(Stafford Springs, CT)—When the Limited Late Model cars take to the track at Stafford Speedway this Friday, October 6th for NAPA Championship Night, Jeremy Lavoie and Matt Clement will be racing not only for the win, but the championship as well. Lavoie and the #6 Rosati’s team will be looking to make Stafford history as the first team to win 3 championships in the Limited Late Model division while Clement and the #59 Utility Service New England team will be in search of their first championship. Lavoie leads Clement by 16 points or 8 positions on the track in the chase for the championship and Lavoie’s plan is to go about his business as usual while Clement has nothing to lose by going for broke and winning the race.
“We’re going to approach this Friday night the same as we have for the entire year,” said Lavoie. “My personal approach from a driver standpoint will be to go out there and finish all 20 laps. We’ve been able to do that the past few years except for last year when we didn’t finish the final 3 laps. We were a little bummed after last year but we’re going to prepare the car the same and mentally I’ll have the same approach as always and let things play out how they play out.”
“With how consistent Jeremy has been all season, we’re going to need him to have an off night to have a shot at the championship,” said Clement. “My goal is to put ourselves in the best position to win the race and let the points fall wherever they may. I think our car has shown to be the fastest car every week but a confluence of circumstances have kept us from holding the point lead for any amount of time. I’ve been racing with Jeremy for long enough to know that we’re right there with him speed-wise, he’s just had some better finishes than I have. I’ve put myself in a position on a few occasions this year to not have the best points night and we’ve been put in some positions to not have the best points night. We’ll go out there and try to win the race which will force Jeremy to have a good night as well.”
If not for a broken part that left him 3 laps short of clinching the championship last season, Lavoie could be going for his second consecutive and fourth overall championship this Friday night. After the disappointment of missing out on the championship last season, Lavoie is confident that he and his crew will have the #6 car ready to race just as they have all season long that has allowed Lavoie to notch 13 top-5 finishes and a 6th place finish in 14 starts this season.
“Last year the right rear lower control arm bracket broke off the rear end and we didn’t finish the last 3 laps of the race,” said Lavoie. “We’ve definitely dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s and there’s been a lot of determination from the crew to get some redemption from last season. I’m going into the race with a clear mind and I’m going to run my race and let things play out. The key for us this season has been meticulous maintenance in the shop every week and the crew puts in a ton of work into the car to make sure the car is prepared and we’re not chasing anything once we get to the track. We can just show up and know the car is ready to go and now I just have to get behind the wheel and drive the car to its fullest.”
While Clement needs Lavoie to have an off night to have any chance of stealing the championship away, he doesn’t expect Lavoie to encounter any issues out on the track.
“Knowing the Lavoie family and their team, I’m sure they’ve checked over all their welds and suspension pieces,” said Clement. “They’re going to have all their ducks in a row and they’re not going to let something like last year happen to them again. We’ll try to put a whooping on everyone but I’m sure Jeremy and his team will have his car in tip-top shape.”
While Lavoie and Clement are the main protagonists in the fight for the 2023 championship, their paths to this moment could not be more different. Lavoie has 2 career championships and he currently has 23 career wins in the Limited Late Model division, which is second to only Andrew Durand’s 33 career wins. Clement made his first start in 2014 and it took him until 2019 to capture his first feature win. Clement has since won 16 races but has yet to win a championship.
“I’m going to approach it like it’s a normal Friday night and if things play out like I’m hoping they will, we’ll be able to celebrate a championship on Friday night,” said Lavoie. “I’m not going to let anything get to my head or drive the car any differently. We would be ecstatic to win it again. To win one and then two championships and now to possibly have a chance to make it three championships, I’m setting the bar pretty high and we try to do our best and we strive for wins and podium finishes. It would be a huge accomplishment for myself, my crew, and my family who has been on the racing scene for over 45 years now. It’s a true testament of our knowledge we’ve accumulated over the years and having the will power to keep on going every Friday night and preparing a great racecar that I can work with.”
“Winning the championship would mean the world to us,” said Clement. “It was actually nine years ago that I first stepped into my Dad’s car and we rode around at the back for five or six years and I never expected to win a race, let alone challenge for a championship. To put our names into the record books alongside all the other previous Stafford champions would leave me speechless. If we can’t win it all this year, I’m very confident that we have the team, the equipment, and the know how to be in contention for years to come.”
NAPA Championship Night is set for this Friday, October 6th and tickets are available now online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets and tickets will also be available for purchase at the admission gates. Tickets for the NAPA Championship Night are priced at $20.00 for adult general admission, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult, and reserved seating is priced at $25.00 for all ages. Pit passes are $40.00 with a valid 2023 Stafford Competition License and $45.00 without a Stafford license. If you are unable to attend the event, tune into the live stream on FloRacing, the official streaming partner of Stafford Speedway.
For more information, visit staffordspeedway.com, follow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.