May 6, 2013
 

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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 modifieds.

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 the year.

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.

 

Brian Danko has been covering Auto Racing for over 30 years for various magazines & and racing papers including Area Auto Racing News. His weekly column can be seen "In The Print Editions" of  The New Britain Herald & The Bristol Press.

 

Copyright © 2012-2013  Brian Danko & SpeedwayLineReport.com, New Britain Herald & The Bristol Press.