Stafford Springs, CT — For Stafford SK Light Modified driver Joey Ferrigno, the 2012 season has been a bit of starting all over again for the East Hartford native. After winning the DARE Stock championship in 2005 at Stafford, Ferrigno moved to the Limited Late Model division, where he raced for three seasons before taking a bit of a sabbatical from racing in the 2009-2011 seasons. Ferrigno kept busy driving the SMS pace car and he dabbled in some other forms of racing, but for the most part, the 2012 season has been truly a rookie experience.
“This is my first season racing something without fenders on it,” said Ferrigno. “I did some enduros, the 24 Hours of Lemons, and School Buses, so I wasn’t totally out of it, but getting into the modified is not like anything I’ve ever driven before. Everything I’ve driven before had no tire, no traction, and was going sideways through the corner. With the modified it’s all about finesse and if you break the car loose, you’re losing time. It’s a little bit different of a driving style than what I’ve driven in the past.”
But midway through the 2012 season, Ferrigno has gotten a good handle on what it takes to be successful in a modified as he sits 10th in the points standings, only 8 points behind fellow SK Light rookie Tyler Hines in 8th place. Ferrigno traces his good fortunes to his setup man, Paul French, who has been able to allow Ferrigno to concentrate solely on his duties behind the wheel.
“I definitely feel comfortable in the car,” said Ferrigno. “I have Paul French helping me and he is a setup guru. He knows what the car is doing just by looking at it, he won’t even let me talk to him when I get out of the car for practice. He’ll tell me he saw what the car was doing and he knows what it needs. Having him for help, I don’t have to worry about the setup aspect of it, so even though the car might be harder to drive than what I’ve been used to in the past, it’s actually a bit easier because I can just focus on what I need to do and I know I’ll have a good handling car.”
Heading into this Friday night’s Xtra Mart Xtra D feature event, Ferrigno is fresh off his second top-5 finish of the 2012 season. Although Ferrigno only has two top-5 finishes thusfar during the 2012 season, he says his finishes haven’t showed how well he has run this season.
“I don’t think our finishes are a good representation of what we’re doing,” said Ferrigno. “The last couple weeks we’ve led the races, and a couple weeks ago we led 15 laps and got spun out. We’re not a 100% top runner every week yet, but the car is there and it’s just finding the luck and getting rid of that magnet on the left rear corner of the car. We just need to get some luck and keep the car on the track for the whole race. I don’t know if I’m just not driving the car right off the corners to keep my momentum up. In the last couple laps of the races, people can’t get by me, but they can catch me and they go through. I feel like we have a solid top-5 car and we’re definitely hoping to win one soon. I’m definitely doing better than I expected. I can get the car to the front and we’ve won the last three heat races we’ve been in, so I think I’ve gotten the hang of it quicker than I thought I would. With the help I have between Paul and the Morgillo family, we can get to the front, we just have to keep it up front now.”
A good time for Ferrigno to pick up another top-5 finish would be this Friday night as Xtra Mart Convenience Stores has put up a $100 bonus for each of the top-5 finishers in the 25-lap Xtra D SK Light feature event.
“5 laps is 5 laps, we’re going to go at it the same way we always do,” said Ferrigno. “Who knows if its going to be a long 25 lap run or if there’s going to be cautions. We’ll put a little more fuel in the car, so it’ll be a bit heavier, but at the end of the race it should be the same as it is at the end of any other race. I definitely hope to be there in the top-5 this Friday night. I’ll be able to go to the grocery store next week if I get a top-5 finish. I really have to thank the Morgillo family and Brothers Pool, they’ve gone above and beyond getting me out on the track and keeping me there, RK Machine, Pinto Manufacturing, Stevens Duct Works, Paul French, Greg Long from Paul’s crew, the Morgillo family, Zach Aszklar, and Mark Bakaj for their help. Bob Georgiades has stopped by the shop several times, and Gino DeFillipo has come up from New Jersey when he can to help me out, so I’m grateful for all the help I’ve got this season.”
Ferrigno and the rest of the SK Light Modified field will be in hot pursuit of the final Xtra Mart Xtra D bonus of the 2012 season beginning with qualifying heats at 6:15 this Friday night. Tickets for the Xtra Mart SK Light Xtra D program are priced at $20.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $22.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.
For more information, 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 .
Sources: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR