Teddy Hodgdon Joins SK Light Modified Division At Stafford Speedway For 2018

(Press Release from Stafford Motor Speedway)

Teddy Hodgon (Photo: Courtesy Teddy Hodgon Racing)

As teams are busy preparing for the 2018 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season, one driver who can’t wait to get started is Danbury native Teddy Hodgdon.  The 16 year old driver will make the move from Legend Cars competition into the SK Light division where he will challenge for R.A.D. Auto Machine Rookie of the Year honors.

“I’m all fired up and I’m ready to get started on the next chapter of my racing career,” said Hodgdon.  “We did pretty well in the Legend Cars and hopefully we can do just as well as we did in the Legend Cars with the SK Light car.  I would like to win Rookie of the Year this season and if we could get a win, that would be amazing.  I’m not really setting high goals for myself, I’m more focused on learning the car and trying to set my plans for the future.”

Instead of his familiar #28 that he has carried throughout his entire racing career, Hodgdon will race in the SK Lights with the #55.  Hodgdon has sponsorship from Montanari Fuel and Champion Spark Plugs and it was the connection through Montanari Fuel that saw Hodgdon land the number 55 for the 2018 season.

“It’s a pretty cool story about how we settled on the number 55,” said Hodgdon.  “Back in the day when my father was going to races at Danbury Arena, Andy Montanari was his favorite driver and he drove the #55 car.  My dad still has a photo of him and his sister standing next to Andy’s #55 car and with him coming on board with us this season, we’re going to run the #55 as a tribute to Andy.  Montanari Fuel has a rich racing history and I’m glad to be partnered with them this season along with Champion Spark Plugs.  It’s pretty cool to come full circle and have Montanari Fuel supporting me this season and to have their name on the car.  I also have to thank Ness Auto, State Cutters, and my entire family for all of their support.  It’s been my dream to go racing and they’ve been able to support my dream.”

Although Hodgdon enters the SK Light ranks with 9 seasons of competition under his belt at Stafford, the 2018 season will be the first time he turns laps around the half-mile.  Hodgdon’s Stafford experience has all come driving around the mini-mile in the Wild Thing Kart ranks as well as with the Legend Cars from 2014-2016.  Hodgdon has several championships to his name with a Wild Thing Karts Tiger Sprint championship in 2011 and this past season saw Hodgdon win the Road Course World Championship in the Legend Cars ranks.  Hodgdon knows he faces a big learning curve, but with his past experience he is ready to tackle the challenge of moving into the SK Lights for the 2018 season.

“We took our Legend Car over to Finland to compete against the best drivers in the world and we had a blast,” said Hodgdon.  “I’ve been in open wheel my whole life so it’s not really going to be anything different, it’s just a bigger car and a different challenge.  It’s going to be an exciting year for sure trying to learn all I can about modifieds.  The modifieds are all tire while the legend car is all about throttle management, so it’s going to be a completely different turnaround in my driving style.  I’ve seen guys come up from the Legends to SK Lights and run up front in their first couple of races, so why not me too?”

In order to help prepare for his rookie campaign, Hodgdon will be looking to the virtual world of iRacing to help him get a head start on how to best get around Stafford behind the wheel of an open wheel modified machine.

“I’m going to fire up my iRacing here in a couple of weeks to start practicing so hopefully that will be a big help for me,” said Hodgdon.  “It’s such a huge advantage to be able to do that.  I remember my first year of Legends I was going down to Charlotte for a Summer Shoot-Out race and I fired up that track on iRacing and once I got down there, it was just like it felt on the computer, the iRacing was so realistic.  I’m also going to be watching some YouTube videos of Stafford to see what I can learn.  The iRacing only helps so much and with video, you can see where guys are letting off and getting back on the gas and Stafford is such a unique track you can’t really compare it to any other half-mile track across the country.”

If the iRacing and YouTube videos don’t give Hodgdon all the assistance he needs, he has two more aces up his sleeve.  The car that Hodgdon and his family bought was the #6 machine that Cory DiMatteo drove to the 2017 SK Light championship and they will have 2017 SK Modified® champion Keith Rocco helping them out with car setup.

“Since we know how good Cory ran with the car we should have a good piece underneath us and especially since we’re working with Keith Rocco, he’s going to give us a lot of help and that should be a big advantage for us going into the Spring Sizzler,” said Hodgdon.  The little things that he can do to the car that we don’t really know about yet should be a big help so hopefully he can steer us in the right direction.”

Hodgdon will make his SK Light debut at the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on April 27-29.  Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office.  Tickets are priced at $40.00 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 seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages.  As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.  All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission.  All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.

For more information on the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.


  1. It’s a brave new world out there in racing. Another kid with family money, buying the best, getting the best advice and getting experience watching interactive video’s. SK Lights making it possible to skip the Street Stocks and LLM and go right to their passion. And it works with all the kids barely shaving once a week doing really well. Well meaning being competitive and not causing an a high number of bonehead crashes. Youth, can’t have a future without it. This geezer totally doesn’t get it but if they fill out the fields in any division all I can say is welcome aboard mate.

  2. Just Wondering says

    I second the thought Doug has. The motorsports world will die if we can keep the youth involved. IMO it is much better having kids involved in motorsports as a driver or crew member than watching them playing with video games and becoming snowflakes that are afraid of a little work and getting their hands dirty.

  3. Gone are the days of buying a lower priced starter car to get your feet wet. Everybody thinks their kid is the next Jeff Gordon. There is more money in the Sk lites than any other division. Parents will pay for $40,000 car,spend the $1000 a week for the best people to work on it. All in a division that pays $300 to win and $50 to start. It is totally out of control, but crew chiefs,engine builders,chassis builders are all laughing on the way to the bank.

  4. I’ll take my out of touch racing knowledge one step further. I want these guys to spend time learning welding and chassis fabrication and spending endless hours with their car on grain scales changing springs and set ups and talking notes. For many those days are done. They’re getting Rocco or Owen or Fluckiger to do the set up and they’re using interactive video and concentrating on driving technique. Ryan Fearn in Racer Kid made that point very clear. Times change.

  5. Now, along with all this money that is coming into racing in the lower ranks especially, it is up to the tracks and their inspection teams to keep them all honest. It is tough for the lesser funded teams to compete against the trick of the week.

  6. Times have changed, when I started racing we built our own engines cut the body off a junk car (pinto or vega) and borrowed a trailer. The cost of a race night was maybe $100. Bought improvements with my winnings. Now the cars roll into the pits with $30k truck and trailer.

  7. Endless white box trailers that block the view of kids that used to be able to see what goes on behind the scenes and imagine themselves owning and racing a car. It is strange how keeping up with the Jones’s affects racing in that guys just seem embarrassed to use open trailers.

  8. I.put the $$$$$ up for ten cars
    I.got seven million

  9. James Scott says

    Doug….I agree. When I raced just qualifying was a victory in itself. My cars were junk yard parts, home built motors, home repaired. I would still kill for the chances these kids get. However there are some who work hard in the shop.

  10. Amen James. The kids with money are becoming more common but as you say there are still plenty of old school guys out there scraping by on their brains and hard work. I never built an engine but I built the cars I raced and a couple for others and those skills have given me a lifetime of enjoyment. I just think some of the kids are missing a learning experience in the trades.

  11. “Times change.”

    Exactly… Want to see young people who love motorsport? Hit a Rallycross, road course, or the Wicked Big Meet at Stafford. There are lots of young people playing with cars, just not V8 RWD with carbs. They’re playing with ECU maps, turbos, and AWD.

    When we grew up, I’m 52, everyone played with and built off of muscle car starting points. We watched oval and drag racing because that’s what we could see. We played with those cars because they were often cheap and parts were plentiful. Those cars aren’t easily available any more, and they usually handle like crap compared to what’s out there today. All kinds of left-right-left-uphill-downhill competition is available to see on TV and the internet, like F1, IMSA, Indycar when not on ovals, Aussie Supercar, Rally, British and German touring cars, etc…

    Lots of kids have also messed around with iRacing or some other sim, and we have some decent karting facilities nearby. Ovals aren’t that much fun for a lot of folks who’ve tried other track layouts.

    Unfortunately, many folks who are my age and older, and die hard NASCAR fans of any age, instantly disparage even the notion of a hot rodded Subaru, Honda, or Mazda. Sure, I’ve seen plenty of rolling wrecks with cut springs, spray can painted mirrors, fake recovery hooks, and decals, but I saw plenty of the same level of junk when I was in high school, just on different cars.

    I’ve always wondered if building up opportunities to race mini-stocks might get more young people bitten by the circle track bug.

  12. All I’ll say is that is one of the best, most insightful comments I’ve read recently in this forum. Thanks Barry.

  13. Not sure if you old guys realize but there’s a lot of young people in the sport right now. Just run down Stafford final SK and SK Light points
    SK Mods – 11 of top 20 under the age of 25 (or around there)
    SK Light – 10 of top 20 – under the age of 25 (or around there)
    I know everyone who post on here lives to complain about the “state of short track racing” but look around, a lot of young drivers in CT.

  14. I guess you’d be one of us as well ModFan complaining about the complainers. I don’t know what comments you homed in on but the theme of the responses has been about young people racing now and how their approach has changed. True, true and true your observation about the young guys populating the modified divisions. The Late Model, LLM and Street Stock may be youngish too and the field woefully anemic as well. What are your thoughts on that? Young people but not enough of them. And what are your thoughts on the aging demographic of the crowds and their reduced numbers over the years. The fact that young people drive Subaru’s, Honda’s and Toyota’s and there are no cars in the field they can even relate to. Waterford has the X cars that young people relate to. Be nice to see that at Stafford some day or Mini Stocks.

  15. Ben & Eileen Dover says

    We all talk about the purse in this divission being so stupidly low but let me ask all you critics a question… Why would Stafford make it any higher???
    when you have a kid like this with parents who are ready to spend a minimum of $70k to run the season they don’t need to!! Why should they raise the purse?

  16. Old man racer says

    While there is no shortage of young drivers, take a look in the stands or pits. Alost anybody turning a wreck is over 50 yrs. old. When I first got my driver’s licence, I went to at least one race a week. Either with my friends or on a date. Now if you see a kid in the stands, they are younger and came with their parents. How many high school kids are spectators?

  17. Old man racer says

    Turning a wrench. Damn autocorrect.

  18. First of all, best of luck to Teddy in modifieds! He was fun to watch in Legends.


    I’ve been a season pass holder for years at Stafford and I’ll agree there are some young folks racing. Everyone is not old, but the overall average and vibe has definitely trended more gray and bald… Many of the young drivers are legacies, with parents or grand parents who raced or crewed circle tracks.

    Check out this video of the 2017 Wicked Big Meet, which took place at SMS, and look at the people in general attendance, not only the people competing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwWL0CyDjEY

    Next, look at the grid walk and crowd shots from the 2017 IMSA Northeast Grand Prix from the other end of CT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOr1Ff5ZEYA

    I LOVE short track circle racing and would love to see more of the folks like you see above sitting in my section sharing my enjoyment.

    Cars that resonate more closely with what they own and drive, easy paddock access, more sharing of tech and rule details, and maybe better access to live timing and scoring and maybe running penalties (a NASCAR All-American Series or even a Stafford Speedway smartphone app?) could go a long way to attracting new faces. Maybe even a parking lot car corral or three for fans to show off their rides…

    Did I mention race day tickets to the IMSA race started at $100, corrals cost extra, and you have to bring your own chair? ;^)

  19. What I’ll add to the above is seasonality. On the season fringes, inclement weather you see we geezers filtering in more prominently and taking our customary seats. Many greeting each other who frequent the races. As opposed to the warm balmy, mid summer nights where the crowds are stronger and age range broader. For the first timers the Street Stocks, LLM and Late Models are pretty much the same. Big, old and what their parents may have driven.

  20. The SK Lite may give the guy the opportunity to race against more cars, race at more tracks, and more places to get the car from. I am not sure the Stafford Late Models, LLM. or Street Stocks can be run at any other track because of the rules they have.

  21. Late Models maybe. LLM and Street stocks not a chance. LLM have no peer at any other track and Stafford with their 3.5 whatever Street Stock gear rule pretty much make crossover impossible.

  22. I agree with everyone. Gone are the days when you when to the junkyard pulled out a 79 Malibu or Monte took it home added a cage built your own motor threw some of them good ugly white wagon wheels on it painted a number on the door loaded it on your open trailer with the tire rack built of exaust tubing gabbed a few buddies and a cooler of beer and went racing and.. we’re competitive. Now like someone said your talking around 70 grand just to build a car and a 36 foot goosneck trailer seems to be coming the norm. Most of these kids wouldn’t even know what a torque wrench is or how to use it. I believe if a kid wants to race he should know the mechanical side of things and how to fabricate and so on especially if this kid whants to make a career in racing because at the rate things are going soon drivers will be retired at 35. Then what do they do?

  23. I blame the parents they can be just as competitive sitting in the stands ( in any sport)as the kid driving the car. I remember in my childhood my dad’s friend had a modified and ran at Stafford. Every Friday night we would go to the races and I would stand by the pit fence watching my dad work on the car. You could do that back then because everyone hauled their car on an open trailer behind a pickup truck. Point being I dreamed of someday driving a race car later in life I worked with a team but never drove. Now a kid wants to race and 9 times out of 10 mom and dad foot the bill and the kid does nothing but drive sometimes turning out to be a great driver sometimes not so much But I still blame the parents for not making the kid work for it

  24. A new chapter in your racing career Teddy. Good luck, be safe, enjoy every minute of it.

  25. Geoff Nooney says

    Just a kind reply…..there are many guys out there who dont have 70k budgets in that division. Many. But you know what if you finish well, the money atleast helps get you rolling for the next week.

  26. Geoff Nooney says

    The other way to look at it is, if somebody spends 70k to run a light, thats their problem.

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