Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, September 18th with Open Modified cars in the house for the Twisted Tea Open Mod 80.
Keith Rocco scored his 5th win of 2020 in the SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray scored his 5th win of 2020 in the Late Model feature, Alexander Pearl notched his 3rd win of 2020 in the SK Light feature, Andrew Durand scored his 6th win of 2020 in the Limited Late Model feature, and Meghan Fuller took down her second win of 2020 in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Andrew Molleur took the early lead from the outside pole with Tony Membrino, Jr. in second. Mikey Flynn was third with Troy Talman in fourth when the caution flew with 1 lap complete for a spin in turn 2 by Marcello Rufrano.
Molleur took the lead back under green with Membrino and Talman behind him. Membrino pulled alongside Molleur for the lead on lap-3 but Matt Vassar spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution back out.
Molleur took the lead on the restart while behind him there was a 3-wide scramble for second with Talman taking second. Membrino and Flynn were side by side for third with Flynn taking the position on lap-6. Teddy Hodgdon was up to fourth in line with Todd Owen right behind him in fifth place. Owen made a move to the inside of Hodgdon for fourth on lap-8 but Hodgdon was able to hold him off. Owen came back to the inside of Hodgdon and he made ht pass stick on lap-10 as he got by both Hodgdon and Flynn to move from fifth up to third. Owen continued his charge to the front by taking second from Talman on lap-11. Behind the top-3 of Molleur, Owen, and Talman, Stephen Kopcik was up to fourth with Flynn holding off Michael Christopher, Jr. for fifth.
Owen took the lead from Molleur on lap-13 while Christopher took fifth from Flynn. Kopcik went by Talman to move up to third on lap-17 with Owen continuing to set the pace with Molleur and Kopcik behind him. Christopher made a move to the inside of Talman on lap-22 to move into fourth with Kopcik getting around Molleur to move into second place behind Owen.
Kopcik began to work Owen over and he dove to the inside of Owen in turn 3 on lap-27 and he took the lead by a nose at the line. Kopcik completed the pass on lap-28 but Owen was glued to his back bumper. Owen almost made a move to the inside of Kopcik on lap-29 but fall back into second. The caution came back out with 29 laps complete for spins in turn 3 by Rufrano and Jeff Malave.
Owen took the lead on the restart with Kopcik right behind him in second. Christopher was third in line with Chase Dowling charging up to fourth before the caution came back out with 31 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by Flynn.
The caution came right back out on the restart as John Catania spun in turn 2. The next restart saw Owen take the lead but Christopher locked up his brakes going into turn 3 and he and Dowling drifted up the track, allowing Keith Rocco to power his way into second. Christopher recovered in third with Michael Gervais, Jr. up to fourth and Ronnie Williams fifth. Dowling slid back to eighth in line. The caution came back out with 35 laps complete as Vassar and Dan Avery got into the turn 3 wall.
Owen was fully sideways on the restart going into turn 1 and he fell all the way back to 14th place as Rocco took over the lead. Kopcik was second followed by Dowling, Hodgdon, Williams, Christopher, Gervais, Glen Reen, Talman, and Molleur. Rocco led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2020 season. Kopcik finished second with Dowling, Hodgdon, and Williams rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, John Blake took the early lead at the drop of the green with Paul Varricchio, Jr. and Duane Provost side by side for second. Varricchio took second on lap-2 and with Darrell Keane taking third and Al Saunders fourth. Michael Bennett took fifth from Provost on lap-4 but Adam Gray was right behind him and he took fifth from Bennett on lap-5. Keane got around Varricchio to move into second on lap-5 and Saunders and Gray also got around Varricchio to drop him from second back to fifth in line with Blake still in command of the race. Provost spun on the backstretch to bring the yellow flag out with 8 laps complete.
Blake took the lead back under green with Keane, Bennett, and Ryan Fearn now lined up behind him. Gray and Tom Fearn got sideways on the restart in turn 2 and both cars slipped back several positions. Gray recovered in fifth while Tom Fearn was eighth in line.
Gray got around Ryan Fearn to move up to fourth while Bennett was all over the back bumper of Keane, looking for a way to take over second place with Blake still out front. Varricchio spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 22 laps complete.
Blake took the lead on the restart while Gray went to the outside lane to get by Keane to move into second. On lap-23 Bennett and Ryan Fearn both got by Keane to take third and fourth and drop Keane back to fifth where he had Tom Fearn on his inside in a side by side duel. Up front, Gray was looking high and low for a way past Blake and he made his move on lap-25 to get to the inside of Blake and he took the lead on lap-26 but Paul Arute spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the yellow back out with 25 laps complete, putting Blake back in front with Gray in second for the restart.
Gray took the lead from Blake on the restart while Blake went 3-wide with Coury and Bennett for second with Bennett emerging in second, Coury third, and Blake fourth. Ryan Fearn was fifth in line but he took fourth from Blake on lap-28. Coury made a move to the inside of Bennett on lap-28 and he took second on lap-29. Ryan Fearn followed Coury by Bennett to take over third but no one could catch Gray as he took down his fifth win of the 2020 season. Coury finished second with Ryan Fearn, Bennett, and Tom Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Nick Anglace took the lead on the outside of Joey Ferrigno at the start of the race. Andrew Les took second with Alexander Pearl quickly moving into third with Bob Charland fourth and George Bessette, Jr. in fifth. Ferrigno was sliding backwards and was 10th in line on lap-5.
Pearl was looking high and low for a way to get around Anglace and he finally found the room he was looking for on lap-8 as he took the lead. Anglace tried a crossover move and was briefly back alongside Pearl, but Pearl was able to complete the pass. Bessette was third in line followed by Brian Sullivan and Jonathan Puleo.
Pearl led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2020 season. Anglace finished second with Bessette, Sullivan, and Puleo rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Gary Patnode went 3 wide at the start to emerge with the race lead, but Rich Hammann and Lucas Leone both spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.
Patnode took the lead from Damian Palardy on the restart with Andrew Durand coming up to second. Jeremy Lavoie took third with Palardy fading back to fourth, just in front of Alexandra Fearn.
Fearn took the spot from Palardy on lap-4 and began to apply heavy pressure to Lavoie for third while Leone got by Palardy to take fifth and drop Palardy back to sixth as the Patnode and Durand were still leading the race. Fearn went by Lavoie to take over third place on lap-9 and she began to close down the gap to Durand and Patnode. Fearn spun coming off turn 2 to bring the caution flag out with 12 laps complete.
Patnode took the lead on the restart but he and Durand touched coming off turn 4 to complete lap 13 and Patnode got sideways and slid back to fifth as the new order was Durand in the lead followed by Lavoie, Leone, Fearn, and Patnode.
Durand led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his sixth win of the 2020 season. Lavoie finished second with Leone, Fearn, and Patnode rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, George Yuska took the lead at the start but he was overtaken by Kyle Johnson on lap-2. The caution flew with 2 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Jason Finkbein.
Jason Lafayette spun on the backstretch before a lap could be completed to bring the caution flag right back out. Johnson spun coming to the green flag and he rejoined the field a lap down as Meghan Fuller was now in the lead. Brandon Michael was second with Frank L’Etoile, Jr. third and Zack Robinson in fourth. Robinson took third from L’Etoile on lap-4 as the 2 cars touched and L’Etoile went up the track and fell back to sixth. Robinson then took second from Michael on lap-6 with Travis Hydar moving into third, Chris Meyer fourth and L’Etoile fifth as Michael slid all the way back to sixth.
Robinson was starting to apply heavy pressure for the lead on lap-13 but Fuller was able to hold off his challenges. Hydar was third in line with L’Etoile back up to fourth and Meyer in fifth. With 4 laps to go, Hydar had closed the gap to Fuller and Robinson and it was a 3-car train for the lead. Hydar worked his way around Robinson to move into second on lap-17 and he began to set his sights on taking the lead from Fuller.
Hydar was looking high and low for a way around Fuller and he made his move to the outside lane as the leaders came to the white flag. Hydar worked the outside lane on the final lap but he came up just short of Fuller at the checkered flag as Fuller picked up her second win of the 2020 season. Robinson held off a hard charging L’Etoile for third with Chris Meyer rounding out the top-5.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Keith Rocco, Berlin
2) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
3) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
4) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
5) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
6) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
7) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott
8) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA
9) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA
10) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
11) Todd Owen, Somers
12) Tyler Hines, North Haven
13) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA
14) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
15) Tony Membrino, Jr., Wolcott
16) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
17) David Arute, Stafford Springs
18) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
19) John Catania, Agawam, MA
20) Fran Siana, Enfield
21) Dan Avery, Somers
22) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
23) Jeff Malave, Manchester
24) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Adam Gray, Granby, MA
2) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield
3) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
4) Michael Bennett, Willington
5) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
6) Al Saunders, Stafford
7) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
8) John Blake, North Haven
9) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
10) Michael Wray, Northford
11) Dave Wray, Durham
12) Duane Provost, Palmer, MA
13) Cliff Saunders, Stafford
14) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
15) Paul Arute, Northridge, MA
16) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, MA
17) Mike Mordino, Southington
18) Darrell Keane, Enfield
19) Gary Theriault, Enfield
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Alexander Pearl, Salem
2) Nicholas Anglace, Oxford
3) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
4) Brian Sullivan, Tolland
5) Jonathan Puleo, Branford
6) Tyler Chapman, Ellington
7) Andrew Les, Palmer, Ma
8) Norman Sears, Andover
9) Peter Bennett, Cromwell
10) Derek Debbis, Oakdale
11) Steven Chapman, Ellington
12) Robert Charland, Stafford
13) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
14) Amanda West, Colchester
15) Josh Carey, East Longmeadow, Ma
16) Chris Matthews, Stafford
17) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, Ma
18) Paul Charette, Woodstock
19) Joseph Ferrigno, East Hartford
20) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
21) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
22) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma
23) James Houghton, Springfield, Ma
24) Chris Bagnall, Winsted
25) Todd Clark, Bristol
26) Anthony Forino, Waterbury
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA
2) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
3) Lucas Leone, Southington
4) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
5) Gary Patnode, New Hartford
6) Frank L’Etoile, Sr., Wethersfield
7) Rich Hammann, Tolland
8) Mike Hopkins, Springfield, MA
9) Damian Palardy, Willington
10) David Shinder, West Granby
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA
2) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
3) Zack Robinson, Putnam
4) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
5) Chris Meyer, North Franklin
6) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
7) Nick Hovey, Chaplin
8) Brandon Michael, Granville, MA
9) Jason Finkbein, Manchester
10) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
11) George Yuska, South Glastonbury
12) John Orsini, Morris
13) Marvin Minkler, Stamford
14) David Macha, Sr., Columbia
15) Daltin Mccarthy, Oxford, MA
16) Kyle Johnson, Manchester
17) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen
18) Christopher Phelps, New Salem, MA
19) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck
20) Jason Lafayette, Somers