RPW Column: The Champ Trail; Stafford Launches Lap Sponsorship For Spring Sizzler

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Stafford Speedway has launched a new program that allows race fans to sponsor a lap at the 50th running of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®. All lap sponsors will receive a limited-edition Spring Sizzler® 50th Anniversary poster featuring every winner in the history of the Spring Sizzler®. The poster, a throwback to the Spring Sizzler® poster of the early 1990’s, will only be available to lap sponsors.

Each lap of the 100 lap event is available for purchase for $150 with all proceeds being distributed to the leader of the corresponding lap in the 50th NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®, April 24, 2022. The additional $15,000 in lap money brings the total payout for “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring” over $130,000.

Purchase a 2022 50th Spring Sizzler Lap by calling the speedway at 860-684-2783

“We hope the fans take advantage of lap sponsorship,” explained Stafford Speedway VP Lisa Arute. “Fans can dedicate a lap to a loved one or represent a business, the options are unlimited. Everyone who purchases a lap will receive a numbered, limited edition 50th Spring Sizzler commemorative poster that honors the winners of past Spring Sizzlers®. Only 100 posters will be printed, so it will be important to get your lap early.”

In addition to the lap money announcement, Stafford Speedway has also released a full breakdown of the 50th Spring Sizzler® purse. The 100 lap Spring Sizzler®, scheduled for Sunday, April 24th, will pay $15,000 to win and $1,250 to start while the NAPA Auto Parts Duel, two 40 lap qualifying events scheduled for Saturday, April 23rd, will pay $3,500 to win and $350 to start.

“After all bonuses, lap money, and the NAPA Duels, a winning driver could win as much as $34,000 at the 50th Spring Sizzler®,” continued Arute.  “The history of the Spring Sizzler and modified racing is very important to us and we are excited to offer a strong payout for race teams at the 50th running of the event. As we celebrate the Golden Anniversary our focus is to recreate the excitement and prestige of the 1972 inaugural Spring Sizzler® and revive the tradition of the Greatest Race in the History of Spring.”

The highest finishing SK Modified®, ROC Modified, NASCAR Modified Tour, SMART Tour, and Tri-Track Modified drivers will each receive a $500 bonus. To be eligible for the bonuses drivers must have competed in 75% of each respective series events in 2021.

Registration for the 50th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler is also now open. Over 15 race teams have already filed their paperwork to compete in the event. A mix of Stafford regulars and Stafford invaders highlight the early entries including 2021 Spring Sizzler winner Patrick Emerling and 2015 Spring Sizzler winner and hometown hero Woody Pitkat.

The first official entry received for the Spring Sizzler was Woodstock, CT’s Buddy Charette, with 2021 Open Modified winners Chase Dowling and Mike Christopher also registered. Other past Open Modified winners Tommy Barrett, Eric Goodale, Marcello Rufrano, and Chris Pasteryak all have registered their teams to compete

Ticket information will be released in the coming weeks. The 2022 50th running of the NAPA Auto Parts Sizzler is scheduled for April 23rd and 24th. A unique format has been released which includes the NAPA Auto Parts Duel, two 40 lap qualifying events on Saturday, April 23rd.

The 2021 season at Stafford Speedway saw 15 year old Tyler Barry make the move from Legend Cars to the SK Light Modified division.  The 4th generation driver with a name familiar to many modified fans had an up and down year but he ended his rookie season on the highest of notes by taking his #18 Clearcom I.T. Solutions / Pro Systems Integration Chevrolet to NAPA Victory Lane.  For the season, Barry posted 1 win, 4 top-5, and 10 top-10 finishes to carry him to R.A.D. Auto Machine SK Light Rookie of the Year honors.

Congratulations to Noah Korner who persevered through suffering a broken hand to claim NAPA Auto Parts SK Modified® Rookie of the Year Honors at the Stafford Speedway. After running a partial 5-race SK Modified® schedule in 2020 in order to maintain his rookie driver status, Korner made the full-time move into the division for the 2021 season.  The driver of the #31 Midstate Site Development Chevrolet drove to 5 top-5 and 8 top-10 finishes with a season best finish of second on August 20th and October 1st to finish the season 10th in the SK Modified® standings and claim NAPA Auto Parts SK Modified® Rookie of the Year honors.

Early entries include river: Andy Jankowiak, Patrick Emerling, Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Tommy Barrett, Jr,  Michael Christopher, Jr., Chase Dowling, Cory DiMatteo, Tyler Barry, Mikey Flynn, Buddy Charette, Anthony Sesely, Marcello Rufrano, Teddy Hodgdon, Eric Goodale, Chris Pasteryak, Todd Owen and Woody Pitkat.

Get well wishes to three time NASCAR National Modified Champion Carl “Bugs” Stevens who is on the mend after suffering a broken shoulder in a home related accident.

On a sad note, veteran Modified driver and team owner Carl Pasteryak passed away Friday following a brief illness. Pasteryak, who lived and worked in Lisbon, Ct was 71 years old. He was a co-owner of Charles Pasteryak and Sons Paving, also in Lisbon.

Pasteryak, raced Modifieds in the Northeast for more than 45 years, raced weekly at the Stafford Motor Speedway from 1976 to 1986 and with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for 25 years. In recent years he was involved with the racing efforts of his nephew, Chris Pasteryak.

He made his last series start on Oct. 4, 2009 in the Fall Final at Stafford Speedway.

In over 25 seasons Carl Pasteryak made 354 Whelen Modified Tour starts with five top three finishes, 15 top-five’s, 91 top-10’s and three pole positions. He had second place finishes at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (1990) and Stafford (1999). Tim Connolly held off Carl Pasteryak on a green-white-checkered restart to win the Connecticut Classic 150 on May 29, 1999 at Stafford Speedway.

In a statement from NASCAR, “NASCAR mourns the passing of Carl Pasteryak, who was a pillar of the modified community in the Northeast,” read a statement released Friday evening through the NASCAR Roots social media accounts. “In addition to racing for 25 years in the Whelen Modified Tour, Carl was a proud brother (Charlie) and uncle (Chris) of racers. He will be missed at the track, and his family and friends are in our thoughts.”

Fred Harbach was the first Long Islander to venture to Stafford in the late 60’s. His Chevy II Modified was competitive but never won. Charlie Jarzombek made his first off island venture a successful one as he entered a 100 lapper on Memorial Day weekend in 1969 with his highly off-set coupe. He won the event and set the stage for other outside competitors to take on the regulars at Stafford.

Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. The book documents Modified Racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway from 1967 to 1986. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!

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