(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the SK Modified® Xtra Mart Xtra D program on Friday, June 10th. Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $1,500 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the extra distance SK Modified® feature event. Woody Pitkat was the big winner of the night, taking his second win of the season in the 45-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn scored his third win of the year in the Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. continued his strong performance with his fourth win of 2016 in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Robert Bloxsom scored his very first feature win in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Brandon Michael won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Noah Korner was the Legend Cars feature winner.
In the 45-lap Xtra Mart SK Modified® Xtra D feature event, Michael Gervais, Jr. took the early lead with Tom Bolles in second. Jeff Baral and Dan Avery were side by side for third but that quickly shuffled as Baral got a run on the inside of Bolles for second and Avery was fourth with Eric Berndt and Woody Pitkat side by side for fifth on lap-5.
Bolles was hanging strong on the outside of Baral as they were still side by side on lap-9. Bolles got clear of Baral on lap-10 with Berndt in fourth but the caution came out with 9 laps complete for Ed Spiers, who spun coming out of turn 2.
Gervais took the lead back under green while Baral and Bolles resumed their side by side duel for second. Baral was the one who got the better of the duel this time as he took second on lap-12 and Bolles was starting to slide backwards in the outside groove as Pitkat was now alongside him for third and Berndt was looking to follow him past. Pitkat took the position on lap-14 and Berndt did follow him through but the caution came out with 14 laps complete as Berndt spun through the frontstretch grass.
Gervais took the lead on the restart but Tyler Hines and Tommy Membrino, Jr. spun in turn 1 to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed. Gervais took the lead back under green with Pitkat moving up to second. Baral was third with Berndt and Bolles side by side for fourth. Pitkat was starting to apply heavy pressure to Gervais for the lead as the race approached the halfway point and he was able to make a pass stick on lap-24. Baral and Berndt were now side by side for third behind Pitkat and Gervais with Bolles in fifth.
Berndt got the better of the side by side action with Baral and he moved up to second behind Pitkat with 10 laps to go. Gervais was now back to third with Baral and Bolles making up the top-5. Berndt was looking high and low for a way to get around Pitkat for the lead, but Pitkat was able to fend off his challenges. Berndt was trying so hard to get around Pitkat that he grazed the backstretch wall on lap-40 but he kept his foot in the gas and stayed glued to Pitkat’s back bumper.
Berndt was able to pull alongside Pitkat in the outside groove on lap-43 and they took the white flag side by side. They were neck and neck down the backstretch and stayed that way through turns 3+4. As they came off turn 4, Pitkat had just enough to pull Berndt down the frontstretch and he took the checkered flag by a nose. Ted Christopher finished third, with Gervais and Ronnie Williams rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Tyler Leary and Rich Hammann were side by side for the first lap while Michael Wray was looking to make things 3-wide for the lead. Wray went 3-wide on lap-2 and moved into the lead and his move brought Tom Fearn up to second as Leary and Hammann slid back. Fearn took the lead from Wray on lap-4 and behind them Josh Wood was up to third, Kevin Gambacorta was fourth, and Leary was back to fifth.
Gambacorta got around Wood for third and he was closing in on Wray with 10 laps complete as Fearn continued to hold down the race lead. At the halfway point of the race Fearn was still in the lead but Gambcorta was now in second with Wray, Wood, and Jim Mavlouganes making up the top-5.
With 10-laps to go, Gambacorta and Wray had caught up to Fearn to make a 3-car fight for the lead. Gambacorta looked to his inside on lap-22 but couldn’t make the pass stick. Gambacorta made another move on lap-24 and Fearn nearly spun but did a masterful job of gathering his car back up and he stayed out front.
Gambacorta again nearly had a pass made coming out of turn 2 on lap-27 but he fell back into line behind Fearn. Gambacorta made one last ditch effort coming off turn 4 to the checkered flag and he got alongside Fearn but Fearn got his nose to the checkered flag first for his third win of the season. Wray finished third, with Wood and Mavlouganes rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, the field completed one lap with Wesley Prucker in the lead before Joey Ferrigno hit the wall in turn 1 and several other cars, including Andrew Molleur, Ryan Charland, and Sean Mandel followed him into the turn 1 wall to bring the caution out.
Prucker took the lead back under green with Vinny Anglace all over his back bumper. Anglace took the lead from Prucker on lap-3 while Joe Graf, Jr. was third, David Arute was fourth and Jay Goff was fifth. Tony Membrino, Jr. was charging his way through the field and he was up to sixth after only four laps.
At the halfway point of the race, Anglace was still out front with Graf and Arute giving chase. Membrino was now fourth with Prucker right behind him in fifth. Membrino was slowly closing in on the top-3. Graf made a move to the inside of Anglace for the lead on lap-13 and that brought Membrino to the outside of Arute to make a 4-car side by side two row fight for the lead. Prucker spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 15 laps complete and Graf spun in turn 1 and collected Arute. This put Membrino alongside Anglace on the front row with Daniel Wesson and Todd Douillard in the second row for the restart.
Membrino took the lead from Anglace on the restart but Anglace stayed glued to Membrino’s back bumper and he was applying heavy pressure to get the lead back. Wesson was also strong in third and he and Anglace touched wheels and showered sparks on lap-18 but both cars kept going in pursuit of Membrino. Membrino lead Anglace to the checkered flag for his fourth win of the 2016 season. Wesson finished third, with Keith Caruso and Douillard rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Robert Bloxsom, III streaked into the lead at the drop of the green flag with Bryan Narducci and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. lined up behind him. Jeremy Lavoie was fourth but Al Saunders quickly made a move to his outside to take the spot. Cliff Saunders spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 2 laps complete. Saunders had a flat left front tire and he retired from the race. Under the caution, Narducci’s car came to a stop and he had to get a bump start to rejoin the field at the rear.
Bloxsom took the lead back under green with Al Saunders in second. Paul Arute moved into third with L’Etoile fourth and Lavoie in fifth. Doug Phelps spun in turn 3 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
The restart was lively with Arute nearly making things 3-wide with Bloxsom and Saunders before settling back into line behind the two leaders. Bloxsom and Saunders were still side by side on lap-5 and Arute nearly made another 3-wide move but backed out and settled back into line in third. He made his move on lap-8 as he took second from Saunders and Duane Provost followed him through to drop Saunders back to fourth as Bloxsom had opened up a lead of several car lengths with the shuffling going on behind him.
At the halfway point of the race Bloxsom held the lead with Arute, Saunders, Provost, and L’Etoile lined up behind him. Bloxsom was maintaining a gap back to Arute of two or three car lengths with a larger gap back to Saunders and Provost.
With 5 laps to go, it was still Bloxsom maintaining his lead over Arute with a gap back to Saunders and Provost with L’Etoile further back in fifth. Bloxsom ran unfazed to the checkered flag to pick up his first career feature victory at Stafford. Saunders finished third, with Provost and L’Etoile rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, Chris Bagnall led the field to the green and he led the first lap before Dan Dembek moved to the front on lap-2. Dave Secore, Jr. and Brandon Michael both followed him by as Bagnall fell back to fourth place. Nicole Chambrello and Marcello Rufrano were side by side for fourth but that all changed on lnap-5 as Johnny Walker made a 3-wide move to the inside of both cars to move into fourth. Chambrello spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 5 laps complete.
Back under green Dembek took the lead with Michael in second. Walker and Secore were briefly side by side for third before Walker took the spot and brought Tyler Trott with him as Secore fell back to fifth. Michael was beginning to apply heavy pressure to Dembek and he took the lead heading down the backstretch on lap-9. Walker moved up to second and Trott took third as Dembek slid back to fourth, just in front of Secore and Alexandra Fearn. Matt Iovanna got sideways and spun on the frontstretch just in front of the leaders to bring the caution out with 11 laps complete. Ryan and Alexandra Fearn came together trying to avoid Iovanna and both cars were finished for the race.
Michael and Walker were side by side for half a lap before Michael got clear to the lead. Trott was able to sneak past Walker to drop him back to third in line with Secore fourth and Trace Beyer was up to fifth. Trott took several looks to the inside of Michael but he was unable to make a pass as Michael took the checkered flag. Walker finished third, with Beyer fourth and Secore fifth.
In the 20-lap Legends Car feature event, Noah Korner took the lead at the green with Brett Crowther, Teddy Hodgdon, Ryan DeCandia, and Steve Chapman lined up behind him.
Korner and Hodgon began to pull away from Crowther and DeCandia and with 5 laps to go they were going to settle the race between themselves unless a caution slowed the action. Hodgdon closed in on Korner’s bumper with 2 laps to go and as they took the white he was right on Korner’s bumper. Hodgdon could only get to Korner’s bumper as Korner took his second win of the 2016 season. Crowther finished third with DeCandia and Chapman 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.