(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 7th Annual VMRS 80. Picking up feature wins on the night were Keith Rocco in the SK Modified® feature, Josh Wood in the Late Model feature, David Arute in the SK Light feature, Cliff Saunders in the Limited Late Model feature, and Tyler Trott in the DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tom Bolles and Stephen Kopcik were side by side for the lead with Tyler Hines and Matt Galko side by side for third. They ran 2 laps side by side before Hines took third and Kopcik took the lead from Bolles, but just as he took the lead the caution came out for debris on the track in turn 3 that negated the pass.
Kopcik took the lead from Bolles on the restart with Galko moving up to second. Woody Pitkat went around Bolles for third one lap after the restart and Keith Rocco was now on Bolles’ outside in a duel for fourth on lap-5. Galko was now alongside Kopcik for the lead on lap-6 but the caution came out for Jeff Gallup, who came to a stop on the frontstretch.
Kopcik took the lead on the restart but Bolles spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 7 laps complete.
Galko took the lead from Kopcik back under green with Rocco also getting around Kopcik to move up to second. Kopcik was third with Dan Avery in fourth and Woody Pitkat in fifth. Kopcik came back strong to the inside of Galko on lap-10 and Avery and Rocco were now side by side for third behind the lead duo. Kopcik got clear to the lead on lap-11 with Avery getting clear into second. Rocco was right behind Avery in third with Todd Owen taking fourth and Galko was fifth. Pitkat spun through the frontstretch infield to bring the caution out with 13 laps complete.
Kopcik took the lead back under green but Rocco took second and he then took the lead from Kopcik on lap-15. Avery was third with Galko and Owen side by side for fourth place. Galko took the spot on lap-16 and Ted Christopher took fifth from Owen before the caution came out with 17 laps complete for Tommy Membrino, Jr., who hit the turn 3 wall.
Rocco took the lead on the restart with Kopcik behind him in second. Galko and Avery were side by side for third with Avery taking the spot on lap-21. Jeff Malave took a ride through the backstretch grass but was able to keep going and rejoin although he lost a lap. Mike Benevides spun on lap-24 but kept going as the race stayed green with Kopcik going around Rocco to take over the race lead. Ted Christopher was fourth behind Avery with Owen holding off Rowan Pennink for fifth place.
Rocco made a move in turn 3 to retake the lead on lap-28 and just after Rocco completed the lap the caution came out for a spin in turn 4 by Danny Cates.
Rocco took the lead on the restart with Kopcik, Ted Christopher, and Pennink lined up behind him but the caution came back out with 29 laps complete as Nick Salva spun off turn 4.
Christopher went from third into the lead on the restart with Rocco slotting into second. Avery and Kopcik were side by side for third with Pennink holding off Frank Ruocco for fifth. Rocco was applying heavy pressure to Chrisotpher’s back bumper for the lead and he pulled alongside Christopher on lap-34 but Christopher still had the lead by a nose a the line. Rocco and Christopher were still side by side on lap-35 with Rocco the leader by a nose. Rocco again had the lead by a nose on lap-36 and the side by side action had allowed Kopcik and Avery to close in on the lead duo. Rocco had the lead by a nose again on lap-37 and he got clear of Christopher on lap-38 as they raced down the backstretch.
Rocco led Christopher to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2016 season. Kopcik finished third with Avery fourth and Pennink fifth.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Rich Hammann took the lead at the drop of the green and led the first lap before the caution came out for a spin in turn 3 by Michael Wray and Kevin Gambacorta.
Back under green Josh Wood powered his way into the lead with Glen Reen following him through. The caution came back out with 5 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Andy Marchese.
Wood took command back under green with Reen and Wayne Coury, Jr. behind him before the caution came out one lap after the restart for a spin into urn 2 by Gambacorta and Tyler Leary.
Wood took the lead with Reen all over his bumper. Reen got out of shape and Coury went by Coury for second on lap-7 but Reen came right back on lap-8 and took second back from Coury. Tom Butler moved into third with Coury falling back into a side by side battle with Tom Fearn for fourth place. Fearn took the spot and Wray was back in the mix after his earlier misfortune with Gambacorta to fight with Coury for fifth. Wray briefly took fifth before Coury came roaring back to reclaim the position while Wood was checking out from Reen, Butler, and Fearn at the front of the field.
With 10 laps to go, Wood was still in the lead with Reen still in second. Fearn had got around Butler for third and Coury was fourth with Butler back to fifth in the order.
Wood went unchallenged to the checkered flag for his second win of the 2016 season. Reen finished second with Fearn, Coury, and Butler rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Wesley Prucker took the lead at the green on the outside of Ted Cain with David Arute in third, Fred Nees, Jr. fourth, and Jay Goff in fifth. Al Wisialko got out of shape on the backstretch on the first lap but was able to keep moving and the race stayed green. Arute went around Cain in the high groove to take second on lap-2 and then the caution came out with 2 laps complete for Marcello Rufrano, who came to a stop in the middle of turns 1+2.
Prucker took the lead back under green with Arute right on his back bumper in second. Nees and Cain were side by side for third with Nees taking the spot on the high side. Jay Goff was right behind Nees and he also went by Cain in the high groove to drop Cain back to fifth place as Arute was hounding Prucker for the lead. The caution came back out with 4 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Carlos Gray that collected the car of Joey Ferrigno. Ferrigno’s car looked to have no damage to it and both cars rejoined at the rear of the field for the restart.
The restart saw a multicar melee break out as Mark Alkas, Sean Mandel, Fred Nees, Jr. and Daniel Wesson all spun on the frontstretch with several other cars also involved to bring the caution right back out.
Prucker charged into the lead on the restart with Arute right on his bumper in second. Goff was third with Joe Graf, Jr. fourth and Vinny Anglace fifth. Arute took the lead from Prucker on lap-6 with a turn 4 pass and Graf got around Goff to move into third. Just behind Anglace in fifth Norm Sears went around Cain to take sixth place. Anglace’s car droopped off the pace briefly on lap-9 and Cain spun to bring the caution out before lap-9 could be completed.
Arute took the lead back under green with Graf and Prucker side by side for second and Rufrano and Goff side by side for fourth. Rufrano took third on lap-11 with Prucker and Goff lined up behind him as Graf was second and trying to chase down Arute in the lead.
Arute led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first career SK Light feature victory. Graf came home in second with Rufrano, Prucker, and Goff rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, David Tefft and Jeremy Lavoie ran the first lap side by side for the lead with R.J. Surdell in third. The caution came out with 2 laps complete for a spin on the frontstretch by Bryan Narducci.
Back under green Lavoie steamed into the lead with Cliff Saunders following him into second. Tefft settled into third before he spun on the frontstretch as the field completed lap-3. He was able to get his car moving and the race stayed under green flag conditions.
Cliff Saunders moved around Lavoie to take over the lead on lap-5 while Paul Arute was now third with Robert Bloxsom in fourth and Duane Provost in fifth. Arute pulled alongside Lavoie on lap-7 and he was able to take second on lap-8. Doug Phelps spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution out with 8 laps complete.
Saunders took the lead on the restart with Arute in second. Bloxsom moved up to third with Provost fourth and Narducci was recovered from his early spin in fifth. Phelps spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out again with 9 laps complete.
Saunders took the lead again back under green with Bloxsom getting around Arute for second. Arute got back around Bloxsom to retake second one lap later while behind them, things were wild. Al Saunders was fourth with Provost and Narducci behind him but after some jockeying and 3-wide racing, Narducci came out in fourth with Provost fifth and Al Saunders in sixth.
Cliff Saunders led Arute to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2016 season. Bloxsom took third with Narducci and Provost rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, things got started with a bang as Zack Robinson spun in turn 1 and hit the wall, which collected the car of Dan Dembek with Alexandra Fearn also involved which brought the caution out.
Back under green Chris Sanford had the lead and he led the first lap before giving way to Brandon Michael on lap-2. With Sanford stuck on the high side, he fell back to fifth as Trace Beyer, Johnny Walker, and Tyler Trott all got by him. Sanford lost several more spots as Ryan Fearn, Chris Bagnall and Nicole Chambrello all got by him to drop him back to eighth.
Beyer was all over Michael’s back bumper and he took the lead from Michael by a nose at the line on lap-7. Just as Beyer got clear of Michael on lap-8 down the backstretch, he spun at the entrance of turn 3 and collected Michael as the caution came back out. This put Walker and Trott on the front row for the restart with Ryan Fearn and Chambrello on the second row for the restart.
Trott took the lead on the outside of Walker on the restart with Walker slotting into second. Ryan Fearn almost went 3-wide on the restart before settling into third with Bagnall fourth and Michael was already back up to fifth. Michael took fourth on lap-10 and continued his charge back towards the front of the field.
Trott led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2016 season. Walker was second with Ryan Fearn, Michael, and Chambrello 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.