(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the Valenti Modified Racing Series in the house for the 6th Annual VMRS 80. Ted Christopher scored his first SK Modified® feature win in nearly two years, Kevin Gambacorta scored his second consecutive Late Model feature win, Joe Graf, Jr. was a first time career winner in the SK Light feature, Paul Arute took down his third win of the 2016 season with a last lap pass, and Trace Beyer scored his first win of 2016 in the DARE Stock feature.
In the special 44-lap SK Modified® feature event in honor of Mario Fiore, Matt Galko took the early race lead with Cam McDermott and Jeff Baral lined up behind him. The caution came out with 2 laps complete for Nick Salva, who spun in the middle of turns 3+4. Salva was able to rejoin the field at the rear for the restart.
Galko took the lead back under green with McDermott and Baral side by side for second. Baral took the spot on lap-4 and now Todd Owen was alongside McDermott for third. Owen took that position with Tom Bolles behind McDermott in fifth place. Baral was applying heavy pressure to Galko’s bumper but Galko was able to stay out front.
Baral was finally able to get alongside Galko on lap-9 and he got clear to the lead on lap-10. Owen followed him by Galko to drop Galko back to a side by side battle with McDermott for third with Mike Christopher, Jr. in fifth. Ronnie Williams spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 11 laps complete.
The field completed one lap before a multi-car incident in turn 2 brought the yellow back out. McDermott had heavy damage to his car while several others came to pit road.
Baral and Owen spent a lap side by side for the lead before Baral got clear. Another multi-car incident in turn 2 involving Dan Avery, Danny Cates, Eric Berndt, Salva, and Tommy Membrino, Jr. brought the caution back out with 14 laps complete.
Galko took the lead from Baral back under green with Baral locked in a side by side duel with Ted Christopher for second. Owen and Ryan Preece were side by side for fourth with Keith Rocco and Tyler Hines behind them. Christopher was able to get in front of Baral on lap-20 to move into second and Bolles spun coming off turn 4 to bring the caution out with 20 laps complete.
Christopher took the lead from Galko on the restart with Preece moving into second. Galko was third with Baral on his bumper in fourth and Owen was in fifth. Spins in turn 3 by Christopher, Membrino, and McDermott brought the caution back out with 22 laps complete.
Preece got a monster restart and powered his way into the lead with Christopher slotting into second. Baral was third with Galko and Rocco side by side for fourth. Christopher came back to Preece’s inside in turns 3+4 to retake the lead on lap-24. Christopher and Preece were locked together and they were slowly pulling away from Galko and Baral to settle the race among themselves. After making an early pit stop under caution , Rowan Pennink was back up to fifth place with 12 laps to go. Owen’s car came to a stop in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 32 laps complete and erase the lead that Christopher and Preece had opened up.
Christopher took the lead on the restart with Galko briefly pulling alongside Preece for second before Preece got clear of Galko. Pennink was fourth behind Galko with Baral in fifth. Preece was immediately beginning to apply heavy pressure to the back bumper of Christopher for the lead but Christopher was able to keep his #13 out front. Christopher held off Preece to the checkered flag to pick up his first SK Modified® win since the 2014 season. Pennink finished third, with Pitkat and Galko rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Rich Hammann took the early lead with Tyler Leary in second. Kevin Gambacota made a 3-wide move to take over second on lap-2 and his pass brought Tom Fearn with him into third as Leary fell back to a battle with Michael Wray for fourth place with Wayne Coury, Jr. right behind them in sixth.
Gambacorta took the lead from Hammann on lap-5 with a pass in turn 3 and once again, Fearn followed him through to drop Hammann back to third place. Coury went by Wray for third on lap-5 but they touched and Coury spun into the wall to bring the caution out with 5 laps complete.
Gambacorta took the lead back under green with Wood in second. Fearn and Bennett were third and fourth and the cars touched with Fearn spinning to bring the caution out with 8 laps complete.
Wood briefly got his nose in front of Gambacorta for the lead on the restart but Gambacorta was able to keep his car out front. Jim Mavlouganes was now in third behind the two leaders with Austin Bessette up to foruth and Leary was fifth. Wood was able to power his way past Gambacorta to take over the lead on lap-13.
Gambacorta rode behind Wood until lap-25 when he made a move to retake the lead. Mavlouganes was still third with Bessette fourth and Joel Monahan in fifth. Gambacorta led Wood to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive Late Model feature win. Mavlouganes finished third, with Bessette fourth and Fearn edged out Monahan a the line for fifth.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Carlos Gray led the field to the green, but he didn’t come up to speed on the start and then he spun in turns 1+2 with a flat left rear tire to bring the caution out.
Al Wisialko and Wesley Prucker were on the front row for the restart but the field only made it to the backstretch before Jay Goff touched tires with Joe Graf, Jr. and behind them Todd Douillard spun and hit the wall to bring the caution out and then the red flag when a flash fire erupted from his car.
Prucker took the lead back under green but Graf was on a charge and he took the lead from Prukcer on lap-2. Goff was third behind Graf and Prucker before the caution came back out with 3 laps complete for spins in turns 1+2 by Andrew Molleur and Nathan Pytko.
Graf took the lead back under green with Prucker and Goff behind him. Tony Membrino was on the charge moving up to fourth and Brett Gonyaw was following him through traffic and took fifth. Membrino got hung up in the outside lane on lap-6 and Gonyaw was able to get by him for fourth. Gonyaw then moved into third on lap-8 in a 3-wide move with Goff and Joey Ferrigno. Gonyaw then powered his way past Prucker to move into second on lap-10.
Ferrigno was now third behind Graf and Gonyaw with Goff in fourth and Prucker fifth. Membrino was just behind Prucker in sixth place. Ferrigno made a move to the inside of Gonyaw to move into second on lap-16 as Graf was slowly pulling away from them in the lead.
The action was heating up for third as Prucker, Goff, and Gonyaw were locked in a duel. Graf led Ferrigno to the checkered flag to pick up his first career victory. Prucker came out of the 3-car duel for third in third with Goff taking fourth and Fred Nees, Jr. took fifth.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Jeremy Lavoie streaked into the lead on the outside of Matt Clement at the drop of the green. R.J. Surdell was looking for a way around Clement for second with Bryan Narducci in fourth and Paul Arute quickly moved up to fifth.
Narducci got around Surdell on lap-5 and he brought Arute with him as Surdell fell back to fifth. Lavoie was pulling away from Clement while Arute made a move around Narducci to move into third on lap-8. Arute rode behind Clement until lap-12 when he was able to make a pass in turns 1+2 to move into second. Arute was eating into Lavoie’s lead by nearly a half a second a lap and with 5 laps to go he was just over 1 second behind Lavoie.
With 2 laps to go, Arute had caught up to Lavoie’s back bumper and he was right on his bumper as they took the white flag. Lavoie got loose in turns 1+2 on the final lap, allowing Arute to get to his inside. As they went through turns 3+4, Arute was able to get his car in front of Lavoie and he took the checkered flag for his third win of the 2016 season. Clement finished third with Al Saunders and Justin Bren rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Nicole Chambrello took the lead at the drop of the green with Dan Dembek moving into second. Chris Bagnall was sliding backwards as he lost spots to Trace Beyer, Marcello Rufrano, and Zack Robinson. Bagnall’s car began to smoke heavily and the cars of Paul Bourdon, Jr. and Kyle Gaedeke spun in fluid from his car and brought the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Chambrello took the lead back under green with Beyer and Dembek lined up behind her. Rufrano and Robinson were side by side for fourth place with Rufrano getting clear on lap-5 and Ryan Fearn came past Robinson with Rufrano to move into fifth. Fearn then took fourth from Rufrano after Fearn got loose in turn 1 and he was applying pressure to Dembek for third.
Fearn took third on lap-8 as Chambrello and Beyer continued to lead the race. Beyer was applying pressure to Chambrello for the lead and he had a pass made in the outside groove on lap-8 and as he was making the pass, Chambrello’s car broke loose in turns 3+4 and collected the cars of Dave Secore and Tyler Trott to bring the caution out.
Beyer took the lead back under green with Brandon Michael moving into second. Ryan Fearn was third with Dembek and Johnny Walker side by side for fourth place. Walker took the spot on lap-10 and Beyer was beginning to pull away from Michael with two laps to go.
Beyer led Michael to the checkered flag for his first win of the 2016 season. Walker finished third with Ryan Fearn and Rufrano 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.