(Stafford Springs, CT)—When the final checkered flag of the 2015 season was displayed to the DARE Stock field at Stafford Motor Speedway, perhaps no driver was more anxious to continue racing than Granville, MA native Brandon Michael. A penalty from the 2014 season meant that Michael didn’t get his 2015 season started until July 31, but once he got started racing he made every race count. In his 7 starts last season, Michael never finished worse than 6th and he scored podium finishes in each of his final 4 starts, including 2 wins. Michael enters the 2016 season with 5 career DARE Stock victories and he is looking forward to being a championship contender in 2016 with his #74 Betrock Farms team.
“We’re going to come back and run for the championship this season,” said Michael. “I bought the car from my dad 2 years ago and this this winter we’ve basically ripped the car down to the bare chassis and everything on the car except for the chassis will be brand new. We have a new motor, tranny, rear end, suspension and we’re hoping to come back and set the world on fire like we did the last 7 races of last year. We’ve been a contender for the past couple of years and we finished third in points for a couple years in a row. I think if we ran the whole schedule last year things may have been a little different. We’re hoping we can come back and take down the Spring Sizzler and double up off our Fall Final win. We have a lot of new sponsors this year on the car, Betrock Farms, Gary’s CT Lawn Care, Tradesmen of New England, Route 10 Tire, Whip City Cleaning and Restoration, Hub International Insurance, Bovat’s Power Equipment, Steve Glass, and we have a few others on the line that we’re working on. I think we can be a podium contender on most Friday nights.”
In the race for the 2016 DARE Stock championship, 2-time defending DARE Stock champion Frank L’Etoile, Jr. will be making the move up to the Limited Late Model division for the 2016 season but Michael thinks that development doesn’t quite open up the championship race.
“I think we have a very good field of cars this year,” said Michael. “I raced go karts with Frank years ago, so I’m going to miss racing with him because we can race side by side with each other, but that’s one less person you have to worry about beating. I think Tyler Trott, Zack Robinson, and Ryan and Alexandra Fearn are all going to be tough to beat and those are the cars I know for sure who are coming back. It’s going to be pretty important to get off to a good start. I’m not one to focus on points. Maybe later in the year we’ll start to look at points, but our goal is to be consistent and run up front each week. We want to start the season off with a win in the Sizzler but everyone wants to win that race. Once you start worrying about points, that’s when you seem to start running into problems. We’re all ready to get started and go racing.”
One area where Michael might have an advantage over his fellow DARE Stock competitors is tire wear. The DARE Stock division will join Stafford’s other four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions with a tire rule that will require teams to manage their tire inventory throughout the course of the season. Michael says that he used nothing but old tires last season and that his car seems to be at its peak when it has older tires on it.
“My car really seems to like tires when they’re 2, 3, or 4 weeks old,” said Michael. “Last year we bought take off tires from Tyler Trott and we didn’t run a new set on the car all year long. I think we have a pretty good strategy for this season with the tire rule and that’s something for us to look forward to. All the other divisions have to keep track of their tires and we’re looking forward to that and I think it’s going to keep the competition even closer than it was.”
Michael will kick off his quest for the DARE Stock championship with the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 22-24. 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 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.