Ryan Waterman Streaks to 2023 Stafford Street Stock Championship

(Stafford Springs, CT)—The 2023 season at Stafford Speedway played host to an epic championship fight in its Street Stock division.  The two main protagonists in the championship story were defending track champion Travis Hydar and Ryan Waterman.  Hydar came into the season with 13 career wins in 5 seasons while Waterman had yet to win after making 13 total starts over 4 different seasons.  Waterman had a conversation with his car owner Nick Bendiak over the winter that led to them building a new car that not only won the first race of the season, but 5 of the first 7 races.

“I had raced the car that Nick [Bendiak] had owned several times over the years, making one or two starts a season because Nick had gone to Stafford with his father and he likes Stafford,” said Waterman.  “The car that Nick owned just wasn’t what we needed to win so during the winter I told him we needed to build a new car and that’s what we did and we knew we could start the year off strong.”

Originally Waterman and Bendiak had plans to only run 10 races but with such a strong start to the season, Waterman and Bendiak decided to stick it out to see what they could do and that decision led to them taking down the championship.

“We wanted to just get at least one win so I would have a win at all 3 Connecticut tracks and once we won that first race we had to keep on going,” said Waterman.  “We were only supposed to do 10 races but I kept telling Nick that we had to keep on going since we were winning races and leading the points.  The saying is once you get one, more come easy and that’s definitely true with racing.  It was pretty incredible and we just kind of said let’s keep on going and have fun like it’s supposed to be.”

Waterman’s season was statistically one of the most dominant championship runs seen in any division in Stafford’s long and storied history.  Waterman won 7 of the 15 Street Stock races held this season and with 4 second place and 1 third place finish to go along with those 7 wins, Waterman finished on the podium in 12 of the 15 races for an average finish of 3.1.  In any other year those numbers would have allowed Waterman to lap the field in the standings but Hydar was just as strong as Waterman in pursuit of what would have been his second consecutive championship.  Hydar won 6 times and finished second 6 more times to give him 12 podium finishes for the season and an average finish of 3.5.

“It was a blast racing with Travis,” said Waterman.  “I feel like it was respectfully hard racing and Travis had a lot more experience than I do at Stafford and I think we each picked up some tricks from each other during the season.  Towards the end of the year, I just had to be smart and finish races somewhat close to Travis.  I knew all I had to do was the best that I could even if that meant finishing second.  It’s all pretty unreal still that we’re champions.  It means the world and it proves that when you put a good car and crew together you can get it done.  We’re like a family team and a big thank you to Nick and his wife Mel, I probably wouldn’t have even raced at Stafford this year if they didn’t want me to race their car.  Thanks also to my Dad, my brother Troy, my fiancé Megan, my son Ryan Jr., Zack Robinson, Chad Baxter, Matt Lowinski-Low, Fairway Independent Mortgage, Mike Rogers Crew, Edward G. Roy Trucking, and Cas Custom Interiors, RAD Auto Machine, Gaston Racing, and American Signs.”

The official 2023 Championship videos are available to watch on Stafford’s YouTube and Facebook pages.  Visit youtube.com/staffordspeedway or facebook.com/StaffordMotorSpeedway to see the championship videos as well as videos with the top-5 finishers in each of Stafford’s 5 weekly divisions.

Watch Ryan Waterman’s 2023 Championship Video

For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.