Marvin Minkler Set to Chase First Street Stock Victory in 2024 at Stafford

(Stafford Springs, CT)—After a career best 8th place finish in the 2022 Street Stock standings at Stafford Speedway, Stamford, CT native Marvin Minkler endured a frustrating 2023 season with mechanical issues limiting him to 3 top-10 finishes and an 11th place finish in the standings.  With the winter months bringing about new parts and pieces to Minkler’s #71 Riko’s Pizza car, he is ready to recapture the form he displayed in 2022.

“We feel pretty good,” said Minkler.  “I would certainly think we can get back to [2022] level.  Last year everyone seemed to get better and better each week while we kind of stayed the same.  We started out 2022 very good but this past season we were just ok.  We’ve made a bunch of changes on the car after we went through the new car blues this past year.  Last season it felt like every week we were chasing one problem or another.  It was an all new car and it had a completely different feel that what I was used to.  We had an awful season that reminded me of my very first season at Stafford where all I did was ride around.  It was incredibly disappointing and humbling, but we’ve learned from those things and we’re moving forward.  We’ve updated everything, nut and bolted everything, and we just finished getting the car wrapped, so we’re ready to go with that car and now we’re working on another car.”

Marvin Minkler Driver Profile

While the 2023 season may have been a disappointment for Minkler and his #71 team, they scored one podium finish, a 3rd place finish on Aug. 18. That finish now has Minkler’s sights set on nailing down his first career Street Stock victory.  With both Ryan Waterman and Travis Hydar, who won 13 of the 15 Street Stock races last season both returning, Minkler knows it will be a tough path to take, but he is ready for the challenge.

“We certainly have to put it out there that getting our first win is the top goal for this season,” said Minkler.  “This will be my fifth full season and I’ve had a couple of podium finishes in the past and when you’re consistent with getting podium finishes, the win will come.  I certainly think we’re in the conversation for getting our first win this season.  I think my racing line is my biggest thing for me to correct.  I don’t know why I like the high side and after 5 years of getting it wrong, maybe I’ll get it right this season.  Ryan [Waterman] and Travis [Hydar] are both very well prepared and they’re both very talented.  When you hang out with guys like that, you try to take notice of what they’re doing both on and off the track so you can emulate what they do.  I think having guys like that in the field makes things better and when someone like Chris [Danielczuk] won last year, I thought that was fantastic.”

In addition to his first feature win, Minkler is also looking to get himself back into the top-10 in the Street Stock standings after just missing out in 11th place in 2023.

“I’d like to be in the top-5 in the points but realistically with how competitive the Street Stock division is, I’d be happy getting back into the top-10,” said Minkler.  “I think I should be finishing in the top-10 every week and when you don’t do that, it starts to wear on you a little bit.  One night last season we were coming to the green flag and the shifter broke in my hand.  The car was pretty good that night and when the shifter broke, my first thought was ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’  But you go through things like that and it’s a motivating thing to be humbled like that.”

The 2024 season will mark the fourth consecutive season that Minkler has carried sponsorship from Riko’s Pizza.  Riko’s is a small pizzeria with 5 locations in Connecticut, 2 locations in New York, 2 locations in Florida with a third set to open soon in Miami, and a soon to open location in Charlestown, SC.

“This will be our fourth season together with Riko’s Pizza and we have a great relationship with Riko’s,” said Minkler.  “Riko’s is a great pizza place, they continue to grow, and they do a great job of supporting sports on the high school level here in the community.  I have to recognize Cassandra Harris, she does all my media stuff and she sacrifices the most during the week for me because we live a bit away from Stafford and the shop in Berlin.  I also have to recognize, an organization dedicated to ending veteran suicide and we donate our winnings every week to, whether it’s $5 or $500, CT Oil Kings, my youth hockey team, and BioAmmo.  I also have to thank Paul Varricchio.  I absolutely could not do this without him, he helps me with the car in so many ways and has been a great mentor and friend.  In addition to Paul, I need to give a shout out to the guys turning wrenches back at the shop: Butchie Fosdick, Cam Varricchio, Eric Plagemann, Robert Valerio, and last but not least Bob Fill.”

Minkler’s first opportunity to capture his maiden Street Stock victory will be 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, follow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.