(Stafford Springs, CT)—With the 2022 racing season at Stafford Motor Speedway heading into its final 2 months, contenders have started to separate themselves from the pretenders in the race for the championship in each of Stafford’s five weekly divisions. Here we take a look at how the season has transpired in each division and highlight the contenders.
SK Modified® Division
Defending track champion Todd Owen and the #81 Cooker Construction team currently leads the standings by a 76 point margin over Marcello Rufrano and the #88 Wheelers Auto team and 82 points over Ronnie Williams and the #50 Empower Financial team. The 2022 season started off with Owen winning the first race of the season but it was Bryan Narducci and the #85 Petty Cash Motorsports team that were the early season point leaders. Narducci recorded 5 consecutive top-5 finishes to open the season but a disqualification for a rules violation along with 4 finishes of 13th or worse in the last 9 races has dropped Narducci down to 5th in the standings. Owen has been a model of consistency this season, finishing in the top-7 in 13 of the 14 races this season with his worst finish being an 11th back on June 3rd. Despite his consistency, Owen didn’t regain the point lead until the 8th race of the season on July 1st. He has led the standings each week since then and he plans to continue his run of consistent finishes.
“The season has gone pretty good for us,” said Owen. “Our goal is to just keep on finishing races while racing hard, but being smart about it and staying consistent. I’m just going to keep on doing what I’ve been doing for the last 30 years and that’s to do the best we can in every race and the points will take care of themselves. I’m not a guy that likes to look at the points. The driver who does the best at the end of the year is going to win it and it may only be 7 or 8 more races, but that’s a long time and anything can change in a couple weeks.”
Late Model Division
The 2022 season thus far has belonged to Adam Gray and the #97 Meadows Motor Car team. Gray and his team currently lead the standings by 30 points over Tom Fearn and the #92 King Gray Coach Lines team, and 40 points over Kevin Gambacorta and the #23 Lavigne Law team. Gray and his team are currently riding a wave of momentum with 10 consecutive podium finishes, including 5 wins in that span. As good as Gray has been this season, he got off to a slow start while Michael Wray led the standings early in the season. Wray began the season with 5 consecutive top-5 finishes, including a win in the season opening NAPA Spring Sizzler feature, but his best finish in the last 8 races has been fifth, which has allowed Gray to overtake him and everyone else in the standings thanks to his white hot streak.
“We definitely started the season in a little bit of a slump in the first 3 races,” said Gray. “The crew has worked hard, we got our stuff together, and the car is good right now. After the first 3 races we went back to an old notebook and now here we are. We’re going to go into these last 7 races just the same as we’ve done for every race so far. We’re there to have fun and we enjoy winning races and finishing on the podium. I think having won a couple of championships in the past definitely helps relieve any stress we might feel and I think we’ll be good.”
SK Light Modified Division
The 2022 season has seen 2 main protagonists in the form of Tyler Barry and the #18 Pro Systems Integration team and Tyler Chapman and the #41 Chapman Apartment Homes team. They are currently 1-2 in the SK Light standings with Barry leading Chapman by only 14 points and Alexander Pearl and the #7 Darling Auto Parts team are third, 58 points behind. Chapman finished second and first in the first 2 races of the season to hold the early season points lead. Chapman would hold the points lead until the July 8 feature when Barry moved to the top of the standings. Barry has led the standings since then with his lead over Chapman fluctuating between 28 and 14 points in the 4 races that Barry has led the standings for.
Limited Late Model Division
In the tightest championship race at Stafford, Rich Hammann and the #28 NAPA of Tolland team lead Jeremy Lavoie and the #6 Rosati’s Trucking Trucking team by only 10 points. Defending Limited Late Model champion Alexandra Fearn and the #12 Broad Brook Brewing team are third in the standings, 46 points behind. Matt Scappini won the season opening race and led the standings for the first 2 races before Hammann took over the points lead following the May 20 feature event. Hammann has finished every race this season in the top-6 and he has led the standings every week since May 20 with the margin over Lavoie bouncing back and forth between being tied to Lavoie being 14 points behind. Fearn saw her season get off to a slow start with finishes of 10th and 13th in the first 2 races and she is still trying to dig her way out of that early season hole to get back to the top of the standings again.
“The season hasn’t been too bad so far, but I think we definitely should have had a couple more wins,” said Hammann. “We’re going to take things one race at a time and try to be smart about things. I’ve always been a pretty good points racer even if my car has not been that good in the past.”
Street Stock Division
The 2022 season has been dominated by Travis Hydar and the #11 Hydar Construction team. Hydar won the season opening NAPA Spring Sizzler feature event and aside from a 20th place finish on May 13 and a 16th place finish on July 29, Hydar has finished each Street Stock race in the top-5, including a division leading 4 victories. Hydar’s closest championship rivals are Bert Ouellette and the #51 JET Electric team, who sit 38 points behind Hydar, and Adrien Paradis, III and the #19 CSB Communications team, who are 54 points behind. Hydar lost the points lead following his 20th place finish on May 13 and it took him 4 races to reclaim the top spot in the standings following the June 17 feature event and he has held the lead ever since.
“This season has been pretty steady and good for us up to this point,” said Hydar. “We’ve had some mechanical issues the last couple weeks but hopefully we’ve got that all straightened out. Usually the summer months is when we start to have really bad luck so this season has been a nice change from that. Our goal is to stay as consistent as we’ve been all season long and keep aiming for top-5 finishes. If we can do that, that will set us up nicely for the end of the season.”
The 2022 season continues this Friday night, August 12th with all five weekly divisions in feature action. Tickets for the August 12 Weekly Racing program are available now online at StaffordSpeedway.com/
For more information, visit http://www.staffordspeedway.com