Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – With the first green flag of the 2022 season less than 2 months away at Stafford Speedway, perhaps no driver is filled with more anticipation than Teddy Hodgdon.
Hodgdon is fresh off of his first appearance at New Smyrna Speedway’s World Series of Racing where he drove to an impressive third place finish in the Modified points standings.
He is set for a big change to his racing program in 2022 as he moves from his family run SK Modified® team to the Dan Avery owned #22 SK Modified® team.
Hodgdon will still pilot his signature #55 Modified in all 5 Stafford Open Modified events beginning with the 50th running of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler.
“After New Smyrna, I’m definitely ready to get back going,” said Hodgdon. “I think the rust from the off-season has been kicked off and I haven’t been this excited for a season to start in a long time. Stafford is still like no other place I’ve ever raced at and I can’t wait to race there again in the premier SK Modified® division and show our results on the track. I have so many people to thank, Montanari Fuel, Business Time Motorsports, A. Pappa John, Pete Matton, Chris Garcia, Dan Avery, J.G. Poulin Drywall, Stone and Lime, Mike O’Sullivan, everyone that helped me out in New Smyrna, Phil Crane, Dairy Queen of New Smyrna, Lasco Roofing, State Cutters, all my friends and family in Florida, and everyone who has supported me through my career. I can’t wait for the future.”
In addition to making his NAPA Spring Sizzler® debut, Hodgdon will also be chasing after his first SK Modified® feature victory. Hodgdon has won races at every level of his racing career to date, including championships in Wild Thing Karts, Legend Cars, and SK Lights, but a win in the SK Modified® division has proved elusive after several agonizingly close calls over the past 2 seasons. Hodgdon feels like the transition to the #22 team who has been in victory lane with Chase Dowling as the driver will only aid him in his quest.
“I feel like a first win is very likely with this group,” said Hodgdon. “Dan Avery, the Poulins, and Mike O’Sullivan, we’ve all hit it off really well and I hope that chemistry stays with us throughout the season. I think we have the right group of people behind us, they’re all hungry and I’m hungry to get my first win. To be able to combine all of their experience with my experience is a really good combo and we’ll be a team to watch out for this year.”
In addition to the winning background of both the #22 car and the crew on the #22 car, Hodgdon says alleviating the burden of being responsible for all aspects of the car can only help him as he focuses on driving into NAPA Victory Lane.
“I’m pretty excited to be driving for someone and branch away from the family team in the SK Modified® division,” said Hodgdon. “I think that will help give me more of an edge because the car is kept at Mike O’Sullivan’s shop so I don’t have to worry about the weekly grind. I help at the shop when I can but they do most of the work so I can hone in on my race craft and trying to be the best driver that I can be. It’s an exciting journey and I’m very fortunate to be able to drive for them because they’ve always had great cars and equipment. I’m very excited for the first few races of the season, especially the Spring Sizzler® doing double duty, I’m ready for the challenge.”
As he chases after his first SK Modified® win, Hodgdon will also be looking to build upon the confidence he instilled with his performance at New Smyrna Speedway for the NAPA Spring Sizzler® on April 23-24 as well as the other open modified races on the 2022 schedule at Stafford. Hodgdon finished third in the New Smyrna points standings behind only Matt Hirschman and Jimmy Blewett with top-10 finishes in all 5 of his races and he hopes to carry the momentum from that experience into the Spring Sizzler®.
“New Smyrna was definitely a real confidence booster,” said Hodgdon. “We had no idea what the track or the car was going to be like going in, so it was good for us to be fast right out of the gate. It’s going to be a totally different deal here, but we’re going to take our experience, put it in our memory banks, and translate it over to Stafford. We’re planning on running the 55 car at all of the Stafford open shows this season. We’re hoping we can do the same if not better than we did down in Florida. I learned a lot about tire saving at New Smyrna, which is going to be big with the softer compound tires that the tour type cars run. With all the hype going into the Sizzler® between the purse and the SRX slot up for grabs, I hope we can be a contender to win that race.”
While Hodgdon gleaned a huge amount of confidence from his New Smyrna experience, he is still unsure of just how he will adapt to switching back and forth between his SK Modified® car and his Open Modified car.
“The only thing I’m not going to be sure about is going back and forth between the two modified cars in the same night,” said Hodgdon. “I’ve heard that it can be difficult to get used to, but we’ve never been scared of a challenge and I’m sure we’ll pick it up.”
Tickets for the 50th running of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® are now available at staffordspeedway.com/tickets. The two day event begins Saturday, April 23rd with the NAPA Auto Parts Duel, two 40-lap qualifying races that will set the field for the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler scheduled for April 24th. The PASS Super Late Models and all 5 of Stafford’s weekly divisions will also be on hand for the weekend.