Berndt, Saunders, Pearl, Clement & Walker Score Spring Sizzler Victories At Stafford

Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Motor Speedway ran its rescheduled 48th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on Saturday, May 11th. Scoring wins were Eric Berndt in the SK Modified® feature, Cliff Saunders in the Late Model feature, Alexander Pearl in the SK Light feature, Matt Clement in the Limited Late Model feature, and Johnny walker in the Street Stock feature.

In the 40 lap SK Modified® feature, Troy Talman took the early lead with Tyler Hines going 3-wide to move into second. The caution came out with 2 lap complete for a spin coming out of turn 2 by Nick Salva.

Back under green Talman took the lead but his time out front was short as Eric Berndt moved to the lead on lap-4. Just as Berndt made his move for the lead, the caution came back out for a multi-car spin in the middle of turns 3+4 involving the cars of Matt Vassar, Ed Spiers, Andrew Molleur, and Chris Jones, which put Talman back into the lead for the restart.

Hines took the lead on the restart as Talman’s car was loose and he began to slide backwards. Berndt was second and he took the lead from Hines on lap-6. Again just as Berndt took the lead the caution came out for Tom Bolles, who took a hard hit into the turn 2 wall, which put Hines back up front for the restart.

Hines took the lead and held it for lap before Berndt took over the lead on lap-8. Hines slotted into second with David Arute in third Todd Owen in fourth and Michael Gervais, Jr. in fifth. The caution came back out with 7 laps complete as Keith Rocco, Jeff Malave, and Cory DiMatteo all came together and got into the turn 3 wall.

Berndt took the lead on the restart with Hines in second. Arute and Owen were side by side for third for a lap before Owen got clear in to third. Owen took second from Hines on lap-10 while Arute was now side by side with Gervais for fourth place. The caution came back out with 12 laps complete for spins by Talman and Avery in turn 1 with Michael Christopher coming to a stop to avoid the two cars.

Berndt took the lead back under green with Owen all over his back bumper. Hines continued to run third with Gervais fourth and Arute fifth. Glen Reen developed a flat tire and dropped off the pace and the caution came back out with 14 laps complete as DiMatteo and Michael Rutkoski came together and slid into turn 1 before coming to a stop.

The caution came back out one lap after the restart as Reen and Dan Avery got together and spun in turn 2 with Tony Membrino, Jr. also involved.

Berndt took the lead on the restart while Hines was able to take second from Owen. Owen came right back on Hines and retook second on lap-17. Gervais was fourth with Marcello Rufrano up to fifth. Gervais was applying heavy pressure to Hines for third and he took the position on lap-20.

With 10 laps to go, Berndt was still in command with Owen, Gervais, Hines, Ronnie Williams, Matt Galko, Rufrano, Salva, and Christopher making up the top-10. Williams took fourth from Hines on lap-32 while Owen and Gervais were still trying to catch Berndt for the lead.

Berndt led Owen and Gervais to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Williams finished fourth with Hines rounding out the top-5.

In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Cliff Saunders streaked into the lead at the green flag with Darrell Keane, Chase Cook, Paul Arute, and Tom Fearn lined up behind him.

Fearn got by Arute to move into fourth on lap-8 with a bump and run move in turn 4 with Cliff Saunders still holding down the lead with Keane and Cook behind him. Arute held fifth until lap-14 when Kevin Gambacorta made a pass in turns 1+2. Gambacorta’s move opened the door for Michael Wray to follow him by Arute to move into sixth and drop Arute back to seventh in line as Cliff Saunders was slowly pulling away from Keane and Cook.

Fearn made a move around Cook to move into third place on lap-19 and the caution came out with 20 laps complete for R.J. Surdell, who spun coming out of turn 2. The caution erased the margin that Saunders had built up and put Keane alongside him with Fearn and Cook in the second row for the restart.

Keane briefly took the lead on the restart, but Saunders powered his way back out front once the cars hit the backstretch. Fearn was third behind Saunders and Keane with Gambacorta in fourth and Wray in fifth. Gambacorta took third from Fearn on lap-23 with Cook back up to fifth as Wray slid back to eighth. Al Saunders and Greg DeMone spun in the middle of turns 1+2 with the car of Paul Varricchio, Jr. coming to a stop to bring the caution back out with 25 laps complete.

Saunders took the lead on the restart with Gambacorta moving into second. Cook was third with Tyler Leary moving into fourth and Fearn was in fifth. Leary took third from Cook on lap-29 with Gambacorta right on Saunders’ bumper as they took the white flag. Gambacorta took one last look but couldn’t make a pass as Saunders took down the victory. Fearn got by Leary to take third on the final lap with Leary and Michael Bennett rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap SK Light feature, Todd Douillard took the early lead with Nathan Pytko behind him in second. Wesley Prucker started third, but he dropped off the pace right at the green flag and came to a stop on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.

Pytko got a good run to the outside of Douillard on the restart and as the two cars came through turn 4, they touched wheels with Pytko doing a 360 degree spin to bring the caution flag right back out. Pytko was able to continue but Amanda West had damage to her right front suspension and was finished for the race. Last week’s SK Light winner Bryan Narducci also pulled behind the wall and was done for the race.

Alexander Pearl took the lead on the restart with Teddy Hodgdon and Chris Matthews racing side by side for second. Hodgdon took the spot with Matthews falling back to fourth as Mark Bakaj worked his way into third. Glenn Griswold was fifth with Jonathan Puleo right behind him in sixth.

Pearl held the lead until lap-14 when Hodgdon took the lead on the backstretch but just as Hodgdon made his move, the caution flag flew for debris on the track, which put Pearl back in the lead for the restart.

Pearl took the lead on the restart with Hodgdon glued to his back bumper. Puleo was right behind Hodgdon in third with Bakaj and Steven Chapman making up the top-5. Hodgdon spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 18 laps complete and set up a green white checkered finish.

Pearl took the lead with Bakaj and Puleo side by side for second. Pearl took the checkered flag for his second career win at Stafford while Bakaj beat Puleo to the line by a nose for second. Chapman finished fourth with Noah Korner rounding out the top-5.

In the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature, Duane Provost took the lead at the green flag but his time out front was short as Alexandra Fearn moved to the lead on lap-2. Matt Clement followed Fearn by Provost to take second and drop Provost back to third in the order.

Clement made a move by Fearn to take over the race lead on lap-6 with Provost taking second to drop Fearn back to third. Jeremy Lavoie was fourth with Gary Patnode in fifth. The order remained the same until lap-12 when Lavoie got by Fearn to move into third. Patnode followed him by to take fourth and drop Fearn back to fifth.

Clement held off Provost to the checkered flag to pick up his first career win. Lavoie finished third with Patnode and Fearn rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Street Stock feature, George Bessette, Jr. streaked his way into the lead at the drop of the green with Nicole Chambrello taking second. Andy Marchese spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 1 lap complete.

Bessette took the lead on the restart with Chambrello in second. Dave Secore, Jr. was third with Adrien Paradis, III in fourth and Steve Kenneway fifth. The caution flag flew with 2 laps complete for a spin at the entrance of turn 3 by Zack Robinson that also involved Jason Lafayette.

Bessette and Chambrello took the top-2 spots back under green with Johnny Walker moving up to third with Steve Kenneway fourth and Secore sliding back to fifth. Meg Fuller took fifth from Secore on lap-6 while Walker was starting to apply heavy pressure to Chambrello for second.

Walker was finally able to make a pass for second on lap-14 and a green white checkered finish was setup when the caution came out with 19 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Alexander Fuller.

Bessette took the lead on the restart with Walker hot on his trail in second. On the final lap, there was a spin by Kenneway on the backstretch that sent cars in evasive action and allowed Fuller to move into third with Travis Hydar taking fourth. Up front, Walker made a move to the inside of Bessette in turn 3 to take the lead and he led Bessette to the checkered flag to take the victory. Secore rounded out the top-5 behind Walker, Bessette, Fuller, and Hydar.

For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at


1) Eric Berndt, Cromwell 2) Todd Owen, Somers 3) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott 4) Ronnie Williams, Tolland 5) Tyler Hines, North Haven 6) Matt Galko, Meriden 7) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven 8) Nick Salva, Cheshire 9) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott 10) Dan Avery, Somers 11) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma 12) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury 13) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown 14) Matt Vassar, Plantsville 15) Andrew Molleur, Shelton 16) Ed Spiers, Beacon Falls 17) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin 18) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma 19) David Arute, Stafford Springs 20) Troy Talman, Oxford, Ma 21) Jeff Malave, Manchester 22) John Catania, Agawam, Ma 23) Michael Rutkoski, Mattituck, Ny 24) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington 25) Keith Rocco, Berlin 26) Tom Bolles, Ellington 27) Chris Jones, New Milford


1) Cliff Saunders, Stafford 2) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington 3) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma 4) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma 5) Michael Bennett, Willington 6) Chase Cook, Oakdale 7) Paul Arute, Northridge, Ma 8) Adam Gray, Belchertown, Ma 9) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma 10) Michael Wray, Northford 11) Darrell Keane, Enfield 12) Al Saunders, Stafford 13) Eric Finkbein, Jr., Vernon 14) R.J. Surdell, Willington 15) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, Ma 16) Richard Ciriello, Reading, Ma 17) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin 18) Scott Cook, Oakdale


1) Alexander Pearl, Salem 2) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon 3) Jonathan Puleo, Branford 4) Steven Chapman, Ellington 5) Noah Korner, Canton 6) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma 7) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford 8) Bob Charland, Stafford 9) Nick Anglace, Oxford 10) Robert Bloxsom, III, Stratford 11) Chris Matthews, Stafford 12) Wesley Prucker, Stafford 13) Glenn Griswold, Vernon 14) Geoff Boisjolie, Montgomery, Ma 15) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury 16) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma 17) Nathan Pytko, Douglas, Ma 18) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester 19) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford 20) Chris Bagnall, Winsted 21) Samantha Anderson, Wolcott 22) Paul French, Andover 23) Rit Dulac, Plantsville 24) Norm Sears, Andover 25) Bryan Narducci, Colchester 26) Amanda West, Colchester 27) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook


1) Matt Clement, Wethersfield 2) Duane Provost, Palmer, Ma 3) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks 4) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted 5) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma 6) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfiel 7) Kevin Crosby, Coventry


1) Johnny Walker, Agawam, Ma 2) George Bessette, Jr., Danbur 3) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, Ma 4) Travis Hydar, Woodbury 5) Dave Secore, Jr., Union 6) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville 7) Steve Kenneway, Lowell, Ma 8) Mike Hopkins, Springfield, Ma 9) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington 10) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen 11) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck 12) Chuck Harrison, Woodstock Valley 13) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City 14) Chris Ciriello, Watertown 15) Don Soucie, Ashford 16) Andy Marchese, Tolland 17) Alexander Fuller, Auburn, Ma 18) Zack Robinson, Putnam 19) Jason Lafayette, Somers