(Stafford Springs, CT)—With only 4 years of quarter midget experience to his racing resume, 15-year old Putnam native Zack Robinson had modest expectations heading into his rookie season of DARE Stock competition at Stafford Motor Speedway. Robinson and his #14 Shipee Solar Panels team had one goal and that was to win R.A.D. Automachine Rookie of the Year honors, which they did by a whopping 116 point margin.
“It feels pretty good,” said Robinson. “We went into the year with the one goal of winning Rookie of the Year. We weren’t hoping for anything in the points and with 3 races to go, we were fifth in points so it became another goal of ours to finish in the top-5 for the season.”
Robinson finished the season fifth in points to check off another accomplishment on his short list of goals for the 2015 season and not only did the team end the season in fifth place, they were one of three DARE Stock rookie teams, joining the #48 team of Marcello Rufrano and the #27 team of Phil Evans, to record a feature win. Since Robinson and the #14 crew had no expectations for where they were going to finish in the points standings, their feature win came as a big but welcome surprise.
“That was a surprise for us,” said Robinson. “That race went green to checkered and Nikki [Chambrello] was in front of me and she was a little slower and I went low into turn 1 and Tyler [Trott] was right there behind me. He followed me around lap after lap and slowly he started disappearing and there were no cautions, so I think we may have gotten a little lucky there. The whole season was above expectations for us. Rookie of the Year was the only goal we had. Once we got a win, we wanted to win another race. It was a little disappointing that we didn’t win again and we got into the backstretch wall with 2 races to go in the season. I think that could have been our lucky night because the car was really fast and there were a couple of other nights but the year was a success for us.”
With his first feature victory and a top-5 finish in the points standings to go along with the Rookie of the Year accolades, Robinson and the #14 team already have their sights set on bigger and better things in 2016, including racing for the championship.
“We’re already talking about what we want to do for next year,” said Robinson. “We’re looking at redoing the whole car and changing a few things on it and we want to run for the championship. Getting a fifth place finish in our first season, I think it’s a realistic goal for us and what other reason is there to be out there racing than to be going for the championship. It took us about 10 races into the season this year to get the car handling and after that we picked right up. I think if we can get the car handling right from the first race we can go from there and have a good chance at the championship. We’re ready for the season to get started already. All we have left to do is to send the motor to R.A.D. to get refreshed and once we do that we’ll be ready to go. I have to thank Shipee Solar Panels, KO Industries, NAPA of Putnam, Bear Paw Sign and Graphics, Hitchcock Pool Water, Bates Auto Parts, NEC Auto Body, Easy Does It Lawn Care, Terry’s Embroidery, Dur-A-Flex Race Bodies, R.A.D. Automachine and John Boyd, my Grandfather, Brother, Mother, Aunt, Grandmother, Tom, Denise, Joe, Mo and Donald for all their help and support this season.”
For winning the 2015 R.A.D. Automachine DARE Stock Rookie of the Year Award, Robinson will take home a $500 bonus from R.A.D. Automachine, which will be paid in $100 increments for the first 5 races of the 2016 season that Robinson attends. Robinson will officially be crowned as the 2015 R.A.D. Automachine Rookie of the Year at the 46th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 20 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor.
Tickets to the 46th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony are $47 per person and can be ordered by calling the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or by downloading an order form from www.staffordspeedway.com and returning the form to the track office.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.