Stafford Springs, CT — The NAPA Spring Sizzler® at Stafford Motor Speedway is the longest continuous run event on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour calendar. While the Sizzler record books are filled with names like Christopher, Stefanik, Evans, and Troyer, one driver who quietly has amassed a sterling record in the Spring classic is 2003 NWMT Champion Todd Szegedy. The Ridgefield native has 8 top-5 and 9 top-10 finishes in 15 career Sizzler® starts with a best finish of second, which he has achieved five different times (2003, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2016). Szegedy is primed to go one spot better than his career best and take home his very first NAPA Spring Sizzler® trophy behind the wheel of the #85 Montanari Fuel / Stuart’s Auto Chevrolet co-owned by Bob Katon and Kevin Stuart.
“I always feel good about coming to Stafford,” said Szegedy. “I have a lot of experience there and my crew chief Don [Barker] has a lot of knowledge for Stafford. We know what we need to make the car go fast, the challenge will be being able to make that happen and making the right calls during the race. Obviously we want to win but we’ve got to start somewhere with good finishes. It’s always a little disappointing when you don’t win and finish second. I have 19 career wins and I’d really like to get to the milestone of 20 wins and what better place to do that than at Stafford? The Sizzler is definitely on my bucket list for races that I’d like to win. A Sizzler win would mean a lot to me but even more would be how happy it would make the team. When you win, there’s no better feeling than seeing how happy the whole team is, it’s a very rewarding feeling.”
Szegedy is currently tied with Jerry Marquis for 8th place on the all-time NWMT winners list with 19 wins and he is one win away from tying Rick Fuller for 7th place. While Szegedy has enjoyed his fair share of success during his career, he has recorded his career numbers while driving for several different car owners. Szegedy has driven for Barker, Mike Smeriglio, Bob Garbarino, and Rob Fuller. For this year’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®, Szegedy will once again be driving for a new car owner or in this case car owners as he is driving for the car owner combination of Bob Katon and Kevin Stuart. While driving for that many different car owners could be a tough proposition for some drivers, Szegedy says it’s no issue with him.
“I don’t find it tough to adapt to a new team or figuring out what we want,” said Szegedy. “I have a job to do, I go out on the track and I get the information we need. I think the toughest thing is finding time to get up to the race shop to do any work on the car. Things like putting the seat in the car, it doesn’t sound like much, but you’ve got to be comfortable in the car and it’s tough to get the seat installed. I know Kevin [Stuart] was looking to continue Tour racing but a full schedule on your own can can be pretty expensive and I think it was kind of the same deal with Bob [Katon]. We looked at the amount of help we had available and we figured if we combined the two teams it would be a pretty good fit. We have a good crew and it’s not such a big hit out of the wallet for Kevin or Bob. It was just a matter of if I could drive for them. These guys give me everything I need to go out and win races and if we can’t win then it’s not a big deal and we’ll have as much fun as we can. There’s no pressure on me to win.”
With Szegedy’s experience of racing SK Modifieds® plus his 53 career NWMT starts at Stafford, he knows exactly what it will take to win the 200-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler®.
“I would say that you have to make the right calls with the fuel and tire strategy,” said Szegedy. “Sometimes this race can get strung out if there’s a long green flag run, so you really need to linger right around the top-5 all day. The extra laps can be both good or bad. It gives you more time to figure things out but it also gives you more time for bad things to happen. No matter what happens, you need to be at the front to challenge for the win in the closing laps. I have a good team behind me and I think if we can keep the car together and get a few breaks, I think we can definitely challenge for the win.”
The “Greatest Race in the History of Spring,” the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®, takes the green flag on April 29-30. Tickets are available and on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 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 is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. Tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Tickets will be available at all 71 participating NAPA Auto Parts stores beginning on Monday April 3rd. For a full list of the 71 locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, please call the speedway office or visit us on the web at www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores.
For more information or to order tickets for the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®, 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/Rick Ibsen