Digging Deep With Denise: Visiting With Walter Sutcliffe Jr.

“Digging Deep With Denise” is a semi-regular question and answer feature with local racers and racing personalities produced by RaceDayCT’s Denise DuPont

Walter Sutcliffe Jr. (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Walter Sutcliffe, Jr. – I like the Modified.

Walter Sutcliffe Jr. from East Haven began his racing career to fulfill his father’s dream to race. Participating in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with a low budget team, Sutcliffe made his series debut in 2016. Prior to competing with the Whelen Modified Tour, Sutcliffe competed in the NASCAR Southeast Series for five years and also ran in the Late Model ranks. This year Sutcliffe is striving for a top-15 in the Whelen Modifeid Tour standings for the No. 78 Last Minute Racing team.

What got you interested in racing?

“My uncle raced at Savin Rock in West Haven. And my father was interested in racing, but could not race himself, so he lived it through me. He got me involved in racing since I was five. He brought home a Quarter Midget when I was 4 and half years old. We did Quarter Midgets until I turned 16. Then I went to the local short tracks – Waterford, Thompson and then Stafford. I drove a Strictly Stock at Waterford and Thompson, then I went to a Pro Stock at Stafford. ” 

Which type of racing do you like the best?

“The Modified. I like the Modified. “

Is racing your hobby?

“Yes it is. It always was a passion and a hobby.”

Which racing memory stands out above them all for you?

“My most recent is leading a few laps at Jennerstown this year on the [Whelen Modified Tour]. It was a real nice feeling to have nothing but the air in front of me.”

What challenges do race car drivers on the Whelen Modified Tour have now?

“For a low budget team – money. You can’t spend the big dollars to have people who have the knowledge set your car up. So you are always behind the eight ball. Once they find out something new, you are getting the old technology. It is frustrating when you know you can drive just as good as the kids up front that have more money.”

What is your goal for 2022?

“Get a top 15 in points. If I get any higher that is OK but I will be happy with a top-15.”

If you had to do it all over again, would you?

“Definitely the answer is yes.”


  1. Denise;
    Thank you for the stories on Gary McDonald and Walter Sutcliffe.
    You know, its easy for a fan to “dismiss” some of these guys, but we certainly should not. Guys like these and (Rip Mr Cole) have always been the back bone of the sport. Low buck, know they are totally out spent, but trying to do it anyway, with much less. In Mr Sutcliffe’s case, sounds like in honor of his dad, as well as him maybe proving something to himself. I hope he “wins” that top 15 in points, but if he doesn’t, from your interview, I know it wont be for lack of effort. It can be hard sometimes to watch these guys on the track as they do their best with what they have, but I wont be booing them. Thank you for the insight.

  2. Fast Eddie says

    Bobf, definitely agree. They are out there due to their passion for the sport, doing the best they can with what they have. I’d also add Ken Heagy to that list as well. And every once in a while they have a decent day at the track. I’m always rooting for the “little guys” to do well! Thanks for the stories Denise!

  3. Great story. Guys like Sutcliffe ARE the backbone of the sport, outspent yet showing up every race dedicated to the sport and doing the best they can with what they can afford to spend. Wouldn’t it be great for a sponsor to read this story and help out this independent team? Either way it would be great to see some of his dedication be rewarded with some good finishes.

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