(Stafford Springs, CT)—For Chris Pasteryak and the #75 Dawley’s Collision and Custom Open Modified team, the NAPA Spring Sizzler® at Stafford has proven to be a tough race. In 6 career Sizzler® starts, Pasteryak has five finishes of 16th or worse to go along with his career best 5th place finish in 2009. But with 2 career MRS wins at Stafford and fresh off a 6th place finish in his first race of the 2023 season, Pasteryak is feeling good about his chances at running up front at Stafford in the NAPA Spring Sizzler®.
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“We’re pretty much all ready to go,” said Pasteryak. “We’re going to be at the open practice on the 22nd, and I’m feeling pretty good. It’s a new year and a fresh start and we finished 6th at Thompson so we were kind of happy with that but you can always do better and a top-5 finish would have been better. Our car ran strong all weekend long and strategy didn’t quite play into our hands, but we’ll get another shot at Stafford. We have great support from Dawley’s Collision & Custom, New England Race Fuels, Sunoco, MV Williams Builders of Old Lyme, Vandi Auto Supply, and Stafford House of Pizza so hopefully we can have a good run for all of them.”
Last year’s NAPA Spring Sizzler was a mixed bag for Pasteryak. Pasteryak finished 9th in his NAPA Duel Qualifying race to narrowly earn a starting position in the main event, where he ran in the bottom half of the top-10 after starting 18th before a lap-96 spin relegated him to a 25th place finish. Pasteryak plans on using lessons learned from last year to make adjustments to his #75 car for a better result, but the rest of the field will also be leaning on their experience of one year ago.
“I like the Duel format because you know when you show up to the track on Saturday, you’re going to at least run a feature distance and no matter how it goes, you’re going to get a chance to race your car for more than 10 laps,” said Pasteryak. “Last year I was backing up pretty heavy towards the end of my Duel race so if there was a late caution, I don’t think we would have made it through. We learned that you want the car to be good from laps 30 through 40. Laps 1 through 10 are important and they help set you up, but if the race gets strung out and there’s a long green stretch, you have to make sure you have something at the end that you can still go racing with. I’m pretty sure that everyone else is thinking the same thing after last year’s experience so we’ll have to see how things go this year. It might work out slightly different, but I think that’s what it’s going to take to get your car into the show.”
As for his chances of adding a Sizzler® victory resume, Pasteryak is optimistic, but he also knows that the field is stacked with great drivers that will make taking the Sizzler® trophy home a tall task.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Pasteryak. “You can go right down the list of entries for the Sizzler® and you can start picking out a bunch of guys that if things go right for them, you wouldn’t have to argue too hard about them having a shot to be in victory lane. A Sizzler® win would be huge for us. The Sizzler® is the biggest race that we have, it’s always been one of the biggest races in New England, and I think now it’s the biggest race of the season for any kind of modified. To get your name on that trophy and on the Sizzler® winners list, the track does such a good job of remembering the long history of that race, a win would be amazing. You never know until you get to the track. I think we have a better than average shot at making the race and then we’ll take things from there.”
The 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® kicks off on Saturday, April 29, and will consist of two 40-lap NAPA Duel qualifying races for the Open Modified division. The 40-lap races will each pay $3,500 to win and will set the field for Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models will also make their return to Stafford Speedway on April 29th with a 75-lap feature with over 40 cars expected for the race. Limited Late Model, Street Stock, and Vintage All-Star divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program.
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Sunday, April 30th will play host to the $20,000 to win 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®. Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, and Late Model divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the Spring Sizzler®.
For more information, visit staffordspeedway.com, follow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.