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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Stafford Motor Speedway has received its first wave of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour entries for the 42nd Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, which will be held April 26-28. Among the first group of entries is 2003 NWMT Champion Todd Szegedy, who is in search of his first career Sizzler victory. Szegedy has won races in Stafford's SK Modified® division, and he has 4 career NWMT wins at the half-mile, but thusfar his best career Sizzler finish has been a second place effort in 2003, 2007, and 2009. Szegedy is hoping that he can change that fact this year and be the first driver to cross the start/finish line when the checkered flag is displayed.

"The Spring Sizzler is very high on my list of races that I would like to win," said Szegedy. "Before my career is over, I want to have a Sizzler trophy. We've not always had the best of finishes at the Sizzler, but we've come close a couple of times. The key for the Sizzler, or any race, is that you have to be there at the end. I feel like if I can be among the top-5 cars with 20-laps to go, I can be a contender to win the race."

If Szegedy is to claim his first Sizzler trophy this season, he has a good deal of momentum built up heading into the 2013 season after his performance in the UNOH Battle at the Beach that was run at Daytona as part of SpeedWeeks. Szegedy put his #2 Dunleavy Truck & Trailer Repair machine on the pole in Daytona and he led the first 126 laps before a mechanical issue relegated him to a 21st place finish. But with his teammate Steve Park winning the race, things bode well for Szegedy and the Mike Smeriglio, III owned team this year.

"I think we have some good momentum going into the year after Daytona," said Szegedy. "Even though we didn't get the finish that we deserved down in Daytona, I was very happy with how well we ran. After the race was over, you say coulda, woulda, shoulda, but we lost a bolt on a lower control arm and sometimes that stuff is unavoidable. But any time we have a mechanical failure, we learn from it and we make changes to make it better. I can guarantee you that we won't have that problem again and that's because I have the best team on the Tour. I think that with how well I ran and with Steve Park winning the race in one of our backup cars, that just shows how much all the hard work that the guys put in over the winter paid off. We had 2 cars that ran awesome in Daytona, we have great positive guys on the team, and I think we're going to have a really strong year."

For Szegedy and the #2 team, a strong run at the Sizzler will go a long way towards getting them back into championship contention in 2013. The NWMT will make four visits to Stafford in 2013, which Szegedy acknowledges is one of his better tracks. The key for Szegedy and his crew will be to eliminate bad finishes and be more consistent throughout the entire year.

"Our goal for the season is to be more consistent and run strong every week," said Szegedy. "I feel like the team has never been stronger than it is right now and we just need to finish races. If you look at last season, Doug [Coby] had a 4.1 average finish for the season and that's what you need to do. We had some good runs last year, we just fell into some bad luck. If we could have eliminated our bad luck last year, we would have been right there in championship contention. I feel like Stafford is one of my best tracks, it seems like I can pass either on the inside or the outside whenever we come to Stafford. The two corners are different from each other and I really like that, I think it's a definite advantage if you can figure the track out and I think that we have a pretty good idea of what it takes to get around Stafford. Hopefully we can get into the lead early on and stay out front for the rest of the day. But the competition will be as tough as it's ever been and doing that is a lot easier said than done. We're coming back with the same equipment and if my guys can get me in the top-5 with 20-laps to go, I like our chances to take that Sizzler trophy home."

The 2013 CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 26 with a practice session for Stafford's weekly divisions with the general admission grandstands open to the public at no charge. Szegedy and the rest of the NWMT field hit the track for the first time on Saturday, April 27 with a practice session in the morning and then the race for the Coors Light Pole Position begins at 2:30pm. Also in action on Saturday will be heat and consolation races for Stafford's weekly divisions as well as the Northeast Mini Stock Tour. Saturday will wrap up with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, DARE Stock, and NE Mini Stock divisions. The Sizzler continues on Sunday, April 28 with the CARQUEST Belts & Hose Pit Party from 11am-12noon 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. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.

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: April 5, 2013

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