(Stafford Springs, CT)—For Limited Late Model driver Paul Arute, the 2016 season at Stafford Speedway has been a been a season of highs. Arute leads the division in wins with 3 and is tied with Al Saunders for the division lead in top-5 finishes with 8. Arute is also the points leader but things haven’t always been so rosy for the driver of the #82 Supreme Industries Chevrolet.
Arute made his Ltd. Late Model debut towards the end of the 2013 season with a pair of 8th place finishes his best effort in 7 starts. In his first full season in 2014, he posted 2 top-5 and 11 top-10 finishes in 17 starts with his breakthrough coming towards the end of the 2015 season. In the final 6 races, Arute posted 5 top-4 finishes including his first victory on Sept. 18. Arute says that his crew, led by Steve Johnson and Rick DeCarli, were able to get the car to perfectly match his driving style along with his maturation as a driver.
“I’ve become a lot more patient in the car, knowing when to push versus when I came out of karts it was always time to go, you had to pass karts as fast as you can,” said Arute. “At the end of 2015, we had 2 podium finishes and a win and we were coming to the front at the Fall Final before we ran out of time. For a while we struggled because the car wasn’t perfect, but now we know the car so well. My crew is the best in the business and our success is a direct result of their hard work. I have an unbelievable crew at the track each week, Steve, Rick, Everrett, Mike, and Tom wrench on this car all summer and I love parking it in victory lane for them, without them none of this is possible. I also have to thank Donny from R.A.D Auto Machine and Bob Fill of BFR Race Cars for their support. Without my crew and sponsors, this success isn’t possible. Supreme Industries of Harwinton, CT have been with me for almost 3 years now and I’m finally able to put some trophies on their shelf. Gavin and Nate over at Supreme Industries are great guys, their employees and their company are a huge part of our racing program and I can’t thank them enough.”
Such a case in point was Arute’s most recent feature victory on June 24th. Jeremy Lavoie had taken the lead at the drop of the green flag and he proceeded to pull away from the field in the first half of the race. With no caution flags to erase his large lead, Arute was a full straightaway behind Lavoie when he took over second place on lap-13. Arute erased the deficit to Lavoie over the next 6 laps and he took the lead and the win on the final lap. Arute says that he most likely wouldn’t have been able to win that race two years ago.
“I don’t think I would have caught him before,” said Arute. “The car is so good now because Steve has put a great set up in the car and I can hammer on the car for 20 laps. I caught up to Jeremy and was able to pass him because I was able to drive the car as hard as I could and the car didn’t fall off at all. Steve keeps the car at his garage and he’s always playing with the car coming up with something new to make us faster. After we win a race we’re already thinking of ‘How can we make the car faster?’ All the cars in the Limited Late Model division are so close that you need that extra tenth of a second.”
Arute was the Senior Outlaw champion in Wild Thing Karts back in 2007 so he knows what needs to be done in order to win a championship. Now that he has 3 wins under his belt this season, he is looking for more wins before the season is over to aid his championship quest.
“We’re looking to win every race that’s left this year,” said Arute. “Two weeks ago we survived all the wrecks and we finished second and we were disappointed that we didn’t win. We’re all about winning races. If the car isn’t good off the trailer I know we can make adjustments because we know the car so well. I have a lot of confidence in the car and the crew. Those two things carry over to you as a driver.”
Arute also has big plans on the horizon as he is planning on making the move up the Stafford ladder into the Late Model division for the 2017 season.
“I’m planning to move up the Late Model division next season,” said Arute. “We’re going to use the same car and take on the Late Model division. I’m pretty pumped for next year and getting to race against guys like Tom Fearn, Tom Butler, Kevin Gambacorta, Josh Wood, and Michael Wray. We’re looking at possibly doing the double at the NAPA Fall Final with running the Limited Late Model race on Saturday and then switching out the engine and starting last for the Late Model feature on Sunday. I don’t know if we’ll actually be able to do that, but it would be pretty 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.