By: Paul Arute
(Stafford Springs, CT) — After 3 years running at the 1/3 of a mile Waterford Speedbowl, 2015 SK Light Champion Paul Buzel has decided to make his way North to Stafford Speedway for the 3rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K. With limited experience in the Bill Gaston owned modified Buzel is excited to make his debut on the famous Stafford half-mile.
“This will be my first race at Stafford and I’m both nervous and excited,” explained Buzel. “I think for this race we’re going to bring back Bill Gaston’s old number 6 on our car and maybe that will help bring us a little bit of luck.”
Buzel has cut his teeth running in the SK Light modified division at the Waterford Speedbowl notching his first career track championship over Corey Barry in 2015. Buzel made the jump to SK Modified® competition for the 2016 season and has been lured to Stafford by the prestige of the NAPA SK 5K and the incredible competition at the half-mile in 2016. Though impressed with the stacked field of SK Modifieds, Buzel is still confident he can score a top-10 finish.
“I think as long as we can get some good data during the practice sessions and get a good read on how the car is going to be we will have a good showing in the race,” continued Buzel. “It’s no doubt going to be difficult because Stafford is one of the hardest places to race in the entire country, but hopefully we can get things figured out pretty quickly and have a good finish. I think a top-10 finish would be a major accomplishment for us as new arrivals to Stafford.”
The 6 team will have their hands running against the tough SK Modified® competition with drivers such as Rowan Pennink, Eric Berndt, Ted Christopher, and Woody Pitkat already notching wins in 2016. Buzel will have some Stafford experience behind him in crew chief and car owner Bill Gaston. Gaston has been linked with multiple teams at Stafford over the years most recently with drivers Wade Matteson and Chris Ocella.
“We ran the open practice to shake down an experimental car owned by Bill Gaston. We wanted to see how it would react at Stafford and if there was anything we could learn to use at Waterford,” explained Buzel. “I’m pretty confident. We still have to decide what car we want to bring to Stafford, we have our old SK Light car that we’ve converted to an SK car so we might bring that and keep the other car as a Waterford car. I still have a lot of learning to do like how to get around Stafford but I think we’ll figure it out and hopefully we can have a good time.”
The 6 team will join the rest of arguably the deepest field of race teams in the country for the NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K on Friday July 8th. The SK Modifieds® will have the featuer laps set by the NAPA SK 5K fan vote, fans can log on to staffordspeedway.com to cast their vote on laps, invert, and qualifying procedure. In addition to the strong purse, the NAPA SK 5K Gambler’s Challenge presented by Duneleavy Truck and Trailer Repair is back for the 2016 edition of the race. Last year’s winner and current NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, Ryan Preece, took home over $12,500. Buzel and the Gaston racing team are looking forward to racing for the big payday.
“The purse is definitely a big weight on the team especially me. But it’s one of the biggest races of the year so it’ll be great to see everyone that comes out, fans, media and it’s definitely good for the sport,” said Buzel. “We’ll talk things over with the team and see if we’re going to get into the Gambler’s Challenge.”
Tickets for the July 8th NAPA SK 5K are available online at www.staffordspeedway.com or by calling the speedway office at 860-684-2783. Discount tickets are available at participating NAPA Auto Parts Stores. Tickets purchased through NAPA Auto Parts also include a barbeque dinner and a NAPA goodie bag. Tickets are priced at $27.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for kids ages 6-14, and kids 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating will be priced at $30.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Speedway offers free parking with free overnight parking for self-contained RV’s available. Fans can log onto www.staffordspeedway.com to cast their vote for the NAPA SK 5K Gambler’s Challenge presented by Dunleavey Truck and Trailer Repair as well as lap count and invert.
For more information on the July 8th NAPA SK 5K, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.