By: Paul Arute
(Stafford Springs, CT)—Following the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, Cam McDermott, driver of the #5 Maybury Material Handling SK Modified®, was down. After failing to qualify for the Sizzler, McDermott and the team were extremely disappointed they would not get a chance to race in the 40-lap feature. But after that Sizzler defeat McDermott and the #5 team have battled back, posting an impressive 4 top-10’s in 5 starts including 1 top-5.
“We just missed it at the Sizzler,” explained McDermott. “We made one mistake at the Sizzler and didn’t qualify. Ever since then, things have been going pretty good and we’re pretty happy. We’ve got one top-5 on the board so far and we’d like to get some more. We’ve been running up front and we feel more comfortable and confident with the car, we just need to get a little more luck on our side.”
McDermott, another product of the SK Light feeder system, made his Stafford SK Modified® debut during the 2015 season. The move from the SK Lights to the SK Modified® division can be daunting but even more difficult for McDermott was moving to a new track. Cam and the #5 team began racing SK Lights at the Thompson Speedway and a few events at Stafford before moving to the Stafford SK Modified® division full time in 2015.
“I would say my biggest challenge has been going from Thompson to Stafford,” continued McDermott. “Stafford is a huge change from Thompson. We had some good finishes here when I was running SK Lights and I don’t know if it was dumb luck or that we were actually good. The SK Modified® field here is so challenging compared to any other field in the country. I was telling people this past weekend I think the best racing anywhere around is right here at Stafford on Friday nights in the SK Modified® division. It’s competitive, you get to watch guys come through the field, guys run side by side, it’s some of the best racing you’ll ever see.”
The transition to the SK Modified® division has been challenging, but 6 races into the 2017 season, McDermott and the #5 team are proving they belong with the top modified drivers in the SK Modified® division. McDermott credits major changes to the car during the winter to his early season success.
“It’s really hard to start from scratch and be good right away in the SK Modified® division,” continued McDermott. “There’s some guys that have been able to do it, but we really struggled last year. We made some big changes over the winter and got some great help from Jason Shepard at Complete Chassis Solutions and we have a new shock program that has helped us out a lot. All of our sponsors still backed us this year after how bad we were last year, so a big thanks to Maybury Material Handling, Wild Thing Karts, Complete Chassis Solutions, Starrett Tools, and Dawley’s Custom and Collision.”
McDermott and the rest of the SK Modified® drivers and teams have their sights set on the biggest race of the season for the SKs, the NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K Friday, July 7th. The SK Modifieds® are set to run 100 laps with posted awards of over $34,000 including a guaranteed $5,000 to the winner.
“I’m definitely excited for the NAPA SK 5k,” noted McDermott. “I feel like our car is good on long runs and the longer races fits my driving style. You don’t have to go hard right from the green and get every spot you can. You still want to do that, but with the longer races, everyone usually gets settled in. We didn’t finish the SK 5k last year so that kind of hurt us. I think we could have made some changes to the car last year and gotten a better finish than what we did but the changes we’ve made over the winter will really benefit us in the long run.”
Cam and the Maybury Material Handling #5 team are looking to continue their momentum, score more top-10 and top-5 finishes, and potentially get to NAPA Auto Parts Victory Lane.
“I feel like we’re pretty close to winning a race, it just depends on what night it is,” said McDermott. “There’s some really competitive drivers here, Teddy [Christopher] is so strong here and has so many laps, Chase Dowling has been tough, Keith Rocco is tough, Ronnie Williams is tough. I have nowhere near the laps those guys have at the track or running up front. Running up front is a lot different than running mid pack. We definitely have the car and the crew for it, we just need to learn a little bit more and make a few more adjustments and I think we’re real close. I think the biggest thing for me has been to be comfortable at Stafford. It’s tough to get comfortable at Stafford and it takes a lot of patience to get comfortable and learn how to race here. It’s a tough track but what it really boils down to is it’s a tough division.”
The 4th annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K takes the green flag at Stafford this Friday night, July 7th. With $5,000 to win and over $30,000 in posted awards, the 100-lap big money race will be an event not to miss. Discount tickets for the NAPA SK 5k are available at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores. For a full list of the 71 participating locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, please call the speedway office or visit us on the web at www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores. Tickets for the NAPA SK 5K are available and on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for kids ages 6-14, and kids 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $32.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Speedway offers free parking with free overnight parking for self-contained RV’s available. There will also be a barbeque taking place on the midway with some great food available to race fans for only $10.
For more information on the July 7th NAPA SK 5K, 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.