RPW Column: Opening Night At Stafford Showcases Veteran Drivers And New Faces Alike

RPW Column By: BRITTANY NUTILE / RPW – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Tonight, opened up the 2020 season at Stafford Motor Speedway and it was a very eventful and thrilling night.

Travis Hydar won a very exciting street stock division main event. Hydar started the race in ninth place and tried to stay out of trouble, ready to be there at the end. Chris Meyer started on the pole and had a very good car. He and Ryan Waterman had an amazing battle for multiple laps.

With less than 10 laps to go, Ryan Waterman spun with some possible contact from another competitor in turn four. Chris Meyer restarted at the lead and continued to dominate the race. There was a caution at lap 18, which meant there would be a green, white, checkered finish.

Waterman had worked himself back up to the top five for the restart. The green flag unfurled and  as the field worked the backstretch on the final lap, Waterman and Adrian Paradis III hit the wall hard. Meyer was in turn four about to take the checkered, when Meyers was spun by Zack Robinson. It appeared as if Robinson won but after waiting on timing and scoring and the top four showed up on the scoreboard, it said that Travis Hydar had won meaning that Robinson had been DQ’d. It was a very exciting race and gives a little taste of what to expect for the rest of the year, it’s going to be great racing.

Andrew Durand was the victor in the Limited Late Model race on opening night at Stafford. Durand started the race second and quickly got to the lead. Durand seemed to be locked in and drove away from the second place driver, Matt Clement. Jeremy Lavoie, defending champion of the limited late model division, started third and was right with Durand and Clement in the early laps of the race. Then started to fall off just a little, staying right there just in case something happened with the top two cars. Lavoie ended up finishing in 3rd.

Jonathan Puleo won the SK Light race on his birthday and on opening night. Puleo started the race fourth and had a good night, while staying out of trouble. Robert Bloxsom III started on the pole and led 12 laps until eight laps to go. Puleo took the lead and Bloxsom ended up finishing second. He had good battles with Puleo and had a great car and race.

Brian Sullivan finished third and had a good car and also stayed out of trouble. He started the race fifth and stayed in the top 5 the whole night. The SK light division is another division at Stafford Speedway that is looking to have a great schedule of events for the 2020 season with a lot of young talent and amazing battles expected throughout the year.

Wayne Coury Jr. won an exciting late model race. Coury started 12th and got through the pack to get up to the front. Tom Fearn started on the pole and seemed to have a dominating car, but on lap 12, Fearn slowed dramatically and dropped to pit road. His car all of a sudden shut down and was out the rest of the race. Michael Bennet made his move in the second half of the race and came out of nowhere to start climbing up the field. Bennet had a good battle with Coury for the lead but, came up short of first place. Paul Arute finished third tonight and also had a really good car. He started the race second and stayed out front for the most part then, drifted back in the pack and stayed out of trouble. He made a run at the end and came back to third at the finish.

Keith Rocco caotured the win in the SK modified race on opening night. Rocco started the race fifth, was consistent and stayed in the top 10, staying out of harm’s way. Todd Owen had a good race and was fighting for the lead many times nearly grabbing the win but came up short and finished second. Owen started second and battled for the lead with Ronnie Williams, taking the advantage until the caution came out. Owen had to battle with Rocco, who was coming up the field and raced him to the finish of the race. In certain parts of the track Rocco had a better car for him to take advantage and then other times Owen had the better car.  It was neck and neck for lap on end.  Williams ended up dropping to the middle of the top 10 but was staying out of trouble and then battled back to finish in the third position.

The opening night of Stafford Motor Speedway was very successful and very entertaining. The car count was one of the best counts we’ve seen in a while. At 31 SK mods, 22 late models, 36 SK lights, 11 Limited late models, and 25 street stocks, most of the new cars and drivers we don’t see regularly at Stafford are regulars at Waterford Speedbowl, Thompson Motorsports Park, and other surroundings speedways. It’s awesome to see so many different drivers, young and old, come out and experience what it’s like to race at Stafford Motor Speedway.