Category Archives: Stafford Motor Speedway

Chris Meyer Has Eyes Set on Championship Run in Stafford’s Street Stocks

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Chris Meyer came to Stafford Speedway last year with 10+ years of experience driving a Street Stock but the 2020 season was his first campaign at the Connecticut half-mile facility.  Meyer’s lack of Stafford experience never showed though as he finished second in his first start and went on to win 2 races and finished 2nd in the final points standings.  With a season’s worth of experience under his belt, Meyer and the #87 D & L Services team have a wave of confidence heading into the 2021 season.

“Our goal is to win the championship this year,” said Meyer.  “I don’t want to say that was our goal last season because we had no experience at Stafford.  Our goal was to win a race and get a top-5 finish in the points standings.  We won 2 races and finished 2nd in points in a shortened season so this season with 22 races on the schedule our goal is to get 4 wins and we’d like to win the championship but if we’re in the top-3 at the end of the season that’s all you can ask for.  Anything less than a top-3 in the points and 4 wins would feel like we didn’t do our jobs.”

Meyer served notice to the Street Stock field that he would be a contender to be reckoned with in 2020 with his season opening second place finish.  After finishing 19th in the second race of the season due to getting caught up in a wreck that happened in front of him, Meyer posted 8 top-5 and 12 top-10 finishes over the final 12 races, including 6 podium finishes with 2 wins, 1 second place, and 3 third place finishes.  The team’s success initially came as a surprise to Meyer but as the season progressed, the #87 team continued to acclimate themselves to Stafford and asserted themselves as one of the weekly favorites to win.

“I think we were surprised on opening day when we finished second but by the end of the year we weren’t surprised,” said Meyer.  “The only race we missed the top-10 was week 2.  I think we were one of the fastest cars that night and we got caught up in a wreck.  We had never been to a track with a tire rule before and I had never raced on a tire that was as good as the Hoosiers we raced on.  I had to change my driving style and it was a huge learning curve for both myself and the team.  It might seem like a small thing but we also had to adjust to racing on a Friday night rather than the weekend.  We came to win races and we knew we would figure things out and we were willing to do whatever we needed to do to accomplish that.  I’m not surprised my team was able to get adjusted and put together a couple of victories.”

Although Meyer and the #87 team finished half of the 2020 season on the podium, he feels like there is still room for himself and his crew to improve and be even better.

“You’re always learning new things and there’s always room for improvement,” said Meyer.  “I think we need to be a little better at making adjustments to the car in between the heat race and the feature.  We had that figured out pretty well going into the last 2 or 3 races, but that’s a very small sample size of the season.  With the rubber that gets put down and the weather changing it makes a huge difference at Stafford, more so than Waterford or Thompson.”

Meyer and his crew have been busy during the winter hanging a new body as well as changing out some of the steering components in his #87 Chevrolet.  Meyer also returns with his entire crew for the 2020 season and with great partners behind him, he is ready to tackle the 2021 season.

“We put a new body on the car and we made some updates with the steering, but we have great equipment with a JMD drivetrain and a BFR chassis so there wasn’t much room for improvement parts wise,” said Meyer.  “Everyone on the team is really excited.  This is probably the most consistent team I’ve had since I started racing.  Everyone that was involved with the team last year is coming back and we all have more experience.  We’re getting a back up car ready to go but hopefully we won’t need that this season.  We have great sponsors with D & L Services, 32 Signs came on board with us this season, 7-11 of Franklin, and R.A.D. Auto Machine.  I have to give a big thank you to my Dad Joe, he’s the glue that holds the team together and he makes this deal happen.  We’ve been racing together for 15 years and sometimes I forget about him because it’s so ingrained racing together.”

Meyer has previously won a track title at Waterford in the Street Stock division and he has placed second in the points on several occasions at Waterford and Thompson as well as last season at Stafford.  Some drivers might consider having such a wealth of experience racing for a championship as an advantage but Meyer doesn’t necessarily feel like his experience gives him any advantage at all in chasing a championship.

“So now that we have a season of experience at Stafford on top of my 10 plus years of experience racing Street Stocks, I feel like we’re at least one of the top championship contenders,” said Meyer.  “Frank L’Etoile is going to be tough and if Travis Hydar races all year long, he’s going to be tough and there’s other guys that are also very competitive.  A lot of the guys I’m racing against are younger and they don’t feel the pressure of racing for a championship.  You see a lot of young champions these days and they don’t crack during the season so I don’t know if my championship experience is an advantage for me or not.  We have a full year of experience and our team is well put together so I feel like we’re in pretty good shape.”

Meyer will kick off his 2021 championship quest at Stafford on Saturday, April 24 as part of NAPA Auto Parts Opening Day festivities.  The Street Stocks will be joined by the Granite State ProStock Series, the SK Modifieds®, Late Models, and Limited Late Models.  Feature action at Stafford continues on Sunday, April 25 with the 49th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler featuring the Whelen Modified Tour, the SK Modifieds® in the second race of a weekend doubleheader, the SK Lights, and the Vintage All-Stars.  Ticket sales for these 2 events begin on March 1st.

For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

Paradiso Insurance to Sponsor Late Model 50 & Weekly Bonus at Stafford Speedway

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Paradiso Insurance is the latest sponsor to partner with Stafford Speedway for the 2021 race season. Paradiso Insurance, located in Stafford Springs, will serve as the official race sponsor for the Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50 and will also provide a $75 weekly contingency to the 3rd place finisher in the Late Model feature.

“We’re very excited to have an organization like Paradiso Insurance involved at Stafford Speedway,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “Chris and his team at Paradiso Insurance are a cornerstone here in Stafford Springs and are very involved in the local community. We are looking forward to the multi-year partnership with our Late Model division.”

Over the last few seasons Stafford’s Late Model division has continued its resurgence becoming one of the most competitive weekly divisions in the region. In just 14 events in 2020, 7 different drivers made it to Stafford victory lane with eventual champion Adam Gray leading the way with an impressive 6 win season. Shockingly absent from victory lane were two of the best in Stafford Late Model racing, Tom Fearn and Michael Bennett who have 56 and 20 career Late Model wins respectively. 

“Our Late Model division continues to grow and the support of Paradiso Insurance further strengthens the division,” continued Arute. “Time and time again we’ve shown our commitment to Late Model racing at Stafford and it shows with a great field of race teams taking shape for the new season.”

The Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50 is the highlight of the calendar for the Late Models division marking the longest race of the year. Tyler Leary, Ryan Fearn, and Paul Arute are the last 3 winners of the extra distance event continuing a surprising trend of younger, less experienced drivers winning the only extra distance event of the season. Ryan Fearn and Arute both return to the Late Model division in 2021 and will look to grab their 2nd career 50 lap victory in the Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50 scheduled for Friday, September 3rd.

Located on Main Street in Stafford Springs, CT just a mile from Stafford Speedway, Paradiso Insurance is a local independent insurance agency that specializes in personal insurance, business insurance and parcel delivery insurance. Owner Chris Paradiso leads the team in organizing the yearly community events that they put together, one being their annual flag day event. The Paradiso team prides themselves on giving back to the local community and believe that is the backbone of the agency. 

“The race track is my favorite place to be on Friday nights and I can’t wait to spend it with my Paradiso Insurance Family,” explained Paradiso Insurance Professional Alyssa Casagrande.

“We are beyond excited to be able to be a part of this sponsorship. I love supporting local businesses and the community involvement all around,” noted Paradiso Licensed Insurance Professional Jessica Balanceau. “Chris and all of us on the team are super excited for our sponsorship with Stafford Motor Speedway as they are a huge staple in our community.”

For more information on Paradiso Insurance and their offerings visit www.paradisoinsurance.com or contact them at 860-684-5270.

The first $75 Paradiso Insurance contingency bonus will be awarded April 24th as the Late Model division kicks off their 2021 season at NAPA Auto Parts Opening day with a 30 lap feature. General Admission tickets for NAPA Auto Parts Opening Day and the April 25th, NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler are scheduled to go on-sale March 1st. Limited tickets will be available due to Covid-19 restriction.

For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

2-Time Street Stock Champion Zack Robinson Moving to Late Model Division in 2021 at Stafford Speedway

(Stafford Springs, CT)—After racing for 7 seasons in Stafford’s Street Stock division, including back to back track championships in 2019 and 2020, Putnam, CT native Zack Robinson will move up to the Late Model division and challenge for Rookie of the Year honors behind the wheel of the #89 JET Electric Chevrolet.  Since Robinson began his racing career in the quarter midget ranks before moving into Street Stocks, his dream has been to be part of the Late Model division and the realization of that dream has him looking forward to his rookie season.

“I’m definitely excited,” said Robinson.  “It’s been my dream to one day be racing in the Late Model division and I had no idea how soon I would be able to make that move.  I know it’s going to take a while with new cars, new drivers, and a new division to learn.  Mainly my goal is going to be to finish every race in one piece.  I’m not really setting a goal for myself this season.  I need to figure out the car, figure out what I like, and figure out what we need as a team to make sure we can be successful down the road and take things from there.  If we get a chance to run up front I’d love to do that but I’m not going to set high expectations because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Robinson and his #89 JET Electric team will be well prepared for their first foray into the world of Late Model racing as they purchased an old Late Model car as well as getting busy this off-season on building a new car from the ground up.

“We bought a car that Joe Brockett and Dave Trudeau ran at Thompson and Stafford but I like building my own stuff so I got the dumb idea to build a brand new car,” said Robinson.  “We’ll have 2 cars for this season with the car that Joe and Dave ran as the backup and we’ll use the new car as our primary car.  We just started mounting the body so I’m hoping within the next 2 weeks we’ll be ready to paint the chassis and do our final assembly.  We’re slowly plucking away on the car and we’re making sure that everything is correct.  I’ve pulled some of the good stuff out of the old car to put into the new car and other than those parts the whole car is brand new.”

With Robinson and his #89 team setting themselves up to have 2 cars for the 2021 season, any time a new car is introduced there is a possibility that the car can have some gremlins in it that need to be worked out.  Robinson has this knowledge in the back of his mind and while he is excited about a new challenge of racing in the Late Model division, he is also cautiously optimistic about working out any new car blues.

“There’s a little bit of worry because any time you build a brand new car anything can be wrong with it or they can go really good,” said Robinson.  “I have my hopes up for it because the 89 Street Stock was a brand new car and we won back to back championships in the two years that we ran that car so it couldn’t have been too bad.  That gives me some hope and excitement there but I don’t want to get my hopes up too high because with a new car and a new division there’s going to be a lot of learning for me.”

Robinson was a mainstay at the front of the Street Stock pack, winning 16 races, including 9 wins in his last 2 championship winning seasons.  Part of Robinson’s learning curve will entail getting himself adjusted to going from a front running car that was a favorite to win every time it hit the track in the Street Stock division to being a rookie driver that will most likely take some time to build up to the level he was at in the Street Stock division.

“It’s probably going to take a little time to get adjusted to that,” said Robinson.  “I’m sure not running up front every week will affect me a little but I’m ready for a new challenge and I’m looking forward to racing new drivers and having some fun on the track.  We’re going to try for Rookie of the Year and we’ll see how things go for us.  I think we can be halfway decent right out of the gate.  Joe Brockett is still helping us with setup work at the shop and he’s been helping Al and Cliff Saunders.  We’ll probably start out with something similar to their setup because Al and Cliff both ran pretty well last year and then it will be a matter of fine tuning things to my driving style because every driver likes different things.”

In addition to learning a new car chassis combination as well a new set of competitors, Robinson will also for the first time in his racing career be in a division that permits infield pitting and allows drivers to go back out on the track after coming to pit road for any adjustments or repairs on his car.

“I did a couple of races last year with the Truck series and they’re pretty much the same metric chassis as the Stafford Late Models so I think the biggest thing for me will be getting used to the closing rate and the faster speeds entering the corners,” said Robinson.  “I’ll also have to learn how other competitors drive and how they want to be raced.  The biggest challenge for me will be the infield pitting.  This will be my first time racing with infield pitting and I’m sure it’s going to take some getting used to coming down pit road and actually being able to go back out on the track rather than being done for the night.  Everyone on the team is looking forward to the season.  We have a lot of hours in the garage putting our car together as well as putting some clips on some other cars but we’re all ready to get back to racing.”

Robinson will get his first taste of life in the Late Model division on Saturday, April 24 as part of NAPA Auto Parts Opening Day festivities.  The Late Models will be joined by the Granite State ProStock Series, the SK Modifieds®, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks.  Feature action at Stafford continues on Sunday, April 25 with the 49th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler featuring the Whelen Modified Tour, the SK Modifieds® in the second race of a weekend doubleheader, the SK Lights, and the Vintage All-Stars.  The first Friday night program of the 2021 season at Stafford will be a Stafford Weekly Racing program on May 7th with all 5 weekly divisions as well as a kids big wheel race ready to take to the track.

For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.