Column Compiled By PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Last Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway all restrictions on attendance were lifted and it was back to normal at the half mile oval with Chase Dowling coming out on top of a 3-wide duel that lasted several laps after a midrace restart to pick up his first SK Modified® feature win of the 2021 season.
Kevin Gambacorta borrowed a ride from Andy Marchese and drove to his first Late Model win in nearly 2 years; Nick Anglace scored his first career SK Light win in a thrilling duel with Alexander Pearl that came down to the last lap with Anglace taking the win by the nose of his car; Alexandra Fearn won for the second time this season in the Limited Late Model feature, and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. his second consecutive Street Stock feature.
At the halfway point of the 40 lap SK Modified feature, Dowling held a lead of several car lengths over a 5-car train of Bryan Narducci, Michael Gervais, Matt Vassar, Tyler Hines, and Teddy Hodgdon. Gervais made a move to the inside of Narducci on lap-21 to move into second. Hodgdon spun coming down the front stretch that brought the caution out with 22 laps complete.
On the restart, Narducci spun after being bumped which collected the cars of Hines, Meservey, Wesson, and Korner to bring the caution right back out. Vassar was sent to the rear by Stafford officials for making contact with Narducci. The restart saw a flurry of action at the front of the field as Gervias took the lead on the outside of Dowling but Dowling came right back to make it 3-wide with Gervais and Marcello Rufrano with Dowling coming away with the lead before Rufrano went to the front on lap-26. Todd Owen was on a charge, moving into third behind Rufrano and Dowling on lap-27. Dowling went back to the front on lap-28 with a pass in turns 3+4. With 10 laps to go, Dowling held the lead with Rufrano, Owen, Michael Christopher, Jr., and Gervais right behind him.
Christopher got by Owen to move into third and he took second from Rufrano on lap-38 to move into second place with 2 laps to go. Christopher couldn’t catch Dowling as Dowling notched his first win of the 2021 season. Rufrano finished third with Owen and Gervais rounding out the top-5. Defending SK Modified champion Keith Rocco, fresh off a win, was collected in an early wreck and ended his night in 20th position.
In the SK Lite 20 lapper, Nick Anglace powered around Alexander Pearl on a lap 17 restart to take the lead. Steven Chapman was third followed by Sullivan and Bob Charland. Pearl came back to the inside of Anglace going down the backstretch on the final lap and he inched his nose in front of Anglace going into turn 3. Anglace kept his foot in the gas and they came off turn 4 side by side nose to nose with Anglace nipping Pearl by the slightest of margins to collect his first career SK Light victory at Stafford. Steven Chapman finished third with Bob Charland and Brian Sullivan rounding out the top-5.
The Tri-Track Modified Series took center stage on Saturday night at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH. With the Whelen Modified Tour on an off weekend the event drew 33 Modifieds.
Jon McKennedy charged by Chris Pasteryak on a restart with 35 laps to go and never looked back en route to his second career Tri Track Open Modified Series presented by All Phases Renovations win. Driving the Tommy Baldwin 7ny McKennedy broke a streak of bad luck to open his 2021 Tri-Track season with the checkered flag.
McKennedy failed to finish his qualifying race after contact and had to qualify for the race through a consi round. He started deep in the 28-car field and drove his way to the victory. McKennedy also collected a $500 bonus courtesy of Green Construction Management LLC for being the Hard Charger of the race and gaining the most positions from start to finish. Matt Swanson finished second and Chris Pasteryak third. Anthony Sesley and Ron Silk rounded out the top five. Cam McDermott was sixth, collecting a $500 bonus courtesy of Rameau Family Motorsports, while Ronnie Williams, Woody Pitkat, Les Hinckley and Anthony Nocella finished the top-10.
Pre race favorite Matt Hirschman finished 13th after suffering from a vibration. Rounding out the top fifteen were Brian Robie, Sam Rameau, Hirschman, Max Zachem and Chase Dowling
In a race that saw varying pit strategies throughout the field, Dowling took the lead early and looked to have the dominant car. While McKennedy, Swanson and Pasteryak elected to pit early, Dowling tried the opposite strategy, pit late and hope to make his way through the field. A late-race spin for Matt Hirschman brought out the caution, and after the round of pit stops, McKennedy found himself in second place behind Chris Pasteryak.
Zachem, Tommy Barrett, Pasteryak and Williams were the heat winners and Hirschman, the consolation
The Tri Track Open Modified Series resumes on Wednesday, June 30 at the Seekonk Speedway for the annual $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday.
In action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night Andrew Molleur redeemed himself with a 35 lap victory in the SK Modified division. In the final race of 2020 Molleur gave one away due to driver error and was determined to not to let this happen again. Todd Owen, who started 10th, finished second while Joe Gada finished third.
In other action, Jordan Haley led every lap in the 30-lap feature to grab his first ever Late Model win. Chris Garside battled through a green-white checker finish to capture his first ever Mini-Stock win while Ryan Waterman dominated the 25-lap Street Sock feature. John O’Sullivan grabbed two victories. He won the SK Lite Modified race in a wild finish and also pulled down his third straight win in the Legends. Allen Coates pulled away from Emma Monahan to win the 25-lap Truck feature. It was the 88th career victory at the Speedbowl for Coates.
John Fortin Jr was the NASCAR Modified winner at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Howie Brode finished second with John Baker, third. Tom Rogers and Roger Turbush rounded out the top five.
The NASCAR Whelen ModifiedTour Series takes a week off before heading to the Jennerstown Speedway in Pennsylvania this coming Saturday night on May29. Also on tap this weekend is the Ron and Ken Bouchard Memorial 50 lapper at the New London – Waterford Speedbowl which awards $3,000 to the winner. The weekly mayhem at the Bowman Gray Stadium begins a week from this coming Saturday night on June, 5.
North Carolina Speedways, both big and small got some good news recently as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has pledged $45 million dollars to the motorsports industry as part of the state’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan. The state will receive $575 million from the federal government and Cooper intends to use it to address housing needs in the aftermath of job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional funds will be allocated to education needs, infrastructure and broadband expansion to close the digital divide, and providing clean drinking water to communities in need.
Part of the plan as outlined by North Carolina Budget Director Charlie Perusse will also address sports and entertainment facilities with $30 million combined going to Rockingham, North Wilkesboro and Charlotte Motor Speedway to the tune of roughly $10 million each. Short tracks and dirt tracks across the state are also eligible to receive a portion of a $10 million allocation for such venues.
The plan also calls for $5 million to develop and market what the state is calling a motorsports and moonshine heritage trail.
May 13, 1972 Fresh off a victory at Malta in the Richie Evans team car on Friday night, Eddie Flemke made it two for two for the weekend as he took the Stafford victory on Saturday night. Flemke drove the Frank Vigliarolo No. 34 which was the original Judkins 2x. Ray Miller, in the Meyers/Sweatland Mustang finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. Leo Cleary and Bugsy Stevens rounded out the top five. Bill Tracey was the All American Sportsman winner.
Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!