Kevin Harvick backed up his words with action.
Two weeks after expressing a desire for the NASCAR industry to take an increased responsibility in supporting grassroots racing, Kevin Harvick added cash to his sentiments. The 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion has decided to sponsor a contingency bonus for SK Modified racers at Stafford Speedway in Connecticut.
Through his KHI Management firm, Harvick will present two weekly bonuses to the SK division in honor of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour legend Ted Christopher, who tragically lost his life in a plane crash last summer.
Both the leader at Lap 13 and the 13th-place finisher will receive a $125 bonus from KHI in remembrance of Christopher’s No. 13.
“I’m glad we’ve been able to start the conversations about local short tracks and local racers,” said Kevin Harvick in a press release. “Most all of us came from local short tracks, and it’s important not to forget where we came from. These tracks, racers, and fans are an integral part of the motorsports community. It doesn’t take millions to make a difference. My hope is to continue the conversation with this contingency program, because a little can go a long way at the local levels.”
Stafford Speedway’s SK Modified division is recognized as one of the most competitive weekly short track programs in the country with weekly 40-lap events at the historic half-mile facility. Founded in 1982, the SK Modified division was long dominated by Christopher, who over the course of his career, scored 109 of his 131 career Stafford victories behind the wheel of an SK Modified.
“We can’t thank Kevin Harvick enough for joining our weekly contingency program and bringing attention back to the grassroots of the sport,” said Stafford Speedway General Manager Mark Arute.”Kevin has stepped up in a big way with this bonus, not only showing his support of weekly NASCAR racing but also honoring a short track hero, Stafford Speedway legend, and our friend Ted Christopher. All of us at Stafford are beyond excited. I know one thing for sure, Kevin Harvick just picked up a lot more fans in the Northeast.”
The KHI Management weekly bonus for the SK Mods will accompany five additional contingency sponsors for Stafford’s premier division and boosts the total weekly purse to over $9,000, including just under $2,000 to win.
Competition in 2018 will be strong with a mix of youth and experience. Veterans like 2017 track champion Keith Rocco, Rowan Pennink, Todd Owen, and Eric Berndt will compete with a mix of young guns including Chase Dowling, Ronnie Williams, Matt Galko, Michael Christopher, Jr. and others to crack victory lane in 2018.
To add to the deep weekly field, NASCAR Xfinity Series part-timer Ryan Preece is expected to run Stafford as often as his schedule allows in 2018. The 2011 SK track champion and current driver for Joe Gibbs Racing says this will be a significant boost for his fellow local racers.
“Having Kevin Harvick show this kind of support to the grass roots is very humbling,” Preece said. “All of us who race on Friday night look up to a guy like Kevin Harvick. To have KHI supporting the grass roots and being a contingency sponsor, goes a long way. It’s moments like this that make me want to work harder to win that contingency.”
The 2018 SK Modified season kicks off at the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 27-29 where the SK Mods will be accompanied by seven divisions including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
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