STAFFORD — Dan Avery had an emotional night Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway after holding off Joey Cipriano in the closing laps of the SK Modified 40-lap feature. It was the 58-year old’s first win at Stafford since May 21, 1982.
Avery took the lead from Cipriano on lap 30 and never looked back.
“What a great relief,” Avery said. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy. These guys are really tough. I knew it was never going to be easy, but I thought by now, especially this year, we finally got the car where it was really going good and we had several opportunities to win races and it just didn’t come our way. Tonight, finally. The last Friday night [of the season], it’s almost like storybook to finally pull it off.”
A Waterbury native, Cipirano was able to finish runner up behind Avery. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Ted Christopher would give them heat the entire race to come home fourth. Christopher, who’s the all time wins leader at Stafford was the first to congratulate Dan in victory lane. Ted and Dan became friends all the way back in the 1980′s while racing around the New England area.
Ryan Preece and Doug Coby were also in this event but finished well outside the top five.
Avery was a dominate force at Riverside before it closed down. After that Avery ran in the Modified Tour until 2004 when he decided to retire. 5 years later though Avery’s team was willing to get him back in competition. Now 4 years later he stands in victory lane at Stafford Motor Speedway.
“We were throwing ideas around,” Avery said. “Nothing was like the old Riverside days. It was the thing to do on a Saturday night and we just fell in love with what we were doing on Saturday nights. Once Riverside went away, that whole feeling was gone. We said, then, the next best thing is in our backyard, Friday nights at Stafford.”
Avery also explained in 2009 he started watching the Stafford races and then reconnected with Ted Christopher who encouraged him to get back racing.
“Teddy saw me walking around the pits and looking at cars and we were talking and he said ‘What are you doing here?’” Avery said. “I said ‘We’re thinking about getting back into it.’ He said ‘Before you do anything, come down to my shop, I’ve got a whole bunch of cars.’
From the 1980′s when he was young kid racing to now 58 years old, Dan Avery is a winner.