Carson Loftin To Make Stafford Speedway Debut At Casella Waste Open 80 Friday

Carson Loftin (Photo: Courtesy Stafford Speedway)

Last week RaceDayCT broke the news that 16-year old SMART Modified tour phenom Carson Loftin would compete at Stafford Speedway on Friday and in the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series Open Wheel Wednesday event at Seekonk Speedway on June 26.

On Monday, Stafford Speedway made the news about Loftin visiting the historic half-mile official.

Check out the Stafford Speeway press release below.

Stafford Speedway welcomes open modified competition back to the track this Friday night, June 7 with the Casella Waste Open 80.  Among the drivers looking to win the Casella Waste Open 80 will be 16-year-old modified star Carson Loftin.  After winning SMART Rookie of the Year honors last season, Loftin has taken the SMART Tour by storm this season, winning the first two races of the season and notching 5 wins through the first 7 races to lead the SMART standings.

“I’m really excited because it’s a prestigious race for modifieds and whenever you think of modifieds, you think of Stafford,” said Loftin.  “My family has always wanted to race at Stafford with our family car and for me to be the first one to race there, it really means a lot.  I have to give a big thank you to my crew chief Justin Link and all the crew for making this happen.  This was kind of a last minute deal so everyone has been busting their tail in the shop to get ready.  Thanks to my sponsors Le Blue Water, L & R Transmission, QMF Metal Electric Solutions, Affordable Septic, Glen Holmes, LLC., Mighty Muscadine Grape Juice, Tony’s Competition Engines, and everyone who helps out on this car.”

With the Casella Waste Open 80 being Loftin’s first time to Stafford, he will be at a distinct experience disadvantage when it comes to the majority of the field, but Loftin has proved to be a quick study behind the wheel.  Loftin notched 4 top-5 and 8 top-10 finishes in 2023 to finish third in the SMART standings and take home Rookie of the Year honors and he has 1 top-10 in 4 career Whelen Modified Tour starts.

“All those guys have a lot of laps around Stafford so I’m sure I’ll be at a little bit of a disadvantage with experience, but hopefully we’ll have a good race car and I can adapt well and quickly to the track,” said Loftin.  “A lot of the tracks that we went to last season I had to adapt to pretty quickly because we only get 30 minutes for practice.  At the beginning of the year we won the first 2 in a row and we had talked about it, but I never figured it would actually happen.  I’m pumped up and I’m ready to get up to Connecticut and do some racing.”

For his Stafford debut, Loftin is looking to have a clean run that will help him learn as much as he can in order to make a future stop at the Connecticut half-mile facility.  Loftin won’t be bringing the car that he has steered to 5 wins in 7 races this season, but his second car is a mirror image of his primary car.

“We’d like to run well, we don’t want to suck,” said Loftin.  “We’ve won 5 of 7 SMART races so we have a lot of momentum on our side and hopefully we can carry that over to Stafford and learn a lot for the next time we race there.  We don’t want to tear up our SMART car so we’re going to bring our other car but both cars are pretty much the same.  Modified racing up north is very competitive and I feel like there’s probably 20 different cars that could win on any given night so if we could compete for a win, that would be great.”

The 7th Annual Casella Waste Open 80 is scheduled for this Friday, June 7.  Stafford’s SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions will join the Open Modifieds in feature action.  Tickets for the Casella 80 are available now online at and tickets will also be available for purchase at the admission gates.  Tickets for the Casella 80 are $30.00 for adults, $10.00 for kids 6-14, and free for kids 5 & under.  Reserved seating is priced at $35.00 for all ages and pit passes are $45.00 with a valid 2024 Stafford Competition License and $50.00 without a Stafford license.  If you are unable to attend the event, tune into the live stream on FloRacing, the official streaming partner of Stafford Speedway. 

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

Listen to RaceDayCT’s exclusive interview with Carson Loftin.


  1. Only 19 on the entry list. Sad! The tour is dying.

    Too much travel still, I guess. Maybe we just need to have some street races in these guys neighborhoods.

  2. Al Hoekstra says

    He’s going to school sure they think big win , try and survive the best in the country and can put truck ride on hold …. Wish you well but get ready for what the hell !!! Yeah Stafford style ….

  3. Marshall says

    @zig13 the Monadnock open on Saturday also has 19 entries so some people who might normally do Stafford could be doing Monadnock, though I’ll note Ronnie Williams is on the list for both. In any case 19 open mods can put on a good race.

  4. I’m just playing a bit Marshall.

    but i would maybe agree with you it these Friday Stafford open shows haven’t been on the struggle bus for a year or so now.

  5. Looks and sounds like the New England and surrounding area teams can’t fulfill the commitment to participate in these events. Should we start to be concerned about the future of these asphalt Mods ?

  6. Marshall says

    @zig13 I figured that, since you mentioned the tour dying and this isn’t a tour race. But there’s still truth in your comment, so I wanted to offer a hypothesis. Maybe just me trying to stay hopeful.

  7. Enduro59 says

    Yes that entry list for Friday night is less than stellar in quantity and quality. I can not count 10 cars that can win but I can count 10 that could cause one or more caution flags. I wonder if tech at Stafford told the #88 team that the engine that Woody won so many of those open shows with the past few years was just a little too juiced up to be allowed that 830 carb? Something besides boredom from winning has caused them to be no shows this year.
    The Loftin’s don’t make a big production of it but there is quite the “human interest” story regarding overcoming grief and loss for the whole family as Brian’s wife and Carson’s mother tragically lost her life in a car wreck when Carson was a youngster. Back to the racing side of it I wonder if Loftin’s will go with their Whelen Tour/SMART legal Spac engine at Stafford or some other package?
    Is Stafford not doling out any penalties this year or are they way tardy on posting them? No updates on the website since May 17. If they ain’t penalizing anybody the local dog pound might go broke.

  8. Sharpie Fan says

    Penalties are up now.

  9. at the end of the day, this is a 6 tires race. With possibly 4 tires allowed for practice, I cant find the exact rule for that.

    that is $1,500-$2,500 straight away.

    2nd pays $1,600.

    This isn’t a shot at Stafford, they try really hard to raise the purses for these guys, and have done more than most. But a person isnt going to be willing to spend more on a ticket or show up when they wouldn’t have with $1000 tire sets vs $6-700 sets a few years ago. Some things are simply out of the hands of these series/tracks.

    What incentive is there for people to show up? You are racing against a lot of people that race at Stafford every single weekend. That’s tough. There’s no point fund or championship, which is understandable from Stafford’s POV. These guys expected to travel in don’t get the local sponsors.

    With a series like the NWMT, Tri Track and MRS, you at least get somewhat neutral ground some of the time. And there are things like prestige and point funds to some of them.

    i wonder how giving the sk’s the night off, re allocating that purse money into the open purse would work.

    I’ve said it a lot, and ill say it again. Get used to 20-25 car tour modified fields for a while.

  10. In season car count averages for opens excluding the Sizzler and Fall Final.

    2018…2 opens averaging 20 cars
    2019…. 3 opens averaging 23 cars
    2020….3 opens averaging 26 cars
    2021…3 opens averaging 26 cars
    2022…4 opens averaging 28 cars
    2023….4 opens averaging 21 cars
    2024…3 scheduled. 1st event registrations 21

    Went to the first 5 the first two years and thought they were terrific. For $30 bucks no need to sit through meaningless heats for the regular divisions you got 5 features plus heats and a feature for the tour modifieds. We were used to the VMRS going green to checkers on hard tires with no tire change a recipe for boring. The new format added the pit stop that gave the Stafford brand of open real pizzazz. Tommy Barrett viewed as a bad boy at the time wins the first one strictly on the strength of his pit stop strategy.

    The ticket price now still $30. Good for fans but not exactly a testament to the pricing power of the event. Winner get’s $5000 but only due to a $1500 bonus the purse essentially has been relatively stagnant since 2018. Second at $1600 might be more then 2018 but not by much if at all.

    One might guess that the costs of competing highlighted by tire expense in relationship to the purse a reason for the series to be losing ground in car count. The race on Saturday at Monadnock might be a factor as well. I’d suggest the series is getting a little thread bare now. With ticket price and purse indicating stagnation in the attraction of the Stafford in-season opens they’re not really viewed as special at this stage more like a regular show with benefits. The fan base used to seeing Silk, Hirschman, the 7ny, Ole Blue and other big names viewing this more like a “Stafford guys” event with the big attraction the High School kid from SMART invading.

    You know what’s coming. That’s right it’s the too many events theme. Were this the only open event in a couple weeks the purse and tire expense would not stop more cars from showing up.

    6 years in the in-season Stafford opens may be viewed by competitors as lesser events. Not because they changed that much but the competition around them became so much more intense.

    My view dropping one event this season and inviting in the Cleetus McFarland a good first step in trying to respond to the stagnation in the Stafford opens as well a replace the loss of the SRX golden goose. Since the Stafford management believes in incremental change look for another move in the same vein in 2025.

  11. Fast Eddie says

    I really like the Stafford Opens and try to get to all of them despite traveling from the greater Boston area on a Friday afternoon, not a fun ride, but worth the trip. (Gotta plan for at least 3 hours for my 1-1/2 hour ride!) Where else can you go to see 2 modified races with 20-25 cars and a third with 25-30 at the same event plus 3 other features?
    Stafford Speedway is the center of the pavement Modified universe!

  12. WMT, Tri Track, Milton Cat, Stafford opens, Thompson opens. Want to know why the car counts are down? Pretty simple, too many different series and not enough tour type mods to go around that can afford the cost.


  13. Fast Eddie says

    Good point Earl, just because you own a Modified does not mean you have the funds to race anywhere, anytime. I think this year’s Modified racing in general needs to be looked at more in terms of the quality of the racing and not the quantity of cars. Over the years I think I’ve been to just as many good races with small fields as I have with large ones. And you have to watch the whole field to really appreciate the racing, not just the few front-runners.

  14. Rafter fan says

    Stafford did not schedule an Open Modified event in May 2024. The track may have concluded that May is still too early in the season (i.e. warm weather is not definite). I know that the Open Modified shows held in May in prior years included some long and semi-cold nights (with mediocre attendance).

  15. Fast Eddie says

    You could be right Rafter. Usually when they did have one it was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, not an easy ride for many of us to make with the high traffic volume.

  16. Suitcase Jake says

    weather is a HUGE FACTOR on those traveling long distances also.. I watch Stafford every Friday with the Bride on Flo and save 150 bucks with no problem and we love the commute.. Lazy Boy to Kitchen … LOL

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