For half a century, winning the Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway has meant an exceptional level of prestige and notoriety for local racing stars in the northeast. Now, as part of the race's 50th Anniversary, it also means a chance to race on national television against the best that the Superstar Racing Experience has to offer.
On Tuesday, it was announced that the winner of this year's NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway on April 24 will have the opportunity to compete in the track's SRX race this summer. After hosting the inaugural SRX Series race last June, Stafford will once again be a part of the SRX schedule on July 2.
"We brought this concept to the team at SRX and they immediately bought into the idea. They understand the importance of short tracks and history of an event like the Spring Sizzler," read a statement by Stafford CEO Mark Arute. "This is a monumental opportunity for a Stafford short track driver, win and you're in."
The "win and in" proposition builds on the opportunities that SRX provided to local drivers in its first season, which were put on display in the series' very first race when local all-star and northeast racing great Doug Coby defended his turf and took the checkered flag at Stafford. A "win and in" format was also employed by Slinger Speedway, as Luke Fenhaus qualified for the track's SRX race by virtue of winning the Slinger Nationals.
"That's huge to have an opportunity to race in a series like that," NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Eric Goodale said. "The Spring Sizzler already had a lot of excitement, big money, big race, this just adds to it. We won't change how we approach the race, we're coming to win it. We always come to win at Stafford and the 50th Sizzler will be no different. I'm already ready to get in the seat."
As of February, 28 drivers have entered this year's Spring Sizzler including NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece and other past winners like Coby, Woody Pitkat, Patrick Emerling and others. Notable past winners of the Spring Sizzler include Modified racing legends like Richie Evans, Ted Christopher, and NASCAR Hall of Famer Mike Stefanik as well as drivers like Geoff Bodine and Greg Sacks, who later went on to race in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Stafford is one of two returning tracks to the SRX schedule, as it and Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway are joined by four newcomers to the circuit. The 2022 SRX schedule includes four new racetracks in Five Flags Speedway, South Boston Speedway, I-55 Raceway and Sharon Speedway.