(Stafford Springs, CT)—10 years after winning the Limited Late Model track championship at Stafford Motor Speedway, hometown driver Michael Bennett is once again a track champion, only this time in the track’s Late Model division. Bennett and the #16 Mastiff Armory / TSI Harley-Davidson team have posted 6 wins, 17 top-5, and 21 top-10 finishes in the first 21 races of the 2015 season. The finishes that Bennett accumulated are impressive but the road to the championship was difficult to say the least.
Some things in Bennett’s personal life almost led him to forgo racing for the championship. Bennett and his wife Lindsay were expecting the birth of their daughter, Tenley in July, and then their son Chase was diagnosed with Leukemia at the beginning of August. It was an emotional roller coaster for the Bennett’s and a lot to absorb in a short period of time.
“It has been an emotional time for my family. My daughter was born in July and my son was diagnosed with leukemia shortly thereafter,” said Bennett. “Fortunately our daughter was born on a Saturday morning so we didn’t miss that Friday race. If we had missed that race it could have taken a big chunk out of our points lead at the time. Then when my son was diagnosed with leukemia, everything was put aside and we focused on Chace. Racing wasn’t really that important any more but my wife and I sat down and talked about things and we wanted to race for Chace. We came out and we won that night and we knew we did the right thing by racing for him. When I brought the trophy to Chase that night his smile made it all worth it. Things are day to day with Chace so I was so excited to have him here celebrating my championship along with my wife, my daughter, my parents, grandparents, in-laws, and everyone else that is involved with my team. I would like to thank my family, friends, the fans and teams that continue to show support to my family in the Race for Chase. We greatly appreciate the tremendous outreach of support.”
Bennett began his Stafford career during the 2002 season in the DARE Stock division. After winning 4 times in the DARE Stock ranks, he moved up to the Limited Late Model division for the 2015 season and he won the championship. While a first championship is always special for a driver, Bennett says that the Late Model championship this year was more special than winning his first track title.
“This championship is special because the Late Model division is tough,” said Bennett. “Guys like Tom Fearn have been racing ProStocks and Late Models forever, Jim Mavlouganes, Tom Butler, I grew up watching these guys in the stands. To be from Stafford and to race against my friends and to join Woody Pitkat and Ryan Posocco as drivers from Stafford as a Late Model champion, it’s more special than that first one. This is what we race for and no one can take this away from us. I have to thank so many people for helping me to get here, Rick Casagrande from when I first started racing in the DARE Stocks, my Grandfather, Mr. Rowe and the Rowe family, Start/Finish Motorsports and Ben Dodge, Bingo this year and my Grandmother bought a car last year, TSI Harley-Davidson, Think Green Pest Control, Mastiff Armory, B.A. Muzio, Mirage Softball Team, Highland Management, H+B Siding, S+B Carpentry, Stafford Mechanical Services, Randy’s Trucking, Visual Perceptions, Alpine Tree Company, a lot of these companies have been with us for a while and it finally paid off this year to get them a championship and now we can go celebrate in November.”
Although the championship has been wrapped up, the Late Model division still has one more race to go this season as part of the NAPA Fall Final Weekend on Oct. 3-4. Bennett kicked off the 2015 season with a victory in the NAPA Spring Sizzler and he would like nothing more than to end his championship season with a victory in the NAPA Fall Final.
“Our goal is to finish the season like we started the season and go out and win the Fall Final,” said Benentt.”
The Late Model cars practice and qualify on Saturday, October 3rd and their 30-lap feature will be on Sunday, Oct. 4 during the NAPA Fall Final Weekend. Along with the Late Models, Stafford’s weekly divisions as well as the Legend Cars will practice and qualify on Saturday with Saturday’s action also consisting of feature events for the SK Light, Ltd. Late Model, DARE Stock, and Legend Cars as well as Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The NAPA Fall Final will continue on Sunday, Oct. 4th with the NAPA Pit Party from 11am-12noon with the SK Modifieds® taking the green flag at 1pm followed by the Late Model and Whelen Modified Tour feature events. Tickets for the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend are priced at $38.50 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 $42.00 for all ages. All NAPA Fall Final tickets are good for admission on both Saturday and Sunday and ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Visit your local participating NAPA Auto Parts Store for discount ticket offers.
For more information on the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend, 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.