Arute Looking for Another
Successful Season at Stafford Motor Speedway
|By Brian Danko, Staff Writer
The New Britain Herald & Bristol Press
Mark Arute is looking for another
successful season. As the man in charge of the Stafford Motor Speedway,
Arute has a lot on his plate and needless to say, it is more like a buffet
table plate than a dessert dish.
Recently, I spoke with Mark and asked him about what he sees for the
upcoming season at the half mile oval, one of the leading NASCAR Whelen
All American Racing Series tracks in the country.
“Well, he said, were hoping for it to warm up.” Mark said laughing while
at his office. “It’s going to be pretty much the same of what we have done
in the past schedule wise.”
Once again, the SK modifieds will be the weekly headline division with
Plainville’s Ted Christopher out to defend his SK championship.
Other weekly divisions will be the Late Models, SK Lites, Limited Late
model division and the DARE stocks.
Stafford’s season runs Friday nights from May 10th through September 13th.
Special events will include four modified tour events, while the modified
racing series will have 3 events and the only Saturday event of the year,
the 10th annual Carquest Super Saturday on June 29th which will include
the ISMA Supermodifieds, NEMA midgets, NEMA Lites and the Pro Four
Arute is especially looking forward to the $25,000. Carquest Challenge. If
one driver wins all three Carquest sponsored modified tour events starting
with the Spring Sizzler in April, the August 2nd race and the 150 lap
modified tour Fall Final on September 29th, that driver will win a $25,000
bonus from Carquest.
“I certainly think it will make the Fall Final race more interesting
especially if someone has won the first two.”
One of the divisions that Arute loves is the growth of the SK Lites. It is
for people who want to get involved in the open wheel modifieds and can’t
afford a SK modified.
“When you look at our roster of drivers in it, as many as 40% were
rookies. These same drivers that started out in the SK Lites are now the
Modified Racing series as well as the SK’s. It gives them a chance to get
experience in an open wheel modified without the expense.” Arute said
adding, “It has been quite a feeder system for the modifieds in general
and has helped keep our SK division healthy.”
Just like many business owners, the economy is still an obstacle that they
have to hurdle.
“I think we are facing the same challenges as last year.” Mark said, “I
think businesses know what they can do to sponsor a team and that is about
all that they have.”
The opening event of the weekly season, this coming Friday, May 10th, will
feature BFF Night. Anyone buying a ticket can bring a friend in for free.
Also at Stafford Motor Speedway during the month of May is Youth
Organization Month meaning all children 6-14 are allowed in for free when
wearing a team shirt, little league, Boy or Girl Scouts uniforms and
accompanied by an adult.
As one of the staples of the NASCAR Whelen modified tour, the Stafford
Speedway hosts the most events for the tour once again.
“I think NASCAR does a good job with the job and has good people in place.
(Former Tour Director) Chad Little worked well with the competitors. The
new tour director is younger and can hopefully keep the tour heading in
the right direction.”
The track also has many of their races on the public access television
network (locally Comcast) feature races from the previous week and that
has added to the exposure the track receives.
“We haven’t firmed that up for this year yet but we think we will have the
same type programming.”
Stafford Speedway is also looking to add in hand rails to the bleachers
this season but added he doesn’t think that will happen until the end of
Year in and year out, the Stafford Motor Speedway is one of the most
professionally run NASCAR weekly tracks in the country and Arute strives
to make sure that they meet and exceed expectations for both the
competitors and the fans alike.