NEON, KY :: Craig Stallard is entering his sixth season racing in Late Model Stock Car competition and his second season driving for Frank Deiny, Jr.  Stallard has steadily improved, saying last season was his best season to date.  Now, with performance upgrades at FDJ Motorsports, Stallard is hoping for a breakout victory.

Stallard will be competing in the “Dirty Dozen” at Southern National Motorsports Park and Motor Mile Speedway.  His expectations are to finish in the top five in the final standings for the Dirty Dozen and to pick up some wins.  To date, Stallard’s best finish is a sixth at Motor Mile in 2012.

“We’d like to be in the top-five in the Dirty Dozen and at Motor Mile and finish all the races,” Stallard said.  “”I think we can win some of these.  We can definitely win the pole.  We tested two weeks ago at Southern National and we were really fast.  Frank’s done a lot of work to the cars. He’s changed the front end geometry and we’re really good.  This is the best chance I’ve had to win.”

Stallard came to asphalt Late Model racing when the dirt track he raced at closed down.  From there, he met Frank Deiny, Jr.  Since then, Stallard credits his improvement as a driver in the asphalt ranks to the championship driver.

“We started out running dirt, bombers and super late models and stuff,” Stallard explained.  “The track closed and we started racing asphalt at Lonesome Pine Raceway.  It became an ASA track and we decided it would be better to stick with the NASCAR stuff, so we decided to run Motor Mile and I got hooked up with Frank up there.

“Frank helps me improve as a driver.  That’s why we went with him.  The equipment has been so much better but he spends just as much time with me as he does with the car.  He spends time on top of the hauler telling me what line I need to take, helping me improve.  He gets in my car, tests it and tells me what I need to do.  It makes me faster.”

Stallard’s also planning on competing in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond in April as well as the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 at Martinsville in October and the Thanksgiving All-Star Classic at Southern National in November.

“We’re definitely looking at Martinsville and we really want to run the Denny Hamlin race,” Stallard stated.  “I haven’t heard if it’s back at Richmond or not.  FDJ Motorsports is based out of Richmond and it’s a home game for them.  It would be nice to run that on that since it’s on a Thusday night and then go run Motor Mile that weekend.  We also want to run the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National.”

Stallard knows he has a fast car and is hoping to score that first career win this season.  If he does win, he says everyone’s invited to the party.

“There will be a big time party at my house if we win,” Stallard declared.  “Everybody would be invited, especially my crew.  I have a new crew chief, Matt Dalton; he’s a super nice guy.”

Stallard’s season long effort will be sponsored by Performance Automotive (his engine builder) and FDJ Motorsports.  The season opener at Southern National will be Stallard’s first race at the North Carolina short track.