Stafford Springs, CT — As the 40th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler draws closer to a green flag, Stafford Speedway will welcome back a car that spent many a Friday night in victory lane. The Boehler Racing Equipment #3, known as “Ole Blue”, will return to Stafford to pace the Whelen Modified Tour field, 40 years after Fred DeSarro drove it to victory in the inaugural Sizzler in 1972. Fred DeSarro’s son Gary will be behind the wheel of “Ole Blue” to bring the field around the track on their pace laps.
“We’re putting this deal together for Gary DeSarro and the DeSarro family,” said Michael Boehler. “I’m sure that seeing “Ole Blue” will be great for the fans, but it will be very special for Gary to be able to drive that car around the track and honor his father in front of the race fans. Over the years, we’ve been very lucky, we’ve had a great family run organization with some great drivers and great sponsors to work with. We have Matt [Hirschman] driving the car this year and we’re searching for some more great sponsors to be part of the team and help keep us going.”
While the #3 Boehler car wasn’t always the best looking machine at the track; it got its nickname “Ole Blue” due to a rough exterior of dents, rust, and junkyard parts; it was certainly one of the most formidable cars of its time with its big block engine and driver roster that reads like a who’s who of modified racers. Drivers who have driven “Ole Blue” include: Tony Cortes, Don Hall, Bugsy Stevens, Fred DeSarro, Leo Cleary, Ron & Ken Bouchard, Gomer Taylor, S.J. Evonsion, Mike McLaughlin, Kerry Malone, Jamie Tomaino, Doug Heveron, Wayne Anderson, Tony Hirschman, Tommy Cravenho, Jerry Marquis, Eric Beers, Todd Szegedy, Bobby Santos, III, Bobby Grigas, III, Ryan Preece, and Matt Hirschman. Three of those “Ole Blue” pilots, Stevens, DeSarro, and Tony Hirschman, are on NASCAR’s top-10 modified drivers of all-time list.
The Boehler team began racing “Ole Blue” in 1957 and the car has won modified feature events all over the east coast, from Maine to Florida. With Bugsy Stevens behind the wheel, “Ole Blue” won three consecutive national modified championships from 1967-1969 with 108 feature wins in those three years. The team also won three consecutive Whelen Modified Tour championships from 1994-1996 with Wayne Anderson taking the title in ’94 and Tony Hirschman taking back to back titles in ’95 and ’96.
The 1970 season saw Stevens try his hand in several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events with Len Boehler as his crew chief before Stevens swapped rides with DeSarro in 1971. Stevens moved from the Boehler car to the Kozela #15 and DeSarro moved from the Kozela car to the Boehler car. The DeSarro/Boehler combination went on to capture the very first Spring Sizzler in 1972 as well as the Stafford track championship that year. The duo would also win the Stafford track championship for the second time in 1976, which were just two of over a dozen track championships the “Ole Blue” car was responsible for bringing home. The “Ole Blue” car returned to victory lane in the Spring Sizzler in 2004 with Jerry Marquis as the driver.
The 2011 season is the Boehler team’s 54th season in racing with Len’s widow Janice and son Michael running the team. The team has a new driver for the 2011 season in Matt Hirschman, who is the son of former BRE championship winning driver Tony Hirschman.
The 40th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 29 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 30 with time trials for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions. Saturday will conclude with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. The Sizzler concludes on Sunday, May 1 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 $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 40th 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