Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with a Five-Star Series event as part of the Five-Star Series program on September 12th. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on the night were Keith Rocco, who scored his second win of the 2014 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray, who won his fifth feature of the year in the 30-lap Late Model Feature, and Justin Bren, who won his second Limited Late Model feature of the year. They were joined in NAPA Victory Lane by three first –time winners at Stafford and they were Paul French in the SK Light feature, Dan Dembek in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell in the Legends Car feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tom Bolles held off a near 3-wide charge from Michael Gervais, Jr. to take the early race lead. Gervais moved up to second with Chase Dowling and Sean Foster side by side for third. The field was still lined up two by two five rows deep behind the top-two cars with 4 laps complete.
Gervais made a move to the inside of Bolles on lap-5 and he took the lead on lap-6 by a nose at the line. Gervais got clear of Bolles on lap-8 while behind the lead duo, Dan Avery was third, Keith Rocco was fourth, and Todd Owen was charging through the field like a hot knife through butter as he was up to fifth. Foster spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 11 laps complete.
On the restart, Gervais took a trip through the frontstretch grass and Avery took over the lead. Rocco was right behind him and he was making a move to take the lead on lap-13, but the caution came out with 12 laps complete for Gervais, who came to a stop at the entrance to pit road, negating Rocco’s pass.
Avery had the lead on the restart, but Rocco got a huge run on the outside coming out of turn 4 and he took the lead from Avery. Ted Christopher was third behind Rocco and Avery with Woody Pitkat up to fourth and Dowling was back up to fifth with Ryan Preece, Tom Bulles, Rowan Pennink, and Owen behind him. Ronnie Williams spun in turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 16 laps complete.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Avery in second. Christopher and Preece were side by side for third with Pitkat fifth and Pennink sixth. Pitkat made a move around Christopher to take fourth on lap-21 with Pennink following him by to drop Christopher back to sixth. Preece dropped off the pace with engine troubles on lap-22 and the caution came out for Preece’s car limping back to the pit road.
Rocco again took the lead on the restart with Pitkat moving to the inside of Avery to take over second. Pennink followed Pitkat past Avery and Christopher was running in fifth with Frank Ruocco and Eric Berndt right behind him. Rocco was beginning to stretch out his lead over the pack while Pennink was hounding the back bumper of Pitkat for second. Several times Pennink nearly had a pass made, but Pitkat was able to hold him off. Avery was still fourth with Christopher and Berndt locked in a close duel for fifth with 6 laps to go.
Pennink made his move around Pitkat for second on lap-26 and Avery followed suit to drop Pitkat from second back to fourth. Berndt was now on the inside of Christopher for fifth with 2 laps to go in the race. Rocco led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2014 season. Pennink finished second, Pitkat beat Avery to the checkered flag by a nose for third, and Berndt got around Christopher for fifth.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, the race got started with a bang as Cory Casagrande and Tom Butler came together at the front of the pack with Casagrande spinning and J.J. Hill also spun to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed. Michael Scorzelli and Kyle Casagrande were now on the front row for the restart with Jim Peterson and Tom Fearn lined up behind them.
Scorzelli took the lead with Peterson moving into second. Josh Wood was now on the inside of Kyle Casagrande in a move for third but Adam Gray and Fearn got around both Wood and Casagrande to move into third and fourth with Wood fifth and Kyle Casagrande in sixth.
Peterson quickly closed in on the back bumper of Scorzelli and by lap-7 he was right on Scorzelli’s bumper. Michael Bennett brought the caution out with 8 laps complete as he took a trip through the backstretch grass.
The restart was called back as Peterson got too good of a start. The next restart saw Scorzelli take the lead with Peterson getting loose in turn 4 to fade back to fourth. One lap after the restart, Gray made a move around Scorzelli to move to the front. Fearn was third behind Scorzelli, with Peterson and Kevin Gambacorta rounding out the top-5.
Fearn got around Scorzelli for second on lap-13 and Peterson followed suit on lap-14. Gambacorta was looking to make a pass on Scorzelli when the caution came out with 14 laps complete for a spin by Stu Fearn in turn 4.
Gray took the lead back under green with Peterson making a move to the inside of Fearn to move into second. Gambacorta was right behind Fearn in fourth and he got around Fearn for third on lap-18. Kyle Casagrande was now on the inside of Fearn and he took over fourth on lap-19. Cory Casagrande followed in his brother’s tire tracks and he got by Fearn on the next lap. Peterson had closed in on the back bumper of Gray for the lead, but Gray began to stretch his lead back out.
Gray led Peterson back to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2014 season. Gambacorta finished third, with Kyle Casagrande and Cory Casagrande rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Paul French took the lead at the green and immediately began to pull away from the pack. Stephen Kopcik and Geoff Boisjolie were locked in a side by side duel for second with Jeremy Sorel right behind them in fourth. Boisjolie took the spot from Kopcik and Sorel followed Boisjolie’s tire tracks to drop Kopcik back to fourth. Nick Salva, who faltered at the start of the race, was running in fifth.
At the halfway point of the race, French still had a comfortable lead over Boisjolie and Sorel with Salva getting by Kopcik to move into fourth and Tyler Hines also got by Kopcik to move into fifth as Kopcik fell back to sixth place. Tyler Hines got around Salva to move up to fourth place on lap-15 and behind them, Mike Christopher, Jr. was dueling for sixth place with Kopcik.
Boisjolie was closing the gap down to French in the closing laps, but he ran out of laps as French led from flag to flag to pick up his first career SK Light victory at Stafford. Boisjolie finished second, with Hines, Sorel, and Salva rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Justin Bren took the lead at the green and he immediately began to open up a lead over Glenn Bartkowski, Paul Arute, Austin Bessette, and Albert Saunders.
Bessette made a move around Paul Arute to move into third, with Albert Saunders taking fourth, Andrew Hayes fifth, and Jesse Hinze sixth as Arute faded back to seventh at the halfway point of the race. Bren still had a comfortable lead over Bartkowski in second.
Bren looked to be on cruise control to the win but with 18 laps complete, Paul Arute spun after racing side by side with Duane Provost and his spin collected Norm Sears and Albert Saunders.
Bren powered back to the lead and again immediately pulled away from the pack. Bartkowski and Cliff Saunders were side by side for second, which gave Bren all the margin he needed as he scored a wire to wire victory. Saunders nipped Bartkowski for second with Bessette and Hayes rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Tyler Trott took the early race lead with Dan Dembek right behind him in second. Dembek made a move to the inside of Trott and he took over the race lead on lap-2. Trace Beyer followed Dembek past Trott to move into second. Trott continued to slide backwards as Johnny Walker moved up to third, Frank L’Etoile, Jr. moved into fourth, and Dave Comeau moved into fifth as Dembek continued to lead Beyer.
Beyer was applying heavy pressure to Dembek for the lead while Walker, L’Etoile, and Comeau were closing in on the lead duo. At the halfway point of the race, the top-5 cars were all in contact with each other, running in a 5-car train with Brandon Michael by himself in sixth place. The caution came out with 9 laps complete for Doug Phelps, who spun in turn 3.
Dembek and Beyer were side by side for the lead back under green with Walker in third and Comeau and L’Etoile side by side for fourth place. Michael spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution back out with 10 laps complete.
Dembek and Beyer were locked side by side for the lead with Walker in third. The caution came right back out the next lap as Nicole Chambrello got loose coming out of turn 4 and collected the car of Allison Coelho.
Beyer and Dembek were once again side by side for the lead with Walker slotting into third. After a lap of side by side racing, Dembek got clear to the lead and Walker made a move to the inside of Beyer in a bid for second. Comeau was up to fourth with L’Etoile fifth and Michael back up to sixth after his earlier spin.
Dembek led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his first career victory. Walker finished second and in a photo finish, Beyer beat Comeau to the line for third, with L’Etoile rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Legends Car feature event, Chris Fuller led the field to the green and he took the early lead in front of Jordan LaMothe and Devin O’Connell. The order began to shuffle as O’Connell streaked into the race lead on lap-3 and Dana DiMatteo followed him past LaMothe. LaMothe slid back several more spots as Mike Alcaro moved into third, and Cory DiMatteo was fourth with LaMothe falling back to fifth.
O’Connell pulled out to a comfortable lead while Dana DiMatteo and Alcaro were waging a heavy battle for second. DiMatteo got into the back of Alcaro on lap-16 which sent Alcaro around and brought the caution out with 4 laps to go. DiMatteo was given the black flag for the contact with Alcaro.
The restart order was O’Connell of LaMothe on the front row with Cory DiMatteo and Joe Graf I the second row. O’Connell resumed the lead on the restart with Cory DiMatteo having to hold off LaMothe for second. Fuller was back up to fourth with Graf holding fifth.
O’Connell took the checkered flag to pick up a win in his very first Legend Cars start at Stafford. LaMothe made a nice move around Cory DiMatteo on the final lap to take second with Alcaro coming home in fourth and Dana DiMatteo climbing back up to fifth.
-Stafford Motor Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Keith Rocco, Berlin
2) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa
3) Woody Pitkat, Stafford Springs
4) Dan Avery, Somers
5) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
6) Ted Christopher, Plainville
7) Todd Owen, Somers
8) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
9) Frank Ruocco, Cheshire
10) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
11) Tom Bolles, Ellington
12) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
13) Matt Galko, Meriden
14) Curt Brainard, Canton
15) Chris Jones, New Milford
16) Sean Foster, Willington
17) Kurt Lenahan, Roxbury
18) Tommy Membrino, Jr., Prospect
19) Jay Sundeen, Douglas, Ma
20) Ryan Preece, Berlin
21) Joey Cipriano, III, Waterbury
22) Michael Gervais, Jr., Southbury
23) Nichole Morgillo, Plantsville
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Adam Gray, Belchertown, Ma
2) Jim Peterson, Monson, Ma
3) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
4) Kyle Casagrande, Stafford Springs
5) Cory Casagrande, Stafford Springs
6) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
7) J.J. Hill, Stafford Springs
8) Josh Wood, Palmer, Ma
9) Michael Scorzelli, Feura Bush, Ny
10) Rich Hammann, Tolland
11) Darrell Keane, East Lomgmeadow, Ma
12) Tom Butler, Stafford Springs
13) Michael Bennett, Willington
14) Stuart Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma
SK LIGHT (20)
1) Paul French, Andover
2) Geoff Boisjolie, East Hampton, Ma
3) Tyler Hines, North Haven
4) Jeremy Sorel, Westfield, Ma
5) Nick Salva, Prospect
6) Mike Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
7) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
8) Branden Dion, Taunton, Ma
9) Kyle Jette, New Milford
10) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford
11) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
12) Jay Goff, Stafford Springs
13) Bob Charland, Stafford
14) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma
15) Wesley Prucker, Stafford
16) Chris Gombos, Naugatuck
17) Carlos Gray, Manchester
18) Jodi Johnson, Medway, Ma
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Justin Bren, Palmer, Ma
2) Albert Saunders, Stafford
3) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
4) Austin Bessette, Stafford Springs
5) Andrew Hayes, Charlton, Ma
6) Jesse Hinze, Farmington
7) Duane Provost, Indian Orchard, Ma
8) Paul Arute, Tolland
9) Joe Nogiec, Bristol
10) David Arute, Tolland
11) R.J. Surdell, Manchester
12) Norm Sears, Andover
13) Cliff Saunders, Stafford
DARE STOCK (15)
1) Dan Dembek, Hamden, Ma
2) Johnny Walker, Ludlow, Ma
3) Trace Beyer, Brewster, Ny
4) David Comeau, Palmer, Ma
5) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
6) Brandon Michael, Granville, Ma
7) Doug Phelps, Jr., New Salem, Ma
8) Andrew Marchese, Tolland
9) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
10) Allison Coelho, Wilbraham, Ma
11) Greg Demone, Ludlow, Ma
12) Gus Coelho, Jr., Wilbraham, Ma
13) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
14) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
LEGEND CARS (20)
1) Devin O’Connell, Madison
2) Jordan LaMothe, Woodstock
3) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
4) Chris Fuller, Boylston, Ma
5) Joe Graf, Jr., Mahwah, Nj
6) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Ma
7) Dana DiMatteo, Farmington
8) Noah Korner, Canton
9) Mike Alcaro, Newton, Nj