December 8, 2020
Expanding Horizons: Andrew Molleur Adding Late Model To Weekly Duties At Stafford Speedway
In 2021 the Shelton driver will be rolling quite a few more laps every week than he’s gotten used to on Friday nights at Stafford.
In addition to his duties running a Keith Rocco Racing SK Modified weekly at Stafford, Molleur will also make his first foray into full-bodied racing in 2021, jumping into the season with a championship operation at the track.
Molleur will replace Michael Bennett in the Rob Russell owned No. 31 Late Model at Stafford in 2021.
“There have been times at Stafford when I’ve raced the [Tour Type Modified] Open car and the SK Modified or the [Tour Type Modified] Open car and an SK Light on the same night,” Molleur said. “I feel like I’m mentally prepared to run two cars in one night every week. I’m definitely going to have to do some working out and preparing for it. I’m going to be running 30 more laps every week.
“Forty laps every Friday is going to be 70 now. And there’s going to be some weekends when we’re running the [Tour Type] Open car, the SK [Modified] and the Late Model in one day. That’s going to be obviously some pretty long days for me. But I’m just trying to be a diverse driver and show that I can go out there and run different kinds of cars and be competitive. That’s my main goal.”
Molleur joins a team that had seven wins at Stafford from 2016-2018 with driver Glen Reen and won the 2017 Late Model championship at the track. Bennett ran the car the last two seasons.
“They’ve won races, they’ve finished well, they’ve won a championship and they’ve had some really good guys behind the wheel, Molleur said. “It’s really awesome to know that these guys have won races and done well. But it also puts some pressure on my shoulders because I know the car can do it, so now it’s up to me to do it. … It’s on me now to do well and go out there and do my thing.”
The 17-year old Molleur had four victories in 21 starts in the SK Light Modified division in 2018 at Stafford. He became the youngest winner in SK Modified division history at Stafford when he won his first race in the track’s premier division in 2019.
He said driving a Late Model has been on his “bucket list” after testing one at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Molleur said he got connected to Russell through engine builder Tony Alteri.
“[Bennett] was getting out of the car and they wanted a full-time driver,” Molleur said. “I guess they had asked Tony for some ideas. We run Tony’s stuff at [the New London-Waterford Speedbowl] and Thompson [Speedway]. I’ve thrown it out to people at times that I’d love to run a Late Model some time and I guess Tony threw that out to them. We ended up getting a phone call from them and two weeks later we were at their shop putting a seat in. It happened really quickly.”
Molleur said he understands he’s stepping into a division where competition will be as fierce as what he faces weekly in the SK Modified.
“You go to Stafford and it says home of the SK Modifieds and it’s a 25-car field every week,” Molleur said. “ A lot of cars and a lot of very competitive guys. A couple years ago the Late Model division just wasn’t what it was 10 or 15 years ago. There wasn’t a lot of guys and only a couple guys were winning. All of the sudden it has just picked back up and the last couple years and it’s just been a lot more cars and a lot more competitive guys. … I’m going out there in a field with a bunch of really good cars just like in the SK Modified. The workload for me is going to be just as tough, if not tougher, in the Late Model.
“We’re going to run for Rookie of the Year and it definitely would be cool to have some good finishes. And that will come with experience. Obviously it’s a whole new step for me.”