(Stafford Springs, CT)—After finishing fourth in points during his first full season of Late Model competition at Waterford in 2014, Ridgefield native Anthony Ryan, Jr. will join the 2015 SPAFCO SK Modified® rookie class at Stafford Speedway. Ryan comes to Stafford with an extensive background in karting and the Allison Legacy Series along with his Late Model experience.
“I started racing at 5 years old driving go karts,” said Ryan. “I won 2 WKA national championships in 2004 and then ran some Micro Sprints before moving up to Allison Legacy Series. I then ran a part-time schedule until last season when we ran a full late model schedule at Waterford for the first time and we finished 4th in points.”
As vast as Ryan’s previous racing experience is, it does not include any modified racing, making the 2015 season his first behind the wheel of an open wheel modified car. But that fact hasn’t dampened Ryan’s spirit as he is chomping at the bit to get his rookie season at Stafford underway.
“It’ll be my first time in a modified and I’m excited, not nervous at all,” said Ryan. “After years of watching these cars I’ve been itching to drive one. I know it’s going to be a big learning curve for us the first couple of weeks. It won’t be my first time in a full-size car, so it’ll be all about me learning how an SK reacts differently than a Late Model does. It definitely won’t be a case of what can the car do, but it’ll be how fast can the driver figure out how to use the car. It’s all going to be up to me because I know my father will have the car ready to go.”
Although 2015 may be Ryan’s first time driving a modified, he has on paper what could be a formidable combination. Ryan purchased a Troyer chassis that Justin Bonsignore formerly drove on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour that he will convert over to SK Modified® specifications. The Ryan family has known the Bonsignore family from their early days in karting and when Bonsignore has one of his cars up for sale, it was the perfect opportunity for Ryan.
“We bought one of Justin Bonsignore’s old Troyer Tour cars,” said Ryan. “We’ve known the Bonsignore’s for years from racing go karts and we’ve kept in touch whenever we’ve seen each other at the track and we saw that Justin had a car for sale. We know they have very good equipment and we wanted to put together a package that we knew was a good rolling car to hit the track with. When I ran a partial late model schedule while I was going through college, we struggled with the car not knowing it 100% like what everyone else was running. Last year we put together a 100% ACT Late Model and we hit the ground running and we had good pace in the car. When we were planning out what we were going to do for the SK Modified® division, we decided that we wanted to put together a car that at least on paper was a winning combination so that everything was up to me as the driver.”
With a proven chassis underneath him, Ryan has his sights set on winning the SPAFCO Rookie of the Year award and the record $1,100 bonus that will accompany the award. As Ryan prepares for his initial foray into the world of the SK Modifieds®, he has been busy preparing by watching YouTube videos as well as hitting the virtual track on his iRacing simulator.
“The biggest goal for this season is to win Rookie of the Year,” said Ryan. “Winning that award would be a really nice way to end the season knowing that we have some money coming back to us that we can put back into the car. Having money involved like that is always a good incentive. I’ve done a lot of YouTube research on Stafford to see how guys run around the track and I’m taking that information with me to IRacing where I’m trying to get as much practice as I can. It’s a helpful tool for seeing where the line is on the track but nothing beats being behind the wheel of the actual car. It’s helping cut down on my learning time as far as taking the correct line and seeing how the track rolls. I’ve been trying to get as much time on the IRacing to help me learn as quick as I can about Stafford. I’d like to say we can shoot for a top-10 finish at the end of the year, but Stafford has a very competitive SK Modified® field. When I see the names that Stafford, it’s making me want to really reach as far as I can. Even the Rookie of the Year is stacking up to be a good battle. We’re still seeking sponsors for the 2015 season and everyone on the team is very excited for the 2015 season.”
Ryan will get his first taste of the Stafford SK Modified® experience as part of the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 24-26. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, 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.