(Stafford Springs, CT)—For the second season in a row, Magnus Racing Products is presenting a Rookie of the Year Runner up bonus to Stafford’s SK Light Modified NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division. Taking home a $300 bonus from Magnus in the SK Light division is Tolland native David Arute, driver of the #75 Big Haus USA Racing Products Chevrolet.
After racing in the DARE Stock division in 2011 and then the Limited Late Model division from 2012-2015 at Stafford Motor Speedway, Arute made the move into the SK Light Modified division for the 2016 season. To help himself get acclimated to the open wheeled car after five seasons in a full fendered car he made 7 starts in 2015 at Waterford and one start at Stafford in the season ending Fall Final where he finished ninth. That preparation was key to helping Arute to 1 win, 8 top-5, and 12 top-10 finishes this season in 17 starts, but Arute says there is always plenty to learn.
“Waterford and the Stafford start definitely helped prepare me for the 2016 season,” said Arute. “The one race at the Fall Final wasn’t enough to learn Stafford in a modified. It still took me a little time to get used to the modified as it is so different compared to the Limited Late Model. Waterford helped me figure out what I could do with a modified but it took until about mid-season to figure out the setup and what worked best for me with the SK Light. It usually takes me a couple of weeks for things to start clicking. We always seem to do better at the end of the year and that was what happened this year. We got a win with 4 races left and it was a good season for us and it was a fun battle with Joe Graf for the rookie of the year. We were looking to win rookie of the year as one of our goals but there was a lot of tough competition in the whole SK Light rookie class this year and you have to beat everyone like Joe did.”
While Arute says that he struggled through the first half of the 2016 season, it was a second place finish in only the fourth race of the season that gave Arute the confidence that he could be a contender for wins.
“We had been close to a win with a second place finish early in the season when we were side by side with Tony Membrino, Jr. at the finish,” said Arute. “From that point we ran well and once we got that second, it showed we could run up front and compete for wins. When we got the win it proved that we were doing things right and it was all up to me as the driver to make up spots on the track. We came close a couple more times at the end of the year but there was some driver error with missing shifts and not hitting the right spots. We learned a lot this year and we can’t wait to get back and try to get some more wins next year.”
In addition to learning how to adjust his #75 machine to his liking behind the wheel, Arute also had the challenge of learning how to keep the wheels on his car as just the slightest touch of wheels can end a modified driver’s race early.
“I think the biggest challenge was learning how to keep the wheels on the car,” said Arute. “With the Limited Late Model, you could bounce fenders a little and it wouldn’t hurt the car where with the modified a slight touch could knock the toe out and with the exposed wheels it was pretty easy to do that.”
For his rookie runner up performance, Arute will take home a $300 bonus from Magnus Racing Products, which will be payable to Arute for each of the first three races that he competes in during the 2017 season at Stafford.
“It’s awesome that Magnus put this bonus up,” said Arute. “Bonus money is always great to have and I have to thank Magnus as well as NAPA Auto Parts, Dunleavy’s, Maybury, On Time Accounting, Olson Apartments, New England Racing Fuel, USA Hauling, CBYD, XtraMart and all the contingency sponsors we had this year were a big help. I also have to thank my crew, Alex Grab, my girlfriend Jenn, Todd Owen and his entire crew, Frank, Frank, Frank, Scooter, Pete, Steve, Butch and everyone at the shop were awesome.”
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.