Historic Season For Todd Owen In SK Modified At Stafford Speedway

(Press release from Stafford Speedway)

Todd Owen (Photo: Courtesy Stafford Speedway)

For Todd Owen and the #81 Cooker Construction team, 2023 at Stafford Speedway was a historic season that saw Owen become the first driver in the 42-year history of the SK Modified® division to win three consecutive championships.  The 2023 season also saw Owen finish in the top-10 in each of the 17 races held and extended a streak of consecutive top-10 finishes to 34 consecutive races, dating back to June of 2022.  Putting a stamp on how consistent Owen has been during his 3-season championship run, he has placed in the top-10 in 55 of 58 races.

“You never think you’d have the opportunity to win one championship and this run we’re on, I don’t even understand it,” said Owen.  “It’s not just one team in our shop, it’s David Arute’s team, Anthony Flannery’s team, and all the SK Light drivers that we help.  This whole Chassis Pro group works together as a family.  It means a lot to everyone and it means a lot working with my friends and guys who have been with me since day one as well as some of the new people who have come along.”

Coming into the 2023 season, Owen made the decision to sell his 2-time championship winning car from 2021 and 2022 and build a brand new car for the 2023 season.  After some minor struggles to get the car dialed in to his liking, Owen and the #81 team hit upon a setup that allowed them to show the true speed of the new car.

“We had a few seasons on our other car and we wanted to keep our equipment fresh and with us building our own cars, it was something that was easier for us to do,” said Owen.  “At the start of the year we definitely needed to find what made this car work.  It was just a little off and as soon as we got that figured out, the car really came to life.  Obviously I love the top-10 consistency thing, I like to bring the car home in one piece, and I think that really helps your car become faster in itself.”

While Owen was once again displaying his amazing consistency with top-10 runs in each of the first 10 races to kick off the 2023 season, he had yet to win a race going into the August 4 NAPA SK 5k.  Owen took the checkered flag to win the race for the first time in his career after several near misses and that victory propelled him 5 consecutive top-5 finishes, including a second win, before a 10th place finish in the second to last race of the season clinched the championship.

“I had finished second in the 5k a bunch of times and those marquee events are the races that everyone wants to have on their resume,” said Owen.  “I’m happy to be the guy who got to wear that cool chain in victory lane.  I think once we got that win, we started clicking off top-5 finishes and I think that’s what I’m more proud of than our wins.  I haven’t won a lot of races in my career and I’m not a guy that’s going to win 6 or 7 races a year.  That’s just not who I am and I’m not going to take a chance to go from fourth to second with a move that might work but probably won’t work.”

With the championship already wrapped up, Owen put an exclamation point on the end of his championship campaign with his third win of the season in the NAPA Fall Final feature event.

“It meant a lot to go into that last race with no pressure and we could celebrate the season with a win,” said Owen.  “It was good to end the year like that.  I’ve said it before, I think I was more excited for David and Anthony to have great years finishing 5th and 6th in points.”

“I would like to thank Cooker Construction, Steve & Debbie Barnes, they’ve been with me since day 1, Barnes Pools, Austin Auto Body, McKinney Construction, Fowler’s Auto Wrecking, Belltown Motors, Wicked Powersports, Bob Charland, Marchese Landscaping, Barnes Package, Ben Dodge from Start/Finish Motorsports, All Gas, Specialty Transmission, Jeff Pearl, Tommy’s Tattoo Supplies, R & D Construction, FK Rod Ends, Tom O’Sullivan Welding, Tom Abele from 32 Signs for making the car look so good, Brian McManus, Sal Calvo, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Fuel, and obviously Butch Shea.  This whole Chassis Pro brand wouldn’t be a thing without Butch.  Also Don Wood from R.A.D. Auto Machine for the awesome power, all my crew guys, NAPA Auto Parts and Stafford Speedway for giving us an awesome racetrack.”

For the 2024 season, Owen looks to continue his consistency on the track, as he has done for the last 3 seasons.

“Our goal is to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, maybe try some more open modified races,” said Owen.  “We want to keep all of our Chassis Pro cars going strong and hopefully all our SK Light drivers can keep on improving and get more cars into the top-5.”

The official 2023 Championship videos are available to watch on Stafford’s YouTube and Facebook pages.  Visit youtube.com/staffordspeedway or facebook.com/StaffordMotorSpeedway to see the championship videos as well as videos with the top-5 finishers in each of Stafford’s 5 weekly divisions. 

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


  1. Suitcase Jake says

    Absolutely amazing numbers of top finishes, which may never be duplicated against the top level of competition in the Country … It
    just doesn’t happen in motorsports very often….Most of the midwest
    and Southern Tracks use qualifying to set the starting line ups for the Features ..so you
    see alot of them pile up Wins and National Championships etc. But in
    the Northeast we have tough handicapping systems with heat races
    and consi’s setting starting line up’s for the Feature . To start near the
    back in heat races and race up to a top 6 in the heat race week after
    week is a feat in itself.. Driving to the Front every week against top
    notch teams every week is Incredible ……Great Job Todd & Butch & the
    whole crew who makes it happen… 3 in a row is close to impossible at
    Stafford.. I have run out of words of accolades ….UNREAL STATS….

  2. I am amazed at the pure consistency against LARGE fields for the most part. He;s not getting T-10’s in 13-15 car fields. Most of the time 20+, and as much as 25 many times!!!
    Also, from what I see, he is a TOTALLY Classy gentlemen, who drives in an aggressive, but not foolish, style!!!

    Would love to see FOUR PEAT!!!!!

  3. Congratulations to Todd Owen. He did something at Stafford that Ted Christopher was never capable of.

  4. Can you imagine what modified racing could be? Not this assembly line nonsense where every car looks the same except the wrap design with so many graphics you have to guess at the car number. Exactly where did the sport lose it’s individuality? Coupes, Vegas, Pinto’s were different. Modifieds eliciting images of raw power with only the very basics in body panels. What’s wrong with seeing the radiator it’s a modified we should be seeing it.
    Now they’ve made the cars so boring you could run the car on an electric motor, battery and with a good sound system and faux headers never know it had an engine. Are we sure they have engines you sure can’t see them and why not?
    What’s it cost every time you bust up one of those form fitting engine covers? It’s not like you can bend it back into shape. It’s a modified not a Formula I car, be a modified.
    Sure modifieds are fast and loud and for new fans that novelty lasts for a few laps. Then it’s try to follow your car. You know the one that’s purplish, black with silver shadows that I think may be number 98 but I’m not really sure.
    The cars have looked pretty much the same for decades and now with the growing dependency on crate motors where’s the individuality and showmanship for Pete’s sake? I see all the comments about dirt and wondering why they do so well compared to asphalt. It’s simple they’re dirty, unpredictable and exciting. You’re a new fan to dirt racing you’ll see organized mayhem the very thing grass roots racing was built on that somehow we’ve abandoned.
    What you see in modified racing is a bunch of cars that all look the same and go around in circles playing follow the leader until someone tries a pass and then they wreck. We that follow the sport know what to look for but for the novice fan in the stands what’s the attraction?
    What we are and it’s killing us is being modified snobs. It’s our sport, we want nothing to change, we want cookie cutter cars, clean organized racing and let the best car win. That’s boring what we need is interesting cars that have physical differences and showmanship which is exactly what the attraction was in the first place.
    It’s not the fans that have changed it’s the sport. You take a packed 1950’s crowd and make them watch a 2023 modified race and half would not come back.

  5. Suitcase Jake says

    That ship sailed long ago Doug, The bodies are all bought pieces with aerodynamics built into them along with RULES ON EVERYTHING…. Roof heights, sail panels, pillars, widths, angles, spoiler heights, spoiler widths..etc ..etc… You need to set yourself apart with PAINT SCHEMES and driving styles.. Like the Orange of Mad Pup . Day GLO of Sullivan etc….Coupe bodies look cool like the Kid in SK lites, but he isn’t competitive with that body . Doug you would like the new divisions popping up here and there of Old Sportsman Bodies & Rules with Nova’s , Camaro’s, Chevelle’s, Mustang’s, Monte Carlo’s like you probably raced….
    PS… Doug these guys are not going to the Junkyard to get their bodies and rear ends & Tranny’s like you did.. They pick up their cell phone and order online and have it delivered to the Garage Door’s…

  6. Is it still called Stock Car Racing or Spec Racing on short tracks? Once you took the sport out of the hands of the shade tree mechanic and let the outside vendor’s take over, you pretty much put the nail in the coffin. Is it less about who can put the fastest car on the track or the skill of the young (Go Karter’s). Back in the day you would route for the car with the most character whether it was fighting for the last transfer spot in the Consi or a top 10 finish in the feature. know it’s down to maybe cheering for someone who emulates someone you use to favor. Less horsepower, less down force , less body rule’s, makes for better racing on these short track’s!

  7. You don’t say. You mean to tell me those Street Stocks out there aren’t production 1980’s classics gutted out like they did in the olden days? Sakes alive. Boy when I think of all the 68 and 69 Chevelle’s I cut up for parts and to build cars seeing the prices now it makes me weep.
    Actually the Limited Sportsman and Street Stocks do use rear ends like we did, Muncies and Saginaws as well. Brent Gleason does a pod on his racing effort that’s old school with he doing it all. Clearly the tools for doing setups are more sophisticated but the trades skills necessary to craft the cars much the same.
    I certainly don’t think anything will change in the modifieds with regard to the move to standardized everything in the class of cars it’s more of a stream of consciousness, what if type of exercise at a slow time of the year.
    The last successful coupe at Stafford was the 83 in the 1980’s driven by Gunning, Todd Bodine and Randy Lajoie among others that won 30 or so races. In that era what is now the one design was starting to take root racing with other styles including Pinto bodied cars. That coupe had no aero dynamic issues at all at the time. I tried to provide a link to an article on it complete with a pic but it got dropped in moderation.
    Clearly most everything is off the shelf panels now. There is no reason why they couldn’t turn out coupe body components, Pinto’s or anything different for that matter. While it’s true you wouldn’t want to be using them at the NHMS or Thompson in a high stakes tour modified race there’s no reason they could not be popular at short tracks and in sportsman modified divisions. If you’re tell me a 350 HP crate sportsman modified needs to spend hundreds more to make their care aero friendly my question would be why?
    So you say the way it is now is the way it has to because of rules and aero dynamic considerations. I don’t completely agree but lets say that’s the case. The question being is that the best thing for the sport or the best thing for the limited number of shops churning out cookie cutter cars and tracks worried about car counts?
    I maintain that asphalt modifieds are perfecting themselves into irrelevance. Appealing to a limited number of fans like us that appreciate the nuances of the division but to the outsider is boring as watching loud golf. What made modifieds exciting still exists. At Bear Ridge Speedway you’ll see coupes racing seat of their pants style. Chaotic and unpredictable the type of racing that drew huge crowds long ago. That draws new fans not what tour modifieds are doing now.
    While the modifieds are refining themselves into a niche sport the premier track in the region is doing it’s part as well. You know that big old screen, what do you think that’s for? Is it for the fans in the stands to see replays and provide informative bits on the drivers? You bet but you know what it’s also for, it’s for the drivers and teams. Specifically young drivers. Those splashy productions with drivers posing and promotional action shots are specifically designed to appeal to the younger generation that are selfie centric. It appears to be extremely affective considering the number of younger drivers being drawn to Stafford especially in record numbers in the SK Lights. Seeing themselves on the big screen and in Staffords promotions on social media you can bet they love that stuff. But you tell me does that translate into seeing a whole new generation of younger fans in the stands?
    This year the circus is coming to town at Stafford. Not one but two days of Cleetus McFarland. Let’s see what that freak show produces in terms of fan interest and I say freak show in a good way. Organized mayhem, completely unpredictable and in several formats. Is Stafford simply renting out the track for the revenue or watching and learning from the new genre of auto related entertainment as well. OK maybe not new but certainly packaged in a unique way by a master promoter.
    People that race want to differentiate themselves that’s why they race in the first place. They would love to mix it up on car design they just don’t want to be at a disadvantage doing it. Could rules change to encourage the creative impulse of teams without sacrificing safety? Clearly they could but it would involve some risk and imagination and that’s where Michaud and Mayberry come in. Wouldn’t it be nice if teams that are buying those bottle cap crate engines to make new cars for the 604 crate division to think about encouraging a little more creativity as far as the body configurations go.

  8. If they opened up the body rules a little – you would see the best looking mods coming out of the Raceworks shop. the only cars that look a little different is the car owners that make their own bodies

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