Stafford Springs, CT — When it comes to rookie drivers in the realm of motorsports, there is normally a learning curve that a driver faces before encountering a level of success. This was not the case for Michael Gervais, Jr. at Stafford Motor Speedway this season. Gervais, who had never sat behind the wheel of an open wheeled modified prior to the 2009 season, made the move from legends cars to Stafford’s SK Light Modified division and proceeded to drive straight to the 2009 track title.
“The championship wasn’t in our list of goals at the start of the year,” said Gervais. “Our main goal was to keep the car clean, learn about the car and the track, and win Rookie of the Year. This is all kind of a shock to win the championship. We expected to have highs and lows like any rookie season, but we were strong right from the start, I was comfortable in the car, and we never changed how we raced all year long.”
Gervais’ 2009 season got off to a slow start with a seventh in the season opening Spring Sizzler event and a 21st place finish in the second event of the year, which left him in 15th position in the points standings, nearly 50 points out of the lead. But four consecutive top-5 finishes slowly erased that deficit and Gervais found himself atop the points standings for the first time following a second place finish on June 19th. And it was all downhill from that point to the end of the 2009 season.
“It wasn’t until about halfway through the season that we figured we had a shot at winning the championship,” said Gervais. “We had a good position in the point standings, but we never let that get in our way of racing. We figured that what we were doing every week was working for us, so we just kept on doing what we had been doing every week for the rest of the season and we figured whatever would happen would happen. We didn’t points race until the last two races and then at the Fall Final we had nothing to lose, so we went all out for the win. We definitely had a lot of luck on our side this year, we didn’t get caught up in any wrecks this year.”
Gervais is the second consecutive SK Light Modified driver to win the track championship at Stafford without winning a feature race, following Joe Allegro, Jr. last year.
“If we hadn’t won the championship then we would have been a little disappointed that we didn’t win a race this year, but I’d rather have the championship over winning a race any day,” said Gervais. “I still don’t think it has totally set in yet that we won the championship this year. There’s a lot of great drivers who have won championships at Stafford and it feels pretty good and its an honor to be a champion at Stafford.”
And just as Allegro did this year, Gervais is looking to make the move up the Stafford ladder to the SK Modified® division for the 2010 season.
“Our plan for this year was to get our feet wet in the SK Lights and go for Rookie of the Year and then make the move up to the SK Modifieds®,” said Gervais. “Right now, we’re looking to do that for next season.”
For the season, Gervais posted 9 top-5 and 15 top-10 finishes in 16 starts to take the championship by a 72-point margin over Jay Goff. Gervais will officially be crowned the 2009 SK Light Modified track champion at the 40th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 20, 2009 at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor.
For more information about the Champions Awards Ceremony, 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.