(Stafford Springs, CT)—When Stafford Speedway’s SK Modified® field takes the green flag in its first race of the 2016 season during the NAPA Spring Sizzler weekend on April 23-24, drivers will have 5 more laps than usual to duel for the checkered flag. Weekly SK Modified® feature events are 40-laps in length, due to this year’s edition of the NAPA Spring Sizzler being the 45th annual running of “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring,” the SK Modified® feature distance was changed to 45-laps.
“The NAPA Spring Sizzler is our signature event and we wanted to do something special to commemorate 2016 being the 45th Annual Sizzler,” said Stafford Speedway COO/GM Mark Arute. “We feel like our SK Modified® division offers some of the best racing you can find at any short track in the country and with 5 extra laps, there’s sure to be an added level of drama and excitement to our premier division racing in our premier event.”
Although some may think that 5 laps isn’t enough to significantly affect the outcome of the race, all it takes is the right set of circumstances and the additional 5 laps could drastically change the running order. Below are the thoughts of some of the drivers who will be racing in search of the checkered flag in the 45-lap SK Modified® feature during the 45th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler Weekend.
Rowan Pennink, 2015 SK Modified® Champion, driver of the #99 NAPA Van Wickle Auto Supply Pontiac: “I always like the longer races, they’ve seemed to work out in my favor lately. If you’re leading at lap-40, you’re probably going to wish it was only 40 laps. The extra distance usually makes for some extra fun so it sounds pretty cool and since you never know where you’re going to start in the first race of the season, it gives you an extra 5 laps to get to the front. I think it’s a pretty good deal for the first race of the season. I really hope we can be there at the end of the race for the last 5 laps to defend our Sizzler win from last season.”
Matt Galko, driver of the #3 NAPA Fazzino Auto Parts Chevrolet: “With the field that we have and the level of competition, it could change the whole outcome of the race. If everyone is close together, those last 5 laps could see some great racing. Hopefully we won’t be leading on lap-40 and then not on lap-45, because that wouldn’t be too good. I know our team is pretty good with extra laps and I’m not sure how much you’re going to change for 5 laps. It definitely gives you a little extra time to be patient with your moves on the track and I’m hoping we can be there at the end for those last 5 laps and pull out a win.”
Dan Avery, driver of the #10 Horsepower Hill Farms Chevrolet: “I’m not sure what to think of the extra 5 laps. Probably all depends on if I’m leading or not. If you’re leading at lap-40, you’re going to want the race to end there, but if you’re running in second or third, you want those extra five laps to try to make a move and get into the lead. Anything can happen in 5 laps and it could certainly change the outcome of the race.”
Ronnie Williams, driver of the #59 Advice One Chevrolet: “In the Spring Sizzler, we keep going up by 13 laps. My first year, we crashed on lap-13 and then last year we went out on lap-26, so if that continues again this year, we’ll make it to the end. But I don’t really think it will have much of an effect on the race. I always like more laps if possible. It gives you some extra time to get to the front, especially if we start in the rear like we did last season.”
Todd Owen, driver of the #81 Cooker Construction Pontiac: “That’s a race that can have a lot of cautions or a lot of green laps. I don’t think the 5 laps will make much of a difference. I think it’ll be better if we have a lot of long green flag runs. You always hate to see the caution flag but a caution flag can change a lot in those last 5 laps of the race.”
The 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 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 atwww.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: Speed51.com