Michigan Team Looks For Longevity from Stambaugh
Jonesville, MI (Thursday, January 7, 2021) - One of the Great Lakes region’s powerhouse sprint car drivers is on the move to a new team for the 2021 season. Elida, Ohio’s, Max Stambaugh confirmed he’ll be moving to SR Racing to begin what is described as a multi-year deal between he and the team.
After just over a year and a half behind the wheel of the Joe and Diane Seeling number 97, Stambaugh will pilot the recognizable NEFCO Metal Sales and Fabrication number 5s, formally recognized as the 5B driven by Chad Blonde. Stambaugh becomes the new face of SR Racing after Blonde told team partner and NEFCO Founder, Steve Harding, he was ready to hand up the helmet. Harding says the search for a replacement driver began in 2020.
“[Chad] said you can find somebody else to put in the car,” Harding told Horsepower Happenings’, Zach Hiser. “Chad just wasn’t feeling it and was just feeling like it was time to hang it up.”
That’s when Harding along with team partner, Sean Robinson, began the hunt for a new driver. At the end of the 2020 season, Ryan Ruhl took a turn behind the wheel of the car for a few end of the year specials after his Smith Motorsports team called it a year. It became clear though, that Ruhl would not be the replacement SR needed.
“Ryan’s commitment was with Smith,” Harding explained. “He still wanted to race with us [when he could], but at this point, we were looking for something more permanent.” Cue ‘Mad’ Max. Stambaugh had expressed the same interest in finding a long-time seat to win races in. While the equation with Joe and Diane Seeling was resulting in wins, Stambaugh says it wasn’t exactly the scenario he ultimately wanted to see.
“[Equipment] is one of the big things [SR Racing] had,” Stambaugh said. “They already have motors, cars, a truck and trailer; and, they’re looking for a long-term situation.”
SR Racing has proven success on their side as well. Blonde accomplished many things behind the wheel of their race cars, including multiple Sprints on Dirt (SOD) Championships. Stambaugh recognizes those accomplishments while looking forward to the knowledge that comes along with the experience.
“I already know in my head that they know what it takes to get the job done,” Stambaugh remarked. “Chad Blonde is a veteran. I’m kinda gonna use him as a mentor throughout the year.”
Exact plans for SR Racing in 2021 aren’t set in stone yet; however, they do have an idea of what they’d like to do. Harding says they’ll run a full 360 series schedule. He says they’ll likely run with either the Great Lakes Super Sprints or with NRA. Harding said the team will also drop in on select 410 shows like the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC), FAST on Dirt, SOD, or the Attica Fremont Challenge Series.
Stambaugh says no matter what the team ultimately decides to do, his job behind the wheel doesn’t change. Although, the idea of running for a championship is something he hasn’t done in a few years.
“Since I ran with the All-Stars, I haven’t really run for points,” said the 2017 ASCoC Rookie of the Year. “My goals are to be fast out of the gate, [and] be a consistent car like normal.”
Fans can catch Stambaugh and the SR Racing MAXIM Chassis, Shark Powered 360 in just a few weeks at East Bay Raceway Park for the 360 Winter Nationals - an event Stambaugh has three top 10 finishes in.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to on-demand episodes of the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story - Zach Hiser, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Sprint Car News