Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, May 31 with its Military Appreciation Night program. Andrew Molleur was a first-time winner in the SK Modified® feature, beating Michael Gervais, Jr. to the line by inches.
Tom Fearn won the Late Model feature with Teddy Hodgdon winning the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie winning the Limited Late Model feature, and Meghan Fuller winning the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Troy Talman and Andrew Molleur ran side by side for the first lap dueling for the lead before Talman got clear on lap-2. Talman’s time out front was short as Cory DiMatteo pulled alongside Talman and had the lead by a nose at the line on lap-3. DiMatteo and Talman were still side by side on lap-5 when the caution came out for Joey Cipriano who got into the turn 2 wall.
Talman took the lead with DiMatteo again pulling alongside in a fight for the lead but the field could only complete one lap as cars were 4-wide behind the lead duo with Tom Bolles spinning through the infield grass and Dan Wesson coming to a stop at the end of the frontstretch to bring the caution back out.
Glen Reen spun on the restart with Michael Rutkoski also getting into the turn 3 wall to bring the caution right back out. Michael Christopher, Jr. was penalized to the rear of the field for contact with Reen.
Talman took the lead back under green with Andrew Molleur and DiMatteo side by side for second. Keith Rocco was fourth and Stephen Kopcik was fifth. Tyler Leary spun on the infield to bring the caution out with 8 laps complete.
Talman took the lead on the restart with Molleur taking second. Rocco and DiMatteo were side by side for third with Kopcik fifth. Rocco got clear into third on lap-11 with Kopcik moving into fourth. DiMatteo slid back to a side by side battle with Todd Owen for fifth.
Molleur took the lead from Talman on lap-12 and that move opened the door for Rocco to get alongside Talman for second. Rocco got clear of Talman on lap-15 with Owen now in fourth and Kopcik in fifth with Molleur continuing to hold the race lead. Jeff Malave spun in turn 2 and collected David Arute to bring the caution back out with 16 laps complete.
Molleur and Rocco ran side by side for the lead until lap-19 when Molleur got clear to the lead. Owen moved into second with Rocco falling back to third in line. Ronnie Williams was up to fourth with DiMatteo holding down fifth. Williams got by Rocco to move into third on lap-23 with Owen looking high and low for a way around Molleur for the lead.
The fight for fifth place was heating up on lap-27 as DiMatteo was 3-wide with Michael Christopher, Jr. and Glen Reen with Reen taking fifth, Christopher sixth and DiMatteo falling back to seventh.
With 10 laps to go, Owen was still giving chase to Molleur for the race lead with Williams third, Rocco fourth, and Reen fifth. Christopher spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 36 laps complete. Christopher was given a one lap penalty by NASCAR officials for drawing the yellow flag.
DiMatteo and Reen spun on the restart to bring the caution immediately back out. The next restart saw Molleur and Owen side by side for the lead with Rocco and Michael Gervais, jr. side by side for third. Molleur got clear to the lead on lap-39 with Gervais and Owen side by side for second and Rocco in fourth. Gervais was able to get to the outside of Molleur as they came to the white flag. The two cars ran side by side for the final lap and they were still side by side coming to the checkered flag. Molleur beat Gervais to the line by inches to lock down his first career SK Modified® feature victory. Owen finished third with Rocco and Matt Vassar rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Paul Arute took the lead at the green with Paul Varricchio, Jr. in second. Tom Fearn quickly sliced his way through traffic to move into third and he took second from Varricchio on lap-3. Al Saunders was up to fourth and Kevin Gambacorta was up to fifth after both drivers started at the bottom end of the top-10.
Fearn completed his charge to the front by taking the lead from Arute on lap-6. Saunders was still in third but behind him Gambacorta took fourth from Varricchio. Gambacorta was slowly closing down the gap to the top-3 and by lap-13 it was a four-car train for the lead between Fearn, Arute, Saunders, and Gambacorta.
With 10 laps to go, Fearn was still out front with Arute giving chase in second. Gambacorta got around Saunders for third with Varricchio in fifth. Just behind Varricchio was Cliff Saunders and Ryan Fearn with Michael Wray, Dave Wray, and Chase Cook rounding out the top-10.
Gambacorta got around Arute to move into second with 5 laps to go and began to set his sights on Fearn in the race lead. Behind the two leaders, Al Saunders was applying heavy pressure to Arute for third with Arute able to fend off the challenge.
Gambacorta couldn’t get close enough to Fearn to make a move as Fearn took down his first win of the 2019 season. Arute held off Al Saunders for third with Cliff Saunders rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Todd Douillard took the early lead while cars were 3-wide behind him at the start with Bob Charland taking second, Norm Sears third and Nick Anglace fourth. Robert Blosxom, III got into the turn 3 wall and came to a stop to bring the caution out with 1 lap complete.
Douillard selected the outside lane for the restart and he and Charland ran side by side for the lead for a lap before the caution came back out with 2 laps complete as Sears spun in turn 3 and collected Noah Korner, Amanda West, and Mark Alkas.
Douillard again selected the outside lane for the restart but this time Charland was able to take the lead from Douillard. Anglace came up to second with Joey Ferrigno side by side with Douillard for third and Teddy Hodgdon side by side with Alexander Pearl for fifth. The caution came back out with 6 laps complete as Sami Anderson spun in turn 4.
Charland took the lead on the restart with Hodgdon getting a great restart in the outside groove to pull alongside Anglace in a fight for second. Hodgdon got clear to second on lap-9 while Anglace was now third with Ferrigno and Pearl side by side for fourth.
Hodgdon made a move to the inside of Charland to take the lead on lap-10. Behind the leaders, Ferrigno moved into third with Bryan Narducci looking like he was shot out of a cannon to move into fourth. Narducci took third from Ferrigno on lap-12 with Anglace holding off Pearl for fifth.
Narducci continued his charge to the front as he got by Cjharland to move into second place on lap-14. With 5 laps to go the order was Hodgdon, Narducci, Charland, Ferrigno, and Pearl. Hodgdon led Narducci to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Charland came home third with Pearl and Ferrigno rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Gary Patnode took the early lead with Alexandra Fearn applying heavy pressure for the lead. After dueling for several laps, Patnode emerged as the leader on lap-5.
Patnode held the lead until lap-8 when Jeremy Lavoie moved to the front. Duane Provost followed Lavoie by Patnode to drop him back to third with Matt Clement up to fourth. Kyle Casagrande was fifth with Fearn falling all the way back to sixth place.
Provost pressured Lavoie all the way to the checkered flag but couldn’t get close enough to Lavoie to make a move as Lavoie scored his second win of the 2019 season. Patnode finished third with Clement and Casagrande rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Chuck Harrison took the lead at the green flag but Meghan Fuller took the lead from Harrison in turn 4 to lead the first lap. Mike Hopkins was third in line with Adrien Paradis, III and Jason Lafayette lined up behind him.
Hopkins moved into second on lap-3 and that move opened the door for Paradis to move into third, Lafayette to fourth, and George Bessette, Jr. to fifth as Harrison slid back to sixth on lap-4. Harrison continued to slide backwards and got back into line in 9th place as Travis Hydar took sixth, Zack Robinson seventh, and Nicole Chambrello eighth.
At the halfway point of the race, Fuller had pulled away from Hopkins in second with Bessette now third, Hydar fourth and Robinson fifth. The caution flew for the first time with 11 laps complete for Chambrello and Rick Charette, who came together in turn 4.
Back under green, Fuller again took the lead but only completed one lap before the caution came back out for Chambrello, who spun in turn 4 and had to be towed off the track.
Fuller again took the lead on the restart with Bessette coming up to second. Robinson took third with Hydar and Lafayette making up the top-5. The caution came back out with 15 laps complete as Hopkins spun in the middle of turns 3+4 and collected the car of Harrison.
Fuller took the lead on the restart with Bessette glued to his back bumper. Robinson was third with Hydar and Lafayette making up the top-5. Paradis was sixth with David Macha, Sr. seventh, Hopkins eighth, Harrison ninth, and Chris Danielczuk tenth.
Bessette couldn’t get close enough to Fuller to make a move as Fuller scored her first win of the 2019 season.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
2) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott
3) Todd Owen, Somers
4) Keith Rocco, Berlin
5) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
6) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford
7) Matt Galko, Meriden
8) Tyler Hines, North Haven
9) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
10) David Arute, Stafford Springs
11) Troy Talman, Oxford, Ma
12) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
13) Jeff Malave, Manchester
14) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
15) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
16) John Catania, Agawam, Ma
17) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
18) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
19) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
20) Nick Salva, Cheshire
21) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma
22) Dan Wesson, Monson, Ma
23) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin
24) Michael Rutkoski, Mattituck, Ny
25) Tom Bolles, Ellingto
26) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
2) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellingto
3) Paul Arute, Northridge, Ma
4) Al Saunders, Stafford
5) Cliff Saunders, Stafford
6) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
7) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, M
8) Michael Wray, Northford
9) Dave Wray, Durham
10) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma
11) Chase Cook, Oakdal
12) Michael Bennett, Willington
13) Trace Beyer, Stratton, Vt
14) Eric Finkbein, Jr., Vernon
15) Greg Demone, Ludlow, Ma
16) Richard Ciriello, Reading, Ma
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
2) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
3) Bob Charland, Stafford
4) Alexander Pearl, Salem
5) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
6) Steven Chapman, Ellington
7) Nick Anglace, Oxford
8) Jonathan Puleo, Branford
9) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma
10) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
11) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
12) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma
13) Noah Korner, Canton
14) Glenn Griswold, Vernon
15) Nathan Pytko, Douglas, Ma
16) Samantha Anderson, Wolcott
17) Chris Bagnall, Winsted
18) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford
19) Paul French, Andover
20) Norm Sears, Andover
21) Amanda West, Colchester
22) Mark Alkas, Berlin
23) Robert Bloxsom, III, Stratford
LIMITED LATE MODEL (15)
1) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
2) Duane Provost, Palmer, Ma
3) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted
4) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
5) Kyle Casagrande, Stafford Springs
6) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
7) Kevin Crosby, Coventry
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, Ma
2) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
3) Zack Robinson, Putnam
4) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
5) Jason Lafayette, Somers
6) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
7) David Macha, Sr., Columbia
8) Mike Hopkins, Springfield, Ma
9) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen
10) Chuck Harrison, Woodstock Valley
11) Rob Sears, Stafford Springs
12) Marvin Minkler, Stamford
13) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City
14) Chris Rossi, Enfield
15) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
16) Rick Charette, Vernon
17) Nick Bendiak, Hopkinton, Ma
18) George Yuska, S. Glastonbury