Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway was back in action on Friday, August 3rd with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on hand for the 28th Annual Starrett 150.
Scoring Whelen All-American Series feature wins were Glen Reen in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn became Stafford’s winningest Late Model driver in history with his 46th career win in the Late Model feature, Mark Bakaj became a 2-time winner this season in the SK Light feature that saw a spectacular 3-wide photo finish at the finish, Jeremy Lavoie won for the 8th time this season in the Limited Late Model feature, and Tess Beyer won for the second time this year in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tom Bolles led the first lap before polesitter Matt Vassar went back to the lead on lap-2. Tyler Hines took second from Bolles on lap-3 and Bolles began to slide backwards as Glen Reen took third and Michael Christopher, Jr. fourth with Bolles back to fifth. The caution came out with 3 laps complete for a spin in the middle of turns 3+4 by David Arute.
Hines took the lead back under green but he had Reen and Christopher all over his back bumper in a duel for the lead. The caution came back out with 6 laps complete as there was a multicar pileup in turn 3 that involved the cars of Bolles, Keith Rocco, Michael Gervais, Jr., Doug Meservey, Jr., and Stephen Kopcik.
Hines took the lead after a side by side duel with Reen. Christopher took the lead from Hines on lap-11 while Joey Cipriano was up to third and looking for a way around Hines. Cipriano made the move for second on lap-13 while Reen took third, Todd Owen moved into fourth and Matt Galko took fifth as Hines slide back to sixth in line. The caution came out with 17 laps complete as Vassar spun in turn 4.
Christopher took the lead back under green with Cipriano right behind him in second. Reen was third with Galko in fourth and Dan Avery was fifth. The caution came back out with 22 laps complete as Tony Membrino, Jr. spun at the exit of turn 2.
Christopher held off a spirited charge from Cipriano to maintain the lead on the restart. Reen was third with Avery moving into fourth and Ronnie Williams was up to fifth after making an early race pit stop. The caution came back out with 27 laps complete as Avery backed into the wall in the middle of turns 3+4.
Reen made a power move to the inside of Christopher on the restart and the two cars ran side by side for the lead. Reen got clear into the lead on lap-29 and the caution came out with Christopher spinning in turn 4 after contact with Josh Wood.
Reen took the lead on the restart with Galko in second. Bolles was back up to third with Membrino fourth and Hines fifth. The caution came back out with 32 laps complete as Cory DiMatteo came to a stop against the frontstretch wall.
Reen took the lead on the restart with Galko applying heavy pressure from second. Bolles slotted into third with Hines back up to fourth and Owen back up to fifth. Christopher was just behind Owen in sixth after his earlier spin. Reen held Galko off to the checkered flag to pick up his first feature win of the season to go along with his victory in the July 13 TC 13 Shoot Out. Bolles finished third with Hines and Christopher rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, the caution came out just after the start as Paul Arute spun in the middle of turns 1+2. Tyler Leary took the lead on the restart with Tom Fearn quickly working his way into second at the completion of lap-2. Michael Wray was third with Al Saunders fourth and Darrell Keane quickly moved up to fifth after starting at the rear of the field. The caution came out with 4 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Chase Cook.
Fearn took the lead from Leary on the restart with Keane moving into second. The caution came back out with 6 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Wray.
Fearn took the lead on the restart with Kevin Gambacorta moving into second. At the halfway point Fearn was still in the lead with Gambacorta and Leary right behind him. Wray was back up to fourth after his earlier spin and Wayne Coury, Jr. was fifth, just in front of Keane. Keane took fifth back from Coury on lap-20 and Trace Beyer followed him through to move into sixth and drop Coury back to seventh.
Gambacorta was able to stay with Fearn but he couldn’t make a pass for the lead as Fearn took down his 10th win of the 2018 season. Fearn’s victory moved him ahead of Ryan Posocco for the most Late Model feature wins in Stafford history. Leary finished third with Wray and Keane rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Brett Gonyaw took the lead at the green but the side by side duo of Teddy Hodgdon and Alexander Pearl behind Gonyaw nearly went 3 wide on the first lap before falling back into line behind Gonyaw. The two cars were still side by side on lap-3 with Joey Ferrigno and Bob Charland side by side for fourth behind them.
Hodgdon took second and he took the lead from Gonyaw on lap-5 with a pass in turns 1+2. Pearl was now second with Gonyaw third, Ferrigno fourth and Mark Bakaj was up to fifth. Bakaj got around Ferrigno to take over fourth and the caution slowed the action with 10 laps complete for spins in turn 4 by Amanda West and Wesley Prucker.
Hodgdon took the lead back under green with Pearl in second and Bakaj up to third. Gonyaw was fourth with Bryan Narducci up to fifth. Narducci went around Gonyaw to move into fourth on lap-13 just before the action was slowed by the caution flag for Mikey Flynn, who got into the turn 2 wall.
Hodgdon took the lead back under green with Bakaj moving into second before the caution came back out for Amanda West, who came to a stop in the middle of turns 3+4.
Bakaj took the lead on the restart with Hodgdon and Narducci side by side for second. Marcello Rufrano was up to fourth with Pearl in fifth. Hodgdon got clear of Narducci on lap-17 for second and he was applying heavy pressure to Bakaj for the lead before the caution came out with 17 laps complete for the cars of Steven Chapman, who backed into the turn 3 wall and Rit Dulac, who came to a stop on the frontstretch.
Bakaj and Hodgdon were side by side for the lead on the restart. As they came out of turn 4 to get two laps to go, the leaders went 3-wide with Narducci and behind them Rufrano got out of shape and spun through infield grass with Andrew Molleur climbing up and over the car of Geoff Nooney.
Bakaj and Narducci were by side on the restart with Hodgdon right behind them in third. The cars stayed side by side to the white flag and as the leaders went through turns 3+4, they went 3-wide and they came off the corner nearly even. Bakaj took the win at the line by mere inches in a 3-way photo finish with Narducci second and Hodgdon third. Gonyaw was fourth with Charland rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Andy Marchese took the lead at the green flag with Gary Patnode right on his bumper. Matt Clement was third with R.J. Surdell fourth and Jeremy Lavoie in fifth. Lavoie took fourth from Surdell on lap-5 with Marchese still leading Patnode and Clement.
Lavoie continued his charge to the front as he got by Clement for third on lap-6 as Clement drifted up the track in turn 2. Surdell had the side by side duo of Duane Provost and Alexandra Fearn lined up behind him and looking to make a pass but he was able to fend off their challenge.
Lavoie took the lead on lap-9 while Patnode was starting to slide backwards. Patnode fell back to sixth in line as Marchese was now second behind Lavoie with Clement, Alexandra Fearn, and Surdell making up the top-5.
Lavoie had pulled out to a comfortable lead but that margin was erased by the caution flag, which flew with 16 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Marchese. This put Alexandra Fearn alongside Lavoie for the restart with Clement and Surdell in the second row.
Lavoie and Fearn ran side by side for a lap before Lavoie got clear into the lead. Provost and Clement were side by side for third with Surdell in fifth. Provost got clear of Clement on lap-18 while Fearn was hounding Lavoie for the race lead. Lavoie was able to hold Fearn off to the checkered flag as he picked up his eighth win of the 2018 season. Provost finished third with Clement and Surdell rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Nicole Chambrello spun in turns 3+4 to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed. Vince Gambacorta charged into the lead on the restart with Travis Hydar taking second. Jason Lafayette quickly moved into third with Tess Beyer locked on his bumper in fourth and Mike Hopkins was fifth.
The caution came out with 8 laps complete for a spin coming out of turn 2 by Hopkins with Gambacorta still in front of Hydar, Lafayette, and Beyer.
Gambacorta took the lead on the restart with Beyer moving into second. Gambacorta held the lead until lap-12 when Beyer moved to the front. Meghan Fuller was now third behind Gambacorta with George Bessette, Jr. fourth and Hydar in fifth.
Fuller worked Gambacorta over and she was able to move into second on lap-18 and she brought Bessette with her into third as Gambacorta fell back to fourth. Brandon Michael was now in fifth with Beyer still out front. Beyer took the checkered flag to pick up her second win of the 2018 season. Michael got around Hydar on the last lap to come home fourth. Fuller finished second with Bessette, Michael, and Hydar making up the top-5.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
2) Matt Galko, Meriden
3) Tom Bolles, Ellington
4) Tyler Hines, North Haven
5) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
6) Todd Owen, Somers
7) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
8) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin
9) David Arute, Stafford Springs
10) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
11) Doug Meservey, Jr., Chatham, Ma
12) Troy Talman, Oxford, Ma
13) Josh Wood, Palmer, Ma
14) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
15) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury
16) Dan Avery, Somers
17) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
18) Chase Dowling, Woodbury
19) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
20) Keith Rocco, Berlin
21) Michael Gervais, Jr., Southbury
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
2) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
3) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma
4) Michael Wray, Northford
5) Darrell Keane, Enfield
6) Trace Beyer, Stratton, Vt
7) Wayne Coury, Jr., Shelton
8) Al Saunders, Stafford
9) Chase Cook, Oakdale
10) Cliff Saunders, Stafford
11) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berli
12) Paul Arute, Tolland
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
2) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
3) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbur
4) Brett Gonyaw, Vernon
5) Bob Charland, Stafford
6) Steven Chapman, Ellington
7) Chris Matthews, Stafford
8) Marcello Rufrano, North Have
9) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
10) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook
11) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
12) Norm Sears, Andover
13) Rit Dulac, Plantsville
14) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
15) Alexander Pearl, Salem
16) Geoff Nooney, Southwick, Ma
17) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
18) Amanda West, Colchester
19) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
2) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
3) Duane Provost, Palmer, Ma
4) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
5) R.J. Surdell, Willington
6) Justin Bren, Palmer, Ma
7) Andy Marchese, Tolland
8) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted
9) Dan Gorman, Watertown
10) Steven Martel, Barkhamsted
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Tess Beyer, Stratton, Vt
2) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, Ma
3) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
4) Brandon Michael, Granville, Ma
5) Vince Gambacorta, Ellington
6) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
7) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
8) Gregory DeMone, Ludlow, Ma
9) Chris Bagnall, Winsted
10) Jason Lafayette, Somers
11) Michael Hopkins, Springfield, Ma
12) Chuck Harrison, Woodstock Valley
13) Richard Ciriello, Reading, Ma
14) Samantha Anderson, Wolcott
15) Rob Sears, Stafford Springs
16) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City
17) Chris Ciriello, Watertown
18) Armand Cote, Jr., Rocky Hill
19) William Desjardins, Plainville