Tom Martino, Jr. Marks 40th Entry For 51st Spring Sizzler At Stafford Motor Speedway
Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – With the registration of the #9nj Martino Race Engines car of Red Bank, NJ native Tom Martino, Jr., the number of entries received for the 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® has reached 40 cars for the second consecutive season.
The Wall Stadium regular joins an impressive list of early entrants for the Sizzler® with additional entrants expected in the month leading up to the April 30th “Greatest Race in the History of Spring”.
Martino had a disappointing Stafford debut last August where a burned out clutch relegated him to a 25th place finish. Despite his misfortune, Martino is looking forward to returning to Stafford.
“In the heat race my clutch exited the chat and I didn’t realize it until it was about 5 laps into the feature,” said Martino. “I was going around the track trying to not get on the gas hard enough to make the clutch slip and it just kept slipping and slipping so I pulled it behind the wall around the pit stop time. It was super fun but obviously frustrating at the end of the night. There’s a ton of good racers at Stafford and I love the long straightaways. I’m looking forward to getting back at it and I’m hoping we can make the race. The realistic goal is to qualify for the feature and get a top-20 finish and hopefully I’ll be able to do some more open modified races at Stafford later in the year.”
In order for Martino to qualify for the NAPA Spring Sizzler®, he will have to contend with a field full of former Sizzler® winners including Matt Hirschman, Doug Coby, Bobby Santos, III, and Woody Pitkat as well as Stafford veterans with years of experience and feature wins like Chase Dowling, Ronnie Silk, Ronnie Williams, Keith Rocco, Todd Owen, and more. Although Martino is short on Stafford experience, he feels like he has an ace up his sleeve with his Martino Race Engines power provided by his father.
“Our motor situation is unique because you know that there’s no penny spared with the engines and my Dad’s experience building NHRA ProStock engines translates into some pretty good horsepower with these engines,” said Martino. “I think as long as I can keep my nose clean I should be fine. I don’t think anyone has the horsepower that we do but I don’t have the experience that a lot of those guys do. Stafford has long straightaways and that’s plenty of time to let the big dog eat. At New Smyrna our car was all sorts of backwards with the setup and I could still qualify third one night and seventh another night. I’m super excited and especially with the uncertainty surrounding Wall Stadium, I might be at all the open shows so it will be good to make the show and learn as much as I can by running as many laps as I can.”
The 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® kicks off on Saturday, April 29, and will consist of two 40-lap NAPA Duel qualifying races for the Open Modified division. The 40-lap races will each pay $3,500 to win and will set the field for Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models will also make their return to Stafford Speedway on April 29th with a 75-lap feature with over 40 cars expected for the race. Limited Late Model, Street Stock, and Vintage All-Star divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program.
Sunday, April 30th will play host to the $20,000 to win 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®. Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, and Late Model divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the Spring Sizzler®.