(Stafford Springs, CT)—The 2019 season at Stafford Speedway saw North Haven, CT native John Blake return to the division for the first time since he ran a partial schedule in 2009 and 2010. Blake has run one full season at Stafford back in 2004 and is hoping for big things in his return to full-time competition in 2020 with the #61 Blake Co, LLC Chevrolet.
“I’ve raced one full season and some part time seasons but I’ve always wanted to come back to the Late Model division at Stafford,” said Blake. “I’ve been wanting to get back into the Late Model division and I’m getting older, so I figured this was a good time to start back up again. Hopefully we can be here for a couple years and see what we can do. The first couple races are going to be the most important for us. We’ll be looking to get started with the open practice before the Sizzler to get a good baseline with the new car.”
Blake’s partial schedule of 3 races last season saw him record a best finish of 6th on Sept. 13 to go along with a 12th and 16th place finish. Blake’s results were hampered by the fact that he was campaigning an older chassis, but he has a brand new Johnson Chassis car on the way for his return.
“We came a couple of races last year but the car was an old Tom Fox car and we had nothing but bad luck with things breaking and other stuff,” said Blake. “We have a new Johnson Chassis car for next season and we’ll have all new parts and pieces so hopefully nothing will break. I think those 3 races we ran last year will be a big help for us in that we know what we’re working with. The experience we gained is definitely going to give us something to think about over the winter as we get prepared for 2020. Last year we drove from last up to third before finishing 6th and then we started 13th and finished 12th so we didn’t go forward, but we learned the changes we made on the car didn’t work so we figured out what not to do with the car.”
Blake plans to maintain 2 cars during the 2020 season in order to help ensure that he doesn’t miss a week should he encounter any mishaps.
“We’re going to have 2 cars for this season,” said Blake. “We’ll have our old car and the new Johnson car. I work a lot during the summer and that limits me to how much I can work on the car during the week. If something should happen and one of the cars gets banged up and we can’t get the car ready for the next week, we can bring our other car to the track the following week.
For his return to full-time competition, Blake is looking to be a competitive car each week and he would like to end the season in the top-10 in the points standings.
“I’m not coming to the track to run last, that’s for sure,” said Blake. “It would be a little far fetched for me to say we’re coming to win the Spring Sizzler but we’re definitely not looking to be running around at the back of the pack. I did that once before and it wasn’t much fun. I’ve got a couple of guys, Chris, Mike, Ernie, and Steven, to help me and Joe Brockett is going to help me with the car, so I’m hoping we can have a very good year. If we could finish the year in the top-10, that would be a great year.”
The off-season has found Blake to be a very busy man as he has been working to turn his wood shop into a race shop and with that task completed, he is waiting on delivery of his new Johnson Chassis so that he can get started preparing the car for the 2020 NAPA Spring Sizzler® on April 24-26.
“We’re going to start counting down the days to the Sizzler once the new year hits,” said Blake. “I just converted my wood shop into a race shop for the 2 cars and we’re ready to get the new car in the shop and we can get started getting things ready for the season.”
The 2020 Late Model season kicks off with the 49th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® on April 24-26. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now by calling the Speedway Box Office 860-684-2783 or online at www.staffordspeedway.com.
For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.