Entry List For 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler At Stafford Reaches 40

(Press release from Stafford Speedway)

With 1 month remaining until the 50th running of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®, Dave Etheridge’s entry has marked a milestone for the Greatest Race in the History of Spring. Etheridge’s #34 team became the 40th driver to enter the Sizzler®, the first time since 2007 a Spring Sizzler® has seen 40 entries.

“The support for the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler® has been strong,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “40 entries over a month out from the event shows how much these drivers care about the history and prestige of winning the Spring Sizzler®. With the NAPA Duel qualifying format we hope to see 2 fields of 25 cars battling it out Saturday afternoon to make Sunday’s 50th Spring Sizzler®.”

The early entry-list is dotted with winners and champions including 5 past Spring Sizzler® winners, Patrick Emerling (‘21), Ryan Preece (‘17 & ‘18), Doug Coby (‘06, ‘12, ‘16, & ‘19), Bobby Santos III (‘11, ‘13, & ‘14), and Woody Pitkat (‘15). Coby enters the event looking to become just the 2nd driver to win 5 Sizzler® trophies, while Santos has a shot to join Coby, Ted Christopher, and Mike Stefanik with 4. 

“The quality of the field is impressive,” continued Arute. “We have 5 past Sizzler® winners in the field and almost 30 of the 40 entries have a past win at Stafford. There’s a few more entries we are hoping to see in the next few weeks.” 

Notable entries include Jimmy Blewett, Chase Dowling, Michael Christopher Jr, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale, Jon McKennedy and more. Stafford SK Modified® champions Todd Owen, Ronnie Williams, and Keith Rocco have also entered the Sizzler®. Click here to see the full entry-list.

With a unique two-day format and an unprecedented $130,000 in prize money, the 50th NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® has become one of the biggest Modified races of all-time. In addition to the big money, the winner of the 50th Spring Sizzler® will compete with the SRX Racing Series when they return to Stafford in July. 

Tickets for the 50th running of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®® are now available at staffordspeedway.com/tickets. The two day event begins Saturday, April 23rd with the NAPA Auto Parts Duel, two 40-lap qualifying races that will set the field for the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler® scheduled for April 24th. The PASS Super Late Models and all 5 of Stafford’s weekly divisions as well as the Vintage All-Stars will also be on hand for the weekend.

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


  1. RaceDayCt 11/4/15

    “Big Money” Matt Hirschman Hoping to Cash Another Big Check At North-South Shootout”

    “Hirschman has won just about every big race there is to win in Modified racing. If there’s a race paying $5,000-to-win or more, there’s a good chance he’s there and there’s a good chance he’s cashing the big paycheck.”

    That’s a North South Shootout press release but really anyone could have written it at the time because it was true. Is it true now? I don’t think so and it’s not even close in my view.
    I’ve already mentioned the Musket’s, NWMT races and Thompson 300 with no 60. You could add the Islip 300 to that as well or the Thompson Icebreaker last year that had an eye popping share going to the winner. This year the Icebreaker once again has the big number for winning and both the NWMT and the tour mod race at the World Series in the fall separately or together fall into the big money category.
    My gut says we old race fans seem to be behind the curve most of the time. Sure we see Hirschman dominate at New Smyrna then knock off a couple wins in SMART races. We pretty much assume he’ll win more then his share of TTOMS races, dominate Mahoning and Evergreen like he always does and go up to Oswego, two of his very successful 3 NWMT stops last year. Jennerstown geographically attractive but after the 4th in 2020 took a pass in 2021.
    Traditionally Connecticut tracks have been a big part of modified racing. This year with opens aplenty at Stafford and Thompson highlighted by huge events the tradition continues. With one exception, more recently all Connecticut has been to the 60 is a small state to drive through to get to small tracks in other states. So why do some fans get perturbed when I suggest that Hirschman should be in and win events at Connecticut before they as fans are justified in anointing him the best of the best of active race car drivers.

    “Matt H’s credentials as the top dog in Tour type modified racing are unquestioned” says one fan.

    Is that kind of an exuberant, hyperbolic endorsement of the guy as a must watch driver or is it saying Hirschman is the best modified driver in the current era? If it’s the latter I don’t see how it can be true when the only go button Hirschman pushes in Connecticut is the accelerator in his truck to get through it faster.
    I know what you’re thinking. But Doug he won a ton of money in the NWMT opener at New Smyrna. True but that was more a case of the NWMT running into Hirschman’s path then Hirschman and Pee Dee seeking out a big payday at an event that doesn’t add up in their winning formula.
    So who is the best driver in the current era we could knock that one around again. I thought it was Hirschman up until recently but after getting in the weeds on his career don’t think it’s a slam dunk at all. For my money it’s Preece. His career from SK’s to the NWMT to more recent opens speaks for itself but what solidified it was 2021. It’s not easy coming in part time to a series and taking on the guys that are the best and doing it the entire season. In 7 NWMT races in 2021 Preece won 3 and came in second once. Add a win at Stafford in the Lincoln Tech open and fighting for a win against Rocco in a Thompson open and his winning percentage for 2021 was outstanding in high profile races. Preece can be patient, he can charge, he can experiment with different setups and grooves and he can be cerebral.
    You could also make a case that in todays modified world there is no single best driver. Whereas at one time they all congregated in the NWMT that’s over and disparate opens over a wide geographic area make it hard to make any meaningful comparison.
    Yup you can make “Big Money” honorary like Blewett’s “Showtime” but as for accuracy you can put it on the scrap heap. Along with Rocco’s “Kid Roc” that was always low hanging fruit using a music stars name and now really dated after the hip replacement. Or “Lutz-cracker”. Seriously, first it’s nonsense but when is putting a word in a nickname that has a duel meaning and could be interpreted negatively by folks taking in a race for the first time? Jackie Arute tried to change George Bessett’s moniker to “Rooster” that was unique for him but Buckler was having none of it sticking to “Mad pup”. That like “Kid Roc” will looking silly over time. Somebody should really consider revoking Buckler’s nickname credentials in my view.
    Bugsy, Chick, Corky, The Rapid Roman, Leo the Lion, Punky, Wild Bill, Fats Caruso, Chargin Charlie, The Reg. All came about organically and stood the test of time. “Big Money” is starting to look like Fonzie’s rep as a fighter. Kind of accepted belief based on the past but not proven so much currently.
    I’ve penciled in Hirschman as no better then 4th if he enters the Sizzler in his car and second in the Pee Dee 60 but certainly capable of winning. Many assume he’ll be there, we all hope they’re correct. Hirschman has tangled with the 9Ct in the last couple years, knows he’s the favorite at Stafford. Add Rocco, Silk/Moran with the 16 who have had great success at Stafford, that 79 team with LFR backing and it’s clear this is not a Tri Track situation where he’s the perpetual favorite.
    If he does enter and wins then goes onto national exposure in the SRX race that he richly deserves then old Doug would be giddy with delight as I eat all that crow. If he enters and does not win I may have more respect for him taking on a huge challenge with the cards stacked against him.
    The field is strong as it is. Still it would be nice to see the 36 who is very popular here, the rejuvenated 82, any Catalano but mom in particular for a female presence and of course “The Shark”.
    ” The shark” should always have been Hirschman’s nickname. Mainly because he uniquely selects his best opportunities when there’s blood in the water big money or not. And speaking of blood in the water we get to see “The Shark” tomorrow at Caraway. Queue the theme from Jaws, “The Shark” smells blood in the water.
    Chomp, chomp!

  2. Camerissa says

    I think it’s pretty simple. MH just races where and when he can make money. Runs his race team like a business. Figures the pluses and minuses. The expense to enter and compete and the payoff. If he determines it’s less risky to go to evergreen than it is to tow to CT and a possible rain out or for a similar purse than that’s what he will do. My guess is whether a race helps his resume or is bigger in the eyes of some fans is irrelevant. We know tracks operate as a business and I don’t think we can hold it against Matt for doing the same thing.

  3. Camerissa says

    Oh and the press release states that Coby is looking to become the second 5 time winner of the Sizzler. Who’s the first?

  4. Jimmy King says

    Obsessed with Hirschman much? Jeez, let it go already. It’s not healthy to worry about whether he races the Sizzler as much as it appears you do. Enjoy the race, whoever’s there.

  5. Of the 50 teams entered so far, pretty impressive roster of drivers, and car combinations. For chassis, of the 50 entries Troyer is at the top with 16, LFR has 10, Spafco 4, TFR 3, fury 2, race worksand chassis pro each have 1, and there are 6 whose name I don’t recognize. On the engine side Petit tops with 11,Billy the Kid and Bob Bruneau each have 7, RYR 6,T/A 2, Rad, gutter and PT each have 1, and there were 4 names I didn’t recognize. All in all a pretty diverse field of combinations, that’s the beauty of “open” modified. Good Luck to all the teams competing.

  6. Camerissa,
    He would join Ted Christopher as the only drivers to win five Spring Sizzlers. Ted Christopher has six Spring Sizzler wins overall. As it stands right now, Christopher, Coby and Mike Stefanik are the only three drivers with four Spring Sizzler wins.

  7. Obsessed you say. Seems to be it’s just being an engaged fan but perhaps you’re correct. They say the afflicted are the last to recognize it.
    Obsessed or not here’s another little Hirschman/Stafford fact you may not know or knew but forgot.
    In 2004 and 2005 dad Tony won the NWMT championship. The two years his son Matt barely into his 20’s was the crew chief. Tony’s record at Stafford in those two years included 5 wins in 8 races. When he wasn’t winning he was coming in second twice his only clinker a 24th DNF from a failed rear end.
    Add another reason to avoid Stafford. Dad’s near perfection at the track and the long shadow.

  8. Chassis

    SKM —-179—(1)
    2 Kwik Chassis—44—(1)
    Chassis Pro—81—(1)
    Home Built—0,01,3—(3)

    Engine Builders

    Billy the Kid—01,5,9CT,25NH,34,44MA,58—(7)
    Bob Bruneau (SPEC?) —-11,1,3,,4MA,7NY,75CT,79—(7)
    RYR (SPEC)—10,28,35,52,58,88—(6)
    Lanci(Bob Bruneau or RYR Spec)—16—(1)
    John Betts—0—(1)
    Performance Technology—44—(1)
    Jeff Habischt—55B—(1)
    Boardwalk Race Engines—81NJ—(1)

    -the 58 has both spec and Billy the Kids engines listed and apparently hasn’t chosen which one to use yet.
    -SKM is Stephen Kopcik Motorsports his new venture.
    -Bob Bruneau does many engine combinations but to my knowledge he’s a supplier of spec engines for tour modifieds
    -Performance Technology Engines out of Indiana
    -2Kwik Chassis associated with Kluth Motorsports out of upstate NY.
    -PSR Products out of North Carolina. Long time racing parts supplier not that familiar in the Northeast. TBR wants to change all that and this year has a great start. The win the Sizzler, orders for the PSR chassis will follow.

    -Since Troyer and LFR are all under the TFR banner I’m guessing Rob Fuller will be at the Sizzler and be a very popular guy.
    -Only 2 Fury’s? A little surprising isn’t it?
    -Connecticut’s own SPAFCO and with a nice showing of 4 cars. Best wishes to the home teams.
    -TFR dominates the chassis builders but no such dominance in the engine builders. Pettit/Dart steel head lead by Rocco vs Billy the Kids best shot the 9ny vs the specs be they Bob Bruneau or RYR lead by the 7ny, 16 and 79. Oh yah you can bet the engine builders will be paying very close attention to how this one plays out.
    -I’ve completely written off Coby as a contender without Moran. A mistake?
    -Austin Kochenash previously had a home built chassis has apparently upgraded to TFR with the only Hutter. Gotta keep an eye on that one.
    -Jeff Gallup kind of a journeyman racer is packing a Fury with Bob Bruneau power. Is a performance jump to follow?

  9. With respect to the 58; could it be a RYR engine assembled by B8lly, as RYR does offer an assemble yourself package.

  10. Rob Fuller is listed as the crew chief for the #48 Rufrano car, so I would say he’ll be there. Surprised there aren’t any CD cars listed.


  12. Is a TFR car a Troyer, or LFR, or is it a totally different piece

  13. Rafter fan says

    “Matt H’s credentials as the top dog in Tour type modified racing are unquestioned” says one fan.

    The quote above belongs to me. Perhaps it should be modified to read “… as the full-time top dog in Tour type modified racing …” If Preece was driving a modified on a full-time basis, he might challenge Mat H. But, he’s not.

  14. Just Me - The Original says

    TFR is a distributor for both Troyer and LFR chassis and parts.

  15. I’m not really sure what a “top dog” is with regard to circle track racing. However as dogs go most would agree that to lay claim to the title being in the Iditarod would be a good place to start.
    I’d argue the Sizzler is the Iditarod for modified drivers in many respects.

  16. What happened to Opportunistic Matt in the SMART Tour race Saturday night at Caraway? P4, as the late great TC would say he got “waxed” by Caleb Heady.

    Congrats to Caleb and Tom Baldwin racing on your win!

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing