(Stafford Springs, CT)—For the second season in a row, Magnus Racing Products presented a Rookie of the Year Runner up bonus for the Limited Late Model NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division. Taking home a $200 bonus from Magnus in the DARE Stock division for the 2016 season is 15-year old Hamden native Chris Sanford, driver of the #5 SanfordREI.com Chevrolet.
Sanford followed an unconventional route to the DARE Stock division at Stafford for his rookie season. Sanford raced karts at On Track Karting in Wallingford and Brookfield for three seasons as well as getting some experience in formula cars at the Bertil Roos Racing School in Pennsylvania. Sanford won 3 league championships at the Wallingford On Track location before moving to the Brookfield location where he won another league championship and set the facility track record in the pro kart category.
“It’s really cool to have Magnus giving us a bonus like this,” said Sanford. “We still don’t have a major sponsor yet and every little bit we can get helps out greatly. It was a pretty big transition for me going to the DARE Stock division this season. I can’t be more proud of the season that we had, we obviously had some ups and downs. When we had our downs we kept at it with some hard work and that’s what helped us get our ups with a couple of top-10 finishes. Just being able to race at Stafford Speedway this season was a really cool experience and I think the season went really well for us. I have to thank SanfordREI.com, RAR Chassis for helping us out every week, my stepdad, my mom, they came on board and helped us work on the car.”
Sanford began the 2016 season driving Rent A Racecar’s machines and midway through the season, they purchased a car from Brian Granger and raced that car during the second half of the season. Sanford recorded two of his three top-10 finishes, including his season best finish of seventh, in the final month of the season and he ended the season 12th in the final points standings. With a solid foundation to build on, Sanford is looking forward to the 2017 season at Stafford.
“I think a top-5 could be a reachable goal for us in 2017,” said Sanford. “Now that we have some experience with owning and working with our own racecar and I have a couple of friends coming up from karts with George Bessette, Jr. and Travis Hydar along with Jake Higginson who has been racing for a couple years already, it will be like having some teammates to work with. I raced with Travis and George in karts and we can work with each other as to where we’re getting off and back on the gas in the corners and work on car setups. I’m really excited to get back to racing at Stafford and the Bertil Roos driving school again. I think that the racing school will definitely help me out at Stafford in the DARE Stock division and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for us.”
For Sanford, the sky is the limit as to what he can achieve in 2017. As his results began to improve throughout the 2016 season, Sanford says his confidence behind the wheel also grew and he feels like he can be among the front runners in 2017.
“I think the biggest thing I improved on was being comfortable in the car,” said Sanford. “At the beginning of the year I was getting into the corners a certain way and throughout the year I was able to smooth out my driving in the corners and wasn’t freaking out if the car got sideways. I think now I’m more relaxed. We really improved our lap times during the season. My dad was always in the stands taking times since we don’t have transponders in the cars and by the end of the season we were only a couple of tenths of a second behind the front running guys. I think if we continue to keep on working on the car and I keep improving as a driver, we can overcome those final few tenths and be right there.”
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.