RPW Column: Big Weekend At Stafford Motor Speedway; Getting Ready For SRX & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Stafford Motor Speedway started off the weekend with their regular Friday night open competition program plus a big announcement.

RaceChoice.com has partnered with Stafford Speedway to present the RaceChoice.com SK Modified® Showdown accompanying the SRX Series on Saturday, July 2nd. The RaceChoice.com SK Modified® Showdown will be a 50-lap, $4,000 to win, points race, featuring prize money in excess of $32,000.

The RaceChoice.com Showdown field will be determined by the results of Friday, July 1st’s 40-lap feature. The top-15 in Friday’s feature will be locked into Saturday’s 50-lap event along with three drivers highest in the championship standings that did not finish in the top-15. All other drivers, including any drivers who choose just to compete on Saturday, will have to compete in a 15-lap last chance qualifier.

“The SK Modified® teams that compete at Stafford are elite,” noted Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “Running Friday and Saturday is a big challenge for these race teams but this is an opportunity for them to show how professional they are. We’re excited to welcome RaceChoice.com as a Stafford Speedway partner and look forward to showcasing SK Modified® racing to a full house on July 2nd with the SRX series.”

Stephen Kopcik came up a winner for the second consecutive week in the SK Modified® feature while it was a big night for the Gray family as Adam Gray won the Late Model feature and his 6-year-old son Jacob won the Kids Big Wheel race. There was a pair of first time winners on the night with Josh Carey winning the SK Light feature and Damian Palardy winning the Limited Late Model feature while Travis Hydar scored his second win of the season in the Street Stock feature.

In the SK Modified 40 lapper with 33 laps complete, Kopcik and Marcello Rufrano were out front but behind them Bryan Narducci was now up to third with Keith Rocco fourth and Teddy Hodgdon up to fifth. Mike Christopher was back to sixth followed by Ronnie Williams. As the cars were on the final lap, Fran Siana went through the grass in turn 1 and came back on to the track just in front of the leaders but Kopcik was able to hold off Rufrano and Narducci to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2022 season. Rocco finished fourth and Hodgdon rounded out the top-5.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season continues next Saturday, June 18 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire. The event will be shown live on FloRacing.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island presented “The Flying Dutchman 90”, a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Fred Harbach’s 1992 NASCAR Modified championship and win in his final race on Saturday night. A total of 27 Modified cars and drivers paid tribute to the fallen driver. John Beatty won the 90 lap event after Timmy Solomito was taken out by the lapped car of Tom Rogers. Ed Brunnhoelzl III finished second with Kyle Soper, third.

At the New London Waterford Speedbowl Todd Owen made it two in a row in the SK Modifieds. RJ Marcotte finished second with Anthony Flannery, third. Andrew Molleur was the Late Model winner with Ryan Morgan a close second.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium Jonathan Brown was the 100 lap winner. Tim Brown finished second with Chris Fleming, third. Jason Myers and Danny Bohn rounded out the top five.

Word comes from Loudon, NH of a name change for what has been known as the NortheastMotor Sports Museum. When plans to build a new locally-based motor racing museum were created over a dozen years ago it was assumed that the museum would cover the history of motorized racing in New England and nearby places that touch the six-state region.

As the nonprofit went forward the board of directors focused primarily on the history of New England motor racing. Now in its sixth year of operations, the museum has clearly become New England focused. It’s a lot more local, in our back yards, than was imagined when the museum was founded. And the word “motor sports” which also seemed right at the time of the museum’s founding, also came to not fit. Four-wheel-drive off-road vehicles are often termed “motor sports” which did not fully represent the racing within the region. “You tell me we’re going to see motor sports and I’m not interested. If you want to go see racing, I’m on board,” said museum trustee Mike Smeriglio as changing the “motor sports” part of the museum’s name to “racing” was addressed.

So, as of June, 2nd 2022 the North East Motor Sports Museum has a new name, “New England Racing Museum.” It’s shorter and more directly describes who we are and what we do. The old logo, signs, stationary, wearables with the museum’s original name are all being replaced. There is a wicked good sale of North East Motor Sports Museum wearables going on at the museum currently.

The new name “New England Racing Museum” clearly reflects the cars, motorcycles, photos, artifacts, books, helmets, trophies, and uniforms on display at the museum. Going forward the museum’s mission will be exclusively focused on preserving and educating the public on the history of motor racing within the New England region specifically.

August 23, 1968 Bugsy Stevens continued his hot streak as he recorded his eighth victory of the season at the nutmeg oval. Fred DeSarro finished second with Fred Harbach, Tommy Borget and Smokey Boutwell rounding out the top five.

Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. The book documents Modified Racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway from 1967 to 1986. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site at the track in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!

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