NH Sprint Cup owner running out of time
Frank Stoddard has one team, three major sponsors, four drivers - and not enough time.
The North Haverhill native, a 14-time winning NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief, owns the No. 32 Ford to be driven by Terry Labonte in next month's Daytona 500, the start of the Sprint Cup series.
With the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour set for this week in Charlotte, N.C., Stoddard has been busy adapting to the series' rules for 2013, which call for lighter cars and an assortment of new engine requirements. There are even new rules on paint schemes.
He will not attend this week's tour events, instead focusing on the work at hand.
"I'm wishing it was still December, I'll tell you that. We're all getting new parts and pieces from the manufacturers, and we're falling behind because we've had to wait on some things. Right now, I'm still waiting on a front windshield," said Stoddard, owner of FAS Lane Racing, which is sponsored by U.S. Chrome, Federated Auto Parts and C & J Energy Sources.
Terry Labonte, one of NASCAR's top 50 drivers, will take the wheel for four restrictor-plate races. Kenny Schrader, Boris Said and T.J. Bell will also take the wheel for Stoddard.
"Our team is a win-win for a lot of people. It's a complete luxury to have this type of setup," Stoddard said.
The new rules, designed for more competitive races and marketability, may throw a monkey wrench into the Daytona 500 on Feb. 24. Defending Daytona champion Matt Kenseth, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing this season, has posted some of the fastest times in preseason testing. However, nobody quite knows how carbon-fiber hoods and decklids will affect drafting and passing.
"We're all excited about the look of the new car," Stoddard said. "A great deal of cost has gone into the body changes, but in the grand scheme of things, for what's it's going to do for the on-track product and what it will mean to the fans, it's a good thing."