(Stafford Springs, CT)— Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the Ltd. Late Model Xtra Mart Xtra D 25 program on Friday, May 29th on what was also Military Appreciation Night. Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $500 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the extra distance Ltd. Late Model feature event. Al Saunders was the big winner, taking his second feature win of the 2015 season in the 25-lap Ltd. Late Model feature. Keith Rocco picked up his second win of the 2015 season in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn picked up his first win of the season in the Late Model feature, Matt Swanson was a first time career winner in the SK Light feature, Trace Beyer got his second win of the season in the DARE Stock feature, and Cory DiMatteo won his second Legend Cars feature of the season.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Sean Foster took the early lead with Jeremy Sorel slotting into second. Tyler Hines was third, with Dan Avery in fourth and Woody Pitkat was fifth. Pitkat made a 3-wide move on lap-4 but fell back into line. Ted Christopher spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.
Sorel got a good run on the restart and he powered into the lead. Avery took second with Matt Galko moving up to third. Foster was fourth with Ryan Preece on his outside. Preece quickly took the spot from Foster with Keith Rocco following Preece by Foster in the high groove. Preece and Rocco continued to make the outside groove work for them as Preece was now up to second behind Sorel with Avery on his inside and Avery and Rocco were side by side for fourth. All the side by side shuffling allowed Sorel to open up a slight lead as Avery and Preece were now side by side for second on lap-12 with Galko and Rocco side by side for fourth.
Sorel continued to lead the race while it was still two-by-two between Avery and Preece and Galko and Rocco behind them. The caution came out with 17 laps complete for a spin by Justin Bonsignore coming out of turn 4 that erased Sorel’s lead.
Sorel again took the lead back under green with Preece moving into second. Galko took third, with Woody Pitkat moving up to fourth and Avery running in fifth. Rocco was sixth, just ahead of Glen Reen, Foster, and Joey Cipriano. The caution came back out with 24 laps complete for a spin by Tommy Membrino, Jr.
Ronnie Williams came to a stop in turn 4 to bring the caution back out one lap after the restart. Preece got around Sorel for the lead on the restart but Sorel spun to bring the caution out with 28 laps complete.
Pitkat got a great run on the outside of Preece to take over the lead on the restart. The yellow came back out with 29 laps complete for spins on the backstretch by Tommy Membrino, Jr. and Ronnie Williams.
Preece took the lead back under green with Galko moving into second. Rocco went by Pitkat in the outside groove to take third on lap-31 and Avery was fifth. Rocco continued to pick cars off in the outside groove as he got Galko for second on lap-32 and he was challenging Preece for the lead on lap-33. Rocco had the lead at the line by a nose but Preece came back and had the lead at the line to complete lap-34. Just as the field completed lap-34, the caution came out for a spin in turn 3 by Tyler Hines.
Rocco got by Preece on the restart to take over the race lead while Galko and Pitkat were third and fourth. Owen got around Avery to move into fifth but it was Rocco and Preece glued together at the front of the field with 3 laps to go. Rocco held Preece off to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Galko finished third, with Pitkat and Owen rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Tom Butler spun in turn 1 to bring the yellow out before a lap could be completed. Ed Ricard took the lead at the drop of the green, but he was quickly overtaken by Kevin Gambacorta. Josh Wood followed Gambacorta by Ricard, with Tom Fearn, Michael Bennett, and Michael Wray all getting by Ricard. Ricard fell back to eighth while at the front of the pack Fearn moved into the lead on lap-4 and Gambacorta slid back to eighth, just in front of Ricard as Bennett, Wood, Wray, Jim Mavlouganes, Michael Scorzelli, and Butler made up the top-7 in the running order.
Mavlouganes moved around Wray to take over fourth place on lap-10 while Fearn continued to lead Bennett and Wood. The caution came out with 12 laps complete for an incident in turn 3 involving the cars of Michael Scorzelli and Kyle Casagrande. The 2 cars came together with Scorzelli backing into the wall and Casagrande hitting the wall with his right front.
Fearn took the lead back under green with Wood pulling alongside Bennett in a fight for second. Mavlouganes was fourth with Butler right behind him in fifth. Wood and Bennett ran side by side for 2 laps before Wood got clear into second and now Mavlouganes was challenging Bennett for third. The side by side racing between Wood and Bennett allowed Fearn to pull away from his closes pursuers. The caution came out with 16 laps complete as Kevin Gambacorta make contact with Bennett which sent Bennett into the wall on the frontstretch and then back across the track into the path of P.J. Zarrella, who then went into the turn 1 wall. Gambacorta was parked on pit road for the contact with Bennett.
Fearn took the lead back under the green flag with Mavlouganes taking second ahead of Butler, Ricard, and Wood. Fearn again began to slowly pull away from Mavlouganes and he had a half straightaway lead built up with 5 laps to go. Butler was able to work his way past Mavlouganes to take over second on lap-26 but he didn’t have enough time to catch up to Fearn as Fearn collected his first win of the 2015 season. Mavlouganes finished third, with Wood and Ricard rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, a bobble mid pack on the start split the field into two distinct packs with Todd Douillard taking the early race lead ahead of Kyle Trayner, Geoff Boisjolie, Wesley Prucker, and Payton Henry.
Prucker began to slide backwards as Matt Swanson moved into fourth with D.J. Burnham behind him in fifth. Swanson took third from Boisjolie on lap-5 and Burnham followed him by Boisjolie on lap-6. Swanson continued his charge towards the front by taking second from Trayner on lap-8 and he brought Burnham with him by Trayner to drop Trayner back to a side by side battle with Joey Ferrigno for fourth place.
At the halfway point, Swanson was all over Douillard’s back bumper and he took the lead from Douillard on lap-11, but the caution came out for a spin in turn 3 by Nick Salva and Trayner, which collected the car of Daniel Wesson.
Swanson powered into the lead on the restart with Burnham taking second and Ferrigno moving into third. Tony Membrino, Jr. moved into fourth and Stephen Kopcik took fifth as Douillard was sliding backwards. Kopcik got alongside Membrino and edged him by a nose at the line to finish fourth but it was all Swanson at the front of the field as he took down his first career win. Burnham finished second with Ferrigno in third.
In the 25-lap Limited Late Model feature event, David Comeau took the lead at the green with Kelsey Rottino moving into second. Robert Bloxsom, III started up front, but he fell back to fourth as Justin Bren was able to take third. Paul Arute was running in fifth with Glenn Bartkowski and Andrew Hayes side by side for sixth with 4 laps complete.
Arute got by Bloxsom for fourth on lap-7 and Bartkowski, Al Saunders, Duane Provost, and Cliff Saunders all followed Arute by as Bloxsom ended up fading back to 12th place. Things were getting tight at the front of the field as Rottino and Bren were closing in on Comeau and the train of Bartkowski, Saunders, Provost, Cliff Saunders, Austin Bessette, and Paul Arute were closing in on the top-2 cars. Bloxsom spun coming off turn 4 to bring the caution out with 12 laps complete.
Bartkowski took the lead on the restart with Bren moving to second, Cliff and Al Saunders took third and fourth, and Rottino was fifth as Comeau fell back to seventh behind Paul Arute. Cliff and Al Saunders both got by Bren for second and third on lap-16 and Rottino and Paul Arute followed suit by passing Bren on lap-17, dropping Bren back to sixth.
Al Saunders made a pass on his twin brother Cliff to move into second on lap-18 and Arute nearly made a pass on Rottino on the same lap, but Rottino was able to keep Arute behind him. Al Saunders was now applying heavy pressure to Bartkowski for the lead. Al Saunders made a move to the inside of Bartkowski in turn 1 to take over the race lead on lap-22 and Cliff Saunders was now locked to the back bumper of Bartkowski in a 3-car fight for the lead. But the caution came out for Matt Clement coming to a stop in turn 2 to set up a 3-lap dash to the finish.
Bartkowski didn’t come up to speed on the restart, which bottlenecked the outside lane and several cars ran into the bumper of the car in front of them, bringing the caution out for debris and fluid on the racetrack.
Al Saunders took the lead with Cliff right behind him in second on the restart. Hayes moved up to third with Bessette and Bartkowski side by side for fourth. Paul Arute’s great run ended prematurely as he limped back to pit road. Cliff gave his brother Al one last ditch effort coming to the checkered flag, but Al was able to take his second win of the 2015 season. Hayes finished third, with Bessette and Bartkowski rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Marcello Rufrano took the early lead with Trace Beyer, Tyler Trott, Frank L’Etoile, Jr., and Doug Phelps making up the top-5. On the first lap, Dan Dembek and Nicole Chambrello got together and nearly got into the wall but they were both able to continue.
Beyer moved by Rufrano to take over the lead on lap-3 and Trott followed suit on lap-4. Lap-5 saw L’Etoile pull alongside Rufrano for third and he took the spot on lap-6.
With 5 laps to go, Beyer continued to lead the race with Trott, L’Etoile, Rufrano, and Fearn giving chase. The caution came out with 11 laps complete for debris on the track.
Beyer took the lead on the restart with L’Etoile moving into second. Trott was third, with Fearn getting around Rufrano to move up to fourth. Beyer led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. L’Etoile finished second, with Trott, Fearn, and Rufrano rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Legends Car feature event, At the start of the 20-lap Legend Cars feature, contact at the front of the field between Mikey Flynn and Teddy Hodgdon sent an accordion effect back through the field and the cars of Dana DiMatteo and Joe Graf, Jr. sustained damage and were unable to continue in the race. Hodgdon was also unable to continue while Flynn restarted at the rear of the field.
Cory DiMatteo took the lead on the restart with Andrew Molleur, Chris Fuller, and Kyle Rogers behind him but they could only complete one lap before the caution came back out with 1 lap complete for a spin by Caterina LaBella in turn 3 of the mini-mile.
DiMatteo again took the lead on the restart with Molleur in second. Rogers worked his way by Molleur on lap-3 as did Devin O’Connell and the caution came out with 3 laps complete for Flynn, who spun in turn 2 as a result of a flat tire.
Back under green, DiMatteo took the lead with O’Connell slotting into second. Rogers took third, with Christopher Fuller fourth and Molleur in fifth. The running order remained the same at the halfway point of the race but O’Connell was all over DiMatteo’s back bumper, looking for a way to take over the lead. The caution came back out with 14 laps for a spin by Jerry Macchia.
DiMatteo took the lead back under green with Fuller getting by O’Connell to move into second. Rogers ran in fourth with Molleur still holding down the fifth position. The caution came back out with 15 laps complete for another spin by Macchia.
DiMatteo again took the lead on the restart with O’Connell returning the favor to Fuller by overtaking him for second. Rogers and Molleur continued to round out the top-5 while O’Connell was busy again hounding DiMatteo for the race lead. DiMatteo was able to hold O’Connell off to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Fuller finished third, with Rogers and Molleur 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.