Stafford Springs, CT — 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 40th annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler Presented by CARQUEST on April 29-May 1. “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring” will officially begin Stafford’s 53rd season of hosting weekly NASCAR 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 took title sponsorship of the race in 1995 and the race became the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler prior to the 30th Annual edition of the race 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 22 different winners with 8 drivers winning the race multiple times. Of those 23 Spring Sizzler winners, 9 drivers have won a Whelen Modified Tour championship. Ted Christopher, Stafford’s all-time winningest driver with 110 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, and Mike Ewanitsko 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.