(Stafford Springs, CT)—For Ludlow, MA native Johnny Walker, the 2016 DARE Stock season at Stafford Motor Speedway was the realization of a dream come true. Walker had come agonizingly close to winning a DARE Stock championship in 2013 and 2014 but came up just a few points short each season. After taking a season off in 2015, Walker and the #01 Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair team came back with a determination in their step in 2016 and their focus and consistency on the track paid off with Walker claiming his very first track championship.
“It’s been a great year and we had a lot of things on our side with God being one of them,” said Walker. “Coming in second twice in a row was really the driving force behind this season. Between finances and such, I had to take a year off and then Doug [Dunleavy] was really pushing for me to get back racing. The only thing on our minds was the championship. It kind of took some of the fun out of it this year, but that was always in the back of our mind. I was points racing right from the first race of the season. We had our eyes set on the championship and our goal wasn’t necessarily to win, but to be in the top-3 each week just like Frank L’Etoile, Jr. did the last 2 years.”
After opening the season with fifth and fourth place finishes, Walker won the third race. From there, Walker finished in top-3 for all but 2 of the remaining 15 races to become champion. Walker’s run to the championship also shared a lot of details with SK Light champion Tony Membrino, Jr.’s title run. Both entered the NAPA Fall Final feature with the point lead, both drivers are sponsored by Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair, and both drivers won the final race of the season to become champions in grand style.
“Tony Membrino set the bar kind of high by winning the championship with the Dunleavy’s logo on the car and winning the race and I think we matched him pretty well,” said Walker. “I really have to thank Doug Dunleavy, he was the driving force behind this, Geoff Ramsey Carpentry, Garrett’s Drywall and Carpentry, my crew, Aaron, LJ, Kevin, Bill, Keith, my Mom, my girlfriend, Sunoco Race Fuels, R.A.D. Automachine, if you need horsepower that’s the man to go see, Berardi Transmissions, Stafford for giving us a great place to race, and NAPA for sponsoring the track, what a great year.”
For the season, Walker posted 2 wins, 16 top-5, and 16 top-10 finishes. Walker will officially be crowned as the 2016 SK Light track champion at the 47th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 18 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor.
Tickets to the 47th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony are $48 per person and can be ordered by calling the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or by downloading an order form from www.staffordspeedway.com and returning the form to the track office.