(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 3rd Annual VMRS 80. Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Rowan Pennink in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Paul Arute in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Tyler Trott won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Keith Rocco powered his way into the lead at the drop of the green but his lead was short lived as Matt Galko made a power move on the outside of Rocco and powered his way into the lead. The caution came out with 2 laps complete as Tom Bolles got turned into the frontstretch wall and collected the cars of D.J. Burnham and Ronnie Williams.
Eric Berndt powered his way around Galko to take the lead on the restart with Tyler Hines in third and Rocco was side by side with Dan Avery for fourth. Rocco got clear of Avery on lap-5 and he continued his charge back towards the lead as he took third from Hines on lap-6. Hines continued to slide backwards as Brian Sullivan took fourth and Glen Reen took fifth as Bendt continued to lead Galko and Rocco. The caution came back out with 10 laps compelte as there was a multicar incident in turn 2 that involved the cars of Woody Pitkat, Jeremy Sorel, Jeff Baral, and Tommy Membrino, Jr.
Back under green it was a high speed pace lap as Berndt and Galko were side by side for the lead and Rocco and Sullivan were side by side for third. Berndt got clear of Galko for the lead and Rocco got clear of Sullivan for third after two laps of side by side racing. The caution came back out with 13 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Hines.
Berndt and Galko resumed the side by side duel for the lead on the restart with Reen nearly sticking his nose under them both in turn 4 in what would have been a 3-wide move. Reen backed out and the top-3 settled into line with Berndt leading Galko and Reen. Rowan Pennink was up to fourth and applying pressure to Reen for third with Ted Christopher in fifth. Ryan Preece was now sixth after starting at the rear of the field and Rocco was back to seventh before the caution came out with 18 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Todd Owen.
Berndt and Galko spent one lap side by side before Berndt got clear to the lead. Pennink was working to the inside of Galko and he took over second with Galko falling back to third in line. Preece was up to fourth and Williams was back up to fifth after being involved in the lap-3 incident on the frontstretch. The caution came back out with 23 laps complete as Reen spun in turn 4.
Pennink took the lead back under green with Berndt able to slot into second right behind him. Galko and Preece were side by side for third with Christopher and Williams side by side for fifth. Preece took the spot from Galko and he moved into second on lap-26. Reen got out of shape on the backstretch but kept going and the race stayed green. Preece was closing in on Pennink’s back bumper and with 11 laps to go, he was right on his bumper at the stripe. Preece looked low on Pennink in turn 4 on lap-30 but Pennink was able to keep him at bay. Berndt was third with Christopher hounding him for the spot and Williams was running in fifth.
Preece was able to make the inside move stick in turns 3+4 to take over the lead on lap-32 and now it was Pennink who was all over the back bumper of the race leader. Pennink returned the favor to Preece as he made the same inside move in the same spot on the track in turns 3+4 to move back to the lead on lap-34. Berndt, Christopher, and Williams continued to make up the top-5.
Preece backed off for a lap and then he was right back on Pennink’s bumper applying heavy pressure for the race lead. Pennink held Preece off to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive SK Modified® feature victory of the 2016 season. Berndt, Christopher, and Williams rounded out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Glen Reen powered his way around Chase Cook to take the early race lead at the drop of the green. As the field navigated through turns 1+2, several cars made contact midpack and Josh Wood was left with a flat left rear tire and he limped his way to pit road for a new tire as the race stayed green with Reen leading Cook.
Tom Fearn cut his way through traffic like a hot knife through butter to take third in the first four laps of the race and he as making a move for second on lap-6. Michael Wray was right behind Fearn and he followed him by Cook to drop him back to fourth as Reen was starting to open his lead up slightly with the position swapping going on behind him. Tom Butler was up to fifth behind Cook as Reen was maintaining a lead of about three or four car lengths over Fearn as they were running nearly identical lap times. Paul Varricchio, Jr. spun in turn 1 to bring the caution out with 12 laps complete.
The field completed one lap back under green before the caution came back out for a spin through the backstretch grass by Kevin Gambacorta. The next restart saw Reen and Wray side by side for the lead and as they were leaning on each other through turns 3+4, Fearn made a three-wide move to the inside of both cars and took over the lead. The caution came back out with 14 laps complete for Michael Bennett, who got sent out of line and through the frontstretch grass and came to a stop in turn 1.
Now Wray was hanging side by side with Fearn for the lead with Fearn getting clear after a lap. Reen was now alongside Wray for second and he took the spot on lap-17 and he brought Butler with him, but the caution came out for Tyler Leary, who came to a stop backwards against the turn 3 wall.
On the restart, it was Reen’s turn to try to stay alongside Fearn for the lead, but Fearn got clear of Reen after a half lap and Wray got back by Reen to drop him back to third. Wayne Coury, Jr. was up to fourth and he was applying heavy pressure to Reen for third place with Butler holding off a hard charging Gambacorta for fifth. Butler spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 20 laps complete.
Wray was able to hang on the outside of Fearn for a lap before falling back to third as Fearn and Reen occupied the top-2 spots on the restart. Coury worked his way by Wray to move into third on lap-23 and Gambacorta followed him through as Wray fell back to fifth. Jim Mavlouganes was now applying heavy pressure to Wray and he took fifth on lap-24. Fearn was able to hold Reen off to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2016 season. Coury finished third, with Gambacorta and Mavlouganes rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Wesley Prucker streaked into the lead with Al Wisialko and Ted Cain lined up behind him. Vinny Anglace was fourth and Tony Membrino, Jr. quickly moved up to fifth in the opening 2 laps of the race. Anglace took third on lap-3 and Membrino followed him through to drop Cain back to fifth. Membrino was making a move for third when the caution came out for a spin by Nathan Pytko.
On the restart, Membrino made a 3-wide move to the outside of both Prucker and Wisialko to move to the head of the pack. Prucker, Wisialko, Anglace, and Joey Ferrigno were all lined up in a nose to tail duel behind Membrino when the caution came back out with 5 laps complete.
Membrino took the outside lane for the restart and he powered his way back to the lead on the restart. Prucker was second with Wisialko third, Ferrigno fourth, and Todd Douillard fifth. Wisialko made a move for second on lap-8 and Ferrigno followed him through to drop Prucker back to fourth. Prucker continued to slide backwards as Douillard, Anglace, Jay Goff and Joe Graf all got by to drop Prucker to 8th place. Cain spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 9 laps complete.
Membrino took the lead on the restart with Douillard moving up to second. Wisialko slotted into third with Ferrigno and Goff lined up right behind him. The top-4 began to pull away from Daniel Wesson and Goff and Douillard was all over the back bumper of Membrino looking for a way to make a pass for the lead. Douillard looked high and low but Membrino was able to stay out front to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive win of the 2016 season. Ferrigno, Wisialko, and Wesson rounded out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, R.J. Surdell streaked into the lead at the drop of the green while Cliff Saunders tried to get alongside Paul Arute for second, but Arute was able to hold Saunders off. Matt Clement was fourth with Jeremy Lavoie looking to take the spot as they raced side by side. Arute made a power move down the backstretch going into turn 3 to take the lead on lap-4 and he immediately began to pull away from Surdell in second. Clement and Lavoie were still side by side for fourth after five laps with Arute leading Surdell and Cliff Saunders in single file.
Clement was finally able to get clear of Lavoie on lap-7 to take fourth and Duane Provost was now right behind Lavoie in a fight for fifth. Lavoie spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 9 laps complete.
Arute powered into the lead back under green with Saunders taking second. Provost moved up to third with Clement fourth and Surdell back to fifth. Provost made a move to the inside of Saunders in turn 2 on lap-12 to take over second place. With 5 laps to go, Provost was within two or three car lengths of Arute but he couldn’t get closer as the two cars were running nearly identical lap times.
Arute led Provost back to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2016 season. Saunders finished third, with Clement and Surdell rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Nicole Chambrello spun in the middle of turn 1 at the drop of the green with Vince Gambacorta taking damage as well. Alexandra Fearn spun in turn 2 with Dan Dembek running into Fearn’s car to bring the caution out.
The restart was called back by NASCAR Officials and on the second restart attempt, Tyler Trott led the field to green and took the early lead with Johnny Walker moving up to second. Trace Beyer worked his way past Zack Robinson to move into third with Brandon Michael up to fifth behind Robinson as he was slicing his way from the back to the front in the first three laps of the race. Chambrello spun in turn 3 to bring the caution back out with 5 laps complete.
Trott resumed his lead back under green with Beyer moving around Walker to take over second. Michael followed Beyer past Walker on lap-7 as did Michael Hopkins, dropping Walker back to fifth in line as Trott led Beyer by several car lengths. Robinson spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 9 laps complete.
Trott took the lead back under green with Beyer slotting into second and Michael third. Walker and Hopkins were side by side for fourth place with Walker getting the better of the side by side duel on lap-11. Beyer was keeping pace with Trott and with 3 laps to go, he was right on his bumper for the lead. Beyer hounded Trott for the lead and he made one last ditch effort coming out of turn 4 to try to get a run to the inside of Trott, but Trott was able to hold him off. Michael finished third with Walker and Hopkins 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.