Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with a Five-Star Series program on Friday, August 10.
Keith Rocco scored his first SK Modified® feature win since he began the 2018 season with a 4-race winning streak, Kevin Gambacorta outlasted Tom Fearn to pick up his first Late Model win of the season, Marcello Rufrano added to his SK Light division leading total with his 6th win of the year, Duane Provost scored his fourth Limited Late Model win of the year, and Michael Hopkins took down his second win of the year in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Troy Talman took the lead at the green with David Arute in second. Keith Rocco quickly moved from 5th to 2nd on lap-2, dropping Arute back to third. Rocco continued his charge to the front as he took the lead from Talman on lap-3. Michael Gervais, Jr. and Joey Cipriano were side by side for fifth.
Todd Owen was on the charge and he moved into third on lap-6 behind Rocco and Talman with Cipriano fourth and Gervais fifth as Arute was back to sixth.
With 10 laps complete Rocco was still out front with Cipriano in second. Owen was third with Gervais and Chase Dowling making up the top-5. Dowling was working Gervais over for fourth and he was able to complete a pass on lap-13.
Glen Reen got by Gervais to move into fifth on lap-22 while Rocco was still out front with Cipriano giving chase. Owen was still third with Dowling in fourth. The caution came out with 27 laps complete as Michael Christopher’s car had dropped off the pace and it came to a stop at the entrance of pit road.
Rocco took the lead on the restart with Cipriano right behind him in second. Dowling moved up to third with Owen fourth and Reen fifth. Eric Berndt and Stephen Kopcik were side by side for sixth when the caution came back out with 30 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Matt Galko. Under the caution, SK Modified® points leader Ronnie Williams came to pit road for a look at the right rear of his car.
Rocco resumed the lead on the restart with Cipriano and Dowling in second and third. Owen was fourth with Berndt up to fifth. Reen was sixth with Kopcik in seventh when the caution came back out with 33 laps complete for a spin by Matt Vassar in turn 3. Williams again made a pit stop to check the right rear of his #50 car.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Cipriano in second. Dowling was third with Berndt getting around Owen to move into fourth. Owen and Berndt came together with a shower of sparks on lap-37 but they both continued on in fourth and fifth as Rocco was still leading Cipriano and Dowling.
Rocco lead Cipriano and Dowling to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2018 season and first win since May. Berndt finished fourth with Owen rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Paul Arute took the lead the drop of the green but before the field could complete a lap, Mike Mordino brought the caution out as his car shot into the wall in turn 3.
Arute took the lead on the restart with Michael Wray making a power move to the inside of Al Saunders to run side by side for second. Tom Fearn quickly moved up to fourth with Glen Reen in fifth and Kevin Gambacorta in sixth. Fearn made a 3-wide move on lap-3 for second with Saunders emerging in second, Fearn in third, and Reen in fourth as Wray slid back to sixth behind Gambacorta.
Gambacorta got around Reen to take fourth on lap-5 and Wray followed him through on lap-6 to move into fifth and drop Reen back to sixth. Arute was still in command with Saunders and Fearn giving chase. Fearn made a move to get by Saunders on lap-10 to move into second with Gambacorta taking third and Wray fourth as Saunders slid all the way back to fifth.
Gambacorta moved around Fearn to take over second on lap-13 with Arute still out front and Wray and Saunders in fourth and fifth. Gambacorta took the lead from Arute with a pass in turn 1 on lap-16. Fearn followed Gambacorta to take second with Arute slotting into line in third.
Fearn couldn’t get close enough to Gambacorta as Gambacorta took down his first feature win of the 2018 season. Arute finished third with Wray and Saunders rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Brett Gonyaw took the early lead at the drop of the green flag with Marcello Rufrano quickly moving into a side by side duel with Chris Matthews for second. Rufrano took second and Mikey Flynn moved into third on lap-4 with Matthews sliding backwards. Bryan Narducci got around Matthews to move into fourth on lap-5 and Mark Bakaj moved into fifth as Matthews slid back to 10th in line.
Rufrano took the lead from Gonyaw on lap-5 with Flynn moving up to second. Bakaj was fourth in line behind Gonyaw with Narducci fifth. With 7 laps to go, Rufrano had pulled away from Flynn in second, with Bakaj comfortably in front of a pack of cars led by Gonyaw in fourth.
Rufrano led Flynn to the checkered flag to pick up his sixth win of the 2018 season. Bakaj finished third with Gonyaw and Teddy Hodgdon rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, R.J. Surdell led the field to the green flag and he took the early lead with Justin Bren and Duane Provost right on his bumper. Alexandra Fearn and Jeremy Lavoie were side by side for fourth place with Ryan Fearn right behind them in sixth. Alexandra Fearn cleared Lavoie for fourth on lap-4 and Ryan Fearn moved up to fifth as Provost slid back to sixth with Bren applying heavy pressure to Surdell for the lead.
Bren made a move to the inside of Surdell on lap-7 in turns 3+4 to take the lead while Ryan Fearn took fourth from his sister on the same lap. Provost took second from Surdell and he was looking high and low for a way around Bren to take the lead with 8 laps to go.
Provost moved to the lead on lap-16 while Alexandra Fearn was locked in a side by side with Ryan Fearn for fourth. The brother-sister duo ran several laps side by side before Alexandra fell back into line behind Ryan.
Provost pulled away from Bren in the closing laps to score his fourth win of the 2018 season. Surdell finished third with Ryan Fearn and Alexandra Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Chuck Harrison took the lead at the green with Mike Hopkins side by side with Richard Ciriello for second. Hopkins took second on lap-3 with Vince Gambacorta also getting by Ciriello to move into third and drop Ciriello back to fourth. Travis Hydar was fifth but he took fourth from Ciriello on lap-5.
Hopkins got around Harrison on lap-5 to take over the lead with Gambacorta still in third. Hydar was now fourth behind Gambacorta with Chris Bagnall up to fifth. The caution came out with 7 laps complete as Marvin Minkler spun and collected the car of Samantha Anderson.
Hopkins took the lead on the restart while Gambacorta got out of shape in turn 4 but was able to gather the car up and he remained in fourth. Gambacorta’s car dropped of the pace on lap-10 and he slid back to 15th as Harrison was second, Hydar third, Bagnall fourth, and George Bessette, Jr. fifth. The caution came back out with 11 laps complete for a spin in the middle of turns 3+4 by Nicole Chambrello.
Hopkins took lead on the restart with Hydar in second. Bessette and Harrison were side by side for third with Brandon Michael up to fifth. Bessette took third on lap-13 and he brought Michael with him into fourth as Harrison slid back to fifth. Harrison would lose fifth to Bagnall on lap-14 as Hopkins was starting to stretch out his lead over Bessette at the front of the field.
Just as Hopkins looked to be pulling away from Bessette, Bessette began to reel Hopkins back in and with 2 laps to go, he was right on Hopkins’ bumper. Behind the two leaders Michael was locked in a side by side duel with Hydar for third. Bessette couldn’t make a move on Hopkins as Hopkins scored his second win of the 2018 season. Michael got around Hydar on the last lap to take third with Bagnall rounding out the top-5.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Keith Rocco, Berlin
2) Joseph Cipriano, Waterbury
3) Chase Dowling, Woodbury
4) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
5) Todd Owen, Somers
6) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
7) David Arute, Stafford Springs
8) Josh Wood, Palmer, Ma
9) Tom Bolles, Ellington
10) Troy Talman, Oxford, Ma
11) Michael Gervais, Jr., Southbury
12) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
13) Tyler Hines, North Haven
14) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
15) Matt Galko, Meriden
16) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
17) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
18) Nick Salva, Cheshire
19) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
20) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
2) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
3) Paul Arute, Tolland
4) Michael Wray, Northford
5) Al Saunders, Stafford
6) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
7) Darrell Keane, Enfield
8) Trace Beyer, Stratton, Vt
9) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
10) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma
11) Chase Cook, Oakdale
12) Mike Mordino, Southington
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
2) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma
3) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
4) Brett Gonyaw, Vernon
5) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
6) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
7) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
8) Alexander Pearl, Salem
9) Bob Charland, Stafford
10) Chris Matthews, Stafford
11) Steven Chapman, Ellington
12) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook
13) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
14) Norm Sears, Andover
15) Rob Dow, Stafford Springs
16) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma
17) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford
18) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
19) Chris Bakaj, Stafford
20) Rit Dulac, Plantsville
21) Todd Clark, Bristol
22) Amanda West, Colchester
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Duane Provost, Palmer, Ma
2) Justin Bren, Palmer, Ma
3) R.J. Surdell, Willington
4) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
5) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
6) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
7) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted
8) Andy Marchese, Tolland
9) Steven Midford, Ellington
10) Steve Martel, Barkhamsted
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Michael Hopkins, Springfield, Ma
2) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
3) Brandon Michael, Granville, Ma
4) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
5) Chris Bagnall, Winsted
6) Jason Lafayette, Somers
7) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, Ma
8) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, Ma
9) Chuck Harrison, Woodstock Valley
10) Vince Gambacorta, Ellington
11) Richard Ciriello, Reading, Ma
12) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen
13) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
14) Rob Sears, Stafford Springs
15) Nick Bendiak, Hopkinton, Ma
16) William DesJardins, Plainville
17) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City
18) Samantha Anderson, Wolcott
19) Aditya Sharma, Wilbraham, Ma
20) Marvin Minkler, Stamford