Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway hosted the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 with tour style modifieds taking center stage for an 80-lap race around the Connecticut half-mile. Tommy Barrett, Jr. used an early pit stop to gain track position when the majority of the cars came to pit road at the halfway point of the race and he led 38 of the final 40 laps to win the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80.
Michael Christopher, Jr. took the lead on the outside of Rowan Pennink at the start with Eric Goodale third, Joey Cipriano fourth, and Woody Pitkat fifth. Pennink took the lead from Christopher on lap-4 and Pitkat took fourth from Cipriano before the caution flew with 6 laps complete for a spin coming out of turn 2 by Walt Sutcliffe.
Pennink took the lead back under green with Christopher in second. Goodale was third with Pitkat fourth and Cipriano fifth. Christopher slid back to fourth as both Goodale and Pitkat got by him on lap-13 with Pennink continuing to lead the race. The caution came back out with 19 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by D.J. Macri.
Pennink took the lead on the restart with Pitkat taking second. Goodale was third with Chase Dowling applying heavy pressure from fourth and Dave Etheridge was fifth. Dowling took third from Goodale on lap-21 while behind him, Christopher and Cipriano were having a great duel for sixth place. The caution came out with 30 laps complete for Macri, who came to a stop on the backstretch.
Pennink took the lead back under green with Pitkat right behind him in second. Goodale was third in line with Dowling and Etheridge making up the top-5. Anthony Flannery was up to sixth with Cipriano in seventh. Goodale was looking to the inside of Pitkat for second place on lap-40 when the caution came back out for a spin coming out of turn 2 by Robert Bloxsom, III. The majority of the field came to pit road under the caution to change two tires, handing the lead of the race over to Flannery with Keith Rocco in second and two cars that pitted under the previous caution, Tommy Barrett, Jr. and Richard Savary, making up the second row for the restart.
Flannery took the lead on the restart but he only held the lead for one lap before Barrett streaked into the lead on lap-42. Savary was now third with Jeff Gallup fourth and Rowan Pennink up to fifth after his pit stop. Pennink took fourth on lap-43 and he brought Pitkat with him up to fifth with Gallup falling back to sixth. Pennink and Pitkat continued to charge as they moved into third and fourth on lap-46 to drop Flannery back to fifth as Barrett and Savary continued to lead the race. Goodale came to pit road on lap-50 with a flat right front tire and he lost several laps in the pits making a tire change. The caution came back out with 56 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by Bloxsom.
Barrett took the lead on the restart with Pennink, Dowling, Pitkat, and Etheridge lined up behind him. The caution came back out with 59 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Mark Bakaj.
Pennink made a power move going into turn 3 on the restart to pull alongside Barrett for the lead. Pennink took the lead on lap-61 but Barrett was able to make a crossover move and retake the lead. Dowling was now in third behind the two leaders with Pitkat fourth and Etheridge in fifth. Pennink got sideways on lap-64, which allowed Barrett to pull away by several car lengths and Pennink now had to contend with Dowling right on his back bumper for second.
Dowling took second from Pennink on lap-68 with Barrett still out front and Pitkat and Etheridge still in fourth and fifth. Etheridge was applying heavy pressure to Pitkat and he took fourth on lap-71. Barrett led Dowling to the checkered flag to take the victory. Etheridge finished third with Pennink and Pitkat rounding out the top-5.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dan Wesson took the lead at the green before the caution came out with 1 lap complete for David Arute who came to a stop in turn 4 and Josh Wood, who had a plume of smoke coming out the back of his car.
Wesson took the lead on the restart with Stephen Kopcik moving up to second. Glen Reen spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Wesson and Kopcik went side by side for two laps on the restart before Wesson got clear into the lead with Kopcik slotting into second. Joey Cipriano was third with Matt Galko and Todd Owen making up the top-5. Cipriano made a move to take second on lap-7 and he took the lead from Wesson on lap-8. Kopcik was now third with Owen fourth and Ronnie Williams up to fifth.
Kopcik got by Wesson to move into second on lap-10 with Cipriano starting to stretch out his lead ever so slightly. Owen took third from Wesson on lap-14 and as he made his move the two cars touched tires, sending a shower of sparks into the air. Williams followed Owen by Wesson and he took third from Owen on lap-16. The caution came out with 16 laps complete for Ryan Preece, who spun and collected the cars of D.J. Burnham and Tom Bolles.
Cipriano took the lead on the restart but the field could only complete one lap before the caution came back out for a spin by Doug Meservey, Jr. in turn 4 that collected several other cars.
Cipriano and Williams were side by side for the lead on the restart with Williams taking the lead at the line. Kopcik was third with Eric Berndt moving up to fourth and Owen was fifth. Cipriano and Williams were still side by side 6 laps after the restart with Williams edging out Cipriano at the line each lap. Rowan Pennink took fifth from Owen on lap-24 as Cipriano and Williams were still side by side for the race lead.
Williams was finally able to get clear of Cipriano on lap-26 just before the caution came out for Matt Vassar, who spun on the frontstretch. The caution came right back out on the restart as several cars, including Arute, Troy Talman, Tyler Hines, and Wood all got into the backstretch wall coming out of turn 2.
Williams took the lead on the restart with Cipriano right behind him. Berndt got a good run in the outside lane and he took second from Cipriano one lap after the restart. Owen was third with Cipriano falling back to fourth in line and Reen was back up to fifth after his earlier spin. The caution came back out with 34 laps complete for spins in turn 3 by Tony Membrino, Jr., Doug Meservey, Jr., and Arute.
Williams took the lead on the restart with Berndt right behind him in second. The field completed 2 laps before the caution came back out for spins at the entrance of turn 1 by Vassar and Michael Christopher, Jr. The restart saw Williams take the lead but Berndt got loose in turn 4 which touched off a multicar incident that collected Rowan Pennink, Cipriano, and several others to bring the caution back out.
Reen took the lead from Williams on the restart but Williams came back and had the lead by a nose at the line as they completed lap-38. The two cars were side by side again as they took the white flag. Williams cleared Reen in turns 1+2 but Reen came back for one final run in turns 3+4 but came up just short as Williams took down his first win of the 2018 season. Dan Avery finished third with Michael Gervais, Jr. fourth and Matt Galko fifth.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Chase Cook took the early lead with Tyler Leary right behind him in second. Leary was applying heavy pressure right from the drop of the green while Darrell Keane was third, Michael Wray was fourth and Tom Fearn was quickly up to fifth in the opening laps.
Fearn went by Wray to take fourth on lap-5 while Leary was still looking for a way around Cook for the lead. Leary was able to make a move in turn 3 on lap-6 to take over the lead and his move opened the door for Keane, Fearn, Wray, and Glen Reen to all move by and drop Cook back to seventh. Cook continued to slide backwards as Al Saunders, Paul Arute, Kevin Gambacorta, and Cliff Saunders all got by him to drop him back to ninth in the running order.
Fearn got around Keane to take second and he slowly began to eat into the margin that Leary had built up. Leary’s lead was erased permanently by the caution flag with 14 laps complete for a spin by Glen Reen.
Leary took the lead back under green with Fearn glued to his back bumper. Keane was third with Wray fourth and Gambacorta fifth. Fearn was able to make a move to the inside of Leary in turn 1 on lap-19 to take over the lead with Keane, Wray, and Gambacorta still making up the remainder of the top-5. The caution came out with 21 laps complete for Cook, who spun on the backstretch coming out of turn 2.
Fearn took the lead on the restart and he immediately began to stretch out his lead. Gambacorta moved up to second with Paul Arute and Keane side by side for third. Arute took third on lap-25 with Wray following Arute by Keane to move up to fourth and drop Keane back to fifth. Gambacorta closed in on Fearn but he couldn’t get close enough to make a move as Fearn took down his fourth consecutive win of the 2018 season. Arute finished third with Wray and Keane rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Glenn Griswold took the lead at the green but the caution came out with 1 lap complete for a spin in turn 4 by Todd Clark.
The restart saw Norm Sears and Andrew Molleur go through the grass to bring the caution right back out. The next restart saw Griswold take the lead with George Nocera, Jr. in second and Mark Bakaj in third. Nocera took the lead from Griswold on lap-4 and Bakaj pulled alongside Griswold for second. Bryan Narducci was fourth behind the side by side duo of Bakaj and Griswold with Wesley Prucker holding fifth.
Bakaj was finally able to get clear of Griswold on lap-9 and Griswold got loose in turn 2 on lap-10 to slice back to fourth Bakaj took the lead from Nocera on lap-10 and Narducci took second to drop Nocera back to third in line with Griswold still fourth and Marcello Rufrano was up to fifth.
Narducci took the lead from Bakaj on lap-13 and the caution came out with 16 laps complete for a spin by Rufrano in turn 2.
Narducci took the lead on the restart with Bakaj right behind him in second. Griswold was third with Nocera and Teddy Hodgdon dueling side by side for fourth. Bakaj made one last run but he came up just short at the line as Narducci took his second win of the 2018 season. Griswold finished third with Hodgdon edging out Nocera for fourth at the stripe.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Alexandra Fearn took the lead at the green with Gary Patnode and Matt Clement side by side for second and Jeremy Lavoie and Andy Marchese side by side for fourth. Patnode took second on lap-2 with Lavoie following him through to move into third with R.J. Surdell now side by side with Clement for fourth as Alexandra Fearn continued to lead the race.
Lavoie took second from Patnode on lap-6 with Ryan Fearn taking fifth and Duane Provost moving into sixth as Clement slid back to seventh. Lavoie was slowly reeling Alexandra Fearn in for the lead with Patnode still third with Surdell, Ryan Fearn, and Provost giving chase.
By lap-13, Lavoie had caught up to Alexandra Fearn for the lead and the two cars touched going into turn 1 and they both spun to bring the caution out. This put Surdell and Ryan Fearn on the front row for the restart. Lavoie spun on the restart to bring the caution right back out before a lap could be completed.
The next restart saw Ryan Fearn get a good run to the outside of Surdell to take the lead with Alexandra Fearn back up to third. Clement was fourth and Marchese was fifth. Alexandra Fearn was applying heavy pressure to Surdell but Surdell was able to fend off the challenge for second. Marchese spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution out with 16 laps complete.
Ryan Fearn took the lead on the restart with Alexandra Fearn taking second. Surdell slotted into line in third with Clement fourth and Lavoie fifth. Alexandra was looking high and low for a way around her brother for the lead and the win but Ryan held her off to pick up his second win of the 2018 season. Surdell finished third with Lavoie and Clement rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Chuck Harrison took the lead at the green flag with Brandon Michael moving up to second. Meg Fuller quickly took third with Richard Ciriello slotting into fourth and Travis Hydar in fifth. Michael took the lead from Harrison on lap-2 and the caution came out with 2 laps complete for a multi car crash in turn 2 that involved the cars of Nick Bendiak, Hydar, Chris Bagnall, Vince Gambacorta, Nicole Chambrello, and Michael Beyer.
Bendiak came to a stop in the middle of turns 1+2 on the restart to bring the caution right back out. The next restart saw Michael maintain the lead with Fuller taking second. George Bessette, Jr. was up to third with Harrison and Trace Beyer dueling for fourth. Beyer and Harrison touched on the frontstretch with Beyer doing a quick 360 spin and rejoining the action as the race stayed green.
Michael had the lead with Fuller and Bessette lined up behind him with 7 laps complete. Greg Demone was fourth with Harrison holding down fifth position. The caution came back out with 10 laps compete for a spin in turn 2 by Devin Pitcher.
Michael again took the lead on the restart with Bessette and Fuller side by side for second. They ran side by side for a lap before Fuller got clear into second on lap-12. Demone was still fourth with Vince Gambacorta back up to fifth after being involved in the early race melee. The caution came back out with 16 laps complete for Samantha Anderson, who spun coming out of turn 4.
Gambacorta went around on the restart in turn 1 and collected Trace Beyer, Chambrello, Ciriello, Jason Lafayette, Harrison and several other cars to bring the caution right back out.
Michael took the lead back under green with Bessette and Fuller side by side for second. Demone was fourth with Hydar right on his bumper in fifth. Bessette and Fuller ran side by side until the final lap when Fuller got loose in turn 2, which allowed Bessette to take the position. Michael led Besstte to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2018 season. Demone crashed in turn 4 coming to the checkered flag and Hydar was penalized to the last car on the lead lap for making contact with Demone. Fuller finished third with Chambrello and Gambacorta rounding out the top-5.1
TWISTED TEA OPEN MODIFIED 80 (80)
1) Tommy Barrett, Jr., Millis MA
2) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
3) Dave Etheridge, Portland
4) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, PA
5) Woody Pitkat, Sturbridge, MA
6) Richard Savary, Holbrook, MA
7) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury
8) Matt Galko, Meriden
9) Keith Rocco, Berlin
10) David Schneider, Northport, NY
11) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
12) Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA
13) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
14) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
15) Dave Salzarulo, Monson, MA
16) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY
17) Robert Bloxsom, III, Stratford
18) Anthony Flannery, East Hampton
19) D.J. Macri, Waretown, NJ
20) Walt Sutcliffe, East Haven
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
2) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
3) Dan Avery, Somers
4) Michael Gervais, Jr., Southbury
5) Matt Galko, Meriden
6) Keith Rocco, Berlin
7) Tom Bolles, Ellington
8) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
9) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
10) Todd Owen, Somers
11) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
12) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
13) Doug Meservey, Jr., Chatham, Ma
14) John Catania, Agawam, Ma
15) David Arute, Stafford Springs
16) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford
17) Joey Cipriano, Iii, Waterbury
18) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa
19) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
20) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin
21) Dan Wesson, Monson, Ma
22) Josh Wood, Palmer, Ma
23) Troy Talman, Oxford, Ma
24) Tyler Hines, North Haven
25) Tommy Membrino, Jr., Prospect
26) Ryan Preece, Broad Book
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
2) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
3) Paul Arute, Tolland
4) Michael Wray, Northford
5) Darrell Keane, Enfield
6) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma
7) Al Saunders, Stafford
8) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
9) Cliff Saunders, Stafford
10) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
11) Chase Cook, Oakdale
12) Shawn Thibeault, Plainville
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
2) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
3) Glenn Griswold, Vernon
4) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
5) George Nocera, Jr., Plainville
6) Bob Charland, Stafford
7) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
8) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
9) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
10) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma
11) Alexander Pearl, Salem
12) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
13) Chris Matthews, Stafford
14) Chris Viens, Putnam
15) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook
16) Norm Sears, Andover
17) Rich Hammann, Tolland
18) Rit Dulac, Plantsville
19) Raymond Grassetti, Monson, Ma
20) Mark Alkas, Berlin
21) Todd Clark, Bristol
22) Pete Lopuch, West Redding
23) Amanda West, Colchester
24) Brett Gonyaw, Vernon
25) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford
26) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma
27) Geoff Nooney, Southwick, Ma
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
2) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
3) R.J. Surdell, Willington
4) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
5) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
6) Andy Marchese, Tolland
7) Duane Provost, Palmer, Ma
8) Steven Martel, Barkhamsted
9) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Brandon Michael, Granville, Ma
2) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
3) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, Ma
4) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
5) Vince Gambacorta, Ellington
6) Nick Bendiak, Hopkinton, Ma
7) Samantha Anderson, Wolcott
8) William Desjardins, Plainville
9) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City
10) Greg Demone, Ludlow, Ma
11) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
12) Trace Beyer, Stratton, Vt
13) Jason Lafayette, Somers
14) Chuck Harrison, Woodstock Valley
15) Richard Ciriello, Reading, Ma
16) Devin Pitcher, Bristol
17) Michael Beyer, Stratton, Vt
18) Chris Bagnall, Winsted