Stafford Springs, CT — Erica Santos, who won her first career NEMA Midget feature at Stafford during CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday in 2007, will move into the SK Light Modified division and pilot Vern Porter’s #21 during the 2009 season. Santos’ Stafford schedule will include the majority of the 2009 calendar, with the exception of two conflicting dates with the NEMA schedule, June 26th and July 31st.
Last season, John Walmsley posted 5 top-5 and 11 top-10 finishes driving Porter’s #21 car. When the seat opened up in the off-season, Porter had one driver in mind that he wanted to fill the seat.
“Erica is a great driver and I told her that the ride was her’s if she wanted it,” said Porter. “She has a couple conflicts with her NEMA schedule, so we will miss a couple races, but we’re looking to have fun and better our performance from last year. Joey Allegro proved that you didn’t have to win a race to have a good season.”
“Vern has known my family for a long time and we had talked a lot last season in the paddock area,” said Santos. “When the ride became available this winter, he asked me if I would like to drive the car. It’s really tough to say no to someone when they are offering you a ride in their car. I’m definitely excited about racing at Stafford this year, it’s one of my favorite tracks to race at.”
In three career NEMA Midget starts at Stafford, Santos boasts a stellar record with a fifth and sixth place finish to go along with her victory in 2007. With the SK Light car both heavier and slower than her NEMA Midget car, Santos expects to face a challenge, but she expects to run well while overcoming those challenges.
“The SK Light is a lot heavier car and little bit slower than what I’m used to with the midget, so it will be a challenge for me,” said Santos. “I’m definitely going to have to learn how to keep the car wound up and not lose too much momentum. I’ve always run well at Stafford in the midget, so I think knowing that plus I have experience at Stafford will definitely help out my confidence the first couple races. I’m a pretty competitive person and I plan on racing up front and hopefully winning a race or two. Since I’m not going to be running all of the races, I just want to be consistent with my performance and not wreck the car.”
Santos will take her first crack at navigating the Stafford half-mile layout in a modified when the track hosts open practice on Saturday, April 18th in preparation for the 38th Annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, scheduled for April 24th through April 26th. Santos and the rest of Stafford’s Whelen All-American Series divisions will have another day of practice on Friday, April 24th. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. The paddock area opens to Stafford’s weekly teams at 9:00am with practice running from 12 noon to 7:00pm.
Santos will get her first taste of SK Light competition on Saturday, April 25 with heat races and a 20-lap feature event. There will also be heats and consolations for Stafford’s other weekly divisions along with time trials for the Whelen Modified Tour and feature events for the Limited Late Model and DARE Stock divisions.
While Santos’ racing activities will come to an end with Saturday’s action, she will be part of Stafford’s famous CARQUEST Belts & Hose Pit Party on Sunday, April 26. The pit party runs from 11:00am to 12 noon with feature racing beginning at 1:00pm. Stafford’s SK Modifieds® will take to the track first for a 40-lap feature event. The Whelen Modified Tour 200-lap Tech-Net Spring Sizzler will take the green at approximately 2:30pm, and Stafford’s Late Models will conclude the weekend with a 30-lap feature event.
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 38th 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.
Sources: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR