Tyler Leary To Join SK Modified Roster At Stafford Speedway For 2019

Tyler Leary

Friday nights are going to be getting much busier in 2019 at Stafford Motor Speedway for Tyler Leary.

As he has done for the last three years, the Hatfield, Mass. driver will go chasing Late Model wins weekly at Stafford in his family owned ride, but he’ll be modifying his schedule a bit to add in a second ride.

Leary will join the ranks of the SK Modified division at Stafford in 2019. Leary will replace Josh Wood in the Don Wood owned No. 24 SK Modified. Todd Owen will continue to oversee preparation of the car.

“Absolutely ecstatic,” Leary told RaceDayCT. “I’m honestly kind of speechless. This kind of came out of nowhere this whole deal … We met with Donny and Todd [Monday] night at Todd’s shop and it’s a done deal. … It’s absolutely incredible.”

It will be a whole new world for Leary, who has never driven an open wheel car.

“I’ve never even sat in a Modified, I’ve never even set foot in one,” Leary said. “Because of the motor package that Stafford runs, I don’t think the horsepower will be an issue. I think it will be getting feel for how hard you can drive these cars into the corner and how much side bite and forward bite they have. I think it’s just going to be handling to tell you the truth. I think it’s going to take me a while to get a feel for the bigger brakes and the faster cornering and all that kind of stuff. There’s definitely a little bit more power and a lot more rubber.”

Leary, who finished second in the Late Model standings in 2018 at Stafford, says he has the support of his team to keep campaigning the Late Model in addition to running the SK Modified.

“We’re going to keep chugging along,” Leary said. “I’ve got enough guys who are dedicated enough. … Guys who are going to take their time and put it into the Late Model, this way I can try to focus more on the Modified. That’s the goal. I’m going to try focus on the Modified and give Todd and his crew and those guys as much feedback as I can. And my side of the crew will take care of the Late Model.

“It will definitely be a tough task for a little while to get used to hopping from one car to another. And it might not last. When I told Todd last night that we were planning on doing both he kind of gave me and my dad a funny look and he said ‘You won’t want to very long.’ We’re going to try it and if it goes downhill and we find ourselves focused too much on one or the other then the Late Model goes. But for now we’re going to try to do both.”

Leary, who had two Late Model victories in 2017, had 14 top-five’s at Stafford in 2018 and was the only driver to finish in the top-10 in all 21 events. But going winless on the season was a source of frustration.

“It was very stressful,” Leary said. “I can’t even begin to say how stressful it was. I hate to say this, but it brought a bad mood between me and my dad a lot of times. On Saturdays or Sundays we’d argue and bicker back and forth on what we could do. It’s not like it was for lack of trying or any of that stuff. We worked hard on the car. … Everyone in this never gave up and we just kept pushing, but it was a very frustrating feeling knowing we put everything we had into it and we couldn’t pull off a win, not just for me, but for me team and my sponsors and all the people around me.”


  1. Great news for Tyler. Wondering why Josh isn’t driving though. Don Wood is a great guy, where most would park, or sell the equipment, he’s giving Tyler a chance to move up to the SK division. But again hopefully everything is ok with Josh, kind of weird for him not to be driving.

  2. I think Josh is pursuing a career in Law Enforcement. I could be wrong, Shawn???

  3. Paul, last I knew Josh was a dispatcher for the Springfield Massachusetts. police , so you may be correct. Just hope it’s not due to illness or injury. Both Josh, and his dad Don are great people and hope for nothing but the best for both.

  4. The stories about driver changes are always fun. The stories give the basics and we tend to gravitate to the superficial things we gleen from far away.
    But one component that the stories rarely mention and that is none of our business is the money end. Monster Series guys aren’t the only ones that need to bring something besides driving to the table.
    In this case taking a guy with zero modified experience probably has a money component that may be the over riding reason for his choice. Leary’s cars are always magnificently prepared it appears from 50 feet and he comes a long way to race at Stafford. Superficially it looks like he has substantial resources to bring to the new partnership. Maybe it’s all about money.
    Or not.

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