HATFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Hatfield’s Tyler Leary will return to the Late Model division at Stafford Motor Speedway for the 2018 season. He will be heading into his third season at Stafford Motor Speedway in the Late Model division.
Leary told 22News that he is looking forward to about everything when it comes to racing at the Connecticut half mile this season.
“It’s a fun track to drive. There’s definitely a ton of competition and I am a very competitive person so it makes it a lot more interesting. I am excited about a lot of the new drivers in the division,” said Leary.
Leary will head into the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler with momentum as he took down the win in the Late Model race at the Fall Final last October. While still in the off season, Leary feels it still unreal that he won a race on one of the most historic weekends here in New England. He won another race in the division last July and it felt realistic to him. Leary, along with his dad Marty and with his crew members, worked really hard to get the first win.
“The Fall Final one (win) was absolutely crazy. Started fourth. I mean there is always a chance. This seemed a lot more out of reach starting fourth with how the lineup was. We just got out front right off the bat. Just led the rest of the way. I think that gives us some good motivation in the off season to work harder at it and come back for the Spring Sizzler even stronger and I am pretty excited about that for sure,” said Leary.
Some of the drivers in the division that are contenders hail from the western Massachusetts including veteran racer Tom Fearn out of East Longmeadow and Glen Reen out of Wilbraham.
“He (Glen Reen) has a stout race car and a stout team and definitely forced to be reckoned with and then there is guys that have been around for a long time like Tommy Fearn and Kevin Gambacorta and Michael Bennett and they all have been there for quite sometime,” said Leary.
When Leary came into the division as a newcomer and run as well as they did. They came in for the 2017 season knocking off podiums and two wins and especially with a big win like the Fall Final is pretty crazy for Leary to think about that in two years, he feels he can run well with these drivers. He told 22News that the competition is definitely fierce.
“That’s what makes it interesting. Try to put on a good show,” said Leary.
The ups of last season for Leary was the two wins but more importantly it was having a consistent year. For the last 10 weeks of the season, Leary had a top five car and every week, would knock off podium finishes and if it wasn’t a podium finish, it would be a fourth or fifth place finish. When he would do well, he would start more in the back of the field and would work his way up through the front and learning each week and passing which was an up for Leary.
The biggest down for Leary was the 50 lap race that was held earlier during the 2017 season in May. Leary told 22News that he was having his best runs at Stafford. He started in the top 10 and worked his way up to fourth, He thought he was faster then the second and third place car during the 50 lap race. It looked like it was going to be his best finish when another competitor blew a rear end right in front of him and smacked the turn four wall with about 10 laps to go.
Leary also ran at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH in the Super Stock division. Leary is planning to head back there this season as he will run a limited schedule that will be about 10-12 races. Leary had six wins in the division last season.
The NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler will happen at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday-Sunday April 27-29 that will feature the NASCAR Whelen Modified 200 lap race.