(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Motor Speedway’s 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler Weekend continued on Sunday, April 24 with feature events for the SK Modified® and Late Model divisions. It was déjà vu all over again on Sizzler® Sunday as Rowan Pennink scored the win in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature and Michael Bennett took the checkered flag in the 30-lap Late Model feature event. Both drivers repeated their Sizzler victories from 2015.
In the 45-lap SK Modified® feature, the field took the green flag with Cam McDermott and Brian Sullivan side by side for the lead. They ran three laps side by side before McDermott got clear to the lead. Once McDermott got clear of Sullivan, Jeremy Sorel moved into second and he then took the lead from McDermott on lap-4. Todd Owen was now up to third behind Sorel and McDermott with Eric Berndt and Sullivan in fourth and fifth, just in front of Woody Pitkat.
The positions continued to shuffle as Pitkat moved into fifth and Rowan Pennink was right behind him moving into sixth when the caution came out with 6 laps complete for spins in turn 2 by D.J. Burnham, John Catania, Joey Mucciacciaro, and Mike Christopher, Jr.
Owen got a great restart and powered his way by Sorel to take the lead. Berndt settled into third behind Sorel with Pennink fourth and McDermott fifth. Pitkat was still sixth with Glen Reen right behind him in seventh. Sorel was applying heavy pressure to the back bumper of Owen and they touched on lap-11 but kept on racing. Berndt moved around Sorel on lap-12 to move into second and he took over from Sorel in applying heavy pressure to Owen for the lead. Pennink went around McDermott to take over third just before the caution came out for a spin coming out of turn 4 by Nick Salva.
Owen took the lead back under green while Pennink was able to slide in front of Berndt to take over second. Pitkat was fourth behind Berndt with Sorel, Reen, and McDermott lined up behind Pitkat. Pennink stalked behind Owen until lap-20 when he made his move coming out of turn 4 to take over the lead. Berndt spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 20 laps complete.
Pennink continued to lead the race on the restart while Tom Bolles did a quick 360 through the frontstretch grass but was able to continue and the race stayed green. Pitkat moved into second on lap-22 and both Reen and Ted Christopher followed him past Owen to drop Owen back to fifth before Bolles brought the caution out with 23 laps complete.
Pennink again took the lead on the restart while Pitkat was able to hold off a challenge from Reen to maintain second. Owen and Reen were side by side for third with Christopher, Sorel, and McDermott lined up behind them. Matt Galko was now up to 8th place after starting in 26th due to an engine issue in his qualifying heat.
With 15 laps to go, Pennink held the lead over Pitkat, Reen, Owen, Ted Christopher, Sorel, McDermott, Galko, Ronnie Williams, and Mike Christopher, Jr. The caution came back out with 32 laps complete for spins in turn 4 by Salva and Michael Gervais, Jr. and Dan Avery spun in turn 2.
Pennink took the lead back under green with Reen again challenging Pitkat for second. They rode side by side for second before the caution came out with 33 laps complete when Galko spun in turn 3 and several others spun.
On the restart, the cars of Sullivan and Ronnie Williams came together and went into the turn 1 wall and McDermott ended up spun into the backstretch wall to bring the caution out. On the restart, Mike Christopher, Jr. spun through the infield and Jeff Fialkovich and Salva got together and came to a stop against the frontstretch wall to bring the caution right back out.
Pitkat was able to hang with Pennink until turn 3 on the restart before Pennink got clear into the lead. Reen moved up to second with Pitkat falling back to third. Christopher, Jr. spun on the frontstretch and collected the car of Keith Rocco to bring the caution back out with 35 laps complete. With the caution displayed to the field, Owen’s car came to a stop in turn 4 out of gas to end his great run.
Pennink took the lead back under green with Reen taking second. Sorel and Pitkat were side by side for third with Joey Mucciacciaro moving into fifth. Dan Avery had worked his way back through traffic after his earlier spin and was up to sixth with Burnham falling back to seventh. Sorel was working Reen over in a fight for second and he was able to make a pass stick on lap-40 as he took over second. Pitkat followed him through to move into third and the caution came back out with 40 laps complete as Gervais, Bob Charland, and Tommy Membrino, Jr. all spun in turn 3.
On the restart, Mucciacciaro spun in turn 2 to bring the caution right back out. On the next restart attempt, Pennink resumed the lead while Pitkat and Sorel were side by side for second and Avery and Reen were side by side for fourth. Sorel took second while Avery moved to the inside of Pitkat before Berndt spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 43 laps complete and set up a green white checkered finish.
Pennink resumed his place at the front of the field while Pitkat got by Sorel for second. Pennink led Pitkat back to the checkered flag to repeat his Sizzler victory of one year ago. Sorel finished third, with Sorel and Ted Christopher rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tom Fearn streaked into the lead at the drop of the green flag with Chase Cook, Josh Wood, and Jim Mavlouganes giving chase. Wood made a move to the inside of Cook on lap-4 to move into second and he brought Mavlouganes with him by Cook. Andy Marchese spun on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Fearn resumed his lead back under green with Wood and Bennett locked in a side by side duel for second. Bennett took the spot from Wood on lap-6 and Michael Wray tried to follow him by, but he settled into line in fourth behind Wood. Glen Reen was up to fifth with Tom Butler right on his bumper in sixth. Scott Cook spun in turn 2 with 8 laps complete to bring the caution back out.
Butler spun on the restart in turn 2 to bring the caution right back out. The next restart saw Fearn power into the lead with Bennett slotting immediately into second right behind him. Michael Wray made a move around Glen Reen to take third and on lap-10 Fearn spun in turn 1+2 with a flat left rear tire as the action at the front was three-wide between Fearn, Bennett, and Reen to bring the caution out.
Bennett and Wray ran side by side for a full lap after the restart before Bennett got clear into the lead. Mavlouganes was third with Kevin Gambacorta up to fourth and Wood was fifth. Fearn was quickly charging his way back towards the front of the pack as in only five laps he was already back up to sixth place. He took fifth from Butler on lap-18 as Bennett continued to lead Wray, Mavlouganes, and Wood.
Wray was staying glued to the back bumper of Bennett, but he couldn’t make a pass. As the two cars came to the line for two laps to go, Wray nearly spun coming out of turn 4 he was trying so hard to get around Bennett. Wray’s slip gave Bennett all the margin he needed as he took the checkered flag. Mavlouganes finished third with Fearn and Wood 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.