JASON LAFAYETTE MOVING FROM N.E. TRUCK SERIES TO STAFFORD’S SK LIGHT MODIFIED DIVISION FOR 2013 SEASON
(Stafford Springs, CT)---After finishing second in the 2012 New England Truck Series points standings, Somers native Jason Lafayette is ready to make the transition into Stafford Speedway’s SK Light Modified division for the 2013 season. Lafayette began his racing career at Riverside Park Speedway in the Mini Stock division before moving up to the Strictly Stock ranks, where he was the 1998 Rookie of the Year. After a Late Model effort at Stafford in 2000 didn’t quite pan out, Lafayette took some time away from racing before buying a truck in 2010 and racing in the N.E. Truck Series for the past two seasons.
“We tried a Late Model at Stafford in 2000, and is just wasn’t a good mix for us,” said Lafayette. “Growing up in the area, I’ve always wanted to race a modified and I love coming to Stafford. The track is literally 10 minutes down the road from me and I’m looking forward to racing at Stafford this coming season.”
As cars go, Lafayette and his #7 Connecticut Hometown Realty team have a good foundation to start with. The car that Lafayette will drive this season was formerly the #29 that was driven by Chris Matthews and then it was the #89 that was driven by Cody Gneiting in 2011. The car won 17 races and the 2007 SK Light championship with Matthews behind the wheel, and it helped Gneiting win Rookie of the Year honors in 2011. Lafayette began his preparation for the 2013 season with an appearance at the 2012 Fall Final, where he started at the back of the pack in 23rd and worked his way through the field to finish in 7th.
“We’re pretty excited about the car,” said Lafayette. “It was Cody Gneiting’s old car and Chris Matthews drove it before that, and Todd Owen and Butch Shea have put a lot of updates into it. We came for the Fall Final and we finished 7th, it was a great experience for us. I think the car was probably a top-5 car at the Fall Final, but we missed the Friday practice because it rained and we only ended up getting two practice sessions and the heat race before the feature. We missed the stagger a little, but it was a pretty hectic weekend driving the SK Light as well as my truck. But I think that race gave us a good idea of what to expect from the car, so we don’t have any anxiety hanging over us as to how the car is going to run.”
With a good car filling out half of the equation of success, Lafayette feels he has the other half of the equation also filled out with the best chassis man to work with in his crew chief, Rusty Grant.
“Rusty is the best chassis guy around,” said Lafayette. “Rusty built my first Strictly Stock car for Riverside, and that’s how we ended up meeting. Rusty used to own Gene McClain’s SK Modified® and he is the crew chief on the #20 Modified Racing Series car. We have a couple of different things we want to try with the car and it’s going to be a whole new ballgame for us with the tire rule. In the truck series you could buy whatever you wanted for tires, so we’re going to use the first couple of practice sessions to understand the car and get a good set up.”
With a strong car and crew chief combination behind him for his rookie campaign in the SK Lights, Lafayette has set some modest goals for himself.
“I’d like to win Rookie of the Year this year and I think we can win a race or two if the car is handling well and the driver uses his head,” said Lafayette. “We’re still searching for some sponsorship and I have to thank my Dad Russell, my Mom Sandy, Jake and Mike for all their help, and I really have to thank my girlfriend Patty. She keeps everything together while I’m out working on the race cars. This SK Light division is so close together, we’re really looking forward to getting started.”
The 2013 season at Stafford Motor Speedway kicks off in grand style with the 42nd Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler on April 26-28, 2013. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” may be ordered by calling the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 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 seating is $42.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 42nd Annual CARQUEST TECH-NET Spring Sizzler®, 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.