division.  It would really mean a lot to me if I could get back into victory lane.”

Marchese will get his first on track opportunity of 2018 at the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on April 27-29. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.  Discount Spring Sizzler® tickets will be available beginning in March at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores.

For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com. Source: Scott Running, Stafford Speedway Press Release

Monday, January 8, 2018

Saunders Twins Make Move to Stafford’s Late Model Division


Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Saunders Twins Make Move to Stafford’s Late Model Division

(Stafford Springs, CT)---Hometown drivers Al & Cliff Saunders have announced that they will move from the Limited Late Model division to the Late Model division for the 2018 season at Stafford Speedway and compete for NAPA Rookie of the Year Honors.  Both Saunders twins are former Stafford track champions with Cliff winning the 2012 Street Stock title and Al Saunders taking the 2015 Limited Late Model crown.

“We were going to make the move for the 2017 season, but we both wrecked at the Fall Final in 2016 and with having to fix the cars along with changing divisions was going to be too much,” said Al Saunders.  “We ended this past season good so we’re making the move now.”

The Saunders twins will once again continue a hometown theme in 2018 with sponsorship from American Sleeve Bearing in Stafford, which is also where both twins are employed.

“Our sponsor, American Sleeve Bearing, has been asking us for a couple years now if we wanted to move up to the Late Model division and they’ll be back on the cars again this season,” explained Cliff.  “ASB and Howard Buckland have sponsored us since we got started and we’re happy to be able to continue our partnership with ASB.  They’ve been on board with us since we started racing at Stafford and knowing that they’re back with us each season keeps us from having to go out and search for sponsors during the off-season.  Also, they’ve been great working with us so that we can get our hours in earlier in the week so we can take off early on Fridays to get to the track.”

In addition to both twins having a track championship to their name, they are also both familiar with Stafford’s NAPA Victory Lane, with Al having racked up 20 career wins (12 Limited Late Model, 8 Street Stock) and Cliff has 17 wins (8 Limited Late Model, 9 Street Stock).  Despite their successes, both Saunders twins know they face an uphill climb in learning a totally brand new car.

“We know that things are going to be a lot harder than they look in the Late Models,” said the Saunders twins.  “Maybe towards the end of the season we can start to be a contender for race wins, we’ll see how things go for us.  One of the biggest challenges for us will be to get the car perfect every week with the setup and trying to not make any mistakes.”

One area where the Saunders boys will struggle is a lack of experience compared to some of Stafford’s Late Model teams that have been around for years and have a wealth of experience already built up.  That’s where the twins will lean on their crew chief and car owner Barry Fluckiger, who has helped Corey Hutchings and several others to reach NAPA Victory Lane in the Late Model division.

“The Late Model division has a lot of guys who have been racing a long time with a lot of experience with good cars and if we’re off just a little bit, we’re going to be pretty far behind those guys on the track,” said the Saunders twins.  “Working with Barry will help make things easier for us.  When we first made the move from Street Stocks to Limited Late Model, Barry really helped make the car better after a couple of races and he’s won Late Model races with a couple of different drivers in the past, so working with him will be a big plus for us.  We’re not really sure what to expect because we’ve never driven a Late Model car before.  Those first couple of practice sessions are going to be real important for us to get a baseline to work with for the season.”

With the brothers both making the move into the Late Model division at the same time, they will be directly competing with each other for NAPA Rookie of the Year honors.  While one might think that things could get heated between drivers who are also brothers, the twins say that is the furthest thing from the truth.

"I think we’ll be fine, we’re both out there to beat everyone else and not focus on each other,” said the twins.  “If we can do something to help each other beat everyone else, that makes a lot more sense for us than racing each other.  So far we’ve never both had a good season in the same year.  The way it’s gone is one of us is good but not really consistent and the other is consistent but not really that good.  Usually one car would be up in the top-3 of the standings and the other car would be around 6th in the standings.  We’ve never really battled each other in the points so that could be something new for us this season.”
Al & Cliff Saunders along with the rest of the Late Model division will get their first taste of action in 2018 during the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on April 27-29. The NAPA Spring Sizzler® gets underway Friday, April 27 with a practice session for Stafford’s weekly divisions, Mr. Rooter Trucks, and Vintage All-Star cars. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. Action continues on Saturday, April 28 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races. Saturday will wrap up with feature events for the Limited Late Model, DARE Stock, Mr. Rooter Trucks, and Vintage All-Stars. NAPA Spring Sizzler action continues on Sunday, April 29 with the NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party from 11am-12noon followed by Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, Late Models, and SK Lights joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.

Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.  Discount tickets will be available in March at participating NAPA Auto Parts Stores.

For more information, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com. Source: Scott Running, Stafford Speedway Press Release 


Troy Talman Teaming with Steve McCarthy for 2018 SK Modified® Season at Stafford

Posted by Wayne G. Barber Photo by Wayne G. Barber

Talman celebrating his Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in 2017

(Stafford Springs, CT)---As the days continue to tick away and count down towards the start of the 2018 season, Oxford, MA native Troy Talman has announced he will team with Steve McCarthy for the 2018 SK Modified® season at Stafford for a run for at the championship behind the wheel of the #2 SPM Motorsports machine. The McCarthy/Talman combination has deep roots as McCarthy is longtime family friends with Talman’s family.

“I grew up with the Tagg family and in 1988 I helped out Tom Tagg in the Late Model division and Mike Talman was also part of the crew and that was before he married Sharon (Tagg),” said McCarthy.  “I started talking with Troy when he was racing Keith Rocco’s cars at Thompson and Paul Pytko actually got the two families together to talk things over and now here we are.”

“It’s really cool, our families have known each other for a long time,” said Troy Talman.  “We’ve been talking with Steve for a while now, I’ve always had my eye on Steve’s car whenever I saw it around town and thought it would be cool to one day drive it.  I think we have the potential to be something really good,  The car is a CD chassis and we have a new T/A Engine.”

Talman, a graduate of Stafford’s SK Light Modified division, won’t enter the 2018 season totally blind as he made 3 starts in McCarthy's #26 machine during the 2017 season. While the combination missed out on top-10 finishes in their three starts, the car was fast on the speed charts and Talman says it’s all about maintaining their speed throughout a race night.

“Those couple races we ran last year will be a big help because we got to know each other, how Steve sets the car up and how I drive the car,” said Talman.  “We already have good communication and I think communication is a crucial part of any successful race team. It would be awesome if we could show up and be in the top-5 right away at the Sizzler.  We had some speed last year in the couple of races we ran, we just have to maintain the speed we showed in practice throughout a night.”

Whereas most drivers have goals or expectations for a brand new race season, Talman is looking to take things one race at a time and see how things go.  One thing Talman is sure of is the high level of competition he will face to put the #2 machine in NAPA Victory Lane.

“I’m not really big into setting preseason expectations,” said Talman.  “I like to go race to race and do the best we can.  Only time will tell if we can be a contender.  The competition will be at an elite level this season, which it always is at Stafford.  When you show up to Stafford, you really have to be on your game and have all your ducks in a row.  It’s the cream of the crop when you get to the front at Stafford in the SK Modifieds® and if you can do that, you’re at the top of the New England racing level.  There’s no reason why we can’t do that this season.  I think we had a good start with the couple races we ran last year and we just need to continue to trend in the right direction.”

Should Talman be able to pull off a victory this season, it would be a special moment for everyone involved.

“If we could get a win this season, that would mean that we arrived,” said Talman.  “If we can have a top-5 car speed wise, there’s no reason why we couldn’t hang around one night and be able to sniff out a win.  A win would be huge for us and winning is why we go racing.”

Steve McCarthy has the same sentiment when it comes to victory lane at Stafford.

“My son Michael, who is Troy’s car owner, really pushed to get Troy in the car and he’s seen photos from back in the day in victory lane at Stafford and it would be special to be able to win a race with him as part of the crew,” said McCarthy.  “I’m sure the look on his face would be priceless if we could get a win this season.  He’s heard all the stories about how we used to win races and he wants to have his own story in victory lane at Stafford.”

Talman will have Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) as a sponsor and the team is in search of additional marketing partners for the 2018 season.

“I’d like to thank DCU for continuing to support me,” said Talman.  “They’ve been with me since my SK Light days and we’re on the hunt for more sponsors to help us get through the season.”

Talman and McCarthy will kick off their 2018 season at the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on April 27-29. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.  Discount tickets will be available in March at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores.

For more information on the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Source: Scott Running Stafford Speedway Press Release

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Stafford Open Mod 80 Rules and $24K Purse Announced


Posted by Wayne G. Barber and  Photo Wayne G. Barber Collection

(Stafford Springs, CT)---For the first time since the late 1970’s, non sanctioned open modified races are included in the Stafford Motor Speedway schedule.  The two events, both set for the traditional “Sizzler” distance of 80 laps, will pay $3,500 to win and $660 to start, with a total purse of $24,000 for 26 starters.  Both events will be held in conjunction with Stafford's 5 weekly racing divisions on Friday June 8th and Friday July 13th.
“Open modified racing is back at Stafford in 2018,” explained Stafford General Manager Mark Arute.  “We decided to put these events together to give all the open modified teams an opportunity to run Stafford in a non sanctioned event with a strong purse.  We should see a great field of Modifieds for these events and expect many of our weekly SK Modified® guys to double up and run both races.  The 80-lap distance has worked well in the past for these type of cars and these races are a great addition to our 2018 schedule."
                               
The 80-lap features will have a draw for qualifying starting position and will use a plus/minus system of handicapping from the qualifying for the 26 car feature starting line-up.  Each registered team will be allotted 6 tires for the event with no restrictions on changing tires during the 80-lap races.

The rules package for the Open Modified events have been carefully crafted by director of competition and former Modified and Late Model competitor Tom Fox to include multiple motor packages used throughout northeast modified racing.

“We worked with multiple teams and engine builders to come up with a good package for this event,” explained Stafford Director of Competition Tom Fox.  “The end result are rules that allow a wide variety of teams to participate while also promoting a high level of competition.  Between the rules package and the $24,000 purse, these are events to circle on the calendar."  

Modified drivers throughout the Northeast are looking forward to this new event.  2017 Modified Racing Series Champion Anthony Nocella already has both the June 8th and July 13th event on his 2018 schedule after winning the May VMRS race at Stafford last season.

“I saw those two races on the Stafford schedule and they definitely got my interest,” said Nocella.  “We always like racing at Stafford, we’ll be there for those shows.  We have a lot of fun at Stafford, it’s one of the nicest tracks that we race at and there’s a lot of prestige that comes with a Stafford win.  We’ve had some really good cars at Stafford lately so we’ll be looking forward to running in those races.”  

Jimmy Blewett, whose last NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory came at Stafford in August 2016, is also looking forward to the open modified events.

“I believe we’ll be at Stafford for those two shows,” said Blewett.  "I think they’ll be different shows because there will be a lot of different drivers.  I think the VMRS and ROC tours have a lot of drivers with a lot of talent who just can’t afford to run the Whelen Modified Tour.  When there are open shows like Stafford is going to have, it opens up things for those guys who can’t afford to go Tour racing and they can show their talents against guys who run the Tour.”

Teams interested in running the June 8th and July 13th events are required to register for participation in the events.  Registration is now open, teams can register online at by following this link: http://staffordmotorspeedway.com/2018-sms-open-modified-80-number-registration, or by calling the track office at (860)-684-2783.  Rules for the two Open Modified 80 shows can be found here: http://staffordmotorspeedway.com/2018-open-modified-rules/.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy Birthday to the Rocco Twin's.....

Born January 3, 1985



Posted by Wayne G. Barber Photo's from Wayne G. Barber Collection

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Are you ready for some Race Chatter , Outdoor Scene, or Authors Hour Podcasts ?

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

It seems the trend in communications for 2018 will be the growth of Pod-Casting.  I have a burned copy CD of every interview of our three radio programs and pit area for the past 6 years. NASCAR(745 (alone)

Pit crew members, drivers, family and race fans, would you like to listen to our Pod-Casts ?  I will try to keep them edited to about 25-35 minutes with a numbered index catalog.of what's on each one, Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly ?

Let me know here with comments, e-mail us at waynewnri@yahoo.com or a call at 1-401-568-4894