Archive for May 20th, 2011

Christopher, Pitkat, Barrett, Thibeault & Casagrande Score Whelen Event Night Feature Victories at Stafford Speedway

Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Speedway was back on track with a 5-division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event as part of Whelen Event Night on Friday, May 20th. Ted Christopher picked up his second consecutive win of the 2011 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Woody Pitkat picked up his first win of 2011 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature for the second consecutive week, Shawn Thibeault won his first race of the year in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande picked up his second feature victory of the year in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Curt Brainard took the early race lead with Eric Berndt, Mark Bakaj, Todd Owen, and Dan Avery behind him. With 5 laps complete, Brad Hietala spun in the middle of turns 3+4 and Brian Sullivan climbed up and over Hietala’s car to bring the caution out.

Berndt took the lead on the restart as Brainard fell back to fourth with Owen and Christopher also getting by on the restart. Owen moved to the lead on lap-7 with Christopher following him by Berndt. Frank Ruocco was now up to fourth behind Berndt with Avery continuing to run in fifth place.

[Photo Gallery] by Nicholas Teto

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Dan Avery Riding High in Stafford’s SK Modified® Division in 2011

Stafford Springs, CT — After taking a hiatus from racing, Dan Avery returned to SK Modified® competition last year at Stafford and he finished the season in 7th place in points. The 2011 season has seen Avery and the #10 Budweiser team establish themselves as one of the division front runners with top-3 finishes in each of the first three races. Avery is currently sitting third in the SK Modified® points standings, only 8 points behind leader Ryan Preece.

“We’re happy with the consistency we’ve showed so far this year,” said Avery. “We still need to step our game up a little to beat the guys like Ryan Preece, Keith Rocco, and Ted Christopher, but we’re getting the car a little better every week. We’ve been a little tight in the turns, so each week we’re getting the car a little bit looser, but we don’t want to make the car too loose. Right now we’re real close, it’s a fine line. I think that if we can get another tenth of a second out of the car, we’ll be right there with those guys racing for wins. We’ve made a couple more changes to the car for this week, so we’ll see how that works out for us.”

In addition to sponsorship from Budweiser through Hartford Distributors, Avery also carries sponsorship from Trantolo & Trantolo, Picci Plumbing & Heating, and National Industrial Supply. While Avery has won in the SK Modified® division at Stafford previously, it has been nearly 20 years since he visited victory lane behind the wheel of an SK Modified® car. Avery was part of the driver crop during the inaugural season of SK Modified® competition all the way back in 1982 and he won 2 of the first three races the division ever ran at Stafford. With how the team is running this year, Avery feels like his third career SK Modified® victory is just around the corner.

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Mike Stefanik Looks to Get Back to Victory Lane in TSI Harley-Davidson 125 at Stafford Speedway

Stafford Springs, CT — With the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heading back to Stafford on May 27th for the 21st Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 125, one driver who will be looking to knock the door down to victory lane is Mike Stefanik. Stefanik is the Tour’s all-time winningest driver with 70 career victories, but he hasn’t won on the Tour since Martinsville in 2009. Stefanik heads into the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 with two top-5 finishes in each of the first two races of the 2011 season, but he says his Diversified Metals team are still searching for speed in his #16 machine.

“We’re struggling right now,” said Stefanik. “We’re just not quite firing on all 8 cylinders right now. It seems like our car is good on the shorter runs, 20 or 30 laps, but once we get to a run with 40 or more laps, the car isn’t good. To win on the Tour, you need to have all of your ducks in a row and right now we need to get a couple of our ducks back in that row. We’re working hard and we’ll get it straightened out, we always do. The top-5’s are nice, but we want to win races. It’s a short schedule and if you want to win the championship, you have to win races. Racing isn’t as easy as it looks and right now we’re having a tough time getting towards the front once we get into the top-5.”

Perhaps the best remedy for Stefanik’s woes is a return to Stafford. Of his 70 career victories, 20 of them have come at Stafford. While Stefanik hasn’t won at Stafford since the 2008 Fall Final, his worst finish in the four Stafford races in 2010 was a 7th and he finished 5th in the CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler in April.

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CARQUEST Champions for Charities Driver Spotlight: Mike Stefanik

Stafford Springs, CT — The CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday Champions for Charities Event at Stafford Motor Speedway scheduled for June 28th is building in momentum and excitement as the drivers gear up to raise funds for their respective charities. The impressive field of open wheeled division champion drivers represents over 50 championships among 14 drivers. This week’s driver spotlight falls on Mike Stefanik, 7-time Whelen Modified Tour Champion, who will be racing to help support Connecticut chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The National MS Society is comprised of passionate individuals who want to free the world of multiple sclerosis. The Society’s mission is to mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.

“Right now, we’re working on putting together our fund raising effort,” said Stefanik. “We got a late start on the fundraising, but we have some irons in the fire right now and I’m hoping to have a successful campaign and raise some money for a great cause with the MS Society.”

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Part Race, Part Reunion: Road Course Days

Loudon, NH — The green flag has dropped on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s 21st Annual Vintage Racing Celebration’s Road Course days, which will run today through Sunday.

This celebration of racing history brings together vintage car enthusiasts from all over the region, including Dublin, N.H., native Dan Scully.

Scully has been racing his 1959 Volvo 544, at “The Magic Mile’s” Vintage Racing Celebration since 1994.

“This is my home track, I love coming here,” he said. “This weekend is one of my favorites, the culture is so different here than at any other events, because you have the car guys and motorcycle guys running throughout the day.”

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Larry Pfitzenmaier Awarded Bahre Cup

Loudon, NH — Diehard vintage enthusiast Larry Pfitzenmaier claimed the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Bahre Cup yesterday, during the Oval Days final event.

Pfitzenmaier, who hails from outside of Phoenix, Ariz., has driven to every Vintage Celebration since the event began 21 years ago. He has logged a total of 117,810 miles to this date, driving from his house to the track.

“This is a pretty special event,” said Pfitzenmaier. “I never expected to be holding one of these trophies in my hand. We have come a long way from home,” he said. “It is exactly 2,805 miles from my driveway to my garage at NHMS.”

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May 2011
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