(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the 2nd Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $30,000. With the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Sales Gambler’s Challenge bonus of $7,500, which included a contribution from Rayner Real Estate, the total posted awards were over $38,000. The Gambler’s Challenge was voted on by the fans on how it would be paid out and the top-3 choices were put into a hat in victory lane with Preece pulling a chip with the winning formula on it. He pulled the winner take all chip, giving himself a payday of $12,825 dollars. In other feature action, Michael Bennett scored his fourth win of the year in the Late Model feature, D.J. Burnham scored his second win of 2015 in the SK Light feature, David Arute scored his second win of the year in the Limited Late Model feature, Phil Evans won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Cory DiMatteo won his fourth race of the season in the Legend Cars feature.
In the 100-lap NAPA SK 5k feature event, Matt Galko streaked into the lead at the drop of the green with Frank Ruocco, Jeff Malave, Justin Bonsignore, and Ronnie Williams making up the top-5 cars. The cars settled into a single file line until the caution came out with 10 laps complete as his car was losing fluid and he dropped off the pace.
A melee broke out on the restart with Tyler Hines spinning and collecting the cars of John Catania, Tommy Membrino, Jr., and Tom Bolles that brought the caution right back out.
Ruocco took the lead from Galko back under green and the next lap after the restart saw Galko drift high in turn 1 and he lost several spots as he fell back to sixth. Bonsignore was now second behind Ruocco with Williams third, Malave fourth, and Eric Berndt fifth. Berndt got out of shape and nearly spun on lap-16 but he was able to gather his car up and continue as he fell back to nearly the rear of the field.
The action was beginning to pick up at the front as Bonsignore was hounding Ruocco for the lead, but the caution came out with 25 laps complete as Ryan Preece had a radiator hose come loose and had fluid pouring from his engine going into turn 1 and he spun along with the cars of Dan Avery and Mike Christopher, Jr. Preece was able to get his car repaired under the yellow and he rejoined the field at the rear.
Bonsignore was side by side with Ruocco on the restart and he took the lead at the line by a nose. As the 2 leaders remained side by side, Galko slotted into third with Williams and Rowan Pennink behind him but the caution came back out with 27 laps complete for Joey Cipriano, who came to a stop in turn 2.
Ruocco was third with Williams to his outside and Pennink in fifth. Galko made a move to take over the lead in turn 4 on lap-29. The field was lined up 2 by 2 behind Galko before Ruocco got clear into second. Bonsignore and Williams were side by side for third with Pennink in fifth. Things began to settle back into single file with Galko leading Ruocco, Bonsignore, Pennink, and Williams at lap-35.
Ruocco retook the lead from Galko with a power move in turn 4 on lap-42. Bonsignore was still third, with Pennink and Williams right behind him. Keith Rocco and Preece were on the move, closing in on the top-5 cars when the caution came out with 55 laps complete for Andrew Charron, who spun in turn 4.
Ruocco took the lead with Galko on his back bumper. Williams got a good run in the outside groove and moved up to second on lap-57. Bonsignore was third in line with Galko falling back to a side by side battle with Preece for fourth place. Bonsignore was now alongside Williams for second on lap-60 with Preece in fourth and Galko in fifth with Rocco lurking in sixth.
Bonsignore got second from Williams on lap-62 and Preece followed him by as Williams fell back to fourth as Ruocco continued to lead the race. Bonsignore was tapping the back bumper of Ruocco on lap-66 and Preece was on his outside, but they settled back into line with Ruocco leading Bonsignore, Preece, Williams, and Rocco. The caution came out with 67 laps complete as Kyle James spun in turn 4.
Ruocco again took the lead back under green with Preece and Bonsignore side by side for second. Williams was looking for a way to get past and he made a move around Bonsignore for third on lap-69 as Preece moved into second behind Ruocco.
Williams made a bid for second on the inside of Preece but the caution came out with 73 laps complete for John Catania, who spun in turn 4.
Ruocco and Preece were side by side for the lead back under green with Williams and Bonsignore side by side for third and Galko and Rocco side by side for fifth. Ruocco got clear of Preece on lap-76 and Williams and Preece were now side by side for second. Bonsignore was fourth and Galko was fifth.
Williams pulled alongside Ruocco for the lead on lap-79 and they were side by side at the line. As the two leaders continued to run side by side lap after lap, Preece and Bonsignore were closing in. Williams took several more shots on the outside groove but he made a crossover move to take the lead from Ruocco on lap-86. The two leaders touched and spun to bring the caution out with 86 laps complete. This put Preece and Bonsignore on the front row for the restart with Galko and Rocco in the second row.
Shawn Thibeault spun from fifth place as the green came out to bring the caution right back out. The next restart saw Galko get by Preece to move into the lead. Bonsignore was third with Rocco fourth and Todd Owen was up to fifth. Preece retook the lead from Galko on lap-91 with a pass in turn 4. Bonsignore also got around Galko to drop him back to third, just in front of Rocco and Owen.
Bonsignore was now all over Preece for the lead and he pulled alongside Preece in the outside groove on lap-95 but settled back into line in second. Bonsignore gave Preece a tap and Preece nearly got sideways but he maintained the lead on lap-96. The caution came out with 97 laps complete as Galko and Owen spun into the turn 3+4 wall.
Preece took the lead back under green with Rocco and Bonsignore side by side for second. Preece held off a strong final challenge from Bonsignore to pick up his first win of the 2015 season after it looked like his race was over only a quarter of the way in. Bonsignore finished second with Rocco, Williams, and Malave rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Rich Hammann took the early lead but his lead was short lived as Ed Ricard took over the top spot on lap-2. Hammann was hanging tough in the outside groove and he was able to slot into line in second behind Ricard.
Bennett moved around Ricard to take over the race lead on lap-6. Michael Bennett was beginning to pull away from Kevin Gambacorta in second on lap-12 with Tom Fearn in third, Josh Wood in fourth, and Ricard fifth. Tom Butler was running in sixth but he began to drop off the pace on lap-19. Bennett was still in the lead, with Gambacorta, Fearn, Wood, and Ricard making up the top-5.
With 2 laps to go, Fearn’s car abruptly dropped off the pace and he limped back to pit road while he was running in third. Bennett cruised to his fourth win of the 2015 season with Gambacorta, Wood, Ricard, and Rick Lanagan rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Todd Douillard took the lead at the drop of the green with Jay Goff taking second. Kyle Trayner spun on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 1 lap complete.
Douillard and Goff ran side by side for two laps for the lead before D.J. Burnham made a 3-wide bid on lap-5. Goff came out with the lead with Burnham now side by side with Douillard for second. Joey Ferrigno and Glenn Griswold were side by side for fourth place when the caution came back out with 6 laps complete for Geoff Boisjolie, who spun in turn 2.
Burnham took the lead on the restart with Goff taking second. Douillard was third, with Griswold and Ferrigno making up the top-5. Right behind Griswold and Ferrigno was Vinny Anglace, Jr. Ferrigno took third from Douillard on lap-10 and he was challenging Goff for second at the line at they completed the 10th lap. Ferrigno made the pass for second on lap-11 while Burnham had pulled away in the lead.
The caution came out for a multicar incident in turn 2 involving Douillard, Goff, and Anglace with 15 laps complete. Burnham took the lead back under green with Tony Membrino, Jr. streaking by Ferrigno to move into second. Bob Charland also got alongside Ferrigno and he made the pass on lap-16 to move into third. Stephen Kopcik followed suit and followed Charland past Ferrigno as Ferrigno fell from second back to sixth. Payton Henry then got around Ferrigno to drop him to seventh.
Burnham led Membrino back to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Charland finished third, with Kopcik and Henry rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, R.J. Surdell took the early race lead with Cliff Saunders, Kelsey Rottino, David Arute, and Paul Arute lined up behind him. The caution came out with 1 lap complete for Matt Clement and Glenn Bartkowski, who came together in the middle of turns 1+2.
Paul Arute spun in turn 3 to bring the caution right back out after the cars took the green. The field completed a lap before Surdell spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 2 laps complete. Cliff Saunders was now in the lead with David Arute behind him for the restart.
Saunders took the lead back under green with Arute right on his bumper. Al Saunders was third with Rottino in fourth and last week’s winner Justin Bren up to fifth. Arute made a move to the inside of Saunders in turn 2 to take over the lead on lap-6. Cliff Saunders was hanging tough on the outside of Arute with Al Saunders right behind both of them and looking to move to the front.
Arute got clear into the lead on lap-8 and he brought Al Saunders with him as Cliff Saunders fell back to third place. Bren was up to fourth now with Paul Arute recovered from his spin to sit in fifth with 9 laps complete.
With 5 laps to go, Arute still held the race lead with Al and Cliff Saunders behind him. Bren was still in fourth with Paul Arute right on his bumper in fifth. Arute led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Al Saunders held on for second with Cliff Saunders, Bren, and Paul Arute rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, Marcello Rufrano powered his way to the early race lead with Zack Robinson right behind him in second. Dan Dembek quickly moved into third with Nicole Chambrello fourth and Phil Evans was side by side with Frank L’Etoile, Jr. for fifth place.
Rufrano and Robinson were beginning to pull away from Dembek in third, who was in turn opening up a gap between himself and Chambrello in fourth. Jake Higginson spun to bring the caution out with 7 laps complete.
Rufrano again took the lead with Robinson right behind him on the restart. Evans quickly moved into third with Dembek fourth and Tyler Trott in fifth. Evans got by Robinson to move into second on lap-10 and he then made a move to take the lead from Rufrano on lap-12.
Evans led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first career win at Stafford. Rufrano came home in second, with Dembek, Robinson, and L’Etoile rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Legends Car feature event, Teddy Hodgdon took the early lead but he locked his brakes up going into turn 1 on lap-2 which allowed Cory DiMatteo to power his way into the lead. Devin O’Connell was third behind Hodgdon, with Noah Korner and Mikey Flynn making up the top-5 in the early going.
O’Connell worked his way around Hodgdon to move into second while Korner and Flynn continued to occupy the remainder of the top-5 while DiMatteo was still in the lead at the halfway point of the race. The caution came out with 10 laps complete for Andrew Molleur, who came to a stop on the frontstretch.
Back under green, DiMatteo took the lead with O’Connell getting by Hodgdon for second. Flynn was now up to fourth with Korner right behind him in fifth. O’Connell was hounding the back bumper of DiMatteo as they came down to two laps to go with Hodgdon right behind them ready to strike. O’Connell took one last look but DiMatteo was too strong to be overtaken and he took down his fourth win of the 2015 season and his second in a row. O’Connell finished second, with Hodgdon, Flynn, and Korner 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.