RPW Column: Another SK Winner At Stafford; Big Two-Race Weekend Ahead & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Last Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway Ronnie Williams and Alexander Pearl were both first time 2021 winners in the SK Modified® and SK Light Modified feature events respectively.

Mike Hopkins, son of former Chief Starter at Stafford, notched his first career Limited Late Model feature victory while Michael Bennett took down his third Late Model feature win of 2021 and Chris Meyer scored his second Street Stock feature win of 2021.

The Kids Night Big Wheel Race was won by 6 year old Aiden Royce of Stafford Springs.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Williams, who started ninth, completed his move to the front on lap-14 as he went around Teddy Hodgdon to take over the lead. At the halfway point of the race, Williams was still in command with Hodgdon in second. Doug Meservey was third followed by Bryan Narducci. Hodgdon and Williams ran 2 laps side by side for the lead before Williams got clear to the lead. In the closing laps, Stephen Kopcik was looking high and low for a way to get around Williams, but Williams was able to hold him off. Kopcik couldn’t get close enough to Williams on the final lap as Williams nailed down his first win of the 2021 season. Hodgdon finished third with Owen and Narducci rounding out the top-5.

Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) a six-race short-track series will make its debut on Saturday night, June 12, at the Stafford Motor Speedway and in primetime on the CBS Television Network and streaming live on Paramount+. The Camping World sponsored SRX Series features world-class drivers from an array of motorsports backgrounds competing in identically prepared racecars on a variety of tracks.

Tony Stewart, Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy, Bobby Labonte, Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Elliott, Ernie Francis Jr., Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves and Michael Waltrip are the 10 fulltime drivers in the Camping World SRX Series. Local all-stars join the Camping World SRX Series regulars at the first five races, with six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby at Stafford.

Coby was slated to be at Oswego this coming Saturday night for a Whelen Modified Tour event and agreed to place Chase Dowling in his seat in order to compete in the special event. What made the SRX event at Stafford more special is the fact that Castroneves has just won the Indy 500 for the fourth time. The Indy 500 winner was also a TV star as he was a contestant on a recent Dancing with the Stars program.

The companion All-Star event will be structured in 3 stages for a total of 50 laps. Stage 1 and 2 will be 20 laps each and will pay a $1,000 bonus to each stage winner. The final “Showdown” stage of 10 laps with $4,000 awarded to the race winner. Every driver finishing in the top-15 is guaranteed at least $2,000 in prize money.

Among those who will be in competition are former SK Modified champions Jerry Pearl and Mike Christopher Sr.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series will run its first of two events at the Oswego Speedway on Saturday night.

Trouble in paradise! Among the missing at the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series at Oswego will be Dave Sapienza. Sapienza is upset with the way he was treated by promoter Josh Venada and by series director Jimmy Wilson at the recent event at Jennerstown, PA.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads up country to the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine on June 19. The event will be shown live by NBC TrackPass. Sapienza says he will support the ThompsonOpen Modified event scheduled for Wed, June 16.

Todd Owen got a $3,000 gift at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night as he won the inaugural Fast Five. Owen had been cruising in third spot when Mike Christopher Jr took Keith Rocco out. Christopher and Rocco got together between Turns 1 and 2, enabling Owen to inherit the lead.

Cory DiMatteo seized the lead from Owen a few laps later on a restart, but Owen quickly got it back en route to his first win of the season. Joe Gada ended up in second spot with Timmy Jordan, third. Andrew Molleur and Joe Turnullo rounded out the top five. DiMatteo faded to ninth.

In other action at the shoreline oval, Jason Chicolas held off Ryan Waterman and Al Stone to win the 25-lap Street Stick feature. Tommy Silva was a runaway winner in the 25-lap Mini Stock feature.Jason Palmer won the 30-lap Late Model feature the hard way, by slashing underneath Ray Christian with 10 laps to go.

Wade Burroughs was able to navigate his way through a wreck that involved half of the field to take down the 25-lap SK Modified feature. Rob Richardi grabbed the 25-lap full-power Pro 4 Modified feature and Rob Goodenough won the Limited feature. Jordan Churchill captured his first 20-lap Legends race of the year.

The weekly mayhem at the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina returned this past Saturday night on June, 5. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, short-track, known as “The Madhouse,” hosted the Hayes Jewelers 200 (a 200-lap Modified contest), along with Sportsman, Street Stock and Stadium Stock division events. It marked Bowman Gray’s first on-track action since August of 2019. The venue’s 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 17,000 fans were on hand for the event.

Jonathan “JonBoy” Brown using the outside line, was able to get by 10-time track champion Tim Brown on a lap 138 restart and held him at bay on numerous restart attempts, then held off challenges from Danny Bohn during a series of late-race cautions to hold on for the win. Danny Bohn wound up finishing second after running strong all race while James Civali, Chris Fleming, and Brandon Ward rounded out the top-five.

Pole sitter Burt Myers ended up finishing 11th after struggling with power steering issues, the first time in his career that he did not win the Hayes Jewelers 200 from the pole.

Congratulations to Jacob Perry who garnered his first career open wheel Modified victory in the Modified Racing Series Milton CAT 100 Saturday at the Monadnock Raceway. Perry, 19, is a third generation driver. Tommy Barrett Jr. was second and Ronnie Williams, was third.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Just two weeks after his father John Fortin Sr. struck gold in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds at Riverhead Raceway second generation racer JB Fortin of Holtsville made it back to back wins for the Fortin clan Saturday night in a 50-lap event. JB would master a restart at the halfway mark of the race to claim his second career victory.

May 29, 1972 Stafford ran their 100 lap Memorial Day Classic on Monday. Fred DeSarro took the win over Ed Flemke, Ronnie Bouchard, Denis Giroux and George Summers.DeSarro, in the Len Boehler coupe grabbed the lead on the 64th lap when Flemke spun while leading. Flemke, driving the former Judkins 2x that was owned by Frank Vigliarolo made a miraculous recovery and closed to within a foot of DeSarro’s bumper by lap 90 but in the end, settled for the runner-up spot. Johnny Mann won the NEMA Midget feature.

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!

Correction: Last week it was stated here that the SRX event at Stafford and the Whelen Modified Tour event at Oswego was slated for June 5. Somehow I got my wires crossed and am sorry for any inconvenience.

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