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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




With the dawn of a new NASCAR season at Stafford Motor Speedway, it is another opportunity for Whelen Modified Tour teams to take their best shot at winning the CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.” For driver Ed Flemke, Jr., this year’s 39th Annual running of the Spring Sizzler represents his 20th attempt to win the race. Flemke has found the road to Spring Sizzler victory lane a turbulent ride, as in 20 career starts, he has 2 top-5 and 4 top-10 finishes with a best finish of twice in 2000 and 2004. Flemke has witnessed firsthand almost every edition of the Sizzler run to date and the fire to win burns as hot as ever for Flemke. With this being Flemke’s 20th try to win the race, he can look to none other than Dale Earnhardt, who took 20 attempts to win his first Daytona 500, for inspiration.

“The first two Spring Sizzlers are the most memorable for me,” said Flemke. “My dad almost won the first race and then he did win the second race, so those are the two most special Sizzlers for me. I remember there was so much hype and prestige surrounding that first Sizzler, it was a really big race. It’s still a big race and the prestige and tradition of the race has built up over the years. We’re hoping that this will finally be our year, I’ve had some real tough results over the years at the Sizzler. I think that sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to do well at the Sizzler because that race means so much to me.”

Should Flemke encounter another rough ride at this year’s Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, it won’t be for a lack of effort. Flemke and his team have been hard at work this winter retooling their car and Flemke says that they’ll know right away during practice if they have hit on a winning combination, or if they still have work left to do.

“We went back to work on the car this winter,” said Flemke. “We’ve always had a good car and we ran up front, but the last couple years, I don’t want to say we got behind, but other teams have caught up to us. We have some new stuff on the car and we’ll find out real quick if our efforts this winter are going to pay off. Not only do I race for myself, I race for Raceworks and we need to be sure that we are offering our customers the very best cars that we can. Stafford is a track that is easy to get around, but extremely difficult to master. It’s tough to find the correct balance at Stafford; sometimes at Stafford the slower you go, the faster your lap times are. Stafford takes a lot of patience and willingness to be humble because the track can chew you up and spit you out in a heartbeat. The trick is to figure out a way that you can let the track come to you. The fastest car doesn’t always finish first and you definitely have to be on top of your game all race long at Stafford.”

The Tech-Net Spring Sizzler at Stafford also throws teams a curveball in that the race distance is 200 laps, whereas the standard Whelen Modified Tour race distance is 150 laps. The extra 50 laps can influence a race strategy, which Flemke says almost has to include a pit stop if you plan on winning the race.

“With the race being 200 laps long, your strategy almost has to include at least one pit stop for tires,” said Flemke. “You can do the whole 200 laps without pitting, but that distance doesn’t usually lend itself to a favorable outcome if you don’t come in for fresh tires at some point. We almost pulled it off one year without pitting, we were leading and there was a late caution and we lost the race in the last couple of laps. There are so many good packages out there today on the track with drivers, teams, and equipment combinations, it would be very hard to win the race without getting tires at some point. I think every team goes into the race with a strategy in mind, but it usually goes right out the window as soon as the green flag drops. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens this year.”

Should Flemke be the first driver to take the checkered flag in this year’s 39th Annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, it would be a dream come true. “If we win the Sizzler this year, everyone in the place will see how happy winning the race makes me,” said Flemke. “When I’m all done racing, I want to be able to look back on things and say that I was able to win the Sizzler. A Sizzler victory would put a period on a very important chapter in my life. It won’t close the book by any means, but definitely close out a chapter of my racing career. Any time we can win at Stafford it’s special, but a Sizzler victory would be a very special day for me and the team.”

Just as Dale Earnhardt did on a magical Sunday in February 1998, Ed Flemke, Jr. hopes to make his 20th try at winning “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring” a storybook ending.

The 2010 Tech-Net Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 23 with a practice session for Stafford’s weekly divisions. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. Action continues on Saturday, April 24 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions. Saturday will conclude with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. The Sizzler continues on Sunday, April 25 with the Tech-Net Pit Party followed by Stafford’s SK Modifieds® and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.

Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $35.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $38.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.

For more information on the 39th annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler®, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at

  Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: April 5, 2010

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