Stafford Speedway’s Late Model division takes center stage this Friday, September 1 with the biggest race of the season, the Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50. The extra distance Late Model race has taken several different forms over the years with the race varying in distance from 60 laps, 100 laps, and 150 laps before the race settled into its current 50-lap format in 2015. Since that first 50 lap race in 2015 only one driver, Michael Bennett, has managed to win the race more than once. Bennett triumphed in 2015 and 2017 with other 50-lap feature winners including Woody Pitkat, who won the race in 2016 driving Bennett’s car, Paul Arute in 2018, Ryan Fearn in 2019, Tyler Leary in 2020, Wayne Coury, Jr. in 2021, and Tom Fearn last season. With the Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50 being the race that every Late Model driver would like to win if they could choose one race to win, we got the thoughts of several 2023 Late Model feature winners on the race that will see the winner take home $1,350.
– Kevin Gambacorta, #23 Lavigne Law Chevrolet: “I want to win the race. I think I have a bunch of seconds and thirds but I’ve never been able to win that race. I feel like longer distance races fit my style so hopefully this can be our year. The last few weeks it seems like we’ve had the fastest car at the end of the races so we’re not going to change too much on it and prepare just like any other Friday night.”
– Tom Fearn, #92 King Gray Coach Lines Chevrolet: “We’ll go into the race with the same mindset as last year. We usually go 30 laps so it’s just 20 more laps and the longer distance doesn’t really change anything with how we run the race, we just add a little more fuel for the extra laps. It’s pretty much go right from the start and not hanging back and saving anything.”
– Michael Wray, #42 DMW Graphics Chevrolet: “We feel pretty good about the race. We’ve been pretty quick the last couple months of the season and I think we’ll be strong for sure. This will be my last race of the season as I moved to Mooresville and I start working for Penske the Tuesday after the race. It’s tough because I grew up at Stafford and I’ve been coming to the races since I was like 7 so it’s going to be a weird feeling not being there. Hopefully I can get back for the Sizzler® next season but I don’t know what the future holds after that. I’ll definitely be watching the races on Flo.”
– Adam Gray, #97 Meadows Motor Cars Chevrolet: “It’s been one of those years for sure. It’s been a few years since we won the extra distance race but our car always seems to get better at the end of races, so we’re not going to change much, we just need to have a little luck on our side. We’ve had a fast car all year long, we’ve just had some bad luck. For years and years I always had a problem finishing longer races whether it was at Stafford or Monadnock. So we want to stay out of trouble, finish the race and have some better luck.”
– Tom Butler, #4 Square Peg Pizzeria Chevrolet: “We’re excited. We marked this race on the calendar because our runs just as good at the end of the races as at the start. It should be a good race for us if we can keep everything in order. We talked about doing something different with the car for this race but we’re going to stick with what’s been working for us the last couple of races.”
– Andrew Durand, #43 Payless Auto Glass Chevrolet: “I’m getting ready for more laps. It’s a lot longer race and you need to be able to last for 50 laps to be able to win the race or even finish the race. We basically keep the car the same, just a little maintenance on the car to make sure it will go the distance and add a little more fuel in the car.”
The Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50 takes the green flag this Friday night, September 1st with all five weekly divisions in feature action. Tickets are available now online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets and tickets will be available for purchase at the admission gates the night of the race. Tickets are priced at $25.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids 6-14, free for kids 5 & under, and reserved seating is $30.00 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, or Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.
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