Stafford Springs, CT — In many walks of life, change can be an instrument used to help propel someone to new heights. In the case of Stafford Speedway SK Modified® driver Todd Owen, he is hoping that change can bring him back to NAPA Victory Lane and help him contend for the 2016 track championship. Owen enters the 2016 season with a new home built chassis, new engine from R.A.D. Automachine, and he is hoping that the new combination will net him his first trip to NAPA Victory Lane since the 2012 season. Owen’s #81 car will carry sponsorship from Cooker Construction, Barnes Pools, and Ben Dodge’s Start/Finish Productions.
“Everything is new this year,” said Owen. “Butch Shea from Chassis Pro, who used to help me out back in my ProStock days, has been a big help with building a brand new chassis and we have a new engine from R.A.D. Automachine. We’re trying something new this year. We weren’t unhappy with how things were, it’s just something new. We have a good balance with the SK’s where there’s a lot of different drivers and cars that can win races and we’re hoping to be one of those teams. It’s funny, I used to win races every year when I first started racing right up until I got into the SK division at Stafford. I won a couple of races when I first got started and then went through a little bit of a dry spell until we won again in 2012 on Lincoln Tech night. Everyone is real excited for the changes we’ve made and seeing what something different can do. It could work out really good, or I could fall flat on my face, but I think this is the most I’ve looked forward to going racing in a long time.”
While the majority of the SK Modified® field is made up of Troyer and Chassis Dynamics cars with engines from Billy the Kid, Pettit, or T/A Engines, Owen will have a unique combination as he chases the checkered flag which he thinks could work out to his advantage.
“I’m hoping it will be an advantage that my car is not like anybody else’s car,” said Owen. “It’s both easier and harder when you build your own car but I’m excited about having every piece on the car fresh. The car I was driving was probably around 9 or 10 years old so it’s been around for a while and we’ve been through it a couple of times. I definitely think we can get back to victory lane. I’ve been close the last couple of years, we’ve had a lot of seconds and top-5 finishes, but we’re just missing that last little bit that will get us to victory lane. Hopefully we can get back on track this season. First place is only a tenth of a second away. Usually we’re always in the top-5 of the speed charts, we just need to find another tenth. We’re always trying things to get faster and we’ve just got to keep trying.”
In addition to his #81 SK Modified machine, Owen will also be paying close attention to the SK Light and Limited Late Model feature events as he has been helping and mentoring David Arute with his #75 SK Light car and Bryan Narducci, who is taking over the reigns of Arute’s #28 Limited Late Model machine. It’s been a busy winter at Owen’s shop in Somers and he’s anxious to see all of the cars in race action.
“I’ve been helping Bryan and David, just trying to give something back since I’ve had so many people help me out and guide me in the right direction since I got started racing,” said Owen. “Racing isn’t like basketball where you can just go to a gym, pick up a ball, and start playing. In racing you have to have the proper tools and knowledge to be successful and both Bryan and David want to learn and working with them has given me a lot of different enjoyment aside from building my own car. At this point, I’m ready to just see the cars going around the track. I might have to take a picture of the shop with all four cars gone to see what it looks like. We’ve been working on my car, David’s car, and Bryan’s car and you have to see what parts and pieces are good and which ones are bad and organizing things accordingly. I have all my crew coming back and Bryan and David have brought some extra people to help out and sometimes there’s just too many bodies in the shop. I am a little nuts doing this but I think everything is going to be positive this year. It’s going to be a little hectic but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Owen will have his first opportunity at Victory Lane at the first SK Modified® race of the 2016 season which will be a 45-lap feature commemorating the running of the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler. Action gets underway Friday, April 22 with a practice session for Stafford’s weekly divisions and the Mr. Rooter Trucks. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. Action continues on Saturday, April 23 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions, the U.S. Legend Cars, and the Mr. Rooter Trucks. Saturday will wrap up with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, DARE Stock, Legend Cars, and Mr. Rooter Trucks. Spring Sizzler action continues on Sunday, April 24 with the NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party from 11am-noon followed by Stafford’s SK Modifieds® in a special 45-lap feature and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.
Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at 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 will be priced at $42.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Tickets will be available at all 57 participating NAPA Auto Parts stores beginning on Monday April 4th. For a full list of the 57 locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island, call the speedway office or visit us on the web at www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores
For more information on the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts 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.
-Stafford Motor Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Chris Ignazio Twitter