Although he is still a relative newcomer to racing at Stafford Motor Speedway, Steve Masse has enjoyed some strong finishes at the Connecticut half-mile. In three VMRS starts in 2013 at Stafford, Masse recorded a win and a second place finish as well as running third before a faulty rear end forced him into a DNF. Masse is hoping to continue his strong race efforts when the VMRS visits Stafford on June 20th for the Town Fair Tire 80.
“I’ve only raced at Stafford a handful of times, so I kind of wing it when we come to Stafford,” said Masse. “We’re feeling pretty confident and hopefully we’ll be in the battle for the win. I have a car that is definitely capable of winning. We lost the rear end in the car last time we were at Stafford, but before that we ran second and we won so we should be pretty competitive. I look at Stafford as a challenge and I have a small chip on my shoulder when we go to Stafford. It’s cool when you can beat the guys who race there all the time and it’s definitely a tough track to race on. But it’s an awesome track and it’s nice to be able to race against the best drivers in the Northeast.”
With bonus points now available to VMRS drivers for finishing in the top-5 of their respective heat races, it brings up the question of how hard do you race in the heat to try to win and get the most bonus points while trying to conserve tires for the 80-lap feature. Masse sees the heat races as a prime opportunity to not only gain some bonus points in the standings, but as a key to taking the checkered flag later in the evening.
“The heat race isn’t that big of a deal for tire saving,” said Masse. “If I can get up to first in the heat race, then that’s what I’d like to do. That way you’re going to be starting up front and it’s a lot easier to save the tires in the race when you start up front. If you finish first or second in your heat race, you’re automatically in the redraw for the feature and you see guys like Teddy [Christopher] and Keith [Rocco] always winning their heat races and starting towards the front. It’s a big advantage to have at Stafford so I’m going to try to do as well as we can in the heat to start up front, but it’s going to be tough. Track position is going to be key because it’s hard to pass at Stafford and the tires are important to do a little saving in the race. I think I’ll probably try to hang back a bit for the first 40 or 50 laps and try to go at the end.”
If there is one thing for sure this season, it’s that Masse has a very fast racecar. Masse won the last VMRS race at Seekonk, and despite two DNF’s this season, he is currently fifth in the points standings. In the three races that Masse has finished, he has a win, a third, and a fourth place finish. Masse will be looking to first finish the Town Fair Tire 80 before he can finish first to get himself back into the thick of the VMRS championship chase.
“It’s important for us to keep on finishing races,” said Masse. “If you finish races, the points will come. We already have 2 DNF’s this year at Waterford and Thompson so another one wouldn’t be good for us. We’ve had good runs this year, we finished third and fourth along with our win so that’s why finishing races is important for us. I feel like if we can keep on finishing races, we can have a good shot at racing for the championship. We have some new parts on the car so we’ll see if we can get some more speed out of the car and I have a great team behind me that I can bounce some different ideas off of.”
Tickets for the June 20th Town Fair Tire Valenti Modified Racing Series 80 are available and on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $27.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for kids ages 6-14, and kids 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating will be priced at $30.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Speedway offers free parking with free overnight parking for self-contained RV’s available.
For more information on the Town Fair Tire VMRS 80, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.