(Stafford Springs, CT)—As the 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season enters September, there are 4 races left on the calendar to determine the 2016 Stafford Speedway track champions. Here is the points race going into the September series.
In the SK Modified® division, Rowan Pennink and the #99 NAPA Van Wickle Auto Supply team are on the verge of a second straight SK Modified® crown. Pennink has been both dominant and consistent as he leads all drivers with 5 wins, 9 top-5, and 12 top-10 finishes this season. Pennink would be the fifth driver in SK Modified® history to win back to back track titles at Stafford joining Jerry Pearl (’84-’85), Mike Christopher (’89-’90) Bob Potter (’91-’92, ’94-’95), and Ted Christopher (’01-’02). Christopher and the #13 Sterling Security team are currently second in the standings, 50 points behind Pennink. A championship for Christopher would push his Stafford SK Modified® count to 10 championships while Keith Rocco, who is third in the standings 74 points behind with the #88 Wheelers Auto team, is looking to capture his third career SK Modified® crown.
Stafford’s Late Model division has been dominated this season by Tom Fearn and the #92 SAFCO Foam team. Fearn’s 7 wins, 12 top-5 and 13 top-10 finishes lead all drivers and he enters the month of September on a 4-race winning streak. As dominant as Fearn has been this season, Michael Wray and the #42 DMW Graphics team have been nipping at his heels all season long. Wray is 22 points behind Fearn and that margin could swing in Wray’s favor with just one bad night from Fearn. Kevin Gambacorta and the #32 Rafferty Fine Grading team are third in the standings, 44 points behind Fearn. Gambacorta recorded his first 2 career Late Model feature wins this season and he will need to win several more races to get back into serious contention. Gambacorta is seeking to become the first driver in Stafford history to win a track championship in three different divisions after having already won DARE Stock and Limited Late Model championships. A championship for Fearn would be his fourth career Stafford title, but his first since 1998.
Stafford’s SK Lights have seen a wildly entertaining duel between the #44 Additive Manufacturing of New England team of Tony Membrino, Jr. and the #87 RH2 Way Radio Communications team of Joey Ferrigno for much of the season in the race for the championship. Membrino has been the dominant car with 6 wins but Ferrigno has been almost as dominant with 2 wins and 4 second place finishes. Both drivers have had to deal with 2 finishes of 14th or worse this season and as they head into September Membrino is leading Ferrigno by only 6 points, or 3 positions on the track. Jay Goff is third in the standings, 58 points behind with the #07 NAPA Tolland team and Joe Graf, Jr. is 4th in the points, 58 points behind with the #2 RH2 Way Radio Communications team.
The race for the Limited Late Model championship has been a see-saw affair with Al Saunders, Duane Provost, and Paul Arute each taking turns leading the standings. Defending Ltd. LM champion Saunders opened the season with a victory and he led the early season standings in the #04 American Sleeve Bearing machine. Duane Provost got hot during the middle of the season and occupied the top spot with his #88 Facchini Law Firm team. Paul Arute took over the point lead towards the end of July and he has occupied the top spot ever since with the #82 Supreme Industries team. Arute leads all drivers with 4 wins but he and Saunders are tied for the division lead with 10 top-5 finishes each. With Saunders 18 points behind and Provost 34 points behind Arute, all it will take is one night for that lead to be evaporated so the drivers must stay on their toes for the final 4 races.
Stafford’s DARE Stocks sees Brandon Michael at the top of the standings with the #74 Hub International Insurance team. He leads Johnny Walker and the #01 Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair team by 8 points or 4 positions on the track. The race between the two drivers has been paper thin for the majority of the season. Both Michael and Walker each have 1 win and while Walker has more top-5 finishes than Michael, Michael has finished every race in the top-10 thus far and that is what sees him with an 8 point advantage heading into the final 4 races. Trace Beyer and the #29 Riggs Distler team are third in the points, 44 points behind with Tyler Trott and the #11 JET Motorsports team fourth, 46 points behind.
Championships will be decided at the NAPA Fall Final Weekend on Oct. 1-2. Tickets for the NAPA Fall Final are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets 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 ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Tickets are now available at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores. For a full list of the 57 participating locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island, call the speedway office or visit us on the web at www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.