Wayne Coury, Jr. Set to Chase Wins and Late Model Championship at Stafford

(Stafford Springs, CT)—The 2024 Late Model season at Stafford Speedway marks the third season together for the driver/owner combination of Wayne Coury, Jr. and Pat Kretschman, Tom Fearn, and Gary Theriault.  Coury has notched a single feature victory in each of the last 2 seasons working with the #10 Springfield Thunderbirds team and after finishing second behind Kevin Gambacorta in the 2023 standings, Coury has his sights set on racking up multiple feature wins in 2024.

Wayne Coury, Jr. Driver Profile

“This will be my third season working together with Pat, Tom, and Gary, and we all want to make sure we’re fast and we can win races,” said Coury.  “While the championship would be the ultimate goal, I think that’s kind of in the back of our minds right now.  Everyone wants to win the championship but first things first, we want to be fast when we first show up to the track and we’d like to have a multi-win season.”

While Coury has won a race in each of the last 2 seasons, his 2022 feature win came in the final race of the season and last season saw Coury and Co. have to wait until August to capture their lone feature victory of the year.  Coury would like to change that around this season and start notching wins right from the start of the season as he did in 2020 when he won the season opener.

“There’s nothing better than getting a win early in the season,” said Coury.  “Back in 2020 before I started racing with Pat and Tom, we won the season opener and it’s nice to be fast right from the start and get a win.  Getting an early season win has been our biggest struggle the past 2 seasons.  2022 was to be expected being my first season working together with Pat and Tom but last year we were kind of surprised that we didn’t come out of the gate a little stronger than we did.  It will be pretty key to start the season off by being strong and fast with the ability to win races.  We’ve been a little behind at the start the last 2 years.  Wins always help to keep the team morale high for everyone.  Last season it took us a while to get to victory lane and everyone starts to get a little antsy and it would be really hard for us to show up all year long and not win a race.  As soon as you win a race it really picks everyone up and brings the energy level up.”

With several new faces as well as returning faces, Coury says that the competition level in the Late Model division will be at an all-time high this season and winning multiple races won’t be an easy task to accomplish.

“I think the competition this season is going to be stiffer than ever,” said Coury.  “There’s a lot of guys who have put tons of work into their equipment and have either brand new or very updated cars.  The division has really stepped up the last couple of seasons and I think you’ll see that again this season.  We had 9 different winners last season and it felt like anyone could have won on any given night and I think it will be like that even more so this season.”

As the 2024 season will be the third year in a row of the partnership between Coury, Kretschman, and Theriault, the team has a great deal of comradery and a lot of fun working with one another, which could be a boost in their quest for multiple wins.

“It’s been really great working with Pat, Tom, and Gary,” said Coury.  “It didn’t take us very long to gel together as a team.  We all get along really well and between my father, brother, and some of the guys we bring with us combining with Pat, Gary, and the guys who help them out along with Tom and his entire crew, they’ve all been really great working with us and helping us out.  I’ve known Pat since I was a teenager going to Riverside Park with my father so it’s been nice to develop a relationship with him and I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.”

While most teams wait until the winter to update and replace parts, Coury and the #10 team unexpectedly went through most of their maintenance in the middle of the 2023 season after a wreck sidelined their primary #10 car and Coury had to drive his own #10 car that he had campaigned in previous seasons.

“Midway through last season we had a bad wreck and we had to use my old car for a couple of weeks so we fixed the car mid-season which made it almost like a new car,” said Coury.  “After we fixed the car it was much faster than it had been, so maybe that bad wreck we had was a blessing in disguise with the speed we found afterwards.  I really have to thank Pat and Gary, without Gary’s help we probably wouldn’t be racing, my father and brother, and everyone else who helps us every week.  For sponsors I’d like to thank Springfield Thunderbirds Hockey, Wayne’s Auto Body, King Gray Coach Lines, Stafford Sand and Gravel, Restore Utility Land Restoration, and Whips Sporting Goods.

The first Late Model feature of the 2024 season will be held as part of the 52nd Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler®, set for April 27-28. The NAPA Spring Sizzler® kicks off on Saturday, April 27th 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®.  Stafford’s Late Model, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program with qualifying and feature racing.

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Sunday, April 28th will play host to the $20,000 to win 52nd NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®.  Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified® and SK Light Modified divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the NAPA Spring Sizzler®.

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