Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on July 12 as part of the Bud Light Open Modified 80 program.
The SK Modified® division ran their regularly scheduled 40-lap feature as well as the 2nd Annual TC 13 Shootout, a 13 lap race contested between the top-13 finishers from the 40-lap feature that paid the winner an extra $1,313 from a purse of nearly $7,000. Stephen Kopcik won the 40-lap SK Modified® feature and Keith Rocco came up the big winner of the TC 13 Shootout. Other feature winners included Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci in the SK Light feature, Alexandra Fearn in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Nick Salva took the early lead with Matt Galko quickly moving up to a side by side fight with Michael Christopher, Jr. for second. Marcello Rufrano was fourth with David Arute and Tyler Hines side by side for fifth. Doug Meservey, Jr.’s car dropped off the pace with smoke coming from underneath the car and Michael Gervais, Jr. spun on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.
Salva and Galko were side by side for the lead on the restart with Christopher and Rufrano side by side for third and Arute and Eric Berndt were side by side for fifth in a high speed pace lap. Ed Spiers spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 7 laps complete.
Christopher shot into the lead on the restart with Salva in second. Galko and Arute were side by side for third with Joey Cipriano up to fifth. Rufrano had a poor restart and slid back to 11th in line. Christopher’s great run ended abruptly as he pulled down pit road from the lead under green on lap-12 where his crew went under the hood of his #82 car. This handed the lead back to Salva with Galko in second. Dan Wesson spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 13 laps complete.
Galko charged to the lead on the restart with Cipriano moving up to second as Salva slid back to a side by side battle with Ronnie Williams for third when the caution came back out with 15 laps complete for a spin by Tyler Jones in turn 3.
Galko took the lead on the restart but his time out front was short as Cipriano took over the lead on lap-16. Williams followed Cipriano by Galko to move into second with Galko now locked in a side by side duel with Salva for third. Williams went to the outside to get around Cipriano on lap-19 to take over the lead. Stephen Kopcik worked his way into third with Salva in fourth and Keith Rocco was up to fifth behind Williams and Cipriano.
Kopcik continued his charge as he got by Cipriano on lap-26 to move into second. Rocco had gotten around Salva to move into fourth as Williams continued to lead. Rocco took to the outside lane to pass Cipriano for third on lap-28 while Galko and Arute took a spin through the turn 4 grass to bring the caution out with 28 laps complete.
On the restart Dan Avery spun to bring the caution right back out. The next restart saw Williams take the lead with Rocco and Kopcik side by side for second and Todd Owen and Cipriano side by side for fourth. Kopcik got clear from Rocco and Owen got clear from Cipriano on lap-30 and Kopcik then pulled alongside Williams in a fight for the race lead. Kopcik got clear to the lead on lap-33 with Rocco and Williams now side by side for second behind Kopcik with Owen on the back bumpers of Williams and Rocco.
Williams cleared Rocco for second on lap-34 and was all over Kopcik’s bumper looking to retake the lead. Williams dove to theo inside of Kopcik into turn 3 on lap-37 but couldn’t make the pass. Rocco and Williams were side by side for second coming to the white flag and Rocco took the spot at the line. Rocco couldn’t get around Kopcik as he took down his first win of the 2019 season. Williams finished third with Owen and Glen Reen rounding out the top-5. Following the completion of the 40-lap feature, Ted Christopher’s niece Nicole redrew the number 7 to invert the top-7 of the 13 cars transferring into the TC Shootout.
In the 13-lap TC Shootout, Joey Cipriano took the lead on lap-1 with Eric Berndt and Todd Owen side by side for second. By lap-3 Owen was in the lead, Cipriano and Keith Rocco were side by side for second, Berndt was fourth and Glen Reen was fifth. Rocco took the lead from Owen on lap-5 but Owen wasn’t going away quietly. Owen ran side by side for a lap with Rocco before nearly executing a crossover move on lap-7. Owen was able to get to the inside of Rocco on lap-8 and he had the lead at the line. Rocco came back to Owen’s inside on lap-10 and took the lead by a nose at the line. Reen was third with Kopcik up to fourth and Cipriano fifth.
The cars came to the white flag with Owen glued to Rocco’s back bumper. Rocco held off Owen’s last ditch effort to take the checkered flag and the $1,313 winner’s purse. Kopcik finished third behind Rocco and Owen with Cipriano and Berndt rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Tyler Leary took the early lead with Michael Bennett in second. Michael Wray was third with Cliff Saunders in fourth and Darrell Keane in fifth. Tom Fearn was on the move early on in the race and he took fifth from Keane on lap-3 while up front Cliff Saunders took third from Wray on lap-4 and Fearn followed him through to drop Wray back to fifth.
Saunders got out of shape on lap-8 and slid backwards to ninth place. Leary was still in command of the race with Fearn now in second, Bennett third, Wray fourth, and Keane fifth.
At the halfway point of the race Leary had a comfortable lead over Fearn in second with Bennett still in third and Wray and Keane rounding out the top-5. Adam Gray was hounding Keane for the fifth position with Ryan Fearn right on Gray’s back bumper. Gray was finally able to make a pass on lap-18 to take fifth fro Keane. Ryan Fearn followed Gray through but Keane made contact with Ryan Fearn to send him spinning into the frontstretch grass and bring the caution out with 18 laps complete. Keane was sent to the rear of the field under the caution for the contact with Fearn.
Leary took the lead back under green with Tom Fearn in second. Gray and Bennett were side by side for third with Kevin Gambacorta up to fifth. Tom Fearn took the lead from Leary with a pass in turn 2 on lap-19 with Gray getting clear to third. Al Saunders was up to fourth as Gambacorta got stuck in the outside land and slid back to outside the top-10 as Wray took fourth, Al Saunders fifth, Bennett sixth, Paul Arute seventh, Wayne Coury, Jr. eighth, Trace Beyer ninth, and Ryan Fearn tenth. Ryan Fearn spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 26 laps complete and set up a four lap sprint to the finish.
Fearn took the lead on the restart with Gray and Leary side by side for second. Gray took the spot on lap-218 with Al Saunders now on the inside of Leary in a fight for third. Saunders took third as the field came to the white flag but nobody had anything for Fearn as he locked down his second consecutive win and fifth win in the last seven Late Model races. Gray finished second with Al Saunders, Wray, and Bennett rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Sami Anderson and Bob Charland ran the first lap side by side for the lead before Anderson’s car got loose and she did a half spin in turn 2 and slid back to outside the top-10 as Charland took the lead, Wesley Prucker was second and Mikey Flynn was third. Alina Bryden spun to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Charland bobbled on the restart and fell back several spots as Flynn was the new leader with Prucker on his back bumper in second. Charland was side by side with Nick Anglace for third for a lap before getting clear on lap-6. Mark Bakaj was up to fourth and Noah Korner was fifth with Joey Ferrigno and Anglace side by side for sixth.
Bryan Narducci was starting to make his presence know at the front as he took sixth from Ferrigno on lap-10, went by Bakaj for fifth on lap-11, and took third from Korner on lap-12. Narducci continued his charge by taking third from Charland on lap-14.
With 5 laps to go, the top-3 of Flynn, Prucker and Narducci were in a 3-car train for the lead. Narducci made a move to the inside of Prucker for second on lap-18 and as they came to the white flag Flynn had Prucker on his outside and Narducci on his bumper. Narducci was able to slide by Flynn in turns 1+2 on the final lap to move into the lead and he led Prucker and Flynn back to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive and fourth overall win of the 2019 season. Charland finished fourth with Korner 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 with Gary Patnode coming up to second. Patnode’s car dropped off the pace on lap-5 and he slid back to 7th place as Matt Clement took third, Duane Provost fourth, and David Tefft fifth as Fearn and Jeremy Lavoie were leading the field.
With 3 laps to go, Lavoie was right on the back bumper of Fearn and was applying heavy pressure for the lead. Clement, Provost, and Tefft were by themselves running in third, fourth, and fifth.
Lavoie couldn’t get close enough to Fearn to make a move as Fearn took down her first win of the 2019 season. Clement finished third with Provost and Tefft rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Tyler Trott took the lead at the drop of the green with Adrien Paradis, III and Tess Beyer side by side for second. Travis Hydar was fourth in line with Zack Robinson and Dave Secore side by side for fifth.
Paradis got loose on lap-5 and slid back in the field allowing Hydar to move up to second, Robinson third, George Bessette, Jr. fourth and Meghan Fuller fifth. The caution flew with 10 laps complete as Bessette spun in turn 1 while Fuller and Trott got into the turn 1 wall.
The restart saw Bessette, Vince Gambacorta, and Tim Morse all spin at the entrance of turn 3 to bring the caution right back out before another lap could be completed. The next restart saw Jason Lafayette nearly make a 3-wide pass for the lead but he backed out of the move to leave Robinson and Hydar side by side for the lead. Robinson got clear to the lead on lap-12 with Nicole Chambrello third, Beyer fourth and Bessette back up to fifth. Lafayette slid back to eighth after his 3-wide bid for lead.
Hydar couldn’t get close enough to Robinson as Robinson scored his fourth win of the 2019 season. Chambrello finished third with Beyer and Bessette rounding out the top-5.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
2) Keith Rocco, Berlin
3) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
4) Todd Owen, Somers
5) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA
6) Joseph Cipriano, Waterbury
7) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
8) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
9) Kyle James, Ashaway, RI
10) Dan Wesson, Monson, MA
11) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin
12) Joey Ternullo, Jr., Middletown
13) David Arute, Stafford Springs
14) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott
15) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
16) Dan Avery, Somers
17) Matt Galko, Meriden
18) Tyler Hines, North Haven
19) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
20) Tyler Jones, New Milford
21) Ed Spiers, Beacon Falls
22) Nick Salva, Cheshire
23) Troy Talman, Oxford, Ma
24) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
25) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
26) Doug Meservey, Jr., Chatham, MA
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
2) Adam Gray, Granby, MA
3) Al Saunders, Stafford
4) Michael Wray, Northford
5) Michael Bennett, Willington
6) Paul Arute, Northridge, MA
7) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
8) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield
9) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
10) Trace Beyer, Stratton, VT
11) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
12) Richard Ciriello, Reading, MA
13) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, MA
14) Gary Theriault, Enfield
15) Darrell Keane, Enfield
16) Cliff Saunders, Stafford
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
2) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
3) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA
4) Bob Charland, Stafford
5) Noah Korner, Canton
6) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
7) Alexander Pearl, Salem
8) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
9) Jonathan Puleo, Branford
10) Steven Chapman, Ellington
11) Nick Anglace, Oxford
12) Norm Sears, Andover
13) Glenn Griswold, Vernon
14) Amanda West, Colchester
15) Sami Anderson, Wolcott
16) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
17) Ethan Durocher, Canterbury
18) Robert Bloxsom, III, Stratford
19) Rit Dulac, Plantsville
20) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, MA
21) Chris Bagnall, Winsted
22) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford
23) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
24) Mark Alkas, Berlin
25) Paul French, Andover
LIMITED LATE MODEL (15)
1) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
2) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
3) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
4) Duane Provost, Palmer, MA
5) David Tefft, Southampton, MA
6) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted
7) Kyle Casagrande, Stafford Springs
8) Kevin Crosby, Coventry
9) Devon Jencik, Canton
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Zack Robinson, Putnam
2) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
3) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
4) Tess Beyer, Stratton, VT
5) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
6) Michael Hopkins, Springfield, MA
7) Dave Secore, Jr., Union
8) Jason Lafayette, Somers
9) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
10) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City
11) Tim Morse, Southbury
12) Vince Gambacorta, Ellington
13) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
14) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA