Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR weekly racing action with the Late Model division taking center stage with their extra distance Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50 feature event.
Wayne Coury, Jr. took the lead on lap-20 and then led the rest of the way to win the Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50.
Other feature winners on the evening included Stephen Kopcik, who recorded his second consecutive and fourth overall win of the 2021 season in the SK Modified® feature, Brian Sullivan scored his third win of the season in the SK Light feature, Matt Scappini came up as a first time Stafford feature winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. notched his fifth win of the season with a comeback drive through the field after spinning on the second lap of the Street Stock feature.
In the Paradiso Insurance 50-lap Late Model feature, Paul Varricchio, Jr. took the lead at the green with Paul Arute, John Blake, Wayne Coury, Jr., and Tom Fearn lined up behind him. Arute was hounding Varricchio for the lead and he made a pass in turn 4 to take the lead on lap-8. The order remained the same until lap-13 when Coury made a move to take third from Blake. Blake then slid back to ninth place as Fearn, Adam Gray, Michael Bennett, Kevin Gambacorta, and Tyler Leary all got by Blake.
Coury took second from Varricchio on lap-17 and Varricchio got shuffled back to seventh place as Fearn, Gray, Bennett, and Gambacorta all went by. Gray took third place from Fearn on lap-19 and that move allowed Bennett and Gambacorta to follow him by Fearn to drop Fearn back to sixth place. While all that position shuffling was going on, Coury had caught Arute and was applying heavy pressure for the lead. Coury made a pass on lap-20 to take over the lead with Arute settling into second.
Gray was able to get alongside Arute on lap-24 and he took second place. Bennett took third from Arute on lap-25 and Gambacorta and Fearn also got by Arute to move into fourth and fifth to kick Arute back to sixth. Leary got by Arute on lap-26 to take over sixth place and drop Arute back to seventh.
Coury was starting to pull away from Gray with 30 laps complete while Bennett and Gambacorta were lined up right behind Gray in a three-car fight for second place. Gambacorta was able to get by Bennett to take over third place on lap-38 while Coury was still comfortably in the lead with Gray still holding second place.
Just as Coury looked to be comfortable in the lead, Gray started to slowly reel Coury in and with 44 laps complete, Gray was within two car lengths of Coury with Gambacorta and Bennett still right behind him. Gray couldn’t get close enough to Coury to make a bid for the lead as Coury took down his second win of the 2021 season. Gray came home in second with Gambacorta, Bennett, and Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Doug Meservey, Jr. took the lead at the green flag with Marcello Rufrano in second. Tyler Hines was third followed by Michael Gervais, Jr. and Bryan Narducci. Hines and Rufrano were racing side by side for second and they were still side by side when Meservey’ s car broke loose with a flat right front tire in turn 4 and headed into the wall to bring the caution out with 6 laps complete.
Rufrano took the lead on the restart but Hines charged his way into the lead going by Rufrano on lap-9. Gervais took second on lap-10 with Rufrano settling into third. David Arute was up to fourth with Narducci back in fifth. Just behind Narducci was the side by side duo of Todd Owen and Teddy Hodgdon. Owen got clear into sixth place on lap-12 while Arute was looking for a way to get by Rufrano for third. Arute spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 14 laps complete and Narducci was sent to the rear of the field by Stafford officials for making contact with Arute.
Hines took the lead back under green with Gervais in second. Owen took to the outside lane to get around Rufrano to move into third place with Rufrano slotting into fourth just in front of Stephen Kopcik. Owen was applying heavy pressure to the back bumper of Gervais for second while Kopcik got around Rufrano to move up to fourth as Hines continued to lead the race.
Owen made a move to the inside of Gervais on lap-22 and he took second place on lap-23. Kopcik took third from Gervais on lap-25 while Rufrano was still in fifth and Hines was still out front. The caution came back out with 26 laps complete for spins in turn 1 by Geoff Nooney and Chris Viens.
Hines again took the lead back under green with Kopcik taking second from Owen after a lap of side by side racing. Gervais was now side by side with Owen for third on lap-28 with Rufrano still in fifth. Kopcik made a move to the inside of Hines and both cars drifted up the track in turn 4, which allowed Owen to streak into the lead. Hines fell back to sixth place but Kopcik remained in second and he was side by side with Owen for the lead on lap-32.
With 5 laps to go Kopcik was back in front with Owen all over his back bumper in second. Gervais was third in line with Michael Christopher, Jr. up to fourth and Hines fifth. Kopcik was able to hold off the challenges of Owen until the white flag lap. Owen made a move to the outside of Kopcik coming through turns 3+4 on the final lap but couldn’t find a way to take the lead as Kopcik scored his second consecutive victory and his fourth win of the 2021 season. Owen finished second with Gervais, Christopher, and Hines rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature, Peter Bennett took the lead at the green with Meghan Fuller and Amanda West side by side behind him but the caution came out with 1 lap complete for a spin on the backstretch by Mark Bakaj that collected several other cars including George Bessette, Jr., Tyler Chapman, Chris Bagnall and Nick Anglace.
Bennett took the lead on the restart with Tyler Barry, West, and Fuller behind him. Barry, West, and Fuller went 3-wide coming down the frontstretch with 2 laps complete and touched wheels, sending Fuller and Barry into the wall and collecting the car of Derek Debbis to bring the caution right back out.
Brian Sullivan took the lead from Bennett on the restart but the field only completed one lap before the caution came back out for spins coming out of turn 4 by Ed Chicoski, Anglace, and Glenn Bartkowski.
Sullivan took the lead with Bennett in second. Anthony Bello took third with Steven Chapman and West side by side for fourth place and Chris Matthews right behind them in sixth. Chapman cleared West for fourth place on lap-7 with Matthews moving into fifth and Alexander Pearl taking sixth as West fell back to seventh.
Bello took second from Bennett and on lap-11 Chapman took third from Bennett with Matthews and the side by side duo of Pearl and Bob Charland right behind them. Sullivan led Bello to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2021 season. Pearl charged his way up to third at the finish with Chapman and Matthews rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Matt Scappini took the lead at the drop of the green flag with Alexandra Fearn quickly working her way through traffic to come up to second place. Gary Patnode was all over the back bumper of Matt Clement for third and Patnode took third from Clement on lap-4 with Rich Hammann in fifth. Clement fell back to sixth as Hammann took fourth and Jeremy Lavoie took fifth on lap-5.
At the halfway point of the race, the top-3 cars of Scappini, Fearn, and Patnode were lined up nose to tail with Hammann and Lavoie several car lengths back in fourth and fifth. Scappini began to slowly stretch out his lead over Fearn in the closing laps and he couldn’t be caught as he notched his first career win at Stafford. Patnode got by Fearn in the closing laps to finish second with Hammann and Lavoie rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature, Daltin McCarthy took the lead from Chris Danielczuk on the first lap before the caution flew for a spin in turn 1 by Frank L’Etoile, Jr. Tyler Trott was sent to the rear of the field by Stafford officials for making contact with L’Etoile.
The lap 2 restart saw Marvin Minkler lose a hood but the race stayed green with McCarthy taking the lead. Chris Meyer quickly took second and he then took the lead from McCarthy on lap-3. Meyer’s move saw McCarthy drop back to seventh place as Bert Ouellette and Adrien Paradis, III were side by side for second, Bobby Stirk, III and Nickolas Hovey were side by side for fourth and Travis Hydar was sixth before Ouellette spun in turn 1 to bring the caution flag back out with 4 laps complete.
Meyer took the lead back under green with Stirk and Paradis going side by side for second. Hydar was fourth with Hovey and Brandon Michael side by side for fifth. Hydar worked his way up to second on lap-7 with Paradis third, Hovey fourth, and Stirk fifth. The cauion came back out with 10 laps complete for a multi car spin in turn 3 involving David Macha, Sr., Tyler Trott, and several other cars.
Meyer took the lead on the restart but Paradis was all over his back bumper. Paradis took the lead from Meyer on lap-12 but that pass was negated by the caution flag, which came back out for a spin coming out of turn 4 by McCarthy. Under the caution, Meyer, the Street Stock points leader, dropped off the pace and parked his car on pit road, done for the evening. Meyer’s misfortune put Paradis and Hydar on the front row for the restart.
Hydar and Paradis were fighting side by side for the lead when the caution came back out iwht 13 laps complete for a multi car incident coming out of turn 4 that involved the cars of Ouellette, Kyle Johnson, Danielczuk, Christopher Phelps, McCarthy, and Alexander Fuller.
Paradis took the lead ahead of Stirk back under green while L’Etoile, who spun early in the race, was all the way back up to third place with a pass on Travis Hydar on lap-16. Hovey was fifth in line with Michael right on his back bumper in sixth. Stirk was applying heavy pressure to Paradis and he was able to make a move to the inside of Paradis and he took the lead by a noise at the line as the cars took the white flag. L’Etoile went by both Stirk and Paradis in turns 1+2 on the final lap and emerged with the lead going down the backstretch. L’Etoile led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up a spin and win victory, his fifth win of the 2021 season. Stirk came out of the final lap scramble in second with Paradis, Hydar, and Hovey rounding out the top-5.
PARADISO INSURANCE LATE MODEL 50 (50)
1) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield
2) Adam Gray, Granby, MA
3) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
4) Michael Bennett, Willington
5) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
6) Michael Wray, Durham
7) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
8) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
9) Paul Arute, Northbridge, MA
10) John Blake, North Haven
11) Josh Wood, Palmer, MA
12) Al Saunders, Stafford
13) Zack Robinson, Putnam
14) Dave Wray, Durham
15) Duane Provost, Palmer, MA
16) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
2) Todd Owen, Somers
3) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott
4) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
5) Tyler Hines, North Haven
6) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
7) Keith Rocco, Berlin
8) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
9) Cory Dimatteo, Farmington
10) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
11) Daniel Wesson, Monson, Ma
12) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
13) Jon Puleo, Branford
14) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
15) Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA
16) Curt Brainard, Canton
17) Noah Korner, Avon
18) Dylan Kopec, Feeding Hills, MA
19) Matt Vassar, Berlin
20) Dan Avery, Somers
21) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA
22) P.J. Peters, Oxford
23) Chris Viens, Putnam
24) Geoff Nooney, Southwick, MA
25) David Arute, Stafford Springs
26) Mark Alkas, Berlin
27) Doug Meservey, Jr., Chatham, MA
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Brian Sullivan, Tolland
2) Anthony Bello, Newtown
3) Alexander Pearl, Salem
4) Steven Chapman, Ellington
5) Chris Matthews, Stafford
6) Bob Charland, Stafford
7) Peter Bennett, Cromwell
8) Norm Sears, Andover
9) Tyler Chapman, Ellington
10) Amanda West, Colchester
11) Geoff Boisjolie, Montgomery, MA
12) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, MA
13) Casey Vogt, Windsor Locks
14) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
15) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA
16) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook
17) Brett Casey, Meriden
18) Nick Halkowicz, Shelton
19) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
20) Paul French, Andover
21) Anthony Forino, Waterbury
22) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford
23) Nick Anglace, Seymour
24) Tyler Barry, Griswold
25) Derek Debbis, Oakdale
26) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
27) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
28) Chris Bagnall, Winsted
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Matt Scappini, Litchfield
2) Gary Patnode, New Hartford
3) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
4) Rich Hammann, Tolland
5) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
6) Michael Hopkins, Stafford Springs
7) Devon Jencik, Canton
8) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
9) R.J. Surdell, Willington
10) Damian Palardy, Willington
11) Ari Jencik, Canton
12) Scott Clement, Wethersfield
13) Trinity Provost, Holland, MA
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
2) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck
3) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
4) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
5) Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin
6) Brandon Michael, Granville, MA
7) Patrick Grady, Berlin
8) Christopher Phelps, New Salem, MA
9) Bill Cote, Belchertown, MA
10) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen
11) Rob Sears, Stafford Springs
12) Ikechukwu Chima, New London
13) Richard Ciriello, Reading, MA
14) Bert Ouellette, Ellington
15) Kyle Johnson, Manchester
16) Alexander Fuller, Spencer, MA
17) Daltin McCarthy, Oxford, MA
18) Chris Meyer, North Franklin
19) Jeremy Washburn, Willimantic
20) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
21) David Macha, Sr., Columbia
22) Bob King, New Britain
23) Jason Finkbein, Manchester
24) Marvin Minkler, Stamford