For Todd Owen and the #81 Cooker Construction team, 2023 at Stafford Speedway was a historic season that saw Owen become the first driver in the 42-year history of the SK Modified® division to win three consecutive championships. The 2023 season also saw Owen finish in the top-10 in each of the 17 races held and extended a streak of consecutive top-10 finishes to 34 consecutive races, dating back to June of 2022. Putting a stamp on how consistent Owen has been during his 3-season championship run, he has placed in the top-10 in 55 of 58 races.
“You never think you’d have the opportunity to win one championship and this run we’re on, I don’t even understand it,” said Owen. “It’s not just one team in our shop, it’s David Arute’s team, Anthony Flannery’s team, and all the SK Light drivers that we help. This whole Chassis Pro group works together as a family. It means a lot to everyone and it means a lot working with my friends and guys who have been with me since day one as well as some of the new people who have come along.”
Coming into the 2023 season, Owen made the decision to sell his 2-time championship winning car from 2021 and 2022 and build a brand new car for the 2023 season. After some minor struggles to get the car dialed in to his liking, Owen and the #81 team hit upon a setup that allowed them to show the true speed of the new car.
“We had a few seasons on our other car and we wanted to keep our equipment fresh and with us building our own cars, it was something that was easier for us to do,” said Owen. “At the start of the year we definitely needed to find what made this car work. It was just a little off and as soon as we got that figured out, the car really came to life. Obviously I love the top-10 consistency thing, I like to bring the car home in one piece, and I think that really helps your car become faster in itself.”
While Owen was once again displaying his amazing consistency with top-10 runs in each of the first 10 races to kick off the 2023 season, he had yet to win a race going into the August 4 NAPA SK 5k. Owen took the checkered flag to win the race for the first time in his career after several near misses and that victory propelled him 5 consecutive top-5 finishes, including a second win, before a 10th place finish in the second to last race of the season clinched the championship.
“I had finished second in the 5k a bunch of times and those marquee events are the races that everyone wants to have on their resume,” said Owen. “I’m happy to be the guy who got to wear that cool chain in victory lane. I think once we got that win, we started clicking off top-5 finishes and I think that’s what I’m more proud of than our wins. I haven’t won a lot of races in my career and I’m not a guy that’s going to win 6 or 7 races a year. That’s just not who I am and I’m not going to take a chance to go from fourth to second with a move that might work but probably won’t work.”
With the championship already wrapped up, Owen put an exclamation point on the end of his championship campaign with his third win of the season in the NAPA Fall Final feature event.
“It meant a lot to go into that last race with no pressure and we could celebrate the season with a win,” said Owen. “It was good to end the year like that. I’ve said it before, I think I was more excited for David and Anthony to have great years finishing 5th and 6th in points.”
“I would like to thank Cooker Construction, Steve & Debbie Barnes, they’ve been with me since day 1, Barnes Pools, Austin Auto Body, McKinney Construction, Fowler’s Auto Wrecking, Belltown Motors, Wicked Powersports, Bob Charland, Marchese Landscaping, Barnes Package, Ben Dodge from Start/Finish Motorsports, All Gas, Specialty Transmission, Jeff Pearl, Tommy’s Tattoo Supplies, R & D Construction, FK Rod Ends, Tom O’Sullivan Welding, Tom Abele from 32 Signs for making the car look so good, Brian McManus, Sal Calvo, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Fuel, and obviously Butch Shea. This whole Chassis Pro brand wouldn’t be a thing without Butch. Also Don Wood from R.A.D. Auto Machine for the awesome power, all my crew guys, NAPA Auto Parts and Stafford Speedway for giving us an awesome racetrack.”
For the 2024 season, Owen looks to continue his consistency on the track, as he has done for the last 3 seasons.
“Our goal is to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, maybe try some more open modified races,” said Owen. “We want to keep all of our Chassis Pro cars going strong and hopefully all our SK Light drivers can keep on improving and get more cars into the top-5.”
The official 2023 Championship videos are available to watch on Stafford’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Visit youtube.com/staffordspeedway or facebook.com/StaffordMotorSpeedway to see the championship videos as well as videos with the top-5 finishers in each of Stafford’s 5 weekly divisions.
For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.
Stafford Speedway PR
- Buckle-up NASCAR Nation, Bms Is Going Back to the Future With Throwback Food City 500 That Will Transport You to the Early 1990s, an Era That Popularized NASCAR - February 22, 2024
- Race weekend fun kicks off at AMS - February 22, 2024
- Dye Ready to Bounce Back At Atlanta - February 22, 2024