(Stafford Springs, CT)—After a season of partial rides on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the Valenti Modified Racing Series, and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, Ridgefield native and 2003 Whelen Modified Tour Champion Todd Szegedy will return to full-time WMT status behind the wheel of Bob Garbarino’s famed #4 Mystic Missile machine. Garbarino has won championships and Spring Sizzlers with Donny Lia and Bobby Santos, III as his drivers and Szegedy is relishing the opportunity to drive Garbarino’s car.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Szegedy. “I’m glad I stayed in it because I could have easily said I’m taking the year off and separate from racing but I didn’t. I ran for Kevin Stuart on the MRS and had a great opportunity to drive for Rob Fuller on the Tour. I also drove a couple of races for Bill Park at Riverhead, so I ran almost 30 races total last year. I think that really helped me a lot and it was a big benefit to stay in it. An opportunity with Bob came along and who wouldn’t want to drive his car? The Mystic Missile has a lot of history and Bob has a lot of history on the Tour. It’s an amazing opportunity and I want to go out and have a good time, finish races, and leave the track knowing I did the best that I could. It’s definitely an honor that Bob chose me to drive his car and I want to make the best of the opportunity.”
Another feather in Szegedy’s cap will be reuniting with Don Barker, who he won a championship with back in 2003. Barker will serve as Szegedy’s crew chief and Szegedy thinks they can be successful right away.
“To cap things off, Don Barker is going to crew chief the car,” said Szegedy. “Don and I have stayed in contact through the years even when we weren’t racing together. I consider him a great friend and he’s a very smart guy. He’s really knowledgeable about these cars and I really think we’re going to have a good year. I believe we can be a contender. The equipment is there, the will to succeed is there, and the team has a lot of experience. I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been to go out and win races and to win a championship. It’s going to be difficult because we’ll be up against a lot of tough competition but that’s never scared me before. I’m up for the challenge and the only thing we can do is go out there and do the best we can. If things go our way, we will be a contender for wins and for the championship. We just have to make the right decisions and the right calls and we’ll see what happens at the end of the year.”
When it comes to the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, Szegedy has compiled a stellar career record. In 13 Sizzler starts, Szegedy has posted 6 top-5 and 7 top-10 finishes, with a best finish of second on three different occasions. Szegedy has finished second behind Ted Christopher in 2006 and 2009 and he had perhaps his best Sizzler run in 2007 when he drove from 22nd up to second behind Donny Lia, who was driving Garbarino’s #4 car. Matching his personal success up with Garbarino’s success in the Sizzler, Szegedy thinks he had a very good chance at taking the checkered flag in this year’s edition of “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.”
“I’ve been very fortunate that every race car I’ve gotten into has been a car with an opportunity to win,” said Szegedy. “The Sizzler is definitely on my list of races to win but I want to win at every race track. I’m thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity, it’s nice to know that people still believe in me. I think that the races I did for Rob last year really helped me out tremendously. I had no idea if I would be racing this season just a couple weeks ago, so I’m extremely excited and I’m very motivated. I’m looking forward to getting back to the track and I always look forward to Stafford because it’s one of my favorite tracks. I think my performance with Rob Fuller was the reason why I got the ride with Bob. It’s tough for me to really nail down one particular Sizzler memory, but I’m hoping that by this time next year I can say that my favorite Sizzler memory was winning the race in 2015.”
While Szegedy has a busy 2015 planned, he doesn’t yet have anything lined up for the SK Modified® division. Szegedy drove one race for Steve Greer last season and he says if an opportunity came along to drive an SK, he would jump at the chance.
“I have no plans for an SK this year,” said Szegedy. “If an opportunity were to come along, I would definitely do it. I always enjoy racing SK’s and last year they had the best racing I’ve seen in years in the SK Modified® division.”
Szegedy will begin his quest for his first NAPA Spring Sizzler victory with practice and Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, April 25th as part of the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler. The 200-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler will run on Sunday, April 26 at approximately 3:15pm following the NAPA Pit Party from 11am-12noon and the SK Modified® and Late Model feature events beginning at 1pm. 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.