When Stafford Speedway begins the 2023 season with the 51St The NAPA Spring Sizzler®, Ron Silk is sure to be counted among your pre-race favorites. Silk and the #16 Blue Mountain Machine/Future Homes placed third in last year’s Sizzler® and won the season ending NAPA Fall Final in September. With an average finish of 4.3 in Stafford’s three starts last season, Silk and his team are eager to get back to the Connecticut half-mile facility.
“The team and I are definitely looking forward to returning to Stafford,” said Silk. “We thought the Sizzler® was a great event last year with a lot of cars, a lot of people in the stands and a really good payday. We ran really well in the Sizzler® and got third but we needed a bit more to be able to keep up with Matt [Hirschman] and Ryan [Preece]. We’ve made some improvements to the two remaining races we’ve run at Stafford and it was really good to get a win in the fall final last year. It’s a new year and a new race, but it’s always nice to get back on the track after your last win there. We’ll try to take all the positives we can from the fall final to Sizzler® but you still have to have a fast car and make the right decisions, so we still have a little bit of work to do. “
“We were all pumped for Sizzler®,” said Silk co-owner Joe Iannon. “Ronnie is comfortable at Stafford and the team always has a great time when we race there. We feel our car has everything it takes to make it happen at Stafford so we are all looking forward to Sizzler®. Sizzler® will be one of our highlights of the 2023 season for sure and we are very confident and look forward to April.”
50 last yeary Running “The Greatest Race in Spring History” resulted in several format changes. Instead of time trials, teams had to qualify for the race by finishing in a qualifying position in one of two 40-lap NAPA Duel races. Drivers who did not qualify through the NAPA Duel went into a 15-lap Last Chance Qualifier to earn the final starting positions in the 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The new format saw 41 cars attempt to qualify for 33 cars, and created an atmosphere around the race that was appreciated by all competitors.
“I was really taken by the atmosphere,” Silk said. “I felt like I was on the track 15 or 20 years ago when I was younger with a buzz about the track and the racing. Honestly as a racer, I’m a big fan of time trials, but for the fans it’s much more exciting to have freestyles, especially when the race lasts over two days. Like Sizzler® I really like the idea of a 40 lap heat race instead of 10 laps because if you get a bad start draw you at least have some time to do something about it Last year we were lucky enough to win the duel race, which was a day Brilliant in itself for a 40-lap race, and I think that’s one of the main reasons there was so much excitement around the race last season. With everything that happened last season, the race only has to be bigger and better this season.”
Last year, the NAPA Spring Sizzler® paid out a guaranteed $15,000 to win plus any contingent money earned and paid $1,250 to start the race out of a total published prize pool of over $130,000. For the 2023 NAPA Spring Sizzler®, the purse has been increased to pay the winner a guaranteed $20,000 with $1,500 to start the race out of a total published prize pool of over $140,000.
“Stafford has done a great job with the portfolio,” Silk said. “I was looking at the bag the other day, and although it would be a very difficult feat, if a driver could win a duel race and lead all 100 laps to win the race, the payout would be about $38,500, which would really be an amazing thing.”
“Sizzler is always exciting with the number of competitors that come to Stafford and the track is always full of fans,” said Yannone. “Stafford does a great job with the bag and that really helps bring attention to the mods.”
Silk made his NAPA Spring Sizzler® debut in 2004 and has since made 15 starts with a best finish of third, which he did three times, including last season. Silk would like to add Sizzler® to his career win list while his owner says a Sizzler win would be an item on his and the team’s bucket list.
“The Sizzler is definitely a prestigious race and it’s one of the biggest races I’ve yet to win, so it definitely would mean a lot to me to win a race like that against such an area of competition with a great atmosphere surrounding the race,” Silk said. “It would be really good if the team could get some momentum going Early in the season and it would be a good day on top of that. Thanks to my owners Tyler Heidt and Joe Iannon, Future Homes, Blue Mountain Machine, and all the crew who give up their free time to go racing with us. We all enjoy doing it but it’s still a huge commitment and we couldn’t do it without their help.”
“If we can win a Sizzler® award, it will definitely be something for our bucket list and we will all be thrilled,” said Yannon. “Ronnie is the guy who did it and our crew chief Phil Moran along with Tyler Haidt and myself and everyone on the crew, we all have the utmost confidence that we can make it and it would be absolutely fantastic to win a Sizzler® race.”
51St The annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® event takes place this Saturday, April 29, and will consist of two 40-lap qualifying races of the NAPA Duel for the Open Modified Division. Each of the 40-lap races will pay $3,500 to win and set the field for the NAPA Spring Sizzler® on Sunday. The late-runners from the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) will also return to Stafford Speedway on April 29 with a 75-lap advantage with over 40 cars expected to race. The Limited Late Model, Street Stock and Vintage All-Star divisions will round out the racing program on Saturday.
Order NAPA Spring Sizzler® Tickets #51
Sunday, April 30th will be hosting the $20,000 to win 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®. Filling out the race pass for Sunday will be eligible and race advantage for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified and Late Model divisions along with a Last Chance Qualifier for the Spring Sizzler®.
For more information visit staffordspeedway.comFollow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or call the track office at 860-684-2783.
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