Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – With 8 career wins spread across the SK Modified® and SK Light divisions at Stafford Speedway, Joey Cipriano certainly knows what it takes to reach NAPA Victory Lane.
After a fifth place finish in the CBYD 81 held back in May in his first race with a new chassis and engine combination, Cipriano is feeling good about his chances of driving his #51 Bass Plating car to NAPA Victory Lane in the GAF Roofing 80, scheduled for this Friday, July 7th at Stafford.
“We feel pretty good,” said Cipriano. “I would say we exceeded our expectations the last time out at Stafford. It’s a new team and engine combination for myself but the crew is a lot of the same people I’ve worked with while racing in the SK Modified® division. We expect to be just as good or even better than we were now that we have a couple of races under our belts. Everything has to go our way Friday night but with the amount of preparation we have on the car, I expect to be good enough to be able to win the race.”
Having only been on the track for a couple of races thus far in 2023, Cipriano and the #51 Bass Plating team have managed to put together two top-10 finishes. Cipriano finished 5th at Stafford after taking the lead earlier in the CBYD 81 race and they finished 9th in the Tri-Track Series race that was held at Seekonk Speedway. The good runs have Cipriano and crew looking forward to what they can accomplish as they continue to build their notebook.
“We have a Fury car, which I’ve raced before when I was driving for Ted Anderson and Kevin Stuart so we have some notes from those races and with the McGunegill engine, we’re still learning with that but Duane has been great to work with,” said Cipriano. “We’ve all worked together before but we didn’t know how we were going to run when we came to Stafford in May and then we took the lead and all of a sudden our expectations changed. I remember waking up that morning and thinking that if we could get a top-10 finish for our first race, that would be pretty good and then we got the lead and all of a sudden it was like anything other than a win would be disappointing. We were all really psyched with how well we ran and we just needed to make a better call on our pit stop to not fade from the lead back to fifth. We ran at Seekonk last week with the Tri-Track Series and we finished 9th after we gambled taking a tire knowing we weren’t going to get much further up than we were in 6th place and we were pretty happy with that finish with not having a lot of laps at Seekonk.”
Cipriano feels like that he and his team have everything they need in place in order to win races and it’s just a matter of having a full event come together for the #51 crew.
“We’re in a good place, we just need to be a little better at understanding what the car needs and making adjustments during the race,” said Cipriano. “I’m looking to have a consistent day with speed in the car and if we all do our jobs, we should be able to run at the front of the field. Whether that’s running in the top-5 or contending for the win, we’ll have to find out this Friday night. I’ve had some good runs in the open modified car, we just have to put a full race together. We need to qualify well, run well, and have a good pit stop. With the level of competition we have at Stafford, if you’re off just a little bit, someone else is going to capitalize on that. We have all the pieces in place so I don’t see why we can’t be a contender for the win.”
Cipriano is also looking to add his name to a short list of drivers who have won in Open Modified, SK Modified®, and SK Light competition at Stafford.
“I’ll be happy if we can win the race and it would be really cool to win,” said Cipriano. “We’ve won in the SK Lights and SK Modifieds, so it would be nice to be able to win a race in all three divisions. I know there’s guys who have already done that and I’d love to be able to add my name to that list. A win in a tour type car would be a bit of a breakthrough for me since I don’t have a lot of experience racing that type of car and it would be really nice for sure.”
The GAF Roofing Open 80 is scheduled for this Friday, July 7. Stafford’s SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions will join the Open Modifieds in feature action. Tickets for the GAF Roofing 80 are available now online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets and tickets will also be available for purchase at the admission gates. Tickets for the GAF Roofing 80 are $30.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under. Reserved seating is priced at $35.00 for all ages and pit passes are $45.00 with a valid 2022 Stafford Competition License and $50.00 without a Stafford license. If you are unable to attend the event, tune into the live stream on FloRacing, the official streaming partner of Stafford Speedway.