(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Motor Speedway welcomed a guest list of over 500 people consisting of teams, drivers, sponsors, and employees this past Friday night, November 22 at Maneely’s in South Windsor to officially honor Woody Pitkat, Adam Gray, Tony Membrino, Jr., Josh Wood, And Dave Secore, Jr. as the 2013 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champions.
With Stafford Motor Speedway broadcasters Matt Buckler and Joe Coss serving as the Masters of Ceremony, the 44th annual Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Champions Awards Ceremony not only honored the five track champions, they also recognized the top-20 points finishers from the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Special awards that were presented during the evening’s festivities were Most Popular Driver Awards, SPAFCO Race Chassis & Parts Rookie of the Year, R.A.D. Automachine DARE Stock Rookie of the Year, and the UNOH Ultimate Mechanic of the Year Award.
The 2013 SK Modified® season saw Woody Pitkat record his first Stafford modified championship in an ultra-tight race with 2011 SK Modified® champion Ryan Preece. Preece was the big winner of the 2013 season, recording 8 trips to victory lane. But just as dominant as Preece was, he was also inconsistent in his finishes, which opened the door for Pitkat in the late stages of the 2013 season. Pitkat didn’t record his first win of the season until August 30th, but he won two consecutive races and finished in the top-5 in the final 2 races while an 18th place finish by Preece on September 13th was too much to overcome. Pitkat won the championship by the narrowest of margins, only 2 points or one position on the racetrack and for the season he recorded 2 wins, 12 top-5 and 14 top-10 finishes in 18 starts for an average finish of 6.1.
The 2013 Late Model season was the year of Adam Gray and the #97 Meadows Motor Car team. Their season didn’t get off to the best of starts with an 18th place finish in the season opening Spring Sizzler feature event. But after that dismal beginning, there was little that went wrong for Gray and his crew. Gray logged 16 consecutive podium finishes during the season including 6 wins, 5 second place finishes, and 5 third place finishes to put the wraps on the championship fight during the Final Friday night feature event on September 13th. In the final points tally of the season, Gray claimed the championship by a 94-point margin over defending Late Model track champion Woody Pitkat, which is almost two full race wins worth of points. For the season, Gray posted 6 wins, 17 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes in 18 starts for a remarkable average finish of 3.0.
The SK Light championship race came down to a 2-man race between veteran driver Tony Membrino, Jr. and rookie driver Chase Dowling. The SK Light championship fight had several parallels to the SK Modified® championship fight in that Dowling was the big winner of the season with 7 victories, but it was Membrino’s consistency that allowed him to prevail after the final checkered flag fell. Membrino and Dowling took turns swapping the point lead throughout the year and the margin between the two was rarely more than an handful of points. Heading into the final race of the season, Membrino trailed Dowling by 4 points, meaning that Membrino would have to finish at least three positions ahead of Dowling on the track. Membrino then went out and clinched the championship in the best possible way by winning the Fall Final feature while Dowling finished 5th to give Membrino the championship by a 4 point margin. For the season, Membrino and the #44 Equipment Services / CWPM Cadillac team posted 3 wins, 12 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes in 18 starts for an average finish of 4.3.
The Limited Late Model championship was a 3-car race for the majority of the season between Josh Wood, David Arute, and D.J. Burnham. The three drivers each took a turn at the top of the standings during the season with the margin between them rarely reaching double digits. The nip and tuck duel went all the way down to the Fall Final feature event where Wood’s second place finish was enough to clinch the championship by 2 points, or one position on the track, over Arute. For the season, Wood and the #51 R.A.D. Automachine Chevrolet posted 4 wins, 13 top-10, and 17 top-10 finishes in 18 starts for an average finish of 3.7.
In the DARE Stock division, the championship chase was a banner year for Dave Secore, Jr. Not only did Secore record his very first career feature victory, but he outlasted Johnny Walker to clinch the championship. Secore had previously won a DARE Stock championship as a car owner with Norm Sears driving during the 2006 season and after the 2013 season he now has a championship as a driver. For the season, Secore and the #38 Pop Moody’s Tree Service Chevrolet team posted 2 wins, 9 top-5, and 16 top-10 finishes for an average finish of 6.0.
The SPAFCO Race Chassis and Parts Rookie of the Year awards were presented to Joey Cipriano from the SK Modified® division, Cory Casagrande from the Late Model division, Chase Dowling from the SK Light division, and Austin Bessette from the Limited Late Model division. Winning the very first R.A.D. Automachine DARE Stock Rookie of the Year award was David Comeau. The awards will be worth a $700.00 bonus to Cipriano, $500.00 bonuses to Casagrande, Dowling, and Bessette from SPAFCO Race Chassis and Parts and a $400 bonus to Comeau from R.A.D. Automachine. Each Rookie of the Year bonus will be paid out in $100.00 weekly increments to each driver as they attend events during the 2014 season.
The winners of the Most Popular Driver Awards were Woody Pitkat in both the SK Modified® and Late Model divisions, Geoff Boisjolie from the SK Light division, David Arute from the Limited Late Model division, and Doug Phelps and Johnny Walker from the DARE Stock division. The Most Popular Driver Awards are voted on by the fans who attend Stafford Motor Speedway race events and fill out the ballots found weekly in the track’s PitStopper Magazine.
For more information about the 2013 Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony, or to order a video of the night’s festivities, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway’s track office at (860) 684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.