Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, May 24 with Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night. Stafford’s SK Lights took center stage with a 40-lap feature that paid over $10,000 in total posted awards. Noah Korner picked the perfect night to nail down his first career SK Light win at Stafford as he won the 40-lap Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night SK Light feature to take home $2,025 in total posted awards. Other winners on the night were Ronnie Williams in the SK Light feature, Kevin Gambacorta in the Late Model feature, Matt Clement in the Limited Late Model feature, and George Bessette, Jr. in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night SK Light feature event, Norm Sears spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed. On the restart Wesley Prucker used a 3-wide move to pass Todd Douillard and Bob Charland to take the early lead. Douillard came right back on the outside and he took the lead from Prucker on lap-2. The lead changed hands again on lap-4 as Charland moved to the front. It was now a high speed pace lap with Charland and Douillard side by side for the lead and Prucker and Mikey Flynn side by side for third.
The action continued to be fast and furious at the front as Prucker came back to the lead on lnap-8 with Charland and Flynn behind him. The caution came out with 8 laps complete for a piece of debris on the track in turn 1. The debris came off the car of Flynn and he parked on pit road under the caution, done for the evening.
Back under green, Prucker took the lead with Jonathan Puleo now side by side with Charland for second. Puleo got clear to second with Noah Korner now side by side with Charland for third. Puleo pulled alongside Prucker for the lead on lap-12 and he had the lead at the line by a nose. Puleo cleared to the lead on lap-13 and now Korner and Prucker were side by side for second. A multi car incident involving Alexander Pearl, Douillard, Amanda West, and several others on the frontstretch brought the caution back out with 13 laps complete.
Puleo charged into the lead on the restart with Korner moving into second. Teddy Hodgdon got a good run in the outside groove and he moved into third. Mark Bakaj was up to fourth with Nick Anglace in fifth. Hodgdon continued to use the outside lane to his advantage as he drew even with Korner for second and then pulled to the outside of Puleo for the lead on lap-19. Hodgdon took the lead from Puleo on lap-20 with Bakaj following in his tire tracks in the outside lane to move into second. Korner was now behind Bakaj in the outside lane and they both got by Puleo to drop Puleo back to fourth on lap-22 with Anglace still in fifth as Hodgdon continued to lead the race.
With 10 laps to go Hodgdon was still in command with Bakaj, Korner, Puleo, and Steven Chapman making up the top-5. Prucker was sixth with Charland, Anglace, Sears, and Glenn Griswold making up the top-10. Charland got out of shape on lap-33 and fell outside the top-10.
The race nearly got turned upside down with 37 laps complete as Alina Bryden spun directly in front of Hodgdon as Hodgdon was attempting to put her a lap down and the caution came out. Hodgdon took the lead back under green but Bakaj came right back with a crossover move and he nearly retook the lead from Hodgdon in turn 3. Robert Bloxsom, III spun on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 38 laps complete and set up a green white checkered finish.
Hodgdon took the lead on the restart with Bakaj and Korner lined up side by side behind him. Hodgdon had the lead at the line as the white flag was displayed. Heading into turn 3, Korner made a power move to the inside of Hodgdon and made the pass stick. Korner and Hodgdon drag raced to the checkered flag with Korner beating him to the line by a nose. Bakaj spun in turn 4 on the final lap and finished 10th, allowing Puleo to finish third with Prucker and Anglace rounding out the top-5. In NAPA Victory Lane, Doug Dunleavy of Duleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair had three prizes for the top-3 drivers to choose from, including a $500 bonus from Dunleavy’s, $88 in lotto scratch tickets courtesy of Rocco Motorsports, and a $100 Texas Roadhouse gift card from Rockingham Boat. Korner picked the envelope with the $88 in scratch tickets, Hodgdon picked the Texas Roadhouse gift card, and Puleo got the $500 cash prize. Dunleavy also had a $300 cash prize for a random driver in the field and with Korner selecting #21, Joey Ferrigno won the $300 prize as the 21st place finisher.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Andrew Molleur took the lead at the green flag with Joey Cipriano and Marcello Rufrano side by side for second. Ronnie Williams was fourth with Eric Berndt and Ed Spiers side by side for fifth.
Williams moved into third on lap-4 and right behind him Stephen Kopcik made a power move to the inside of Rufrano to move into fourth. Rufrano came right back to Kopcik’s outside and they ran side by side until lap-7 when Rufrano brushed the backstretch wall coming out of turn 2 and slid back in line to sixth.
Williams got around Molleur in turn 3 on lap-8 to take the lead. Cipriano was third in line with Kopcik and Eric Berndt lined up behind him. Spiers spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution out with 8 laps complete.
Williams charged back into the lead with Cipriano taking second. Berndt and Molleur were side by side for third place with Todd Owen taking fifth from Kopcik one lap after the restart. Owen took fourth from Molleur on lap-10 and he was looking high and low for a way to get by Berndt for third.
At the halfway point of the race, it was still Williams in command with Cipriano, Berndt, Owen, and Nick Salva making up the top-5. Michael Gervais, Jr. was in sixth with Keith Rocco, last week’s winner Glen Reen, Kopcik, and Rufrano making up the top-10 runners.
Salva got by Owen to move into fourth on lap-26 and Gervais was looking to the inside of Owen on lap-29 and he was able to complete the pass to drop Owen back to sixth.
Williams led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Cipriano came home in second with Salva, Berndt, and Gervais rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Ryan Fearn took the lead from Paul Varricchio, Jr. at the green flag with Chase Cook third. Michael Bennett quickly worked his way by Tyler Leary to move into fourth on lap-2 with Al Saunders taking fifth as Leary slid back to eighth behind Kevin Gambacorta and Michael Wray.
Gambacorta took fourth place from Bennett on lap-6 as Fearn continued to lead with Varricchio and Cook still giving chase. Al Saunders was looking high and low for a way around Bennett for fifth but Bennett was able to hold him off. Gambacorta took third from Cook on lap-9 while Tom Fearn was starting to move to the front after starting tenth. Fearn moved into seventh on lap-10 and he took sixth from Saunders on lap-11.
Out front, Gambacorta had run down the lead duo of Fearn and Varricchio to make a three-car train for the lead. Varricchio was looking to the inside of Fearn for the lead and the two cars touched briefly on lap-14 but Fearn was able to stay out with Varricchio and Gambacorta still behind him. Gambacorta took second from Varricchio on lap-17 and set his sights on Fearn in the lead.
Gambacorta took the lead from Fearn on lap-23 and Varricchio was now right on Fearn’s back bumper for second with Cook closing in on the lead trio. Gambacorta led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Fearn finished second with Varricchio, Cook, and Tom Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Alexandra Fearn took the lead at the drop of the green flag with Matt Clement getting around Gary Patnode to move into second. Jeremy Lavoie was fourth with last week’s winner Duane Provost behind him in fifth in the early going.
With 5 laps complete Fearn was still out front with Clement, Patnode, Lavoie, and Provost all giving chase. Clement made a strong move to the inside of Fearn on lap-9 in turns 1+2 but got sideways and couldn’t complete the pass. Clement charged his way into the lead on lap-10 with a pass coming out of turn 2. Behind the lead duo, Provost was starting to work Patnode over for the third position but Patnode was able to fend off the challenge.
Fearn came back to the inside of Clement on lap-14 but she got loose in turn 2 and had to slot back into line behind Clement. Fearn took another look to the inside of Clement on the final lap, but Clement was able to hold her off to the line for his second win of the 2019 season. Provost finished third with Patnode and Lavoie making up the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Steve Kenneway took the early lead with George Bessette, Jr. hot on his trail in second. Jason Lafayette held third with Mike Hopkins fourth and Johnny Walker in fifth. The order shifted on lap-6 as Bessette took the lead from Kenneway and Travis Hydar got around Walker to take fifth. The caution came out with 6 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Bobby Stirk, III.
Bessette took the lead back under green with Kenneway in second. Lafayette was third with Hydar fourth and Meg Fuller in fifth. Hopkins’ car was loose on the restart and he slid back to ninth in line. Lafayette took second from Kenenway on lap-10 and that move opened the door for Hydar, Nicole Chambrello, and Fuller to all get by Kenneway as he slid from third back to sixth.
With 5 laps to go it was Bessette still in the lead with Lafayette, Hydar, Fuller, Chambrello, and Walker lined up behind him. Bessette led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Lafayette finished second with Hydar, Fuller, and Walker rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (40)
1) Noah Korner, Canton 2) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury 3) Jonathan Puleo, Branford 4) Wesley Prucker, Stafford 5) Nick Anglace, Oxford 6) Norm Sears, Andover 7) Steven Chapman, Ellington 8) Bob Charland, Stafford 9) Glenn Griswold, Vernon 10) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon 11) Robert Bloxsom, III, Stratford 12) Nathan Pytko, Douglas, Ma 13) Chris Bagnall, Winsted 14) Rit Dulac, Plantsville 15) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford 16) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, Ma 17) Paul French, Andover 18) Amanda West, Colchester 19) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma 20) Alexander Pearl, Salem 21) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford 22) Sami Anderson, Wolcott 23) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma 24) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Ronnie Williams, Tolland 2) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury 3) Nick Salva, Cheshire 4) Eric Berndt, Cromwell 5) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott 6) Keith Rocco, Berlin 7) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma 8) Todd Owen, Somers 9) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown 10) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott 11) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington 12) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven 13) David Arute, Stafford Springs 14) Dan Wesson, Monson, Ma 15) Andrew Molleur, Shelton 16) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin 17) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford 18) Troy Talman, Oxford, Ma 19) Michael Rutkoski, Mattituck, Ny 20) Jeff Malave, Manchester 21) Tyler Hines, North Haven 22) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma 23) Matt Vassar, Plantsville 24) Tom Bolles, Ellington 25) Ed Spiers, Beacon Falls 26) John Catania, Agawam, Ma 27) Matt Galko, Meriden
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington 2) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma 3) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin 4) Chase Cook, Oakdale 5) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma 6) Michael Bennett, Willington 7) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma 8) Michael Wray, Northford 9) Adam Gray, Granby, Ma 10) Paul Arute, Northridge, Ma 11) Al Saunders, Stafford 12) Cliff Saunders, Stafford 13) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, Ma 14) Gary Theriault, Enfield 15) Richard Ciriello, Reading, Ma
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Matt Clement, Wethersfield 2) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma 3) Duane Provost, Palmer, Ma 4) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted 5) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks 6) Kyle Casagrande, Stafford Springs 7) Kevin Crosby, Coventry
STREET STOCK (20)
1) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury 2) Jason Lafayette, Somers 3) Travis Hydar, Woodbury 4) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, Ma 5) Johnny Walker, Agawam, Ma 6) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington 7) Zack Robinson, Putnam 8) Steve Kenneway, Lowell, Ma 9) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville 10) Chuck Harrison, Woodstock Valley 11) Dave Secore, Jr., Union 12) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck 13) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen 14) Marvin Minkler, Stamford 15) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City 16) Michael Hopkins, Springfield, Ma