STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. – Chris Meyer came to Stafford Speedway last year with more than a decade of experience driving a Street Stock, but it was his first campaign at the half-mile Connecticut facility.
Meyer’s lack of Stafford experience never showed, though, as he finished second in his first start and went on to win two races and finish second in the final points standings.
With a season’s worth of experience under his belt, Meyer and the No. 87 D&L Services team have a wave of confidence heading into the new season this year.
“Our goal is to win the championship this year,” said Meyer. “I don’t want to say that was our goal last season because we had no experience at Stafford. Our goal was to win a race and get a top-five finish in the points standings. We won two races and finished second in points in a shortened season, so this season, with 22 races on the schedule, our goal is to get four wins and we’d like to win the championship.
“If we’re in the top three (in points) at the end of the season, that’s all you can ask for,” Meyer added. “Anything less than a top three in the points and four wins would feel like we didn’t do our jobs.”
Meyer served notice to the Street Stock field that he would be a contender to be reckoned with last year with his season-opening second-place finish.
After finishing 19th in the second race of the season due to a wreck that happened in front of him, Meyer posted eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the final 12 races, including six podium finishes.
The team’s success initially came as a surprise to Meyer, but as the season progressed, the No. 87 team continued to acclimate themselves to Stafford and asserted themselves as one of the weekly favorites to win.
“I think we were surprised on opening day when we finished second but by the end of the year we weren’t surprised,” said Meyer. “The only race we missed the top-10 was week two. I think we were one of the fastest cars that night and we got caught up in a wreck. We had never been to a track with a tire rule before and I had never raced on a tire that was as good as the Hoosiers we raced on. I had to change my driving style and it was a huge learning curve for both myself and the team. It might seem like a small thing but we also had to adjust to racing on a Friday night rather than the weekend.
“We came to win races and we knew we would figure things out and we were willing to do whatever we needed to do to accomplish that,” Meyer continued. “I’m not surprised my team was able to get adjusted and put together a couple of victories.”
Although Meyer and the No. 87 team finished half of the 2020 season on the podium, he feels like there is still room for himself and his crew to improve and be even better.
“You’re always learning new things and there’s always room for improvement,” said Meyer. “I think we need to be a little better at making adjustments to the car in between the heat race and the feature. We had that figured out pretty well going into the last two or three races, but that’s a very small sample size of the season.
“With the rubber that gets put down and the weather changing it makes a huge difference at Stafford, more so than Waterford or Thompson.”
Meyer and his crew have been busy during the winter hanging a new body as well as changing out some of the steering components in his No. 87 Chevrolet. Meyer also returns with his entire crew from the 2020 season as well.
“We put a new body on the car and we made some updates with the steering, but we have great equipment with a JMD drivetrain and a BFR chassis so there wasn’t much room for improvement parts wise,” said Meyer. “Everyone on the team is really excited. This is probably the most consistent team I’ve had since I started racing. Everyone that was involved with the team last year is coming back and we all have more experience. We’re getting a back up car ready to go but hopefully we won’t need that this season.
“We have great sponsors with D & L Services, 32 Signs came on board with us this season, 7-11 of Franklin, and R.A.D. Auto Machine. I have to give a big thank you to my dad Joe, he’s the glue that holds the team together and he makes this deal happen,” Meyer noted. “We’ve been racing together for 15 years and sometimes I forget about him because it’s so ingrained racing together.”
Meyer previously won a track title at Waterford in the Street Stock division and he has placed second in the points on several occasions at Waterford and Thompson, as well as last season at Stafford.
Some drivers might consider having such a wealth of experience racing for a championship as an advantage, but Meyer doesn’t necessarily feel like his experience gives him any advantage at all in chasing a championship.
“Now that we have a season of experience at Stafford on top of my 10 plus years of experience racing Street Stocks, I feel like we’re at least one of the top championship contenders,” said Meyer. “Frank L’Etoile is going to be tough and if Travis Hydar races all year long, he’s going to be tough and there’s other guys that are also very competitive. A lot of the guys I’m racing against are younger and they don’t feel the pressure of racing for a championship.
“You see a lot of young champions these days and they don’t crack during the season so I don’t know if my championship experience is an advantage for me or not,” Meyer said. “We have a full year of experience and our team is well put together so I feel like we’re in pretty good shape.”