(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, May 19th with the Valenti Modified Racing Series in the house for the 4th Annual VMRS 80. Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Chase Dowling in the SK Modified® feature, Kevin Gambacorta in the Late Model feature, George Nocera, Jr. in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson in the DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dan Avery took the early lead with Todd Owen, D.J. Burnham, Glen Reen, and Rowan Pennink behind him. The caution came out with 3 laps complete as Owen and Burnham spun into the turn 1 wall.
Reen took the lead on the outside of Avery and Cam McDermott was right with Reen and he was now side by side with Avery for second with Pennink in fourth and Tony Membrino, Jr. was up to fifth. McDermott took second on lap-6but Avery came right back and retook the spot on lap-7 as Pennink was looking to get by both cars in fourth. Avery settled into second with Pennink taking third from McDermott on lap-8 as Reen continued to lead the race.
Avery made a move to the inside of Reen to move to the front on lap-9 and he brought Pennink with him to drop Reen back to third. Chase Dowling moved to the outside of Reen on lap-10 and he took over third and then he moved side by side with Pennink for second with Avery still out front. Keioth Rocco was making his way through traffic towards the front as he was up to fifth when the caution came out with 12 laps complete for a spin by Eric Berndt in turn 2.
Avery and Dowling were side by side for the lead back under green with Dowling getting clear on lap-14. Avery now had Pennink to his outside in a fight for second with Rocco in fourth and Reen was fifth. Dylan Izzo and Berndt spun on the frontstretch to bring the caution back out with 16 laps complete.
Dowling took the lead back under green with Pennink moving up to second. Avery moved into third with Rocco in fourth and Reen in fifth. Pennink made a move to the inside of Dowling in turn 4 on lap-19 to take over the lead but that move was negated by the caution flag for spins in turns 1+2 by Membrino and Berndt.
Pennink was able to keep pace with Dowling in the outside groove on the restart before slotting back into second just in front of Rocco. Avery was fourth with Reen and McDermott side by side for fifth. The caution came back out with 21 laps complete for a spin coming out of turn 4 by Berndt, Tyler Hines, and Robert Goulet.
The caution came right back out on the restart as there was a multicar incident at the entrance of turn 3 involving the cars of Jeff Baral, Tom Bolles, Izzo, Tom Abele, Jr., Hines, and Goulet.
Dowling took the lead on the restart with Rocco alongside Pennink for second with Reen and Avery side by side for fourth. Rocco got clear to second on lap-23 with Pennink, Reen, and now Ted Christopher lined up single file behind Dowling, who was still out front.
Christopher got by Reen to move into third on lap-29 as Dowling, Rocco, and Pennink were starting to stretch their advantage over the field out. That advantage was erased by a spin in turn 4 by Mike Christopher, Jr. that brought the caution out.
Dowling took the lead back under green with Rocco slotting into second and Pennink into third. Ted Christopher was fourth and Reen was fifth when the caution came back out for spins in turn 4 by Mike Christopher, Jr. and Goulet.
Dowling and Rocco were side by side for the lead again with Christopher moving into third. As the field hit turn 3, Pennink and Christopher touched with Christopher’s car getting shot up the track into the path of Matt Galko, who hit the wall to bring the caution back out.
Dowling took the lead with Christopher getting by Rocco to move into second. Pennink and Ronnie Williams were side by side for fourth with Reen right behind them in sixth. With 5 laps to go, Dowling, Christopher, Rocco, Pennink and Williams were lined up single file. Christopher was working over Dowling while Pennink was looking high and low for a way to get around Rocco.
Dowling led Christopher to the checkered flag to pick up his second win in three races in 2017. Rocco finished third with Pennink and Williams rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Tyler Leary took the early lead with Tom Butler right on his bumper in second. Rich Hammann was third with Tom Fearn in fourth and Glen Reen in fifth. Fearn moved into third on lap-4 as Hammann fell back to seventh and Reen was fourth as Leary and Butler continued to head the field.
Fearn was working Butler over for second but Butler was able to stave off his challenges. Fearn was able to make a pass and take over second with Gambacorta moving into third and Michael Wray was fourth. Butler slid back to fifth and the caution came out with 13 laps complete for Reen, who spun coming out of turn 4.
Leary took the lead back under green with Gambacorta taking second from Fearn. Fearn slotted into third with Butler in fourth and Jim Mavlouganes moved around Wray to take over fifth. Wray quickly got back by Mavlouganes to retake fifth as Leary continued to lead Gambacorta.
With 10 laps to go, Leary was still in the lead with Gambacorta right behind him. Fearn and Reen were in a fight all to themselves for third and then Wray was by himself in fifth. Just behind Wray was the 3-car train of Josh Wood, Mavlouganes, and Butler.
Gambacorta looked to be sizing Leary up and as they came to the white flag, he made a move to take over the lead. Gambacorta then led Leary back to the line for his first win of the 2017 season. Reen finished third with Fearn and Wray rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Nathan Pytko led the first lap before giving way to Glenn Bartkowski on lap-2. The caution came out with 2 laps complete as there was a multican incident in turn 2 that involved the rear half of the field.
Griswold took the lead back under green with Todd Douillard in second. Douillard fell back to fourth on lap-4 as George Nocera, Jr. took over second and Rick Williams moved into third. Douillard then lost two more spots as Wesley Prucker moved into fourth and David Arute took over fifth. Up front things were shuffling around as well as Nocera and Williams both got by Griswold to drop him back to third and that was the order with 8 laps complete when the caution came out for Cory DiMatteo, who wrecked in turn 4.
Back under green, Nocera took the lead with Williams slotting into second. Griswold and Prucker were side by side for third but behind them Pytko came together with Noah Korner and Larry Goss in turn 4 and all three cars came to a stop to bring the caution back out.
Nocera again took the lead with Williams in second. Wesley Prucker took third with Arute moving up to fourth and Dan Wesson moved into fifth. Prucker was on the charge as he moved into second with Arute following him by Williams to take over third. Wesson was still in fifth behind Williams as Nocera was comfortably out front in the lead.
Nocera led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first career SK Light feature victory. Prucker came home in second with Arute, Wesson, and Chris Viens rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, David Tefft took the early lead but on lap-2 Jeremy Lavoie used a slick move in turns 1+2 to move from third into the lead. Robert Bloxsom, III settled into second with R.J. Surdell, Duane Provost, and Bryan Narducci making up the top-5 as Tefft fell all the way back to 10th place as a train of cars went by him. The order remained the same when the caution came out with 7 laps complete for a spin in turns 1+2 by Tyler Trott.
Back under green Lavoie took the lead with Bloxsom in second. Surdell and Provost were side by side for third with Surdell on the inside and Provost on the outside. Surdell went around in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution back out with 10-laps complete.
The restart saw Bloxsom get a good restart and he stayed even with Lavoie for the lead. They ran the lap side by side before the caution came back out with 11 laps complete for spins in turn 4 by Trott and Surdell.
Lavoie and Bloxsom resumed their side by side duel while Provost and Narducci were side by side for second. Lavoie got clear to the lead on lap-13 and Provost moved into second and was looking to set up a pass for the lead when the caution came out with 13 laps complete for spins by Ryan Fearn, David Tefft, and Matt Clement.
Lavoie took the lead on the restart with Bloxsom and Provost side by side for second. Behind them, Al Saunders and Narducci were side by side for fourth. The caution came back out with 15 laps complete as Trott and Fearn spun in turn 1.
The field completed another lap before the caution came back out as there was a bottleneck midpack and Surdell ran into the back of another car and the track had to be cleaned of debris.
Provost took the lead from Lavoie on the restart in the outside groove but Lavoie came back strong to Provost’s inside and they were side by side at the line to complete lap-18. As they came to the white flag the two cars crossed the line with mere inches separating them. Lavoie got a good run in turns 1+2 on the final lap and emerged down the backstretch with the lead. Provost made one last effort but couldn’t get close enough to make a move. Bloxsom finished third with Cliff Saunders and Narducci rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Michael Hopkins streaked into the lead at the drop of the green with Chris Bagnall behind him in second. Vince Gambacorta slotted into third with Johnny Walker quickly moving up to fourth and Zack Robinson was fifth. Walker got by Gambacorta for third on lap-3 and Robinson followed him through to drop Gambacorta back to fifth as Hopkins was pulling away from Bagnall out front.
Walker took second from Bagnall on lap-4 and again Robinson followed him through to drop Bagnall back to fourth. Nicole Chambrello spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 6 laps complete and erase Hopkins’ lead over Walker and the rest of the field. George Bessette, Jr. was sent to the rear of the field under the caution for contact with Chambrello.
Chris Sanford got out of shape on the restart with Chambrello making contact as Sanford was spinning but both cars were able to keep going forward and the race stayed green with Hopkins leading Robinson, Walker, Gambacorta, and Trace Beyer. Sanford limped back to pit road and was done for the evening while Chambrello was able to rejoin the rear of the field.
Robinson and Hopkins were side by side for the lead on lap-9 and they were still side by side on lap-12. Walker was lined up behind the lead duo with Gambacota holding off Beyer to round out the top-5. Robinson got clear of Hopkins on lap-12 and Walker also got by Hopkins to drop him from the lead back to third in the order.
Walker gave chase to Robinson but he couldn’t get close enough to make a move as Robinson came home the winner for the second week in a row. Hopkins finished third with Beyer and Gambacorta 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.