(Stafford Springs, CT)—After a year away from racing, Chaplin native Danny Cates will return to Stafford Speedway’s premier SK Modified® division for the 2016 season. Cates previously ran an SK Modified® at Stafford in 2012 and 2013, and he finished 5th and 9th in the points standings in those two seasons with one career feature victory. Cates will return with longtime crew chief Steve McCarthy serving as his car owner and he has his eyes set on getting back into NAPA Victory Lane after his layoff.
“I’m wicked excited about coming back,” said Cates. “Last year was the first year I’ve had off from racing since I was about 8 or 9 years old. I had a fun year helping Timmy Solomito out on the Tour and my wife and I had our first child and it’s been a blast with our daughter. I was looking all last year for a way to get back into it without going full bore and buying everything myself like I was doing before. Steve came up with this deal and I’ve worked with Steve for the past 10 or 12 years and we’re really more friends than crew chief and driver. It’s going to be pretty much the same combination I’ve had the last couple of years that I’ve raced only Steve is now the car owner. That will allow me to concentrate a little more on the racing and having fun instead of having to worry about paying bills. I’m real excited to be working with Steve again.”
While Cates’ car will carry his familiar #26, Stafford fans will have seen the car in action as the #84 with Joey Cipriano behind the wheel. Cates is confident that he’ll have a good piece under him for the 2016 season and although that means he will have to get to grips with a new chassis, he is excited about the opportunity that lies ahead.
“I put something on Facebook that I could bring a motor if someone had a car,” said Cates. “Steve texted me and asked if that applied to him as well, which caught me off guard a little because I didn’t figure that he was interested in being a car owner. We got serious about things towards the end of the season and he bought the car from Joey Cipriano, I got the motor, and there’s no reason why we can’t be competitive right off the bat. I’m used to driving Troyer cars but I’m looking forward to trying a Chassis Dynamics car out since they seem to get around Stafford pretty good and I’ve never run a CD car at Stafford before. Joey always had that car running good so I don’t think there should be much of a curve to get the car back up to speed. I think the car will probably be better than me that first week because Steve is great at having the car ready to go and it might take me a week or two to get back in the full swing of things. If we could get some top-5’s that would be great but we want to keep things fun. We’re all looking to get to victory lane.”
Cates and the rest of the SK Modified® class of 2016 will get their first on track experience of the new year in a 45 lap feature at 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.