(Stafford Springs, CT)—If past history is anything to go by, then this Friday night’s Valenti Modified Racing Series 80 at Stafford Speedway will most likely be won by a driver who is either a current weekly racer or a former weekly racer. One driver who will be aiming to buck that trend is Grantham, NH native Mike Willis, Jr. The driver of the #83 Spirit of Alaska Wilderness Adventures Chevrolet has quietly made a name for himself when the VMRS visits Stafford.
In the 8 VMRS races held at Stafford from 2015-2017, Willis has posted 7 top-10 finishes with two podium efforts among those top-10’s. With a new Troyer chassis at his disposal, Willis is looking forward to hitting the track this Friday for the VMRS 80 and excited about his chances at winning the race.
“I’m really excited for this Friday at Stafford, especially with our new Troyer car which we haven’t had a chance to run at Stafford yet,” said Willis. “I think we’ve learned a lot about the car since we ran it down at New Smyrna and everything we’ve learned about the car has translated well to the tracks we’ve run so far. We finished third in points with only one finish out of the top-10 at New Smyrna so we’re looking forward to coming back to Stafford. The car has been going real well so far.”
The 2018 season has gotten off to a great start for Willis and the #38 team with top-10 finishes in each of the first three VMRS races of the year. Willis’ on track results have gotten better each race; 10th at Thompson, 6th at Monadnock, and 5th at Waterford. Willis will be looking to continue his upward trend this Friday night at Stafford.
“We’ve been improving each race so far this year,” said Willis. “We finished 10th in the first race and then we had a 6th and a 5th and I think we could have been even better at Waterford. Stafford is a lot of fun so we’re looking to keep our good runs going. I think I’ve learned more at Stafford than any other track we race besides Claremont where I have 4 years experience in the crate division. I always look forward to going to Stafford, it’s a lot of fun and it’s a great environment.”
Willis is still in search of his first career VMRS win and he says that a win at Stafford would be huge for both himself and his team. But in order to park his #83 machine in NAPA Victory Lane, he knows he will have to contend with the likes of Keith Rocco, Woody Pitkat, Rowan Pennink, and Anthony Nocella.
“If you can run in the top-5 or top-3, you have a chance at winning any race,” said Willis. “A win at Stafford would be huge for us, especially with all the strong competition with guys like Keith Rocco, Rowan Pennink, and Anthony Nocella. It definitely took me a while to learn the track. We really struggled at Stafford during my rookie year and I think we didn’t finish a race at Stafford that year. Now we finally have a handle on the track and knowing the line around the track really helps during the heat races which helps get us a better starting position and run with the guys who have experience at Stafford.”
The Valenti Modified Racing Series will take to the track this Friday, May 18 with qualifying beginning at 6:30pm. Stafford’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will also be in action. Tickets for this event are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seat tickets are $32.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles.
For the 28th consecutive season, the month of May is Youth Organization Month at Stafford. All children 14 & under are admitted FREE when wearing a youth organization team shirt or uniform. Children must be accompanied by a paying adult.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.