Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Motor Speedway welcomed a guest list of over 600 people consisting of teams, drivers, and employees this past Friday night, November 16, 2007 at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor to officially honor Ted Christopher, Corey Hutchings, Chris Matthews, Sean Foster, and Norm Sears as the 2007 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champions.
With Stafford Motor Speedway broadcasters Matt Buckler and Tony Sutton serving as the Masters of Ceremony, the 38th annual Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Champions Awards Ceremony not only honored the five track champions, it also honored the top-20 points finishers from the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Other awards that were presented during the evening’s festivities were Most Popular Driver Awards, Most Improved Driver Awards, and the Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards.
The race for the SK Modified® track championship came down to a two-man race between Ted Christopher and Woody Pitkat. Pitkat was the season’s big winner with 8 feature wins, but Christopher had 8 second place finishes to go along with his 2 feature wins in a season that saw Christopher finish sixth or better in 18 of 20 events. Christopher’s consistency was good enough to offset the strength of Pitkat’s 8 feature wins and give him his sixth Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified® track championship by a 34 point margin. Christopher posted 2 wins, 16 top-5 and 19 top-10 finishes in 20 starts.
The race for the Late Model track championship came down to a two-man race between Stafford rookie Corey Hutchings and veteran Jim Peterson. Hutchings made his Stafford debu t in grand style by winning the season opening CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler event and took the early season points lead. Peterson and Tom Butler would each take turns at the top of the points standings, but Hutchings moved back to the points lead at the midway point of the season and his consistent finishes over the second half of the season was enough to give him the championship by 28 points over Peterson. Hutchings posted 2 wins, 14 top-5 and 19 top-10 finishes in 20 starts.
After Chris Matthews missed an opportunity to race for the inaugural SK Light championship last season because he was on his honeymoon, he came back even stronger in the second year of the division and laid the competition to waste. Matthews was the epitome of dominant this season, securing the track championship with two races left in the season. Matthews drove to 6 feature wins this season, including three of the final four events. With 17 top-5 and 18 top-10 finishes to go along with his 6 victories in 20 starts, Matthews took the championship by a whopping 152 point margin over Josh Sylvester.
Although Sean Foster wasn’t the winningest driver in the Limited Late Model division this season, he avoided the troubles that plagued his championship contenders and secured his first track title. Foster’s four wins ranked behind Rick Lanagan’s 8 wins and Andrew Durand’s 5 wins, but as both drivers ran into trouble down the stretch, Foster remained consistent, posting 8 consecutive top-4 finishes down the stretch to wrap the championship up with one race remaining in the season. For the season, Foster posted 4 wins, 16 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes in 20 starts to win the championship by 50 points over Rick Lanagan.
Norm Sears drove to his second consecutive DARE Stock track championship while driving for a new team and car owner. Driving for Barry Fluckiger, Sears began the season with two wins in the first six races, but a cold streak at the outset of the summer run virtually dropped him from championship contention. But over the final 8 races of the season, Sears posted 7 podium finishes to put himself into the thick of the championship battle and with a second place finish at the season ending CARQUEST Fall Final, he secured his second consecutive championship by 28 points over Dan Flannery. For the season, Sears posted 2 wins, 13 top-5 and 16 top-10 finishes in 20 starts.
Receiving awards for Most Improved Driver were Brad Hietala in the SK Modified® division, Dave Wray in the Late Model division, Raymond Grassetti in the SK Light division, and Joey Ferrigno in the Limited Late Model division. The Most Improved Driver award is given to a driver who exhibits the greatest degree of improvement in on-track performance over the past season. Nominees are selected and voted upon by a committee of select Stafford Motor Speedway management and track officials.
The Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards were presented by Brad and Linda Hietala of Reliable Welding and Speed to Wade Mattesen from the SK Modified® division, Corey Hutchings from the Late Model division, Josh Sylvester from the SK Light division, and David Capriati from the Limited Late Model division. The awards will be worth a $700.00 bonus to Mattsen, and $500.00 bonus to Hutchings, Sylvester, and Capriati from Reliable Welding and Speed. Each Rookie of the Year bonus will be paid out in $100.00 weekly increments to each driver as they attend events during the 2008 season.
The winners of the Most Popular Driver Awards were Woody Pitkat in both the SK Modified® and Late Model divisions, Chris Matthews from the SK Light division, Sean Foster from the Limited Late Model division, and Dan Flannery from the DARE Stock division. The Most Popular Driver Awards are voted on by the fans who attend Stafford Motor Speedway race events and fill out the ballots found weekly in the track’s PitStopper Magazine.
For more information about the 2007 Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony, or to order a video of the night’s festivities, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway’s track office at (860) 684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
Source: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR