(Stafford Springs, CT)—As the Valenti Modified Series prepares to return to Stafford Speedway for the second time in 2017 on Friday, September 1st for the VMRS 80, things could not be going any better for Anthony Nocella, driver of the #92 Nocella Paving Chevrolet. Nocella won the first VMRS race at Stafford back in May and he just won the series’ most recent race at Beech Ridge to extend his lead in the VMRS championship standings.
“We started out going real good this season and then we had a few tough races and then we won again this past weekend so I think we’ll have a pretty good chance,” said Nocella. “It’s always tough racing when you go to Stafford. There’s a lot of good cars and guys who race there weekly are always tough to beat. If we can come back with the car prepared just like it was and if it runs like it did back in May then I think we’ll have a decent shot at getting another win or at least a top-3 finish.”
If Nocella is to repeat his Stafford victory from May, he faces an uphill climb as VMRS rules state that the previous race winner can start no higher than 18th in the following race. Despite the long odds he’ll be faced with starting the VMRS 80 from the back of the pack, Nocella feels confident that he can still get to the front.
“After winning the last race, we can’t start any higher than 18th, so we’ll have our work cut out for us,” said Nocella. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge. We’ve had to do it already a couple of times this year and as long as we can get the car balanced and driving good, we should be able to work our way up. 80 laps at Stafford is a good amount of time and I feel like if the car is good enough, we can still get up there and challenge for the win. It took me a while to figure out the track and I think we started to go pretty good at Stafford last season and we were finally able to get a win back in May this year. The track is so sensitive to your line, if you miss your line just a little bit, you slow down two or three tenths. You can definitely notice the consistency with the guys that run weekly at Stafford. It’s definitely not going to be easy, especially starting from the back.”
In addition to going for his fifth win of the 2017 season and trying for a clean sweep of the 2 VMRS races at Stafford this season, Nocella is right in the thick of the VMRS championship race. Nocella’s win at Beech Ridge allowed him to stretch out his point lead to a robust 76 point margin over Donnie Lashua with only 3 races remaining on the 2017 calendar. Nocella says that he still wants to win races but he will also be smart about his decision making out on the race track.
“We definitely don’t want to push things too hard and get into a wreck early in the race but we also still want to go out and try to win races like we’ve done all year long,” said Nocella. “We figure if you win races the points will take care of themselves. We still want to get to the front and contend for the win but we also need to keep the car in one piece. If we can get at least a top-5 finish, that would be good for our points situation. If we can get up around the top-5, we’ll be pushing to try to get another win. We’re coming back with the same car and the same setup to start with we have the confidence knowing we’ve won with the setup before and that we can do it again. Everyone is working real hard on the car and we’d like to keep our momentum going. Big thanks to Nocella Paving, AirGas, and Eddie from Raceworks. Eddie gives us a lot of help with the car and we have an awesome car.”
The Valenti Modified Racing Series will joined in feature action by Stafford’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and there will be a fireworks presentation at the conclusion of feature racing events. As part of the night’s action, fans will also be able to walk the track for a $10 donation to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which will be collected by NAPA reps. The track walk will take place following the conclusion of the VMRS qualifying heats and before the feature events get started. Tickets for Friday, September 1st VMRS 80 event are on sale now and priced at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seat tickets are $32.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.