(Stafford Springs, CT)—During the cool down lap of last Friday’s SK Modified® 40-lap feature the race winner’s car came to a stop in turn 4. Matt Galko had just scored his first career SK Modified® victory and had stopped in turn 4, not to celebrate but instead to gather his emotions and reflect on a journey that has brought him to victory lane of an SK Modified® feature at Stafford Speedway.
The two time SK Light Modified Champion (2010 & 2011) joined the SK Modified® ranks for the 2012 season and has progressed as a driver throughout the last 5 seasons. Galko had been close to victory in 2016 but had not been to NAPA Victory Lane since August 12, 2011 when he scored his last SK Light Modified win
“It’s been since 2011 since I’ve been in victory lane, 5 full years in the SK Modified® division and 6 years since we last won in the SK Lights,” explained Galko. “I have to thank all the crew for giving me a good car, the stars finally aligned for us.”
Galko’s first career SK Modified® win was no lay-up as he had to battle with another SK Light graduate, Chase Dowling in the closing laps to capture the victory.
“Our car started off tight and we expected it to come in but midway through the race it was still tight,” continued Galko. “I could see Chase’s [Dowling] car was coming in, he caught me in a hurry and I tried something bold in turn 3 to cross him over and it didn’t work. I really thought that lost me the race, I thought it was going to be another night where I had a winning car and finished on the podium.”
Just a few laps after Dowling ran down Galko’s #3 the caution flew which set up a final 10 laps to remember. Galko was able to get under Dowling entering turn 3 on the late restart and hold Dowling on the outside for the remainder of the race. Another classic SK Modified® feature with leaders running side by side during the closing laps, but this time it wasn’t with one of the veterans like Ted Christopher or Keith Rocco, instead it was with two of the young guns who both learned their craft behind the wheel of an SK Light Modified at Stafford.
“At first I was cursing the caution flag because I figured I would just come in for a solid podium, but I was able to get a good run coming off turn 2 and was able to cross him over,” Galko explained. “I held him to the outside because I knew if he got to the bottom he would have got me, I think that was the move that won us the race.”
The Galko team was also racing for a little extra as Matt’s mother Debbie, who has rarely if ever missed any of Matt’s races, was back at the track for the first time after recently suffering a stroke.
“My mom had a stroke back on May 5th, I would have had to miss that race but we got rained out that night and I was able to go to the hospital with her,” continued Galko. “She was in rehab for 2 weeks and this was her first week back to the track. We were joking with her that our bad luck was all because she wasn’t with us at the track and I couldn’t win until she came back. I kept telling myself under caution to keep on digging, this one is for Mom.”
Galko was able to get it done for Mom and park his #3 NAPA Fazzino Auto Parts SK Modified® in NAPA Victory Lane. Matt celebrated with his family and friend based team, all ecstatic to get to victory lane and etch their name into the record books alongside some of the all-time greats.
“Winning this race for her was the biggest joy I had tonight,” explained Galko. “Being able to dedicate this win to her means a lot because I know she really wanted me to win a race and wanted to be here in person when I won my first race. To be able to get that out of the way when she was actually here is great and to have a nice family memory together is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.”
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
Contact: Paul Arute