Stafford Springs, CT — At the start of any racing season, optimism is rampant and that is no different for Michael Bennett and the #64 Davidson Co. Late Model team at Stafford Motor Speedway. The team had their most successful season with 2 wins last year, which helped them to finish 5th in the points standings. Bennett and his team have been hard at work during the winter and are looking forward to building upon the winning foundation they laid last season.
“We’re coming back with the same crew and the same car we had last year,” said Bennett. “We’ve gone through the car and we’ve fitted some replacement parts and we had the motor refreshed by Billy the Kid. We were real happy with the performance of the car last year and we don’t see any reason why we can’t build on what we had going last year and win some more races this year and contend for the championship.”
Bennett will once again carry the familiar colors of The Davidson Company, a relationship that began in 2006 when Bennett moved from the DARE Stock division into the Limited Late Model division and won the track championship. Bennett will also have help from a bevy of associate sponsors this season as he tries to chase the Late Model championship.
“We have Davidson coming back with us, but we also have a great list of associate sponsors this year,” said Bennett. “We have a new sponsor with Verizon Express Wireless, and we have Visual Perceptions, my grandfather with H+B Siding, my grandmother has been a big help, Ben Dodge with Start/Finish Productions, Bosco’s Market & Deli, Hamm’s Welding, B.A. Muzio, Bob Hitchcock and Kelly Iverson with Hitchcock Pool Water, Bingo, Randy’s Trucking, and the Tracy Family, Sue, James, Melissa, and Johnathan. I can’t thank each of my sponsors enough for their support.”
Bennett has been among the title contenders for the past several seasons in Stafford’s Late Model division, finishing 3rd in 2008, 6th in 2009, and 5th last year. The 2010 season also saw the Bennett team get into victory lane more than once during a season for the very first time. If not for a slow start to the 2010 season, Bennett feels like he and his team could have been championship contenders.
“We had a real slow start to the season,” said Bennett. “We wrecked the car pretty hard at the Sizzler, and then the next two races, we had a throttle bolt break in the 100-lapper and in the third race a center link pin let go. That kind of stuff is going to happen from time to time, that’s why it’s called racing, but I think that if we can have a better start to season this year, we can challenge Ryan [Posocco] and Woody [Pitkat] for the championship. We won 2 races last year and I think we definitely could have had a couple more. A good start to the season can really help send us on our way.”
In addition to consistency on the track, Bennett says that another area his team has to work on is the car setup in colder temperatures.
“We ran really well last year, but we seemed to struggle a little towards the end of the year when the track temperature started getting colder,” said Bennett. “The track temperature is really the key for us. We ran really good during the summer when it was warmer, but when it gets into late August and September, you practice and qualify in the shade and then the race is at night with the sun down. It seemed like our car would tighten up when it got colder and you really have to keep up with making changes on the car when it gets later in the season from practice and qualifying into the race.”
As strong as Bennett and his team have been the past few seasons in the Late Model division, there may be a speed bump in his quest for a championship. Bennett and his wife Lindsay are expecting their first child together on September 24th, which falls in between the Final Friday Night Shoot-Out and the CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend at Stafford.
“Lindsay and I are expecting our first child together on September 24th, so we may need to have a plan if we are in contention for the championship,” said Bennett. “My only hope is that if we are in contention for the championship, that the baby is born before the Fall Final so we can have the baby in all of the photos.”
Bennett will begin his quest for a Late Model track championship at the 40th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, scheduled for April 29-May 1. The Whelen Modified Tour will headline the Sizzler with Stafford’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions joining them on the card. 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, 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