Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – When the Lincoln Tech Open 80 takes the green flag this Friday, August 20 at Stafford Motor Speedway, Andrew Molleur will be the busiest driver in Stafford.
For the third time this season, Molleur will perform triple duty by taking part in the SK Modified®, Late Model, and Open Modified feature events.
Molleur will be behind the wheel of the #35 Molleur Motorsports SK Modified and Open Modified while also driving the #31 LifeCare Family Chiropractic Late Model owned by Rob Russell, Jr. Pulling triple duty is still a relatively new experience for Molleur but he is used to the challenge of driving different vehicles in the same event.
“Back when I raced quarter midgets, I ran 4 or 5 different classes in a weekend so I’m used to hopping into different cars and being busy at the track,” said Molleur. “I’m always busy with 2 divisions on Friday nights this season so with one more division I’m just a little busier. The past few times I’ve done triple duty Stafford has spaced out the races which gave me a break after each race so that’s been helpful. The 2 modified cars are pretty similar and with the Late Model car being completely different I’m trying to prepare for that and make sure I’m doing all the right things behind the wheel.”
The competitive nature of Molleur wishes he could race even more than three times in a single night.
“I always try to race as much as I can,” said Molleur. “If I had the opportunity and I was allowed to race in the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions every Friday night, I would probably do those as well. I love to race and maybe for some guys they wouldn’t want to run 3 divisions in a night. It does get tiring, I will say that. When I get home on a Friday after running 3 races, I’m pretty smoked. I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to run 3 different cars this season and it’s a blessing for sure.”
Of the three divisions Molleur will partake in this Friday night, the Late Model division has been somewhat surprisingly his best performance of the season. Molleur came into the 2021 season with no previous Late Model or full fender car experience but he has thus far recorded 1 win, 6 top-5 and 10 top-10 finishes in 13 races to sit fourth in the points standing, only 40 points out of the lead. Molleur is currently in 8th place in the SK Modified® standings with 4 top-5 and 8 top-10 finishes in 14 races. He recorded a 10th place finish in the most recent Open 80 event at Stafford after missing the first Open 80 race and being out of the second Open 80 race after only 4 laps.
“With the Late Model things have gone really well this season,” said Molleur. “I think it’s been a lot better than my guys thought, and probably better than most people thought it would be this year. I didn’t come into the season with high expectations because the Late Model is a totally different style of car and it took me a couple of weeks to get used to the car. Getting a win was really awesome and we’ve only had a couple finishes outside the top-10 and haven’t had any DNF’s yet, which has been great. We’ve been really consistent and it’s been a lot of fun. The SK Modified® has been an up and down season. We started out the year with 2 consecutive DNF’s, but that’s part of racing. We’ve pulled off a few top-5 finishes but we’ve had a few nights where we’ve struggled. It’s been an ok year and hopefully with a few more races to go we can improve our finishes. With the Open Mod car, we didn’t run the first open race and in the second open race we were out of the race on lap-4 with a brand new car, which was tough. The last open race we had Ryan Bergenty helping us out and we were able to get a top-10 finish. Top-10’s in the Open Modifieds are hard to come by with the level of competition so it was humbling to know we got a top-10 finish but at the same time we still have a lot of work to do with our Open car.”
While Molleur is 164 points behind the leaders in the SK Modified® standings, he is right in the thick of the Late Model championship race. Molleur sits only 40 points out of the championship lead and it would only take one bad night for the three drivers in front of him for Molleur to be back in serious championship contention as the season draws to a close.
“My goal before the season started was to get some seat time and maybe get some top-5 and podium finishes with the Late Model,” said Molleur. “Now that we’re in the top-4 in the points, Michael Bennett, Adam Gray and Michael Wray are kind of far out there from where we are but it would be awesome to finish the season in the top-4. All I can do is try to stay in front of those guys and hope maybe they have a bad race. All it takes is one race for us to be right back there in the standings. Every position for me counts. I’ve been on the losing end of championships in the past by 1 point or 2 points, which is one or two positions. Once you lose a championship by a margin like that, you go back and think about if I could have made a pass here or there I could have been preparing a championship speech but instead I was collecting a second place trophy. I honestly didn’t think I’d be in this position before the season started so we just have to remain consistent because that’s the key to winning a championship.”
After using pit strategy to garner a 10th place finish in the last Open 80 at Stafford, Molleur is looking to improve upon that finish in the Lincoln Tech 80.
“I’m hoping to cap off the Open season with another good finish,” said Molleur. “In the last open race we ran our fastest lap on lap-70 and we were the only car that stayed out on old tires when everyone else came in for tires, so I felt like the lone wolf out there. We’re there in the top-10 area, we just need a little more than the guys who run up front have in their cars.”