SK LIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHT COMING DOWN TO THREE-WAY DUEL BETWEEN ZACH ASZKLAR, DYLAN KOPEC, & TONY MEMBRINO, JR.
(Stafford Springs, CT)---The SK Light Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway heads into its final month with three drivers, Zach Aszklar, Dylan Kopec, and Tony Membrino, Jr., separated by only 12 points in the 2012 standings. While Kopec and Aszklar have swapped the points lead back and forth between themselves, Membrino has slowly and consistently worked his way into championship contention.
When the 2012 season began, it looked like the SK Light championship was going to be Kopec’s for the taking as he won four out of the first five races. But in the 11 races since then, Kopec has 4 finishes of 15th or worse, which has allowed Aszklar to jump to the top of the standings, with Kopec and Membrino tied for second, 12 points behind Aszklar or 6 positions on the race track.
For Membrino, a 16th place finish on August 17th dropped him to 42 points out of the lead. But he has quickly regained that lost ground, picking up 30 points and narrowing the gap from 42 down to 12 points in the last three SK Light feature events.
Each of the three championship contenders shares their thoughts for the final three races of the 2012 season and the chase for the SK Light championship.
Aszklar: “We just have to play it safe and finish races. We tried to go after it in the first race [in the SK Light Double Duty] and we kind of got the shaft, but what are you going to do. If you see me in the top-3, you might see me take it easy instead of pushing it to win, that’s what it’s turned into. We’re still hammering it, but we have to be careful and bring the car back with all four wheels. The championship would be nice, I haven’t won a championship since quarter midgets. It would feel pretty good for me and my Dad and it would make all the haters a little more upset if we won.”
Kopec: “We have to be cautious but we have to get our act together and get running up front again. It’s disappointing, but you have to realize that I didn’t finish the races I didn’t win. I have to be on my toes, not necessarily go for wins, but finishing races and I have to be in the top-5. Anywhere ahead of the 28 would be good. It’s all about track position. It’s been a good year except for the wrecks, the wins have been really nice. When I raced go karts, my dad taught me to not look at the points until there was about 5 races to go. We haven’t really looked at them all year, but we hear from people where we are, which spoils the surprise at the end of the year.”
Membrino: “It’s only a small margin. I am in second, but not by a lot. We can gain these points in one night and we sure as heck can lose it all in one race. The approach is to take it one race at a time and let the chips fall where they may. If I’m in a better position at the end of the night than I came in with, great, if not, it’s part of points racing. It’s a touch and go deal. We’re not going to race conservative like we’re racing for points, we’re going out to win the race. The way I see it is it’s my championship to win. We’ve been pretty consistent lately, we haven’t had a lot of bad finishes. We’ve had a couple of off nights, but the way I see the competition is some people have a tendency to fall out of their trees where I’d like to think we’re a little more consistent. Unless we get taken out or something is seriously wrong with the car, we’re in the top-5. With the DARE Stock we led pretty much all year and I wasn’t thinking about points until the very end, I just wanted to finish. Now I do have to beat a couple of guys, so I have to be a little more aggressive to pull this out, but no more aggressive now than we’ve been all year. I’m going to try to win the race, pick up as many spots as we can and wherever the points are at the end of the night they are. We’ll pick up the pieces and go to the next race.”
With only 12 points separating the top-3 drivers and three races to go, who will win the championship is anyone’s guess. Each championship contender has a strength that could play in their favor. Zach Aszklar leads the SK Light division with 10 top-5 finishes, Dylan Kopec leads the division with 7 wins, and Tony Membrino, Jr. has finished on the podium in half of the SK Light features this season. As the final three races of the 2012 season unfold, whichever driver can play best to their strength will be crowned track champion at the season ending CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend on Sept. 28-29.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.