(Stafford Springs, CT)—For the 2023 SK Modified® season at Stafford Speedway, North Haven, CT native Tyler Hines is set to kick off his 9th season of SK racing by joining forces with some SK Modified® veterans who are returning to the division. Poulin Racing will return to the SK Modified® ranks as Hines has teamed with Jean-Guy and Brigitte Poulin to drive the #99 J.G. Poulin Drywall car with Mike Paquette providing a Chassis Dynamics car with Mike Pettit power under the hood.
“I’ve had a lot of change in my career the last couple of years but it’s all good things moving forward,” said Hines. “I’m extremely excited about this upcoming season with the opportunity to drive for the Poulin family who have had an unbelievable driver lineup in the past working with drivers like Ted Christopher, Keith Rocco, Ryan Preece, Joey Cipriano, Chase Dowling, and the list goes on. I feel very honored to be able to drive for them and I’m even more excited about what we’re putting on the track this season. Thanks to Jean-Guy and Brigitte and Poulin Racing, they’re excited to be car owners once again, K & P Landscaping, MTP Trucking, Mike Paquette, all my crew members, and Dave Dal Zovo and Dave Flammia.”
“We’re looking forward to a good season and Tyler and Mike have been working hard on the car all winter long to make it competitive,” said Brigitte Poulin. “We’re really excited and we’re glad to be car owners again and we’re happy to be going back to our roots with CD Chassis and Pettit power. We feel like Tyler is one of the best young drivers in the division and it’s all very exciting for everyone involved.”
After driving the #58 car last season for Paul and Kathy Popielarczyk, a phone call at the end of the year set up a meeting between the Poulin’s and Hines where a deal was struck for Hines to get behind the wheel of the #99 car that was piloted by Teddy Hodgdon for the final 5 races of the 2022 season.
“When they found out that Teddy Hodgdon was going to focus on his open modified car this season, they were going to be looking for a driver and asked me if I would be interested,” said Hines. “I had the opportunity to meet with Jean and Brigitte and we clicked right off the bat speaking the same language and we’re excited to get back to the track with this car and develop something.”
While not divulging any specific details, Hines promises that his #99 ride will be a one-of-a-kind Chassis Dynamics design that Hines and Paquette have spent the winter going through and making updates to the car.
“After this deal came about, I started meeting with Mike and I was on the phone with him if not every day then every other day to come up with this new idea and take what I had in my head and combine that with all of Mike’s years of experience to develop something that will not only be good for this year, but for years into the future,” said Hines. “It’s going to be completely different from anyone else. It’s a Chassis Dynamics car and that’s important to the Poulin’s, Mike Paquette, and myself. We’ve made a ton of improvements on the car and I’m happy about the trust that I’ve gotten from Mike and everyone on the team for driving these changes on the car and all their help for making it possible. When I say we’ve scrutinized every little detail on this car, we’ve gone through everything 10 times over it feels like. The hard work in the off season is where you win races and I enjoy that part a lot. I’m excited, Mike is excited, the Poulin’s are excited, and this is almost like a reunion for everyone here. The Poulin’s started their career with Mike and CD and Mike and I have always had a good relationship so it’s like everyone getting back to their roots of where they started.”
While Hines and Paquette are confident that their new creation will pay dividends once they get it out on the racetrack, there is a possibility that the work they’ve put in doesn’t correlate to speed. Should that be the case, Hines will be undeterred and just that much more motivated to work on changes to make the car better.
“With my background in engineering, I understand that you can put something on paper that is exactly what you need and then you go out on the track and can fail,” said Hines. “The sooner that you fail the sooner you learn and the quicker you can get to the right solution. I understand there’s going to be a learning curve with this new car and I can’t say for sure that we’re going to hit it on the head right from the get go, but I’m really confident that what we’re putting together is going to be close and we can get the right solution relatively quickly. Once we can get the car dialed exactly where we want it to be, I have no doubt we can be a weekly contender.”
Being a weekly contender is exactly what Hines has his sights set on once the 2023 season kicks off. Hines is looking to contend for wins, which in turn will lead them to being contenders for the championship as the season goes along.
“Short term goal is to get the car dialed in so we can compete for wins and I expect to be able to do that,” said Hines. “I’d be lying if I said otherwise. We wouldn’t be going to the track if we didn’t think we could win multiple races this season. No one on the team wants to just ride around, we want to compete for wins. I feel like we’re fully capable of that and long term the goal is to be in the hunt for the championship, which will come from consistency and keeping the car in one piece every week and that’s something we’ll be working on as the season progresses.”
Hines’s first opportunity to capture a feature victory will come on Sunday, April 30 as part of NAPA Spring Sizzler® Weekend. The NAPA Spring Sizzler® kicks off on Saturday, April 29, and will consist of two 40-lap NAPA Duel qualifying races for the Open Modified division. The 40-lap races will each pay $3,500 to win and will set the field for Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models will also make their return to Stafford Speedway on April 29th with a 75-lap feature with over 40 cars expected for the race. Limited Late Model, Street Stock, and Vintage All-Star divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program.
Sunday, April 30th will play host to the $20,000 to win 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®. Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, and Late Model divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the Spring Sizzler®.
For more information, visit staffordspeedway.com, follow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.