The racing season is not over for Tanner Woodard of the Waterbury Center, who will travel to South Carolina for the New Year’s 12th anniversary at Dillon Motor Speedway from January 7-9.
The 17-year-old and his Tanner Woodard Racing team will make the trip south for his first appearance in the 100 laps and $ 2,500 to win the Street Stock Nationals, a flagship event on the 4/10 mile oval for the Dillon Motor Speedway, Mid-Atlantic Street Stock Series and Southeastern Stock Car Racing Programs.
The event will be broadcast live on Racing America on Speed51.TV and later broadcast as part of MAVTV’s “Short Track America” ââseries, giving fans two chances to see Woodard’s J&S Sales and Service # 68 in action. .
It was Dillon’s 2021 live broadcast that first inspired Woodard to make the trip. âI am excited to try a new trail that I have never seen before,â said Woodard. âIt’s a national Street Stock race that will be televised live with a lot of competition – potentially 60 cars or more trying to qualify for 32 places to start. Not much had happened last year with the COVID-19 lockdown, so we watched the 11th New Years anniversary in Dillion, and we were hungry for a car for this year’s race. . “
Woodard, the son of four-time Thunder Road Flying Tiger champion Jason Woodard, quickly became an accomplished racer in his own right. This year he won the Flying Tiger Rookie of the Year award at Thunder Road, Vermont and White Mountain Motorsports Park in New Hampshire. Tanner also won five feature films between the two tracks.
Towards the end of the season, Team Woodard purchased a championship-winning 8-cylinder Street Stock. In two starts with the car, Woodard finished third at the Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel Milk Bowl on Thunder Road on Friday, then finished ninth at the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Alby Ovitt will serve as team leader for Woodard’s maiden voyage to Dillon. The Raymond, New Hampshire veteran is a multiple-time winner of the 8-cylinder Street Stock with four previous starts at Dillon. Ovitt is also a Late Model winner at White Mountain, where he and Woodard first hooked up as they both run weekly this summer. It was Ovitt who recommended the Street Stock that Tanner Woodard Racing bought and which will be racing next month.
Other members of the Woodard racing team include Tanner’s parents, sister and fellow Flying Tiger pilot Kelsea Woodard, Steve Guptil, Shane Cannon and Eric Austin. With Woodard’s first laps at Dillon in free practice on Friday January 7, Ovitt’s knowledge and his team’s help will be crucial.
“I am very looking forward to working with Tanner because he is a respectful and very talented young driver,” said Ovitt. âHe listens very well and takes very good care of his equipment. It will be a different experience working with him from the pits rather than driving myself. However, I think it will be beneficial for all of us in terms of results on race day. “
Woodard said he would count on his team and Ovitt. âMy team spent countless hours getting the car ready and updating the parts so I could have the best part possible. Then we have Alby, who has a lot of experience at Dillion and is extremely good at mentoring, âsaid Woodard. âThe experience he brings to the table is so important to me in reducing my learning curve during a big race. I can’t wait to hit the track.
Dillon Motor Speedway is one of the best-known short tracks in the country. It originally functioned as an oval of earth from 1966 to 1980. After lying dormant for 25 years, former NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ron Barfield Jr. purchased the facility, paved it. and reopened in 2007. Its program now includes regular visits from CARS. Late Model Stock Tour, SMART Modified Tour, USAC Eastern Midget Championship and MASS Street Stocks.
âThe race at Dillion is very different,â Ovitt remarked. âThe track is very tricky, the surface is abrasive and it’s a long race with many different situations throughout the day. I think my experience of having run the New Years Bash before will benefit Tanner and [his] the team by speeding up the learning curve of the track and race procedures, tire management, etc. the day of the race. Hopefully all of this results in a very competitive car and better results. “
The Street Stocks will be holding a single-car time trial on Saturday January 8 to block the top 20 starters. On Sunday January 9, a 25-lap B function will define the rest of the peloton with the 100-lap main event to follow. The full program is online at dillonmotorspeedway.com.
Woodard said his main goal is to qualify. âAnything that happens after that is a bonus,â he said. âIf we run well at Dillion, we plan to attend the 2nd Street Stock National race in March. I feel that every different track I run on helps me a lot as a driver because no two tracks are the same. It requires you to dig deep as a team, to understand as a team, and whatever obstacle you encounter, to work even harder to tackle it.