(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Motor Speedway concluded its 2013 NASCAR racing season with feature events for the SK Modified® and Late Model divisions. Keith Rocco took the checkered flag in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, while Woody Pitkat clinched his first career SK Modified® track championship with a third place finish. Pitkat also came up as the winner of the 30-lap Late Model feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Michael Gervais, Jr. got a good run on the outside of Curt Brainard to take the lead at the green flag. As the field came out of turn 4 to complete the first lap, Brainard got sideways and behind him Joey Cipriano got into the frontstretch wall and ripped the right front tire off of his car to bring out the caution and red flags as Cipriano’s right front briefly caught fire. The field did not complete the lap and there was a total restart of the race.
The next restart saw Gervais again get a good run on the outside of Brainard to take the lead with Doug Coby following Gervais by Brainard. Keith Rocco and Eric Berndt were also able to get past Brainard, dropping him back to fifth place.
Ryan Preece was on the charge in the first couple laps, quickly working his way by Berndt and Coby to move into third on lap-4 with Gervais and Rocco occupying the top-2 positions. Rocco was beginning to apply heavy pressure to the back bumper of Gervais on lap-8 as he was looking to move into the race lead. Rocco made his move going into turn 1 on lap-11 to take over the race lead. Gervais was able to get back into line in second just in front of Preece, who was third. Berndt was fourth and Coby was fifth just in front of Rowan Pennink.
Pennink made a move under Coby on lap-12 and with 13 laps complete, Curt Brainard nearly spun and collected the car of Coby who did a 360 spin to bring the caution out.
Back under green Rocco took the lead with Preece moving into second. Pennink moved up to third with Danny Cates moving by Gervais for fourth. Right behind Cates and Gervais was Woody Pitkat, who was fighting for the championship along with Preece. Tommy Membrino, Jr. spun in turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 19 laps complete.
Rocco again took the lead with Preece settling into second. Pennink was third with Pitkat moving by Cates to take over fourth. Membrino spun coming off turn 4 and collected the cars of Brainard and Tim Sullivan to bring the caution out with 21 laps complete.
Rocco resumed his lead with Preece holding off a challenge from Pennink to remain in second. Pitkat was fourth behind Pennink with Bobby Santos, III moving around Cates for fifth place. Preece was beginning to apply pressure to Rocco’s bumper for the race lead but Sean Foster spun in turn 4 to bring the yellow back out with 26 laps complete.
Rocco took the lead again back under green with Preece right behind him. Pennink was still third with Pitkat right behind him in fourth and Santos was fifth. Pennink got loose in turn 2 on lap 31 which allowed Pitkat and Santos to both get by and drop Pennink back to fifth. With Pitkat in third right behind Preece, he was in the position he needed to be in order to clinch the championship.
Rocco pulled away from Preece in the closing laps to pick up his second win of the 2013 season. Preece finished second while Pitkat finished third, which was enough to give Pitkat the SK Modified® championship by 2 points over Preece. Santos finished fourth and Pennink rounded out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Dennis Botticello took the lead at the green with Jim Peterson taking second. Kevin Gambacorta settled into third with Woody Pitkat fourth and Michael Scorzelli moving into fifth. Gambacorta got around Peterson for second, but Scorzelli and Rick Charette spun in turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Botticello took the lead on the restart with Gambacorta taking second. Tom Fearn moved into third behind Gambacorta with Woody Pitkat fourth and Jim Mavlouganes and Adam Gray were side by side for fifth. Mavlouganes took the spot from Gray with Mike Quintiliano also getting by Gray to drop Gray back to seventh place.
Fearn was all over the back bumper of Botticello for the race lead with 10-laps complete. Fearn made his move on lap-12 to pull alongside Botticello and he completed the pass for the lead on lap-13. Fearn’s move opened the door for Pitkat to also get by Botticello. Mavlouganes got by Gambacorta to move into fourth on lap-14 and Quintiliano and Gray also got by Gambacorta.
At the halfway point of the race the running order was Fearn, Pitkat, Botticello, Mavlouganes, Quintiliano, Gray, Gambacorta, and J.J. Hill. Pitkat made a move around Fearn on lap-17 to take the lead and Fearn nearly retook the lead but he settled back into line behind Pitkat.
The race began to settle down and Pitkat was slowly pulling away from Fearn and the rest of the field. Botticello was still in third, with Mavlouganes and Quintiliano behin him with 5 laps to go. Pitkat led Fearn back to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2013 season. Botticello finished third with Mavlouganes and Quintiliano 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.