Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, July 6 with the Wild Thing Karts Junior Outlaws joining Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions with fireworks in the sky to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
Scoring feature wins were Ronnie Williams in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, George Bessette, Jr. in the Street Stock feature, and Jason Chapman in the Wild Thing Karts Junior Outlaws feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Michael Gervais, Jr. took the lead at the green flag but Eric Berndt went to the front on lap-2 just as the caution came out for several cars coming together with Keith Rocco coming to a stop in turn 4 along with Doug Meservey, Jr., Mike Christopher, Jr. Glen Reen came to pit road with a flat tire and Gervais was back in the lead for the lap-2 restart.
Berndt took the lead from Gervais on the restart with Stephen Kopcik side by side with Matt Vassar for third. Tony Membrino, Jr. was fifth. Vassar was working hard to get by Kopcik for third but Kopcik was able to hold him off. Ronnie Williams broke into the top-5 on lap-10 as Berndt continued to lead Gervais, Kopcik, and Vassar.
Williams got around Kopcik to move into third on lap-18 as Berndt was still leading Gervais with Todd Owen now fifth and Vassar sixth. Williams continued his march to the front taking second from Gervais on lap-22 and he began to close in on Berndt for the race lead. Kopcik and Gervais were side by side for third with Owen still in fifth as Williams was within a car length of Berndt on lap-29. The caution came out with 30 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Meservey.
Berndt took the lead with Williams slotting into second right on his bumper. Kopcik took third after a side by side duel with Gervais with Owen still in fifth. Williams was looking high and low for a way around Berndt and he was able to pull alongside Berndt on lap-35 and he took the lead on lap-36. Kopcik nearly followed Williams by Berndt but Berndt was able to hold off his challenge and remain in second. Berndt was now working Williams’ back bumper over for the lead when the caution came out with 37 lap complete for a spin on the backstretch by Joey Cipriano.
Williams took the lead back under green with Berndt right on his bumper. Berndt made one last ditch effort to take Williams on the high side but he came up just short as Williams took down his second consecutive win and third win of the 2018 season. Kopcik finished third with Owen and Reen rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Paul Arute streaked into the lead at the drop of the green with Kevin Gambacorta, Tyler Leary, and Tom Fearn lined up behind him. Fearn took third on lap-2 behind Arute and Gambacorta with Michael Wray moving into fourth on lap-3. Paul Varricchio, Jr. got around Tyler Leary to move into fifth.
Gambacorta was applying heavy pressure to Arute for the race lead and he was finally able to get alongside Arute on lap-5 and he took the lead on lap-6. Gambacorta’s move opened the door for Fearn to move into second, Varricchio to third, Wray to fourth, and Leary to fifth as Arute slid back to sixth. Fearn took the lead from Gambacorta on lap-7 with Varricchio, Wray, and Leary still lined up behind him.
With 10 laps to go, Fearn was still out front with Gambacorta giving chase from second. Varricchio was still third with Wray and Leary at the bottom end of the top-5. Wray got around Varricchio for third on lap-25 while Glen Reen was applying heavy pressure to Leary for fifth. Reen was able to make a pass on lap-26 and he went by both Leary and Varricchio to move into fourth with Leary taking fifth as Varricchio falling back to sixth. Trace Beyer got into the turn 2 wall to bring the caution out with 28 laps complete and set up a green white checkered finish.
Gambacorta’s car didn’t come up to speed on the restart and he got turned around with Wray also spinning to bring the caution right back out. Neither car hit anything with Wray coming to pit road with a flat tire before rejoining the action.
Fearn took the lead with Reen right on his bumper. Fearn led Reen to the checkered flag to pick up his seventh win of the 2018 season. Leary finished third with Chase Cook and Beyer rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature, Norm Sears led the field to the green but immediately it was a 3-wide move with Mikey Flynn to the inside, Sears in the middle, and Bob Charland on the outside. Flynn took the lead with Charland second while Sears slid back to fifth with Joey Ferrigno third and Geoff Nooney fourth. Chris Matthews got around Sears to take fifth on lap-2. Rob Dow had a flat tire to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Cassandra Cole got sideways and collected Rit Dulac on the restart to bring the caution right back out. Flynn took the lead on the next restart with Charland behind him in second. Joey Ferrigno and Nooney were side by side for third with Matthews in fifth. Just behind Matthews, Teddy Hodgdon and Sears were side by side for sixth place. Andrew Molleur got into the frontstretch wall to bring the caution out with 8 laps complete.
Ferrigno made a move in turns 3+4 to take the lead from Flynn on the restart. Charland and Hodgdon were side by side for third behind Flynn with Bryan Narducci now up to fifth. Matthews spun on the frontstretch to bring the caution back out with 11 laps complete.
Ferrigno took the lead back under green with Flynn right on his back bumper. One lap after the restart, Charland went 3 wide with Flynn and Hodgdon for second. Contact sent Brett Gonyaw into the turn 3 wall and collected Vinny Anglace and Amanda West to bring the caution back out with 12 laps complete.
Ferrigno took the lead on the restart with Narducci and Hodgdon side by side for second. Alexander Pearl was up to fourth with Chris Viens in fifth before the caution came back out for a spin by Raymond Grassetti in turn 2 with 14 laps complete.
Ferrigno took the lead on the restart but Hodgdon was hanging right with Ferrigno on the outside lane and the two cars were side by side when the caution came back out with 16 laps complete for a spin in turn 3 by West.
Hodgdon had the lead for the restart and Narducci was making a move for the lead when the caution came back out for Glenn Griswold and Charland, who came together on the backstretch before a lap could be completed.
Ferrigno powered into the lead on the restart with Hodgdon all over his back bumper looking high and low for a way to take the lead. The caution came back out with 18 laps complete for a spin coming out of turn 4 by Nooney and Pearl.
Grassetti shot up the track and hit the wall in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution right back out.
Ferrigno and Hodgdon were again side by side for the lead and the win on the restart. The two cars took the white flag in a virtual tie at the line. They ran the final lap side by side with Ferrigno taking the checkered flag ahead of Hodgdon by a nose to take down his first win of the 2018 season. Narducci finished third with Mark Bakaj and Viens rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Andy Marchese took the lead at the green while behind him, there was nearly some 3-wide action. Gary Patnode took second and on lap-3 it was 3-wide with Jeremy Lavoie, Duane Provost, and Ryan Fearn for third. Provost and Midford touched with Provost getting into Fearn who then spun into the backstretch and turn 3 walls to bring the caution out with 2 laps complete.
Back under green Marchese took the lead with Lavoie in second. Justin Bren took third with Patnode and R.J. Surdell making up the top-5. Lavoie took the lead from Marchese on lap-4 with Bren moving up to second and dropping Marchese back to third. Patnode was fourth with Surdell in fifth.
At the halfway point, Lavoie was still in command of the race with Bren giving chase from second. Marchese was third with Surdell in fourth and Patnode in fifth. Bren chased Lavoie to the checkered flag but couldn’t get close enough to make a move as Lavoie scored his sixth win of the 2018 season. Marchese finished third with Patnode edging out Surdell by a nose at the line for fifth.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature, Jason Lafayette took the lead from Richard Ciriello at the green to set the early pace. George Bessette, Jr. quickly moved up to second with Meghan Fuller taking third. Last week’s winner Nicole Chambrello was fourth with Ciriello sliding from the pole back to fifth in the order. Ciriello continued to slide backwards as Tess Beyer took fifth on lap-4. Johnny Walker was also on the charge after starting at the back of the pack, moving into sixth behind Beyer.
Bessette was right on the back bumper of Lafayette for the lead on lap-7 with Fuller, Chambrello, Beyer, and Walker lined up in a tight pack just behind the lead duo. Walker took fifth from Beyer on lap-7 just before the caution came out for a spin by Paul Bourdon, Jr.
Bessette powered into the lead on the restart, getting a great run on the outside of Lafayette. When the cars reached turn 3, Chambrello went through the grass and came back on to the track where she collected several other cars, including Beyer, Chris Bagnall, and Ciriello, to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.
Bessette again took the lead from Lafayette in the outside lane on the restart with Walker moving into third behind Lafayette. Fuller was fourth with Brandon Michael up to fifth. Walker took second from Lafayette on lap-9 with Michael getting by Fuller to move into fourth on lap-10.
With 5 laps to go, it was still Bessette followed by Walker, Lafayette, Michael, and Beyer. Bessette was driving for all he could get out of his car as he broke the back end loose coming out of turn 4 on lap-18 but was able to maintain the race lead. Walker could only get to Bessette’s back bumper at the checkered flag as Bessette took down his second win of the 2018 season. Lafayette finished third with Michael and Beyer rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Wild Thing Karts Junior Outlaws feature, Casey O’Sullivan took the lead at the green with Ryan Birkenshaw nearly going 3-wide at the start to move from fifth to second but before a lap could be complete, spins in turn 4 of the Stafford mini-mile by Jake Hines and Cameron Pearl brought the caution flag out.
Evan Charette took the lead on the restart but the karts of Matt Brewer and Ian Hawley came together to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.
Charette took the lead on the restart with Birkenshaw taking second. O’Sullivan slotted into third with Jason Chapman fourth and Jake Hines in fifth. Birkenshaw took the lead from Charette on lap-7 with O’Sullivan moving into second. Chapman moved into third as Charette fell back to fourth just in front of Hines. The caution came back out with 8 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Josh Morrison.
Birkenshaw took the lead back under green with Chapman behind him in second. O’Sullivan was third with Thomas Martucci up to fourth and Charette in fifth. Chapman was all over Birkenshaw for the lead and the two cars traded the lead on lap-10 with Birkenshaw able to hold him off. Chapman was able to make a pass stick on lap-13 as he took the lead from Birkenshaw.
Chapman drove away from Birkenshaw in the closing laps to take the victory. Birkenshaw finished second with O’Sullivan, Charette, and Cameron Pearl rounding out the top-5.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
2) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
3) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
4) Todd Owen, Somers
5) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
6) Michael Gervais, Jr., Southbury
7) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin
8) Matt Galko, Meriden
9) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
10) Tommy Membrino, Jr., Prospect
11) David Arute, Stafford Springs
12) Chase Dowling, Woodbury
13) Joey Cipriano, III, Waterbury
14) Josh Wood, Palmer, Ma
15) Tom Bolles, Ellington
16) Tyler Hines, North Haven
17) Doug Meservey, Jr., Chatham, Ma
18) Keith Rocco, Berlin
19) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
2) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
3) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma
4) Chase Cook, Oakdale
5) Trace Beyer, Stratton, Vt
6) Michael Wray, Northford
7) Al Saunders, Stafford
8) Paul Arute, Tolland
9) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
10) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
2) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
3) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
4) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
5) Chris Viens, Putnam
6) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma
7) George Nocera, Jr., Plainville
8) Jonathan Puleo, Branford
9) Alexander Pearl, Salem
10) Amanda West, Colchester
11) Glenn Griswold, Vernon
12) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
13) Tim Fogg, Stafford Springs
14) Raymond Grassetti, Monson, Ma
15) Bob Charland, Stafford
16) Geoff Nooney, Southwick, Ma
17) Norm Sears, Andover
18) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
19) Vinny Anglace, Jr., Ansonia
20) Chris Matthews, Stafford
21) Brett Gonyaw, Vernon
22) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
23) Rit Dulac, Plantsville
24) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook
25) Rob Dow, Stafford Springs
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
2) Justin Bren, Palmer, Ma
3) Andy Marchese, Tolland
4) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted
5) R.J. Surdell, Willington
6) Steven Midford, Ellington
7) Steve Martel, Barkhamsted
8) Duane Provost, Palmer, Ma
9) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
STREET STOCK (20)
1) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
2) Johnny Walker, Ludlow, Ma
3) Jason Lafayette, Somers
4) Brandon Michael, Granville, Ma
5) Tess Beyer, Stratton, Vt
6) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
7) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, Ma
8) Richard Ciriello, Reading, Ma
9) Dan Soucie, Ashford
10) Marvin Minkler, Stamford
11) David Macha, Sr., Columbia
12) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City
13) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
14) Chris Bagnall, Winsted
WILD THING KARTS JR. OUTLAWS (20)
1) Jason Chapman, Ellington
2) Ryan Birkenshaw, Somers
3) Casey O’Sullivan, New Hartford
4) Evan Charette, Ellington
5) Cameron Pearl, Salem
6) Jake Hines, North Haven
7) Jake Avery, Somers
8) Ian Hawley, East Longmeadow, MA
9) Daltin McCarthy, Oxford, MA
10) Cadence DeLorge, Enfield
11) Damian Palardy, Willington
12) Thomas Martucci, Ellington
13) Jenna Hawley, East Longmeadow, MA
14) Matthew Brewer, Norwich
15) Josh Morrison, Ashford