Stafford Springs, CT -- Stafford Speedway opened its 2019 racing season with a special Saturday Opening Day program featuring the SK Modifieds®, Late Models, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, and Vintage All-Stars. Opening Day winners were Keith Rocco in an SK Modified® photo finish, Michael Wray was declared the Late Model winner after Kevin Gambacorta was disqualified, Bryan Narducci in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, Michael Hopkins in the 30-lap RMSPCO.com Street Stock Triple Crown #1 feature, and Mike Teague in the Vintage All-Stars feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Keith Rocco took the early lead with Todd Owen and Michael Gervais, Jr. side by side for second. Before the first lap could be completed, there was a wreck mid-pack with Tom Bolles sustaining damage to his car with several others involved that brought the caution out.
Rocco took the lead with Owen glued to his back bumper in second. Just as the field completed the first lap, several cars spun through the frontstretch infield, including Matt Vassar, Chris Jones, and Darin Renihan that brought the caution right back out.
Rocco and Owen resumed their fight for the lead on the restart with Gervais, Glen Reen, and David Arute lined up behind them. Dan Avery developed a flat tire on the backstretch and the caution came out with 3 laps complete as he came to a stop in turn 4.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Owen all over his back bumper in second. Gervais was third with Michael Christopher, Jr. up to fourth and Ronnie Williams up to fifth. Reen was back to sixth with Troy Talman, Joey Cipriano, Marcello Rufrano, and Andrew Molleur making up the top-10.
Gervais closed down the gap to Owen in second and on lap-9 he nearly made a pass but Owen was able to hold him off. This brought Christopher into the mix to make a 4-car train for the lead with Williams in fifth. The top-5 remained the same when the caution came back out with 14 laps complete for Bolles and Jeff Malave, who got together in turn 2.
Rocco and Owen resumed the top-2 positions on the restart with Gervais third. Williams got around Christopher to move into fourth on lap-16 while Gervais was looking to the inside of Owen for second. Gervais was able to make the pass stick on lap-17 and move into second. Glen Reen had a flat tire and spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 20 laps complete.
Rocco took the lead on the restart while Owen and Gervais were side by side for second. Gervais got clear of Owen on lap after the restart and took second place. Joey Cipriano was now fourth with Christopher in fifth. Williams was back to sixth with Tony Membrino, Jr., Nick Salva, Stephen Kopcik, and Eric Berndt making up the top-10.
With 10 laps to go Rocco was still out front with Gervais right on his back bumper. The lead duo had pulled away some from Owen in third who was now fending off challenges from Williams with Cipriano in fifth. The caution came out with 32 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by David Arute.
Rocco took the lead on the restart and behind him it was a high speed pace lap with Owen and Gervais side by side for second and Cipriano and Williams side by side for fourth. Owen took second with Gervais falling back to third while Cipriano took fourth and Christopher got by Williams to move into fifth. The caution came back out with 36 laps complete for a spin in turns 3+4 by Membrino.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Gervais taking second. Christopher got by Owen to take third place on lap-38 with Cipriano in fifth. Arute and Eric Berndt took a spin into the frontstretch infield to bring the caution back out with 38 laps complete.
Rocco held the lead on the restart with Gervais trying his hardest to stay with him in the outside groove. Coming off turn 4 to the checkered flag Gervais and Christopher split Rocco and nearly made a pass for the win but Rocco won the race by a nose. Gervais edged out Christopher for second with Cipriano and Owen rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tom Fearn streaked into the lead from pole position at the green flag with Michael Bennett and Cliff Saunders lined up behind him. Kevin Gambacorta settled into fourth place with Michael Wray fifth. Tyler Leary was sixth ahead of Dave Wray, Darrell Keane, and a side by side battle between Paul Arute and Chase Cook. Arute took tenth from Cook on lap-6 while Fearn continued to lead.
Gambacorta made a move inside of Bennett to take over second place on lap-7 and his move opened the door for Michael Wray to slide past Bennett to move into third on lap-8. The caution flag came out with 8 laps complete for Cliff Saunders, who backed into the wall in the middle of turns 1+2.
Fearn took the lead again on the restart but Keane took a head first hit into the turn 3 wall to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed.
Fearn resumed his place at the front of the pack on the restart while Michael Wray was able to get by Gambacorta to move into second. Leary was up to fourth with Bennett sliding back to fifth. Cook was sixth with Arute, Ed Ricard, Ryan Fearn, and R.J. Surdell making up the top-10.
Gambacorta got back around Wray on lap-12 to move back into second with Fearn in front by just over a second. As the field hit the halfway point, Fearn was still the leader with Gambacorta, Wray, Leary, and Bennett giving chase. Fearn’s car began to smoke heavily going down the backstretch and the caution was displayed with 16 laps complete.
Gambacorta spun in turn 4 on the restart to bring the caution back out without a lap being completed. Fearn took the lead on the next restart with Wray hot on his bumper. Leary was up to third and the field completed one lap before Paul Varricchio, Jr. spun through the infield grass and Ed Ricard bounced off the turn 1 wall and came to a stop in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 17 laps complete.
Fearn took the lead on the restart with Wray and Leary going side by side for a lap before Wray took second. Bennett was fourth with Arute all over his back bumper looking for a way past. Gambacorta took fifth from Arute on lap-20 and the caution came out with 20 laps complete for Dave Wray, who spun on the backstretch.
Back under green, Fearn took the lead while Wray grazed the wall on the backstretch. Gambacorta dove to the inside of Wray in turn 3 to move into third while Leary touched bumpers with Fearn, sending Fearn up the track and allowing Gambacorta to power his way into the lead. Wray took second with Bennett taking third. Fearn slid back to fourth with Leary right behind him in fifth. Surdell was sixth with Al Saunders, Arute, Varricchio, and Dave Wray making up the top-10 with 5 laps to go.
Gambacorta led Wray to the checkered flag but post race inspection found Gambacorta’s car to have an illegal shock and he was disqualified to last place, making Wray the winner. Bennett finished second with Fearn, Leary, and Al Saunders rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, a multi car incident in turn 3 brought the caution out at the start. Mikey Flynn and Mark Bakaj were dueling for the lead on the restart but one lap later Noah Korner made a 3-wide move to take the lead but just as he made his move, Nathan Pytko spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out and negate the move, putting Bakaj and Flynn back out front for the restart.
Flynn took the lead on the restart with Bakaj right behind him in second. Bakaj powered his way past Flynn on lap-6 to take the lead but his time out front was short as Bryan Narducci took the lead on lap-8. Teddy Hodgdon was third behind Narducci and Bakaj with Alexander Pearl in fourth and Noah Korner in fifth. Wesley Prucker spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 10 laps complete.
Narducci took the lead on the restart with Bakaj in second. Hodgdon was third with Pearl behind him in fourth and Noah Korner rounding out the top-5. Jonathan Puleo spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution out with 13 laps complete.
Narducci powered back into the lead on the restart while Bakaj and Hodgdon were side by side for second. Glenn Korner spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution back out with 14 laps complete.
Narducci again took the lead with Hodgdon in second. Noah Korner and Bakaj were side by side for third with Korner taking the spot on lap-16 and opening the door for Pearl to also get past Bakaj to move into fourth and drop Bakaj back to fifth. Just as Narducci was about to take the white flag, the caution came out for a multi-car wreck on the backstretch coming out of turn 2 involving Cassandra Cole, Pete Lopuch, and Glenn Korner.
Narducci took the lead on the restart with Hodgdon second. Narducci led Hodgdon to the checkered flag to win the first race of the season. Noah Korner edged out Pearl at the line for third with Bakaj rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Jeremy Lavoie took the early lead with Matt Clement and Duane Provost right behind him. Gary Patnode was fourth with Alexandra Fearn fifth and Kyle Casagrande in sixth. Clement spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete. Provost was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Clement.
Lavoie took the lead back under green with Fearn taking a look to the inside of Patnode for second but Patnode was able to fend off her challenge. Casagrande went around coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 5 laps complete.
Lavoie again took the lead with Patnode in second. There was 3-wide action for third between Clement, Provost, and Fearn with Clement coming out in third, Fearn in fourth and Casagrande in fifth after sliding up the track in turn 4. At the halfway point Patnode was sticking with Lavoie at the front of the field with Clement just behind the lead duo. Fearn was holding Provost off for fourth while Casagrande ran in sixth.
With 2 laps to go, Clement was right behind Lavoie and Patnode to make a 3-way fight for the lead. Lavoie led Patnode and Clement to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Provost finished fourth with Fearn and Casagrande rounding out the field.
In the special 30-lap Street Stock feature event, the first race of the 3-race RSMPCO.com Street Stock Triple Crown, Nicole Chambrello took the early lead with Johnny Walker slotting into second. George Bessette, Jr. was third with Jason Lafayette fourth and Mike Hopkins fifth. Walker took a look to the inside of Chambrello on lap-2 but slotted back into line in second. Chris Ciriello came to a stop coming out of turn 4 with damage to the rear of his car to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Chambrello streaked back into the lead on the restart with Bessette taking second. Hopkins and Walker wewre side by side for third with Jason Lafayette and Meg fuller side by side for fifth. Nathan Casillas stalled on backstretch to bring the caution out with 7 laps complete.
Bessette was able to hang with Chambrello on the restart in a side by side duel for the lead for a lap and a half before Chambrello got clear to the lead. Walker was still running third with Hopkins fourth and Fuller up to fifth. Lafayette was just behind Fuller in sixth with Travis Hydar, Zack Robinson, Steve Kenneway, and Adrien Paradis making up the top-10. Chris Danielczuk, Vince Gambacorta, and Nick Bendiak all spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 10 laps complete.
Bessette took the lead from Chambrello on the restart with Hopkins taking third. Walker was fourth and Lafayette was fifth. Jake Higginson hit the turn 2 wall to bring the caution out with 12 laps complete.
Bessette took the lead on the restart with Hopkins moving into second. Walker took third with Chambrello sliding back to fourth and Fuller rounded out the top-5 cars. Lafayette was sixth with Robinson taking 7th from Kenneway. Andy Marchese spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 15 laps complete.
Bessette took the lead back under green with Hopkins and Walker behind him when Chambrello got into the backstretch wall and spun and collected the car of Dave Secore to bring the caution out with 17 laps complete.
Hopkins took the lead on the restart with Walker, Bessette, Fuller, and Lafayette lined up behind him. Bessette spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 21 laps complete.
Hopkins powered back into the lead on the restart with Walker hot on his trail in second. Fuller and Lafayette were side by side for third with Hydar and Kenneway right behind them. Fuller went 3-wide on the backstretch to move into second on lap-23 while Lafayette and Walker were side by side for third. Lafayette got out of shape in turn 4 on lap-24 and slid back to 9th place while Hopkins continued to lead Fuller.
Hydar mave a move to the inside of Walker on lap-27 and he was able to take third place. Kenneway followed him by Walker to move into fourth and drop Walker back to fifth. Lafayette made a 3-wide move on lap-28 to nearly take sixth but he fell back in line in 9th behind Walker, Paradis, and Chambrello.
Fuller got to Hopkins’ bumper coming off turn 4 on the final lap but she couldn’t make a move for the lead as Hopkins took the win in the first leg of the RSMPCO.com Triple Crown. Hydar finished third with Robinson and Kenneway rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap Vintage All-Stars feature event, Mike Teague took the early lead with Scott Anderson giving chase. Ben Levangie was third with 30 and Gregg Massini making up the top-5. 30 spins to bring caution out with 6 laps complete.
Teague streaked back into the lead on the restart with Anderson holding Levangie off for second. Anderson spun in turn 2 and collected the car of Massini to bring the caution back out with 7 laps complete.
Teague took command again on the restart with Levangie closing in on his back bumper. Gary Byington was up to third after his earlier spin with Anderson back up to fourth and Glenn Gagner was fifth.
Levangie’s great run came to an end with a spin on lap-14. The race stayed green and Teague took the checkered flag to pick up the victory.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
-Stafford Motor Speedway Press Release & Photo