(Stafford Springs, CT)—As the 2015 Mr. Rooter Truck Series season came to an end, Ellington native Bert Ouellette was on a hot streak, winning 3 of the final 5 races. As teams prepare for the 45th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® at Stafford Speedway, Ouellette is looking to put his #151 Cindy Burdick Motorsports Chevrolet in NAPA Victory Lane for a wide variety of reasons after finishing third in the truck race as part of last year’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®.
“I am always thrilled to race at Stafford,” said Ouellette. “I’m right on the Ellington/Stafford border and I can hear the modifieds from my house, so it’s kind of my home track. When it comes to Stafford, there’s not too many local tracks like it. It’s always special when we get to come back and I think this year we’ll have a real good shot at going for the win. A win would be huge. Stafford is at the top of my bucket list and I really want to win a race there. I think it would be the team’s biggest stock car win. I’m going to have a lot of friends and family in the stands, so it would be an emotional win for sure. A win would also lock us into the championship chase so it would be an exciting moment. We’re also looking for sponsorship for this season and win at a track like Stafford after how we ended the 2015 season might get some people knocking at our door.”
Stafford has been a good track for Ouellette in the past. He finished third at Stafford last year and he finished 6th and 7th in the two truck races that were held at Stafford back in 2012. Using his prior experience at Stafford, Ouellette knows what he’ll need in order to make a dream come true by winning the race.
“Handling is going to be extremely important,” said Ouellette. “Motor is not necessarily everything. If you can hit the handling just right, I showed at Thompson I managed to outmuscle Roger Turbush just because I could get back to the throttle coming out of the corner. We’re going to be doing everything we can to make sure that I’m able to get back in the throttle coming out of the corners. We finished third last year and we’ve worked all the bugs out of our truck and I really believe we should be one of the threats at the end of the race. The plan is to get the truck dialed in where I want it during practice, put some fresh tires on and go out and try to win the race.”
Whereas some truck series drivers might be making their first trip to Stafford, Ouellette can bank on his prior experience to help get a head start on the competition. He can also lean on his teammate Kyle Nosal, who raced in the DARE Stock division from 2006-2007 and then moved into the Late Model division in 2008.
“When it comes down to push comes to shove time, a little extra experience might help, but I think by feature time drivers are going to adapt,” said Ouellette. “I’ve watched almost 20 years of racing at Stafford and in my eyes that’s good experience. If I see a highly talented driver try something that didn’t work, I know it’s probably not a smart move to try it myself. I always watch what the top guys are doing and after a while you start to understand why they’re doing things. Now that I’m racing myself, I’ve been able to put some of that knowledge down on pavement and it really helps. Having Kyle as a teammate is great. When the truck is doing some weird stuff, it’s always nice to have another person confirm what you’re feeling so you can figure out if you’re trying to tackle a track issue or a handling issue on the truck. Kyle also has more laps at Stafford than I do and we’re both very willing to share information going back to our go kart days racing together.”
Ouellette knows there will be some stiff competition that he will have to overcome and also there might be some unknown drivers who shine during NAPA Spring Sizzler® Weekend.
“There’s a lot of good trucks,” said Ouellette. “I know Allen Coates is going to be there, Duane Noll is going to be there and he’s always a front runner, Frank Dumicich, Jr. is always tough in the #42, and we still don’t know who is coming in as new drivers. There could be a new guy who comes in and figures things out, you don’t really know what’s going to happen. There’s going to be a lot of talent at Stafford and a lot of hungry drivers. If there’s a bunch of us together when it comes down to it, it’s going to be interesting for sure.”
Spring Sizzler® action gets underway Friday, April 22 with a practice session for Stafford’s weekly divisions and the Mr. Rooter Trucks. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. Action continues on Saturday, April 23 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions, the U.S. Legend Cars, and the Mr. Rooter Trucks. Saturday will wrap up with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, DARE Stock, Legend Cars, and Mr. Rooter Trucks. Spring Sizzler® action continues on Sunday, April 24 with the NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party from 11am-noon followed by Stafford’s SK Modifieds® in a special 45-lap feature and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.
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. Discount Tickets are available at 57 participating NAPA Auto Parts stores throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. For a full list of the 57 locations, call the speedway office or visit us on the web at www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores.
For more information on the 45th 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.