Stone looks to regain championship form in 2018waterford
Press release from the New London Waterford Speedbowl
Stone looks to regain championship form in 2018
WATERFORD — There are two types of seasons for Sportsman division driver Al Stone III of Durham — championship seasons, and seasons that don’t come up to speed.
Even though Stone had a 2017 season that most drivers would have been doing cartwheels over — two wins, including his 50th career victory, three seconds and two thirds in one of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl’s most competitive divisions, Stone’s season didn’t reach his high standards. That’s because he finished second in the point standings to Chris Meyer.
“I was definitely disappointed,” Stone said. “It wasn’t one of our better seasons. We didn’t get all we could out of the car.”
Stone is already working on improvements to try to return to the top of the leader board. Stone, the all-time Sportsman win leader at the Speedbowl will be seeking his fifth championship.
“Our standards are always high,” Stone said. “We saw some things that were wrong, so we stripped down the car and decided to go in a different direction. We’re experimenting with a few things to try to get back on track and win another championship.”
Stone’s 2017 highlight took place on Sept. 16 when he grabbed his milestone 50th win. It was a bittersweet occasion, however. Stone won the race just a few hours after he found out that one of his friends and fellow drivers, Ted Christopher, died in a plane crash.
“It was a proud moment for me to get that 50th win,” Stone said. “I worked hard to get there, and I’m blessed to have won that many races. The 50th was great.
“But it was marred because TC passed away that day. It took away a lot of the excitement. I found out about the accident from one of the track officials and I was extremely upset. But I knew Teddy for a long time. If Teddy was there that night, he would have told everyone to keep racing, and that’s what we did.”
Another highlight for Stone took place after the season ended when his No. 52 captured “Pit Crew of the Year” honors in the Sportsman Division.
“It was the first time we’ve won it, and it was a big surprise,” Stone said. “The guys deserve it, because they work very hard. It was great to see them get recognized.”
His crew includes his dad, Al Stone Jr., his uncle Gary Stone and Yves Talbot.
His sponsorship team consists of Honest John’s Used Cars. Big A Auto Parts of North Branford, Larry’s Auto Machine, Killingworth Garage and D and D Trucking.
Stone started his Sportsman career in 2003 and plans to continue full speed in 2018.
“”We’re going to be running for the championship,” Stone said. “I would also like to drive a few Late Model races. I’m looking to drive for someone else. And maybe an SK Mod race.”
Stone also is looking toward the future in case his young son, Dominic, 4, wants to follow in his dad’s tire tracks.
“If that’s something that he wants to do, I’ll be concentrating on that,” Stone said.
For now, however, Stone has just one thing on his mind.
“We’re out to win a championship,” Stone said. “That’s what we set out to do every year.”
It’s the only kind of season that will make Stone satisfied.