Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford SK Modified® driver and Southington native Jeff Baral will welcome two new sponsors to his #18 team for the 2017 season. Baral is hopeful that the new sponsorship will yield a return to the top-5 of the SK Modified® points standings this season.
“We’ve always had good equipment and good help but we’ve never had the financial backing to show what we can do,” said Baral. “With the help of 2 new sponsors, Island Coffee Company and TR Landworks along with returning sponsors, The Wheel Shop, Morrison and Johnson, and Arbitell Convenience Stores, I definitely think we’re going to have a good boost. I have some really great crew guys with Jamie, Barry, Jeff, Scott, Glen, Lou and with Jimmy Fuller helping us out on the chassis and Mike Pettit on the motor, I think we can have a great year.”
Island Coffee is based out of Long Island with many distribution outlets throughout the northeast and they have been in business since 1977. Island Coffee is sold to the majority of your local convenience stores so be sure to grab an Island Coffee every Friday night on your way to and from Stafford Motor Speedway. TR Landworks is based in East Hartland and they specialize in clearing multiple acres of land for wildlife habitat; creation, maintenance, and reclamation. They are also well suited for farm land restoration and all forms of land maintenance and clearing.
Baral made a full-time return to the SK Modified® division last year after not racing a full season since 2010. Baral has 7 SK Modified® feature wins in his Stafford career between 2003 and 2006. Those were also the best seasons of Baral’s career as he finished 6th and 7th in the points in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Despite having never cracked the top-5 in the final points standings in a season, Baral says that is his goal for the 2017 season along with getting his #18 back into NAPA Victory Lane for the first time since June 9, 2006.
“Honestly I’d like to win a couple of races this year and compete for a top-5 spot in the points standings,” said Baral. “We’d also like to be more consistent with our race finishes. With consistency comes points and race wins. Going back in my career, we had a stretch where we weren’t worse than 7th in points and with Jimmy Fuller helping us out this season, I think the car is better now than it ever was then. A championship would obviously be great.”
Last season saw Baral and the #18 team miss three races but they still finished well enough in their starts to end the season in 14th place in the standings. While the season was full of ups and downs for Baral, he recorded three top-10 finishes in his final 5 starts, including a season-best second place finish in the final Friday night race of the year. This stretch of races gives Baral confidence that he can match his pre-season goals of finishing in the top-5 in the points as well as getting back to NAPA Victory Lane.
“The car was always really good last year, we just didn’t always have the results to show,” said Baral. “We’ve gone through the car and rebuilt everything and freshened up the motor so I think we can have a fast car every week this season. We just need to have a little luck on our side. We’ve been at Stafford long enough to know all the ups and downs. Racing is such that there’s usually a lot more downs than ups but we’re hoping that we can have a season with more highs than lows this year.
Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring,” the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 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 $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. Tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Tickets will be available at all 71 participating NAPA Auto Parts stores beginning on Monday April 3rd. For a full list of the 71 locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Rhode Island, call the speedway office or visit us on the web at www.staffordmotorspeedway.com/ participating-napa-auto-parts- stores.
For more information on the contingency program or to order tickets for the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, 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