SEEKONK, Mass. – When the Tri Track Open Modified Series rolls into Stafford Motor Speedway for the Call Before You Dig Modified Classic 81 on Oct. 24, there will be multiple drivers in the field that have some sort of home-track advantage.
Stafford has a stout list of weekly competitors as part of their NASCAR weekly series, and most have built their foundation off the SK Light Modified and SK Modified divisions at the half-mile.
Some have made it to the highest level of modified racing, with names like Doug Coby, Keith Rocco, Chase Dowling, Ronnie Williams and more already making their mark.
The late Ted Christopher, who won 131 times at Stafford, is one of the greatest modified drivers to ever compete behind the wheel, and he cut his teeth at Stafford.
The Tri Track Open Modified Series debut at Stafford will include a $10,000 top prize, with more than $49,500 in posted awards for a starting field that will pay $1,000 to take the green. The home-track invaders will be some of more than 45 cars expected to attend.
Joey Cipriano is one of many competitors trying to make a name for himself with a big win in the Tri Track race, after competing at Stafford on a regular basis for 10 years.
Cipriano’s career started in 2010 in the SK Light Modifieds, where he won his first race, and followed it up with six victories a year later. Cipriano moved up to the SK Modifieds in 2012 and was the 2013 Rookie of the Year at the track – and the overall NASCAR Connecticut state Rookie of the Year.
Since then, he’s picked up his first career SK Modified win, and now gone tour-type modified racing with car owner Ted Anderson.
“I met Ted last year in the middle of the season from one of my sponsors and Ted had always been around when we were running at Stafford,” Cipriano said. “I had always joked with him asking when he was going to put me in his car, and he called me last year before the World Series at Thompson and I went there and put in my seat and we finished well. He built a brand-new Fury car over the winter and we’ve run well.”
Cipriano has competed with Anderson at Tri Track events so far in 2020, with a stop at Monadnock Speedway in July, and the combo has also been running the Open Modified 80 events at Stafford.
Cipriano finished third in the Bud Light 80 in July, seventh in the Lincoln Tech 80 on August 21, and third in the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 in September.
He’s certainly shown that the No. 1 has the speed to get the job done.
“I’m very fortunate to be in the deal with Ted,” Cipriano said. “He is going to do whatever it takes to win. I have a great group of guys that come with me. I’m the one doing the setup on the car and I have a few guys that help. We have a good time. We have a group that clicks well together. Every race we’ve been to this year we’ve run inside the top-five. We’ve had a good car everywhere we’ve been.”
In his spare time, when he’s not behind the wheel, Cipriano assists NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team No. 85, and driver Ron Silk, as their tire carrier, building some extra experience into his resume.
Cipriano hasn’t been to victory lane in a tour-type modified yet in his career, and neither has Anderson as a car owner. The two would love to get the job done in the highest-paying Tri Track race of the year at Stafford.
“I want a win so bad and I want to get Ted his first as a car owner,” Cipriano said. “I think we will have a good shot – we will have a good car. It just really all starts in the shop, you have to prepare in the shop and go with your best stuff. We go to the track to win; it’s a matter of putting everything together that day. You have to hit the adjustments right, qualify well … everything.”
As a car owner, Anderson will also field a car for nine-time Bowman Gray Stadium champion Burt Myers, who will come to Connecticut from down south to compete.
Anderson, and his company, Superior Refinishing, are also sponsors of the Tri Track Open Modified Series in 2020. Anderson has provided $800 in sponsorship – and if the driver that draws the pole at Stafford after the redraw ends up winning the race – the total winning prize would boost to $10,800.
If the driver doesn’t win, Cipriano will donate the cash to a B-main, if there are enough cars. Tri Track will determine whether there will be a B-main on race day.
Call Before You Dig, the race sponsor, is also a sponsor on Cipriano’s No. 1 – giving him all the extra incentive he needs to try and park his sponsor’s car in victory lane.
“We already have four races at Stafford this year at that distance so we have an idea of what we need and what kind of car I need at the beginning of the race and what kind of adjustments we need to make. The experience never hurts,” Cipriano said. “It’s huge for any team … 10,000 is a really big number, and thanks to CBYD I’ve been fortunate to have been hooked up with them through sponsorship.
“If we can get the CBYD car in Victory Lane, it’d be great.”