STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. (WTNH) — The state and Griffin Health teamed up this week at Stafford Motor Speedway to help Connecticut get to the COVID-19 vaccine finish line.
Governor Ned Lamont climbed behind the wheel of one of the race cars getting ready for a practice run at Stafford Motor Speedway Friday afternoon.
“What do you think?” asked NASCAR Driver Michael Waltrip. “I love it,” answered the governor. “I’m ready to go.”
A lot of race fans would have liked to have traded places with the governor Friday. When asked how it felt to get behind the wheel he said “I fit in there like a glove.”
Stafford has a sold-out SRX Racing event Saturday night with 11 big-name drivers glad the grandstand will be full.
“It certainly makes a difference because I think we’re all thankful that we’re heading in a good direction,” said Waltrip.
Helping to head in that direction may be that more and more people are being vaccinated against COVID-19. The governor came to Stafford because he says residents in that part of the state still need to pull ahead in the vaccination race.
“I love Stafford Springs,” said the governor. “You’re winning. You’re the fastest racers around but your 152nd out of a 169 towns in terms of people getting vaccinated.”
That’s why the state, Stafford Motor Speedway, and Griffin Health teamed up for a special Friday night event.
Something you don’t usually see on the track is Griffin Health vehicles. They were there to help promote the free vaccination clinic at the Friday night races. Those who get vaccinated also get a $10 voucher for food and drinks at the track.
“Oh that’s awesome. I’ve already got mine,” said Waltrip. “I’m all vaccined up and ready to race.”
So were others taking some practice laps.
News 8 asked Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves if it is more difficult to go to a shorter track or to go on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. “It is definitely very similar right now the car is moving I feel Ike a cha cha cha right now,” said Castroneves.
“I’m your governor I want you to win the governor’s cup. Let’s see what you can do,” the governor then said to Castroneves. “Oh my goodness,” Castroneves responded. “And then we’ll dance with the stars,” added the governor.
Big names and a big race for this Speedway which is glad to be back at 100 percent capacity.
“From a business perspective it makes it much more realistic to keep the lights on,” said Paul Arute whose family owns the Stafford Motor Speedway.