Marvin Minkler Ready For Sophomore Street Stock Season At Stafford

(Press release from Stafford Speedway)

Marvin Minkler came to Stafford Speedway’s Street Stock division last season as a rookie driver with virtually zero racing experience.  After posting three top-10 finishes in 15 starts last season, Minkler is ready to take his #71 CT Oil Kings Chevrolet to the next step and start posting some top-5 finishes.

“Last year was my first season without having any prior experience so I knew it was going to be a huge learning curve and there was tons of learning both on the track and in the shop,” said Minkler.  “Last year our goal was to get track time, finish races, and get some top-10 finishes, which wasn’t very often but we hovered around 10th all year.  This year we’d like to start getting some top-5 finishes and maybe then we can start to be in the conversation about getting a win, but I’m a realist and I know I have to crawl before I can walk.”

Minkler got a late start to last season, purchasing a car in March, less than 2 months away from the season opener.  With the late start, Minkler quickly got his #71 car together so he could race but as the season wore on, he found several things that weren’t right and hasspent the winter fixing the car so it will be practically brand new when the curtain is raised on the 2020 season.

“We’ve updated everything on the car this winter,” said Minkler.  “I purchased the car in late March last season so it was a scramble just to get it on the track.  There were a lot of things that were bent so we’ve done a complete rebuild with a new rear clip, new rear end, and the car just got back from powder coating.  Not being a guy who grew up around cars, it’s been a lot of fun to get under the car and turn a wrench and learn what’s going on.”

In order for Minkler to meet his 2020 goals, he will have to contend with a new rules package for the Street Stock division that sees the cars add a Ford 9” rear end and the removal of restrictor plates from the engines.  With the new rules in place, Minkler feels like handling will become a big factor in determining who is running up front and winning races during the season.

“I think everyone has a lot to learn with the new package we have with the Ford 9 inch rear end and no restrictor plates,” said Minkler.  “The experienced drivers will probably adapt quicker than the newer drivers, so I’d look for a lot of the same faces from last season to be on the podium again this season.  With the plates on the car last season, there wasn’t a big threat of spinning the tires so I think this season will be more about having throttle control and drivers will have to work on the handling of their cars a little more than in the past.”

One area that Minkler needs to work on in 2020 is his consistency.  Minkler finished 11th or 12th in 9 of his 15 starts last season and with some extra consistency, those near top-10 finishes will start turning into top-10’s and get him closer to his goal of top-5 finishes.

“If we can get in the top-10 every week and be close to the top-5, that would be a good season for us,” said Minkler.  “I have to work on my consistency this season.  Last year, I’d have a really good lap time one lap and then I would fall off the next lap, which was a byproduct of being a rookie.  If I can be a little more consistent, we can run with the drivers who are up front rather than hanging with them for a couple of laps before fading backwards.”

Minkler is working on nailing down sponsorship this season to go along with CT Oil Kings  and he is very grateful to the Rent a Racecar team for all their advice and help maintaining his #71 car.

“Right now I’m working on sponsors for this season,” said Minkler.  “My car is kept at the Rent A Racecar shop and Paul Varricchio and all the guys at Rent A Racecar do a ton of work on the car and they help point me in the right direction so I’m very grateful for all their help.”

The 2020 Street Stock season begins in earnest 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

For more information, visit, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

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  1. Neither the restrictor plate elimination nor the Ford rear end will have any real affect on any of the teams after the first practices of the season. They’re racing around on that one drive wheel anyway that’s like trying to run on ice so a bit more throttle response directed at one wheel loses a lot of its punch.
    Please no more about the high cost of racing. Some care I’m sure but most don’t. Sending a Street Stock out for powder coating. What’s that cost? Why not just get a cheap HVLP paint gun at Harbor Freight, With the gun, paint and reducer you could do it for under a $100 and throw the gun away after. You could be putting the car back together the same day. It’s a Street Stock for Pete’s sake. A car designed to be wrecked not a show car.
    Powder coating, enclosed trailers and the $30,000 truck to pull it all. Multi car SK Light teams. A lot of racing now is just keeping up with the Jones’s. Andrew Moeller has given up on Spafco and figuring set ups out on their own it would appear. The family team is leasing a new TA3.5 from guess who……..KRR. Looks like Rocco’s KRR cars and Owen’s Chassis Pro entries will comprise over 25% of the SK field. Rocco did a full mockery of the kids driving race cars now that know nothing of building and setting up cars and he’s the one making a buck off the very ones he mocks. Sure Keith it was a cute bit to open an episode of The Show at Stafford Speedway taking a shot at Ronnie Williams but you shot your own toe off in the process.
    Something is afoot at Stafford that looks good but isn’t healthy for racing. It’s the concentration of racing knowledge in fewer providers of racing equipment and teams doing less on their own. Looking not unlike Cup racing where limited teams provide engines and equipment for the less well funded and a belief that you need to use the equipment to have a chance to win. All with a backdrop of fewer people at regular Friday night shows and a reliance on specials to make it all worth it. A business model that is unsustainable in my view no matter how committed and capable the Stafford management is.
    I think I see the future. It’s one where like New Smyrna the owner is running around trying to make sure the concessions have not run out. Great car counts and full stands on several nights and almost an immediate disclosure of plans for the following year. It’s a future of opens and specials throughout the Summer and regular show fading to non existence. Different but not necessarily bad.
    You think Thompson is an isolated case? Stafford is the remaining dominant player in an industry that is declining at worst or changing at best. Many of us think the track has to attract new patrons to the full schedule of offerings that has existed for decades. Maybe the market is saying Stafford need to change it’s offerings to specials and opens to conform to what a changing audience is demanding.
    All the suppliers of racing equipment would be well served to keep it in mind as they make plans to invest in more equipment to serve larger stables of cars for more drivers.

  2. How did an article about Marvin Minkler and his street stock diverse into an incoherent rambling about 30k haulers, Andrew Moeller, SPAFCO, TA3.5, KRR, Chassis Pro, to Cup Racing, New Smyrna, Thompson, Stafford, etc, etc, etc!

    It less expensive to power coat than paint and it gives you better longevity. I powder coated my modified chassis and associated components for around $1,500 and it lasted two plus seasons. The same components painted were north of 2k which does not include my labor. Never mind paint does not last as long.

    Maybe you were a Krylon guy, gallon of paint and a poly brush, I don’t know but today most of the racers have clean, shiny cars as that is what the sponsors and fans like seeing. Only my opinion.

  3. Sorry to confuse you Earl. I didn’t have a linear thinker like you that views everything through the prism of Earl when I wrote the comment.
    Assuming the decisions on a Street Stock with any you may have made on a modified are equivalent is ridiculous. Talking about a two year shelf life and considering personal labor costs is ridiculous for a race car. Presuming that painting a chassis and roll cage is inferior and that learning the skill to do it has no value is ignorant. Somehow suggesting a $1500 expenditure for a Street Stock makes sense when a $100 expenditure would suffice with the difference going to the tire budget is…………well it’s simply obtuse.
    Making a demeaning reference to Krylon and paint brushes and the grade school recess thinking level it represents is completely expected.

  4. Lot to chew on in this legit interesting article on one of the unknowns at the track. Thanks for it.

  5. $100.00? Have you priced out automotive paint lately along with the reducer and hardner required? How about the primer and materials needed to prep the chassis. Then the sand blasting before all this happens. Again this is you being out of the game and not having a clue. Me ignorant? No, smart and looking at the investment vs. the return. Read what I said, 2+ years for the powder coat. Drop it off and pick it up. I think your “danglers” are getting in the way of your ability to comprehend.

  6. I guess there are people running Street Stocks that have unlimited funds for luxuries like sand blasting, powder coating, hardner and wasting money treating a car designed to be wrecked like a classic car. However in the real world all across the country that’s the exception, not the rule. You don’t need to be sand blasting anything with the exception of the initial build to remove all the old rust and scale from the donor chassis. You don’t need to use hardner. Even primer can be optional if you scuff up the surface properly spot priming bare metal only and give it a good rub down with PreKeano or an equivalent. If you paint the chassis and role cage you can paint the body when it’s done and realize greater economies of scale. Paint and associated materials are expensive but the HVLP technology that puts so much more paint on the surface and less in the air can produce surprisingly good results at an economical price. It’s a Street Stock. There will be body damage. Buy new panels, pop them on, get out your $19 Harbor Freight HVLP gun, knock it out at the lowest possible cost to make the car presentable all in time for the weekend.races.
    I suppose I can see powder coating a modified. It’s all virgin metal and they can be raced for a decade plus. I see Todd Owen’s tour car that was new last year and Mike Christopher putting together one of Mike Juniors cars and they are works of art in many respects. So much so it seems insane to take such beauty and precision and put it in harms way. But those aren’t Street Stocks.
    If not ignorant then just a stubborn bone head. . I shouldn’t have to say it because it’s so obvious. Street Stocks are not modifieds. Now you’re locked into that false pride thing where you have to double down on dump projecting your experiences in modifieds to all divisions to make your decisions appear to be wise and universal truths. Tedious man tedious.
    So to all you boys and girls out there that have mommies and daddies that have all the money in the world to provide a race car for you, have it all outsourced so you can spend more time honing your racing skills with interactive video technology I say God bless you. However there are still people out there doing their own work, learning metal fabrication and welding to be able to replace their own clips when necessary and do a lot of their own painting. Skills that will last them a lifetime that save them money and provide a great deal of satisfaction and pride doing the work with their own hands.

  7. Stuart Fearn says

    I don’t think I’ll change any of the commenters minds but I’ll tell you 35 wins in two years with a rattle can in the Fearn camp. Krylon brand to be exact. Last time I checked the finish on the metal holding the chassis and motor in place didn’t effect the performance too much. The biggest effect of powder coat is making repairs and improvements much more difficult.
    Love the comments so go ahead and tell me how wrong I am. In the mean time I’m going to try to get the performance back up to, or beyond, the 2018 mark as we won 6 less races in 2019 vs the year before

  8. Maybe that was the problem ,to much time shaking the Krylon , time you could have been working on the performance , skip the primer too that way if you tweak the chassis or any bars paint will lift in that spot , LOT easier to find bend . Don’t let the cigar smoke effect the shine

  9. Stuart Fearn says

    Thanks for the tip, the cigar smoke probably got in my eyes last year!

  10. Well done Mr. Fearn. Put the fans in their place with a velvet glove and get the win count in to boot. Bet you’ve been saving that one up for a while. With regard to Krylon and whatever Fearn Motorsports does you are atypical more then a benchmark.
    Street Stocks are dead, long live LLM’s.
    Stafford has made a conscious decision to eliminate any vestige of a race division based on a stock based platform. Start with karts, go onto Streets, LLMs or Lights…..whatever. Do whatever you like but don’t confuse Streets with a stock based car. That’s dead. It’s essentially a LLM with a different body style and one drive wheel instead of two. Oh sure there are a lot of other technical details but the theme is the same. Stock chassis and predominantly stock sheet metal gone. The current version is a purpose built race car not unlike a LLM complete with an array of plastic body panels and rivets.
    It took me a while but I get it. Stafford has been very successful with car counts and can do basically anything they like. Knowing that a stock based race car that is the essence of the sport historically is a huge disappointment. I’d be mad but you can’t stop progress.
    This old man says forget Street Stocks. They don’t exist except in name. Forget the expense of building a purpose built race car that has one drive wheel. Go racing in a Light or LLM.

  11. Stuart Fearn says

    Doug I agree with you almost 100% on this one. Someone seriously considering getting into racing I always tell them the LLM is the same cost as a street stock and it’s a real race car. Same motor, tranny, rear (now), chassis, springs, etc. body is way easier to maintain and locked rear makes it easier to drive for sure. I think the only reason people don’t start in this division now is simply because they call the SS the starter division
    Costs per week is one tire (max) and fuel. Same in each division. Oh did I mention the payout is like 2x better in the LLM? That’s right look at the math. Current market prices a good LLM might cost $1-2000 more then a good winning SS. Why race for 20th and wreck every week with a crowded SS field when you can run every lap in LLM and finish 10th and get paid like double the $$? I wish I had moved up the kids earlier!

  12. Stewart, since I am not a taxi cab guy I need some clarification. How can you move from SS to LLM with absolutely no experience and finish 10th? Am I missing something?

  13. Stuart Fearn says

    Way less cars in LLM division. Last is 10th place! STAFFORD is very nice to publish the full payouts for every division on the web site so you can check it out for yourself.
    The SS have maybe 18-22 a week while LLM half that. As the fields get bigger the risk of getting involved in a wreck also go up tremendously

  14. There’s also a case for eliminating the LLM’s, locking up the rear wheels on the Streets, increasing the purse and calling them what they are which is closer to a Limited Sportsman. They do have the better numbers and look different so in many ways that makes more sense.
    The point is and it’s a heart breaker in my view is that Stafford is done with stock platform based race cars. Even the Streets chassis production is starting to become specialized and centralized.
    In these pages we waste a lot of time suggesting schedule and rules changes so I’ll waste time venting as well. Stafford for the sake of grass roots racing should have at the very least a mini stock class. Stock platform based they race under a blanket at most tracks. Yes I know they are not popular with many but come on man. You have to have at least one class with stock sheet metal in it.
    That’s an item on my wish list that won’t happen. What is not on any wish list and what will be happening is this. While everyone is being all mad at Thompson, gravity will eventually end regular Friday night shows at Stafford and it won’t even be that bad. Fans are making it pretty clear they like the Specials a lot and regular shows not so much. Regular shows in May and after school starts are heart breaking SK and Light features being so good and the crowds being so small. Stafford knows it. One more tour open and a Pro Late Model open. It’s coming and it will be fine. Regular shows are reasonably priced and very predictable. The heat races most of the time are tedious with drivers having no interest in taking risks. Features are fine but still fairly routine. Compared to the specials that bring the juice and a special vibe where you don’t know who will show up and what will happen.
    Regular shows have become more of a participant event then a spectator attraction. Race fans are still out there they just demand more hype to make it worth their while.

  15. Marvin Minkler says

    A few years back, as laid on the radiation table and then injected for 3 hours with the poison of chemo every day for 6 months, I made a list of things that I hadn’t accomplished – one of the things on that list was to race. Now, I am sure I have made some mistakes along the way, I know I have and I will continue making them, but the person that makes the most mistakes learns the most. So if it was wrong for me get my car powder coated, pressure teated, stained or pained with some rattle cans – I will figure it out, I am enjoying the process. See you at the races.

  16. Those shots on your Facebook page are breathtaking.
    If you have good insurance and the will to survive cancer and then decide to go racing I’d suggest there are no wrong decisions at that point.
    Good luck in 2020. This fan will be rooting for you.

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