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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




With the spring season fast approaching, yet another season of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition is set to kick off at Stafford Motor Speedway with the 42nd annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler Presented by CARQUEST on April 26-28. "The Greatest Race in the History of Spring" will officially begin Stafford's 55th season of hosting weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing.

The race began its long and storied history as the brainchild of Dr. Dick Berggren, Lew Boyd, and Bruce Cohen as a way to hold a prestigious race during the spring at a time when all the major races were held in the fall. The inaugural Sizzler in 1972 featured an overflow crowd of 11,500 race fans who saw Fred DeSarro take the checkered flag and $2,200 from a then modified record purse of $15,000. Ed Flemke had taken the lead on lap-7 and he held the lead until a faulty water pump eliminated Flemke from the race on lap-70, stripping him of a near certain victory and allowing DeSarro to win. Following the success of that Inaugural Spring Sizzler, Jack Arute, Sr. purchased the rights to the race from Berggren, Boyd, and Cohen, and it has been the premier event at Stafford ever since. CARQUEST Auto Parts took over title sponsorship of the race in 1995 and the race became the CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler prior to the 30th Annual edition of the Sizzler in 2001 to promote CARQUEST's Tech-Net Professional Auto Service.

Some of the greatest names in modified history have tasted the fruits of victory in Stafford's signature event. Since the inaugural Sizzler in 1972, there have been 23 different winners with 11 drivers winning the race multiple times. Of those 23 Spring Sizzler winners, 11 drivers have won a Whelen Modified Tour championship. Ted Christopher, Stafford's all-time winningest driver with 118 career feature victories, leads all drivers with 6 career Sizzler wins. Mike Stefanik has won the Sizzler 4 times, while Maynard Troyer, Richie Evans, and Rick Fuller each have 3 wins, and Greg Sacks, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Ewanitsko, and Doug Coby have each won twice. Those who have won the Sizzler once include: Fred DeSarro, Ed Flemke, Bugsy Stevens, Geoff Bodine, Bob Polverari, Jimmy Spencer, Brian Ross, Jeff Fuller, Jan Leaty, John Blewett, III, Jerry Marquis, Tony Hirschman, Doug Coby, and Donny Lia.

The CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler has also had a great deal of storied finishes. Richie Evans won the 1975 Sizzler using 10 inch Late Model Sportsman tires, Geoff Bodine returned to Stafford from North Carolina to record his final Stafford victory in 1980, Greg Sacks won twice in a row including pitting for tires and coming back through the field, Reggie Ruggiero pitted twice and won in 1987, the SK Modified® cars took center stage in 1988 with Christopher winning the race, and Jerry Marquis returned the Len Boehler owned Ole Blue #3 to Spring Sizzler Victory Lane in 2004 for the first time since DeSarro won the inaugural Sizzler in 1972. But perhaps the greatest Sizzler finish of all-time was the 1981 Spring Sizzler that came down to a side-by-side duel between Bob Polverari and Richie Evans with Polverari taking victory by inches ahead of Evans in what many will recall as the greatest Spring Sizzler finish in history.

The 42nd Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 26 with a practice session for Stafford's weekly divisions. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. The run for the Coors Light Pole position gets underway on Saturday, April 27 with time trials for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford's weekly divisions. In the 33 Spring Sizzler events run since 1980, the fast qualifier has gone on to win the race only 7 times. Saturday will conclude with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Saturday will also play host to a Northeast Mini Stock feature event, the very first time the NEMS cars will hit the track at SMS. The Sizzler concludes on Sunday, April 28 with the CARQUEST Belts and Hose 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 $38.50 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 $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission.

For more information on the 42nd 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 www.staffordspeedway.com.

  Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: March 12, 2013

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