Bobby Labonte Files Entry For 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler At Stafford

Bobby Labonte at Stafford Speedway in June 2021 (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

The entry list for the 50th running of the NAPA Spring Sizzler on April 24 is overflowing with former champions of all types.

Now it has one from the ranks of the highest level of NASCAR.

Former NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte has filed an entry for the NAPA Spring Sizzler, which will take place April 23-24 at Stafford Speedway.

“I’m really glad to get the opportunity to come up to Stafford to run in the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler,” Labonte said in a release. “Stafford is definitely a track that I have had on my bucket list for a while, especially after I started to run the Modified.”

The Spring Sizzler will be contested as a Stafford track sanctioned Open Modified event with qualifying heat races scheduled for April 23 and the 100-lap feature scheduled for April 24.

Labonte, the 2000 Cup Series champion, has spent time in recent years running Tour Type Modified events, predominantly with the Southern Modified Auto Racing Tour. Labonte retired from Cup Racing full-time after the 2013 season.

Labonte is no stranger to Stafford Speedway. He ran in the inaugural SRX Series event at Stafford last year June, finishing fifth. He will return to the SRX Series full-time once again in 2022 with the series returning to Stafford on July 2.

Labonte raced for parts of 25 seasons on the NASCAR Cup Series with 21 victories over 729 starts.

Labonte has competed in three events with the Southern Modified Auto Racing Tour in 2022, recording finishes of third, fifth and sixth.

“My guys are excited to make the trip north to Stafford,” Labonte said. “They have been running down South with their Modified for a long time. I know that we are going to enjoy our first trip North together, especially being at Stafford, the home of the Modifieds.”  

Former NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte (left) talks to six-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby (right) at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)


  1. Geez, I bet NASCAR wished they were involved in this event.

  2. I am guessing he wouldn’t be there if this was a Nascar event….but yeah I am sure Nascar wishes they were still involved with Stafford. Surprised they didn’t get back together after that streaming rights issue was resolved with Roots going to Flo, Guessing Staffrod realized the benefits of being Nascar sanctioned doesn’t outweigh the costs.

  3. Interesting names so far not committed to the Sizzler according to Unmuffled include Newman, McLaughlin, Bonsignor. You might make the argument not having the 51 there is a big hole but maybe not. Bonsignor can’t win in anything except the 51 and in NWMT events and the 51 can’t win in anything outside the NWMT so maybe they’re being realistic.
    The only real hole in my view is “you know who”. If “you know who” is deciding next week to do his business or get off the pot lets get that decided. He knows everyone wants to know, the race is definitely on his radar so enough already princess. You’re either going to the ball or you aren’t so end the drama.
    Labonte a huge get for obvious reasons that all add up to gravitas. But how will he fare? Any predictions RaceDayCt nation? I’m guessing better then one might think and here’s the logic.
    The SMART tracks are like .40 mile magnets that hover around that distance give or take.
    Caraway the longest at .45 and Labonte usually does very well at Caraway. He’s a former NASCAR CUP champ with money so I’m guessing the car and motor are first rate. Staying with the 7ny and 60 at Caraway supports that observation. Old guys losing their reflexes do better at longer tracks mainly because they have more time to think analytically and depend less on reactions.
    Labonte at Stafford may just be in his element. The thing about Stafford is after practice you darned well better come into the paddock with some feedback on what the car is doing right and wrong and how to improve it. Labonte can check that box we’ll see if his crew can come up with the right tweaks.
    I’m not seeing this as a Burt Meyers situation at all, Labonte may surprise on the upside. No not a podium or a top 5. Inside the top 10 has to be viewed as over performing and that’s my guess on where he’ll land.

  4. The entry list is lacking something that I cannot pinpoint.Maybe the lack of NYSTATE cars,WMT cars,Jersey and PA cars.I know it will never be like the cars that were here 35-40 years ago but something still missing

  5. Was the streaming rights issue resolved? Both Nascar and Stafford with FloRacing but if Stafford pioneered the arrangement with FloRacing and is used to keeping the whole pie I’d bet they’d not be wild about NASCAR coming in and saying “mine”.

  6. I am guessing based on the reported initial position that Nascar took on streaming revenue that Nascar is due a cut or all of the revenue, the streaming issue remains for Stafford. I just find it humorous that Stafford said the streaming issue was the root issue in breaking up with Nascar and now Nascar and Stafford have the same streaming partner. So at first look you would think there is no issue anymore but I think Dougs thoughts are correct.. The Nascar Flo deal was announced pretty late in the offseason, what was it December? Maybe next year Nascar and Stafford can rekindle the relationship, Personally, I dont think Stafford was any different last year without Nascar, The local drivers have no shot at the national title given the amount of opportunities to race down south compared to up here. Its Eno Lirpasti……lets go streaming…..uhm racing. Enjoy the shows. Not going to lie, kind of looking forward to it.

  7. Tour teams will be receiving about $185,000 directly from the Flo deal this season. There might be even more on top of that going to the tracks and/or NASCAR.

    That’s over 11.5k Per race directly to the racers. Whereas Stafford gets 40k per season for the racers, for about 24 events, or just over 1.5k per event. Kinda goes to show what Flo values each at.

    There have been about a dozen NASCAR sanctioned tracks sign with Flo already, with more probably still to trickle out. One even signed back up to be NASCAR sanctioned again this year. This is also the most amount of tracks on a tour schedule for like 2 decades.

    There isn’t really much evidence that NASCAR is being “difficult” with this deal with Flo. The Stafford deal with Flo came when NASCAR was under a different contract, as well as pretty busy with covid and national level stuff. Their hands were kinda tied.

  8. Of course as fans we can never know what actual deals are struck for streaming races. Initially with Stafford it was thought to be an even split on revenue but who knows. NASCAR with their clout probably has a special deal that gives them special consideration which makes sense.
    Here’s the thing. Stafford should have at least one NWMT race. The Sizzler and TTOMS are going to be great but in an average year and with Stafford’s history with NASCAR it makes sense to have at least one race. For a segment of the fan base it’s important.
    Surely they can reach an accommodation for one event and I’m betting it happens next year.

  9. That list is awesome 👏 and growing but if Bobby wins he qualifies for the SRX race that he’s already in?? So does the second place drive go or the 13th place driver go to race SRX

  10. That list is awesome 👏 and growing but if Bobby wins he qualifies for the SRX race that he’s already in?? So does the second place drive go or the 13th place driver go to race SRX

  11. it’s pretty clear how it went down with nascar. Stafford was going to do 2 races (the TBAs on the schedule) and then nascar scheduled a race at langley same weekend as the 50th Sizzler. Pretty sure Lisa Arute was quoted in an article saying that was why they do not have a wmt race this year

  12. Great point DB. I would think the SRX spot would go to the second place finish in that scenario. I think the likelihood of B Labonte winning the race is relatively low. I think a Stafford regular or Whelen tour guy will get it.

    I tend to agree with you Doug. Nascar Whelen tour and Stafford get together next year for at least one show. There is a lot of history between the two. It sounds like they were close this year. Then Nascar scheduled over the Ice breaker which ended all discussions. Then Nascar changed the conflict. Nascar has been the big bully in the schoolyard for some time now, now it seems even they are starting to see cooperation goes better for everyone involved.

    It Eno Lirpasti Day. Enjoy the races.

  13. oops that should say Spring Sizzler instead of Ice Breaker. I got the Ice breaker on my mind. Lets Go racing.

  14. Thank you
    You never know what could happen it’s racing never count anyone out And with the arutes put up all that money who know what anyone going to do

  15. Hirschman? We don’t need no stinking Hirschman. He’s an opportunist and knows he can’t win at Stafford so why go. He’s just racing the PeeDee 60 for chump change down south until racing starts in New York and PA.


  16. I was looking at the results for the early 80’s Sizzlers and man-o-man were they loaded. Evans sure but numerous drivers that would go on to not only race in Cup but won Cup races. Plus all our local big names.
    Hirschman love him or hate him is a big deal and in my view the event good now would be better with him.
    Ultimately bonus money, FloRacing or otherwise, has only one objective. To encourage more teams to participate. You can say the Stafford FloRacing money is dwarfed by the money going to the tour and that would be spot on. In context it takes a great deal more money to run the NWMT and every dime will be needed this year to help encourage good car counts at some races. Stafford does not have the same challenge.
    Stafford through good management and reinvestment had done their job and already has strong car counts in all but one division. Stronger on a weekly basis then just about any other track in the Northeast.
    You can argue that the NWMT money is a sign of respect for the tour in comparison to Stafford. There’s also and argument to be made all that money compared to Stafford shows just how strong Stafford is compared to a vulnerable NWMT.
    I don’t see it as a competition between a track and a sanctioning body and certainly do not think you can form any conclusion on each’s relative success by the size of the FloRacing contributions. They should both win in my view and this year I’m optimistic each will.
    The tally so far is a great opener for the tour at New Smyrna and a great race watched by almost no one in attendance at Richmond. There will be good races and bad this year attendance wise depending on location. I’m particularly looking forward to the northern swing in New Hampshire that I’d guess will be very successful.
    Stafford has proven with the money they are putting up, the structure of the event and the pre registrations they don’t need NASCAR to put on a season highlight show. And make no mistake the Sizzler will be extraordinary for sure. On the other hand that doesn’t mean each can’t flourish especially with at least one tour race at Stafford.
    The change in the modified world has been happening over a number of years and for the better it would appear. Time for all parties to grasp the current reality and to do whatever is necessary to work with each other to put on events that contribute to the greater good of the sport in general. The NASCAR, Langley, Stafford, Sizzler deal that produced hard feeling last fall means there’s more work to do on that score.

  17. Another factor in the Stafford NASCAR breakup might be the clash of the sponsors. NASCAR weekly series sponsored by Advance Auto and Stafford track sponsor NAPA.
    Pretty sure neither sponsor wants to see a competitors banners on display when they are paying to have their logo prominently displayed.

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