Cory DiMatteo Ready To Mount SK Modified Championship Challenge In ’23 At Stafford
Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – For the 2023 SK Modified® season at Stafford Speedway, Farmington, CT native Cory DiMatteo will once again team with the John Hummel owned #11 Hummel Brothers Hot Dogs team. In their first season together, DiMatteo recorded 2 wins, 5 top-5, and 11 top-10 finishes en route to an 8th place finish in the points standings.
With a year of experience and building a notebook under their belts, DiMatteo is eager to get back behind the wheel of the #11 car and has his sights set on contending for the SK Modified® championship.
“I’m really looking forward to this season,” said DiMatteo. “Last year was a lot of fun and I had a great time working with the #11 guys. They were all easy to get along with and it kind of felt like I was racing my family car so there was no added pressure. I’m looking to be up front as much as we can. It’s tough to just say I want to win 10 races as a goal. That’s all fine and great but things often don’t end up going that way. I want to do better than we did last year, not repeat any of the mistakes we made, have some fun, and not wreck the car or have anything on the car break so that we can have a solid season. I want to finish all the races and all the laps this season to try to beat Todd [Owen] to the championship. John’s [car owner Hummel] excited, Ed’s [crew chief Flemke] excited, I’m excited, and all our sponsors are excited so it should be a good year. Thanks to Hummel Brothers, Raceworks, Island Cove Yacht Sales, Sign Pro, Sargis Associates, CWPM, Manafort Brothers, Waddell Communications, Powerhouse Motorsports, and John and Ed for everything that they do.”
In order to be a championship contender in 2023, DiMatteo knows he will have to outrun the usual cast of drivers as well as several drivers that he feels will have a great improvement upon their 2022 performances.
“More or less it’s going to be the same drivers going for the championship this year,” said DiMatteo. “I think Keith [Rocco] and Michael [Christopher, Jr.] are both going to be stronger than they were last year and I’m sure it will be all the normal guys contending for the championship. It’s Stafford, so there’s always about 10 different cars that can win a race or the championship every year. I think we were faster than Todd [Owen] was at the end of last season and that’s usually what it takes to win a championship as long as you keep all the wheels on the car and nothing breaks. If luck can stay on our side, I think we’ll be all right.”
Despite being a new driver/team combination for the 2022 season, DiMatteo and the #11 crew quickly showed they had the speed to be a race winner as well as a championship contender. DiMatteo scored consecutive finishes of second and first in the fifth and sixth races of the season and if not for a 5-race stretch from July to mid-August where he failed to break into the top-10, DiMatteo may well have found himself much higher than 8th place in the standings at season’s end.
“I wasn’t really surprised at how well we ran,” said DiMatteo. “I knew that John and Ed had a really good car and if I didn’t think it was a competitive car then I probably would never have done a deal with them to drive. I knew it was a winning car and I definitely think we left a few races on the table last year so hopefully we can get that all fixed this year and we can be even better than we were last season. We had a couple of ‘what the heck happened there’ kind of races but that’s all part of racing.”
DiMatteo will continue to serve as the crew chief for his brother Dana for open modified competition at Stafford, but he will not race himself in any of the open modified shows after running 4 open modified shows last season in order to maintain his focus on the SK Modified® car and his pursuit of the championship.
“I’m probably not going to run any of the open shows at Stafford this year because that takes focus away from the SK car,” said DiMatteo. “Dana is going to run the Sizzler® and as many open shows as he can get to and I’ll be helping him out as crew chief, but I won’t be driving.”
DiMatteo will kick off his championship chase at the 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® set for Saturday and Sunday, April 29 & 30. Saturday, April 29 will consist of two 40-lap NAPA Duel qualifying races for the Open Modified division. The 40-lap races will each pay $3,500 to win and will set the field for Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The American Canadian Tour (ACT) will also make their return to Stafford Speedway on April 29th with a 75-lap feature with over 40 cars expected for the race. Limited Late Model, Street Stock, and Vintage All-Star divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program.
Sunday, April 30th will play host to the $20,000 to win 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®. Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, and Late Model divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the Spring Sizzler®.