Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway hosted Weekly Racing action on Friday, October 2 with all 5 of its divisions in feature action.
Michael Christopher, Jr. scored his first win of the 2020 season in a thrilling SK Modified® feature event that saw Keith Rocco set a NASCAR record by clinching his 18th career Division 1 track championship.
Adam Gray moved closer to locking down his third career Late Model track championship at Stafford by scoring his sixth win of 2020 in the Late Model feature, Derek Debbis continued his red hot rookie season with his 5th win of the season in the SK Light feature, Andrew Durand scored his seventh win of 2020 in the Limited Late Model division, and Meghan Fuller took over the Street Stock points lead with 1 race left by winning her third consecutive feature event of the 2020 season and her fourth overall.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Matt Vassar took the early at the green flag with Tyler Leary right behind him in second. Ronnie Williams was on the charge, going from fifth to second on lap-3. Michael Gervais, Jr. followed Williams by Leary to take third on lap-3 with Keith Rocco taking fourth on lap-4 to drop Lear back to fifth in line. Williams took to the outside lane and he powered his way by Vassar to take over the race lead on lap-5. Vassar now had Gervais on his outside looking to take second with Rocco right behind Gervais and Chase Dowling and Leary side by side for fifth place.
Rocco went around Gervais on lap-9 to take over second and he pulled to the inside of Williams on lap-10 as they raced into turn 1. Rocco took the lead in turns 3+4 before the caution came out for a multi-car incident in turn 4 with 10 laps complete.
On the restart Rocco took the lead with Gervais and Williams side by side for second and Dowling and Michael Christopher, Jr. side by side for fourth behind them. Williams emerged in second with Christopher third, Gervais fourth, and Dowling fifth as Rocco continued to hold the race lead. Todd Owen was now side by side with Dowling for fifth place on lap-15 while Christopher, Jr. took a look to the outside of Williams on lap-17. Christopher completed his pass for second on lap-18 while Owen took fifth from Dowling and was now side by side with Gervais for fourth place. Rocco was still in the lead with Christopher and Williams behind him.
The order continued to shuffle on lap-23 as Owen took over third place behind Rocco and Christopher with Gervais in fourth, Dowling fifth, and Williams sixth. With 10 laps to go, Rocco was still in the lead with Christopher giving chase from second. Owen was third with Gervais, Dowling, and Williams behind him.
With 6 laps to go, Christopher was looking high and low for a way around Rocco and just as it looked like Christopher was ready to set up a move for the lead, the caution came out with 35 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Vassar. Tony Membrino, Jr. was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Vassar.
Rocco took the lead on the restart while Christopher appeared to lock up his right front tire as he drifted up the track in turn 1 and he fell back to third in line as Owen took over second. Gervais spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 36 laps complete and Dowling was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Gervais.
Leary spun on the restart to bring the caution right back out and Teddy Hodgdon was sent to the rear for making contact with Leary. The next restart saw Owen go 3-wide with Rocco and Christopher to take over the lead but Vassar spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed and put Rocco back in the lead for the next restart.
Owen took the lead from Rocco but Rocco came right back to Owen’s inside and went back to the front on lap-38. With 2 laps to go Rocco and Owen were side by side but Rocco got clear of Owen as they dame to the white flag. Christopher was third in line with Williams and Narducci side by side for fourth. Christopher shot from third to the lead as the leaders raced through turn 2 on the final lap and he held off the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2020 season in spectacular fashion. Williams came through to take second behind Christopher with Rocco, Narducci, and Owen rounding out the top-5. Rocco’s third place finish was good enough to make him the 2020 SK Modified® track champion. Rocco’s title was his fourth SK Modified® crown at Stafford and it is his 18th career NASCAR Weekly Series Division 1 track championship, setting a NASCAR record by breaking a tie he held with Joe Kosiski.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Paul Varricchio, Jr. took the lead at the green with John Blake in second. Paul Arute took third with Al Saunders fourth and Dave Wray in fifth. Michael Bennett and Adam Gray both got by Wray on lap-3 to move into fifth and sixth and drop Wray back to seventh when the caution came out with 3 laps complete for debris on the track in turn 3.
Varricchio took the lead back under green with Arute and Blake side by side for second. Blake took second and Arute was now side by side with Saunders on lap-6 for third place but Bennett went by them both and took over third. Wayne Coury, Jr. followed him by to move into fourth with Gray in fifth. Saunders fall back to 7th and Arute slid all the way back to 13th. Bennett and Coury drifted up the track in turn 1 on lap-9 which allowed Ryan Fearn and Gray to move into third and fourth with Bennett, Saunders, Coury, and Tyler Leary lined up behind them.
Ryan Fearn got clear into fourth on lap-11 while Saunders and Bennett were side by side for fifth while Varricchio and Blake were pulling away from the pack in the top-2 positions with Gray by himself in third place. Saunders took fifth with Bennett sliding back to eighth behind Jim Mavlouganes and Tyler Leary.
With 10 laps to go, Varricchio was still in the lead with Blake right behind him in second. Gray was third followed by Ryan Fearn and Saunders. A piece of debris in turn 1 brought the caution out with 20 laps complete and erased Varricchio’s lead.
On the restart, Blake’s car got into the backstretch wall and collected the car of Ryan Fearn to bring the caution right back out. Varricchio again took the lead on the restart while Bennett’s car was off the pace and he slid back to the rear of the field. Gray took the lead from Varricchio on lap-22 with Kevin Gambacorta moving up to third, Tom Fearn fourth, and Blake falling back to fifth in line. Bennett came to a stop on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 27 laps complete and set up a 3-lap sprint to the finish.
Gray took the lead on the restart with Gambacorta moving up to second. Tom Fearn spun with Varricchio getting collected to bring the caution back out with 28 laps complete.
Gray took the lead with Keane taking second on the restart. Leary took third with Gambacorta falling back to fourth and Marc Curtis was up to fifth. Gray led Keane to the checkered flag to pick up his sixth win of the 2020 season. Leary finished third with Gambacorta and Curtis rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature, Joey Ferrigno took the early lead followed by Bob Charland, Amanda West, and Chris Matthews. Norm Sears got loose coming off turn 2 and he slid through the backstretch grass and into the inside wall to bring the caution out with 2 laps complete.
Ferrigno and Charland went side by side for the lead for a lap on the restart with Brian Sullivan in third. On lap-4 West, Chris Matthews, Tyler Chapman, and Derek Debbis went 4-wide coming out of turn 4 with West coming out in fourth, Chapman fifth, Debbis sixth and Matthews seventh.
Sullivan got around Charland to take second and on lap-8 he powered his way around Ferrigno to take over the race lead. Debbis quickly worked his way back into fourth and on lap-10 he was looking to take third from Charland when Alexander Pearl spun in turn 3 after his car was leaking fluid, which collected the cars of Wesley Prucker and Josh Carey with Carey’s car climbing the wall and coming to a stop against the Maybury billboard to bring out the yellow and red flags. Carey was ok and got out of his car with Prucker and Pearl also getting out of their cars ok.
On the restart, West spun in turn 1 to bring the caution right back out. The next restart saw Sullivan and Ferrigno side by side for the lead with Debbis in third. Sullivan took the lead on lap-11 with Debbis getting by Ferrigno to move into second. Ferrigno was third but contact from Tyler Chapman as they raced into turn 1 sent Ferrigno around and collected Steven Chapman, Peter Bennett, Jonathan Puleo, and Charland to bring the caution back out with 11 laps complete. Chapman was sent to the rear of the field by NASCAR officials for making contact with Ferrigno.
Debbis streaked into the lead on the restart with Dylan Kopec nearly taking second from Sullivan. Matthews was fourth in line with West in fifth. Debbis had pulled away from Sullivan and Kopec and looked to be on his way to another win when the caution flew with 19 laps complete as West got into the turn 4 wall as the leaders were coming around to take the white flag and set up a green white checkered finish.
Debbis powered his way to the lead on the restart with Sullivan taking second. Behidn the two leaders, Bessette, Kopec, and Matthews went 3-wide for third with Bessette taking third, Steven Chapman fourth, and Nicole Chambrello fifth. Kopec spun and after contact from Matthews on the final lap and he was scored in 11th place as Matthews was originally fifth but was penalized to the last car on the lead lap, which was 12th place at the finish.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Lucas Leone took the early lead but Andrew Durand quickly worked his way into second and on lap-3 he took the lead from Leone. Alexandra Fearn was right behind Durand following him through the field and she took second to drop Leone back to third in line. Jeremy Lavoie was fourth with Rich Hammann in fifth.
Lavoie got around Leone to take third while Fearn was applying heavy pressure to the back bumper of Durand for the race lead. Matt Clement was now running in fifth with 9 laps complete. Fearn was able to close right in on Durand in the corners but Durand was strong down the front and back straightaways.
Fearn gave it everything she had but she couldn’t get close enough to Durand to make a bid for the win as Durand scored his seventh win of the 2020 season. Lavoie finished third with Leone and Clement rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature, Christopher Phelps spun on the backstretch at the start of the race to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed. The second start saw Nickolas Hovey spin in turn 2 after the leaders went 3 wide and several cars got sideways. Jason Finkbein took the lead on the opening lap but his time at the front was short lived as on lap-2 Frank L’Etoile, Jr. went 3-wide to pass both Finkbein and Adrien Paradis, III to move to the front. Paradis settled into second with Zack Robinson third. Finkbein fell back to fourth in line, just in front of Meghan Fuller when the caution came back out with 2 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Travis Hydar.
L’Etoile took the lead on the restart with Robinson and Paradis side by side for second. Robinson took over second on lap-4 with Fuller, Chris Meyer, and Brent Gleason all following Robinson by Paradis to drop him from second back to sixth place. Fuller got by Robinson on lap-7 to move into second with Meyer taking third and Gleason taking fourth to drop Robinson back to fifth in line as L’Etoile continued to hold the lead.
Robinson got back by Gleason on lap-10 to move back into fourth with Paradis taking fifth. Gleason spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 10 laps complete.
L’Etoile took the lead on the restart with Meyer taking second. Fuller moved into third with Paradis in fourth and Robinson in fifth. Fuller made a move to the inside of Meyer on lap-13 and she took second place with a pass in turn 4. Kyle Johnson came to a stop in the infield coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 13 laps complete.
L’Etoile again took the lead on the restart with Meyer, Fuller, Robinson, and Hydar lined up behind him. Cadence DeLorge spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution out with 14 laps complete.
L’Etoile took the lead back under green with Fuller, Meyer, Hydar, and Brandon Michael making up the top-5. Robinson was back to sixth in line and Fuller took the lead from L’Etoile on lap-16. Hydar made a move to the inside of Meyer to take over third place on lap-17 but Meyer came right back on lap-18 and retook third. Meyer’s move allowed Michael to take fourth as Michael fell back to fifth. Fuller held L’Etoile off to the checkered flag to pick up her third consecutive and fourth overall win of the 2020 season. Meyer finished third with Hydar fourth and Finkbein finished fifth as Michael spun in the middle of turns 3+4 on the final lap and finished 16th.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
2) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
3) Keith Rocco, Berlin
4) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
5) Todd Owen, Somers
6) David Arute, Stafford Springs
7) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA
8) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
9) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
10) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
11) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott
12) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
13) Tom Bolles, Ellington
14) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
15) Chris Viens, Putnam
16) Tony Membrino, Jr., Wolcott
17) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
18) Tyler Hines, North Haven
19) Jeff Malave, Manchester
20) Matt Galko, Meriden
21) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
22) P.J. Peters, Oxford
23) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford
24) Noah Korner, Canton
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Adam Gray, Granby, MA
2) Darrell Keane, Enfield
3) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
4) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
5) Marc Curtis, Brookfield, MA
6) John Blake, North Haven
7) Paul Arute, Northridge, MA
8) Dave Wray, Durham
9) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
10) Jim Mavlouganes, Bethany
11) Chase Cook, Oakdale
12) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
13) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield
14) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, MA
15) Gary Theriault, Enfield
16) Al Saunders, Stafford
17) Michael Bennett, Willington
18) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
19) Mike Mordino, Southington
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Derek Debbis, Oakdale
2) Brian Sullivan, Tolland
3) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
4) Steven Chapman, Ellington
5) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
6) Peter Bennett, Cromwell
7) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
8) Amanda West, Colchester
9) Anthony Forino, Waterbury
10) Nick Anglace, Oxford
11) Dylan Kopec, Palmer, MA
12) Chris Matthews, Stafford
13) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
14) Bob Charland, Stafford
15) Jonathan Puleo, Branford
16) Tyler Chapman, Ellington
17) Paul Charette, Woodstock
18) Alexander Pearl, Salem
19) Josh Carey, East Longmeadow, MA
20) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
21) Paul French, Jr., Andover
22) Norm Sears, Andover
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA
2) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
3) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
4) Lucas Leone, Southington
5) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
6) Rich Hammann, Tolland
7) Gary Patnode, New Hartford
8) Jay Clement, Wethersfield
9) Damian Palardy, Willington
10) David Shinder, West Granby
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA
2) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
3) Chris Meyer, North Franklin
4) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
5) Jason Finkbein, Manchester
6) Zack Robinson, Putnam
7) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
8) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
9) Brent Gleason, Griswold
10) Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin
11) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck
12) David Macha, Sr., Columbia
13) Daltin McCarthy, Oxford, MA
14) Kyle Johnson, Manchester
15) George Yuska, South Glastonbury
16) Brandon Michael, Granville, MA
17) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen
18) Cadence DeLorge, Enfield
19) Christopher Phelps, New Salem, MA
20) Thomas Hanley, Winsted