Stafford Springs, CT —When the green flag falls on the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, Sunday, April 26, Howell, NJ native and 1990 Whelen Modified Tour Champion Jamie Tomaino will extend his record for career Sizzler starts to 32. Tomaino made his first Sizzler start in 1980 and he has since appeared in the Sizzler starting field every year since 1984 with the exception of 1985, when he failed to advance through a qualifying race, and 1988, when the SK Modifieds® were the featured division. Tomaino says that he sees no immediate end to his longevity in the Sizzler or behind the wheel of a modified.
“No this won’t be my last Sizzler,” said Tomaino. “I have two grandsons, one is five and one is six, and whoever says first that they want to race, that’s when I’ll step away. Back in 1985 we ran heat races to qualify and I was leading the points heading into the Sizzler and got a flat in the heat race. We had 40 cars in the consi and I needed to finish second to make the show and I finished third. But I’ve been in every Sizzler since then and I’ve had a lot of good people behind me helping out. It takes a lot of help to go racing and just like this year, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing. Chase Dowling and his father Mark approached me about teaming up and things are working out super. Just when it seems like I think I don’t have anything going on, something good happens.”
Along with teaming up with Chase Dowling, Tomaino acquired some new sponsorship from Dunleavy Truck & Trailer Repair, which Tomaino says came about from a chance meeting in Daytona.
“I met Doug Dunleavy in Daytona back in 2014 by pure accident, he’s been a man of his word and he’s helped me out 100%,” said Tomaino. “Not only does he help me but he helps so many other drivers and tracks, so hats off to him. We’ve only had one race but everything has been great. I never thought it would work out as well as it has so far.”
With the new addition of Dowling to what is now a two-car stable, Tomaino has a fresh outlook on his prospects for what will be his 32nd career NAPA Spring Sizzler start.
“I’m real excited, but racing in 2015 isn’t’ like it was back in the 1980’s,” said Tomaino. “Back then, you had 50 cars and 10 were A cars, 10 were B cars, 10 were C cars, etc… At Thompson this year, we had 35 cars and of those I’d say probably 33 of them were A cars. These days if I can crack into the top-10, I’m real happy. You have to be realistic with yourself about where you’re going to finish. Back in the old days, I’d tell you every week that I was going to win. On any given day, the car could be the best car you’ve ever had. It’s not impossible and I’m sure Vegas would have me listed as a longshot, but sometimes the longshots come in. I haven’t won a Tour race in 21 years but there’s a lot of guys who race who have never won a race.”
Tomaino has plenty of experience to lean on when it comes to devising a winning strategy for the NAPA Spring Sizzler. Although he still wishes the race was 80 laps instead of 200, he knows what it will take to be the first car under the checkered flag on April 26.
“I still wish the race was still 80 laps,” said Tomaino. “You have to stay out of trouble early, make your pit stop for new tires, and hope your tires are better than everyone else at the end of the race. It’s a lot different now than it used to be when we had different tires and different compounds. The strategy now is to basically keep the car on one piece until you pit.”
Tomaino and the #99 team will kick off their NAPA Spring Sizzler weekend with practice and Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, April 25th as part of the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler. The 200-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler will run on Sunday, April 26 at approximately 3:15pm following the NAPA Pit Party from 11am-12noon and the SK Modified® and Late Model feature events beginning at 1pm. 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 is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 44th 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: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.om