(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the Late Model Xtra Mart Xtra D 60 program on Friday, August 1st. In feature racing action, Jim Peterson used a mid-race pitstop under caution to his advantage to adjust the handling on his car and he charged his way back through the field to win the 60-lap Xtra Mart Xtra D Late Model feature. Rowan Pennink made it two in a row by winning the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Joey Ferrigno spun and then won the 20-lap SK Light feature with a last lap pass, Duane Provost scored his third win of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, Brandon Michael scored his first win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Dana DiMatteo became the first repeat Legend cars feature winner of the season in the 20-lap race. The Late Model division split a $1,000 bonus from Xtra Mart Convenience Stores among the top-5 finishers in their 60-lap feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dan Avery took the lead at the green with Eric Berndt, Keith Rocco, Joey Cipriano, and Michael Gervais, Jr. lined up single file behind him. The caution came out with 3 laps complete for a multi-car incident in turn 3 that involved Tom Bolles, Chase Dowling, and several other cars.
Berndt took the lead on the green and Avery was now locked in a side by side duel with Cipriano for second and behind them Rocco was side by side with last week’s winner Rowan Pennink for fourth and Ryan Preece was right behind that side by side duo in sixth.
Rocco got clear into third behind Berndt and Avery with Pennink taking fourth and Preece moving up to fifth as Cipriano fell back to sixth. Avery was making a move to the inside of Berndt on lap-9 to take over the lead, but before he could make the pass the caution came out for Tommy Membrino, Jr., who spun in the middle of turns 1+2.
On the restart, Berndt and Avery were side by side for the lead and Rocco and Pennink were side by side for third. The two rows of cars ran two full speed laps like they were on pace laps side by side before Avery got clear into the lead, Berndt settled into second, Pennink took third, and Rocco was now side by side with Preece for fourth. Preece got the better of Rocco in the outside groove and he completed his move on lap-14 to move up to fourth and drop Rocco back to fifth.
Preece continued his charge as he got around Berndt to move into third on lap-16 and he went by Avery to take second on lap-17. While Preece was making his charge through the top-5, Pennink moved out to the race lead. Preece pulled alongside Pennink on lap-19 but Pennink had the lead by a nose at the line. Preece settled back into line behind Pennink on lap-20 and he began to plot another pass for the lead. The top-5 cars were now in nose to tail train on lap-22 consisting of Pennink in the lead with Preece, Rocco, Avery, and Ronnie Williams behind him.
Williams made a move to the inside of Avery on lap-24 and he cleared the veteran on lap-25 to move up to fourth. Preece was now making another run to the inside of Pennink with Rocco right behind them. Preece fell back in line behind Pennink and then lost second to Rocco on lap-26.
Things settled down for a couple of laps at the front but by lap-31 Preece was hounding the back bumper of Rocco, looking for a way to climb back up to second as Pennink continued to lead the race. Preece was able to make a pass to move into second on lap-35 but Rocco wasn’t going away quietly as he kept pace with Preece in the outside groove. They ran side by side for two laps before Preece got clear into second on lap-37. With all the shuffling behind him, Pennink now had a lead of 1.6 seconds over Preece as there were 2 laps to go.
Pennink led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive SK Modified® victory of the season. Preece beat Rocco to the checkered flag by a nose fro second, with Williams, and Avery rounding out the top-5.
In the 60-lap Xtra Mart Xtra D Late Model feature event, Michael Bennett took the lead with Kyle Casagrande right behind him in second. J.J. Hill quickly took third, with Tom Fearn fourth and Jim Peterson fifth. Adam Gray was charging his way through the field, moving into sixth in the first 5 laps of the race. Gray’s championship rival, Jay Stuart, was having a tougher time slicing his way through traffic to get towards the front but he was in 10th place on lap-10.
On lap-19 Fearn’s car began to smoke and he was black flagged. Bennett was still in the lead of the race with Casagrande in second, Hill third, Peterson fourth, and Gray was fifth. The top-5 cars were all within a car length or two of each other as they began to navigate lapped traffic.
Bennett held the lead until lap-27 when Casagrande moved to the front of the field. Hill got by Bennett to take over second with Bennett third, Kevin Gambacorta fourth, and Gray continued to run in fifth. The caution came out with 34 laps complete for a spin by Skip Breunig in turn 2. Under the caution, Peterson pitted from sixth place to make adjustments to his chassis.
Casagrande took the lead back under green with Hill right behind him in second. Gray moved up to third, with Gambacorta fourth and Jay Stuart made his first appearance of the night in the top-5 by moving up to fifth. Stuart got around Gambacorta to move into fourth one lap after the restart. Gray made a move around Hill to take second on lap-38 as Casagrande continued to lead the race.
Casagrande held the lead until lap-43 when Gray made a move in turns 3+4 to take over the race lead. Gray’s move opened the door for Hill, Stuart, and Cory Casagrande to get by Kyle Casagrande as Kyle fell from the lead back to fifth. The caution came out with 43 laps complete as Gambacorta spun in the middle of turns 3+4.
Kyle Casagrande didn’t come up to speed on the restart and Rich Hammann spun in turn 1 but was able to keep going and the race stayed green. Stuart moved into second behind Gray with Cory Casagrande third, Hill fourth, and Peterson was back up to fifth after some three-wide racing and shuffling after the field scattered to avoid Kyle Casagrande on the restart. Breunig spun again in turn 4 along with Scott Cook to bring the caution back out with 48 laps complete.
Gray took the lead back under green with Cory Casagrande making a strong move to take second. With Stuart kicked to the high side, Hill took third, Peterson moved to fourth, Gambacorta took fifth, and Dennis Botticello took sixth before Stuart could get back into line in seventh place. Stuart’s car got very loose on lap-52 and he fell back several more spots to ninth as Kyle Casagrande and Bennett got by. Hill spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution out with 54 laps complete.
Gray took the lead on the restart with Cory Casagrande settling into second behind Gray. Casagrande didn’t settle long as he made a move for the lead coming out of turn 4. Casagrande’s lead was short lived as Peterson and Gray both got by Casagrande going down the backstretch on lap-56. With 2 laps to go, the order was now Peterson in the lead and he was followed in line by Gray, Kyle Casagrande, Gambacorta, and Stuart. Cory Casagrande fell back to sixth place after leading ever so briefly.
Peterson led Gray to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2014 season. Kyle Casagrande finished third, with Gambacorta and Stuart rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Joey Ferrigno spun through the infield and was able to get going again but Jay Goff got into the frontstretch wall to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.
D.J. Burnham took the lead on the restart with Jeremy Sorel slotting into second behind him. Branden Dion was third, Geoff Boisjolie was fourth, and Stephen Kopcik was fifth. This was the running order when the caution came out with 3 laps complete for a multi-car incident in turn 1 involving the cars of Tyler Hines, Bob Charland, Rit Dulac, and Jodi Johnson.
Sorel got a good run on the outside of Burnham on the restart and they spent 2 laps side by side before Sorel got clear into the lead. Burnham then lost second place to Dion with Ferrigno now back up to fourth after his early race misfortune and Kopcik was fifth.
Ferrigno took third from Burnham on lap-8 and behind Ferrigno Kopcik, Dylan Menditto and Burnham were 3-wide for fourth. Kopcik took fourth, with Menditto fifth and Hines getting around Burnham for sixth place as the field completed the halfway point of the race.
Dion was on a charge and he took the lead from Sorel on lap-12 and the caution then came out with 12 laps complete as Menditto spun in turn 1 and Nick Salva was slow through the backstretch grass.
Dion took the lead back under green with Ferrigno moving up to second. Kopcik took third as Sorel was sliding backwards in the outside groove. Sorel was hanging tough on the outside of Kopcik in a duel for third place as Dion had a several car length lead over Ferrigno.
Sorel powered his way in front of Kopcik after several laps of hard fought side by side racing while Ferrigno was now on the back bumper of Dion for the lead. As the two leaders came to the white flag, Ferrigno made a move to the inside of Dion and they were side by side at the stripe. They ran side by side the entire last lap and coming out of turn 4, Ferrigno had the slightest of advantages and he beat Dion to the checkered flag by inches. Burnham finished third, with Kopcik and Ferrigno rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Norm Sears took the lead at the green driving Kelsey Rottino’s #36 car after his #71 car was heavily damaged last week. Paul Arute was second behind Sears with a 3-wide behind Arute for third between the cars of Cliff Saunders, Jesse Hinze, and Duane Provost. Provost won the duel between the three cars to move into third, with Hinze in fourth and Justin Bren was now fifth.
At the halfway point, Sears still had the lead and Arute was holding off the trio of Provost, Hinze, and Bren. Provost changed the order on lap-11 when he got around Arute for second. Bren was now up to fourth behind Arute with Austin Bessette now in fifth.
Provost powered his way past Sears in turn 2 to take over the race lead on lap-17. Sears was still second, but behind Sears Bessette was up to third with Andrew Hayes now in fourth and Bren fifth as Arute slid back to sixth place. Provost led Sears back to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2014 season. Bessette finished third, with Hayes fourth and Bren fifth.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Allison Coelho led the field to the green but she was quickly overtaken by Brandon Michael for the race lead. Dave Comeau moved into second with Frank L’Etoile moving to third as Allison Coelho fell back to fourth, just in front of Trace Beyer.
Michael, Comeau, and L’Etoile were beginning to distance themselves from Alexandra Fearn, who got around Coelho to move into fourth. Beyer was on the high side of Coelho on lap-10 and he made the pass to move into fifth place.
With 3 laps to go, Comeau was applying heavy pressure to Michael for the race lead and he had a pass made on lap-13. The two cars touched coming out of turn 2 on lap-14 with Comeau spinning around. The race stayed under green and now L’Etoile was looking to make the same move that Comeau made for the lead. L’Etoile made one final charge coming to the checkered flag but came up just short as Michael took down his first win of the season. Fearn finished third, with Beyer and Jeff Jolly rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Legends Car feature event, Jordan LaMothe took the lead at the green but the caution came out with 1 lap complete for debris. On the restart, Dana DiMatteo took the lead from LaMothe and Mike Christopher, Jr. also got past LaMothe to take over second and drop LaMothe back to third place. Brendon Bock was fourth behind LaMothe but he took third on lap-5. Cory DiMatteo was fifth when the caution came back out with 5 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 of the mini-mile by Noah Korner.
Dana DiMatteo resumed the lead on the restart with Bock moving into second. Christopher continued to run in third with LaMothe and Joey Ternullo up to fifth after starting at the rear of the field.
The top-3 cars began to pull away from LaMothe and Ternullo and it was all Dana DiMatteo at the front of the field as he claimed his second Legend Cars feature win of the 2014 season. Bock was second, with Christopher, LaMothe, and Ternullo rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa
2) Ryan Preece, Berlin
3) Keith Rocco, Berlin
4) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
5) Dan Avery, Somers
6) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
7) Woody Pitkat, Stafford Springs
8) Ted Christopher, Plainville
9) Frank Ruocco, Cheshire
10) Sean Foster, Willington
11) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
12) Doug Coby, Middletown
13) Todd Owen, Somers
14) Zach Sylvester, Lebanon
15) Michael Gervais, Jr., Southbury
16) Tom Bolles, Ellington
17) Joey Cipriano, III, Waterbury
18) Matt Galko, Meriden
19) Tommy Membrino, Jr., Prospect
20) Curt Brainard, Canton
21) Chris Jones, New Milford
22) Tony Membrino, Jr., Plantsville
LATE MODEL (60)
1) Jim Peterson, Monson, Ma
2) Adam Gray, Belchertown, Ma
3) Kyle Casagrande, Stafford Springs
4) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
5) Jay Stuart, Preston
6) Cory Casagrande, Stafford Springs
7) Michael Bennett, Willington
8) Dennis Botticello, Suffield
9) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
10) Skip Breunig, Milford
11) Michael Scorzelli, Feura Bush, Ny
12) Justin O’Neill, Torrington
13) Scott Cook, Uncasville
14) Rich Hammann, Tolland
15) Josh Wood, Palmer, Ma
16) Peter Thickett, Watertown
17) J.J. Hill, Stafford Springs
18) Jim Mavlouganes, Bethany
19) Tom Butler, Stafford Springs
20) Rick Lanagan, III, Enfield
21) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
2) Branden Dion, Taunton, Ma
3) Jeremy Sorel, Westfield, Ma
4) Tyler Hines, North Haven
5) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
6) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford
7) Geoff Boisjolie, East Hampton, Ma
8) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
9) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma
10) Dylan Menditto, Brooklyn
11) Bob Charland, Stafford
12) Pete Lopuch, West Redding
13) Rit Dulac, Plantsville
14) Paul French, Andover
15) Nick Salva, Prospect
16) Carlos Gray, Manchester
17) Jodi Johnson, Medway, Ma
18) Jay Goff, Stafford Springs
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Duane Provost, Indian Orchard, Ma
2) Norm Sears, Andover
3) Austin Bessette, Stafford Springs
4) Andrew Hayes, Charlton, Ma
5) Justin Bren, Palmer, Ma
6) Paul Arute, Tolland
7) David Arute, Tolland
8) Albert Saunders, Stafford
9) Jesse Hinze, Farmington
10) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
11) Cliff Saunders, Stafford
12) Chris Cook, Pepperell, Ma
13) Joe Nogiec, Bristol
14) R.J. Surdell, Manchester
DARE STOCK (15)
1) Brandon Michael, Granville, Ma
2) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
3) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
4) Trace Beyer, Brewster, Ny
5) Jeff Jolly, Wallingford
6) Johnny Walker, Ludlow, Ma
7) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
8) Allison Coelho, Wilbraham, Ma
9) David Comeau, Palmer, Ma
10) Gus Coelho, Jr., Wilbraham, Ma
11) Andy Marchese, Tolland
12) Doug Phelps, Jr., New Salem, Ma
13) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
14) Paul Bourdon, Jr., Jewett City
15) Gregory DeMone, Ludlow, Ma
LEGEND CARS (20)
1) Dana DiMatteo, Farmington
2) Nick Ladyga, Voluntown
3) Mike Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
4) Jordan LaMothe, Woodstock
5) Joey Ternullo, Jr., Middletown
6) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma
7) Kyle Rogers, Waterbury
8) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
9) Noah Korner, Canton
10) Chris Fuller, Boylston, Ma
– Stafford Motor Speedway press release.