(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the Mid-Season Stretch program on Friday, July 24th that saw each division race an extra two laps in distance. The 24th was also an Ingersoll Rand contingency night with bonuses going to the winners of the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock features. Ronnie Williams took his third win of the year in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Butler was a first time winner in the Late Model feature, D.J. Burnham scored his third win of the year in the SK Light feature, Andrew Hayes took down his third win of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, Frank L’Etoile, Jr. won for the second time this year in the DARE Stock feature, and Dana DiMatteo was a winner for the time this season in the Legend Cars feature.
In the 42-lap SK Modified® feature event, Todd Owen took the early lead with Eric Berndt behind him. The caution came out with 1 lap complete as Berndt got into the wall coming out of turn 4, which bottled up the cars behind him groove and Ted Christopher suffered damage and Joey Cipriano hit the turn 1 wall with both cars coming to a stop in turn 2.
Owen took the lead on the restart with Berndt and Tyler Hines side by side for second. Tommy Membrino, Jr. spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Owen again took the lead with Berndt behind him. Berndt pulled to the inside of Owen for the lead on lap-5 and the top-14 were all side by side racing for position. Owen was able to fend off Berndt’s challenge and he got back clear to the lead on lap-7. Berndt and Hines were side by side for second with Rowan Pennink and Michael Gervais, Jr. side by side for fourth. The caution came back out with 7 laps complete for Mike Christopher, Jr., who got out of shape in turns 3+4.
Berndt got a good run on the restart and he got around Owen to take over the race lead. Owen slotted into second but he nearly spun on lap-9 as he touched tires with Hines. Everyone was able to gather their cars up and kept on racing hard. Hines moved into second with Pennink taking third. Owen was now in a side by side duel with Ryan Preece for fourth place. Right behind Preece and Owen was Keith Rocco and Matt Galko.
Pennink made a move to the inside of Hines to move into second on lap-14 and he took the lead on lap-15. Preece got the better of his duel with Owen and he quickly followed Pennink through traffic to take second. Berndt was still third, but Keith Rocco was all over his back bumper and Hines was fifth on lap-18.
Rocco took third from Berndt on lap-19 while Preece was sizing Pennink up at the front of the field. Hines nearly spun in turn 2 on lap-20, which allowed Ronnie Williams to take fifth. Hines came back strong on the outside of Williams and they were locked in a side by side fight. Preece dove to the inside of Pennink in turn 3 to take over the race lead on lap-22 and then the cvaution came out for a spin by Mike Christopher, Jr.
Preece took the lead on the restart with Pennink right on his bumper in second. Rocco took third, with Williams fourth and Berndt fifth. The action really began to pick up at the front on lap-29 as Pennink took a look to the inside of Preece but wasn’t able to make the pass stick. Rocco and Williams were now right behind the lead duo to make a four car train at the front of the field. Matt Galko was up to fifth with Berndt behind him in sixth.
Pennink made a move to the inside of Preece for the lead in turn 4 with 5 laps to go and he took the lead but Preece came back strong with a crossover move in turn 3 on the very next lap and he was the leader at the line by a nose. Preece got clear of Pennink as they hit the line to complete lap 40 but Pennink made another move to the inside of Preece in turn 3 to take the lead as they came to the white flag. Preece gave Pennink a tap to the bumper as the cars were coming to the checkered flag and Preece took the checkered flag with Williams edging out Rocco for second. Pennink crossed the line in fourth but NASCAR Officials penalized Preece back to fifth place for his move on the final lap, making Williams the winner thanks to his last lap pass on Rocco. Matt Galko finished third, Pennink was fourth, and Preece rounded out the top-5 after the penalty was applied.
In the 32-lap Late Model feature event, Tom Butler quickly got around Rich Hammann to take the early lead. Ed Ricard was all over the back bumper of Hammann in third with Kevin Gambacorta in fourth and Tom Fearn in fifth. Ricard got around Hammann to move into second on lap-3 and with Hammann in the high groove, he fell back to fifth as Gambacorta moved into third and Tom Fearn took fourth.
Gambacorta and Fearn both got around Ricard to move into second and third but they had a ways to go to fight for the lead as Butler had opened up a gap of nearly a full straightaway. Michael Bennett got by Ricard to move into fourth on lap-9 and Josh Wood and Rick Lanagan were looking to also get by Ricard.
Fearn took second from Gambacorta on lap-13 and Bennett was right on Gambacorta’s bumper in fourth as Butler was still in command. Bennett got by Gambacorta to move into third on lap-14 and the two cars then ran in line to close the gap to Fearn in second. Bennett took a look to the inside of Fearn on lap-19 but couldn’t make a pass.
Bennett made a pass stick on Fearn to move into second on lap-22 and Gambacorta followed him by as Fearn fell from second back to fourth. Butler was still comfortably in the lead as Bennett began to pull away from Gambacorta and Fearn.
Butler cruised to the checkered flag in a dominant performance to pick up his first win of the 2015 season. Bennett finished second, with Gambacorta, Fearn, and Lanagan rounding out the top-5.
In the 22-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Bob Charland took the early lead but Joey Ferrigno was applying heavy pressure to Charland. Ferrigno made a dive to the inside of Charland on lap-5 but Charland was able to hold him off. Vinny Anglace was third behind the lead duo with Stephen Kopcik and Kyle Jette making up the top-5.
As the leaders came off turn 4, Charland and Ferrigno touched with Charland spinning into the infield and Ferrigno did a masterful job of driving to keep his car out of the wall and still moving forward. Charland was able to get moving and the race stayed green with Anglace the new leader. Kopcik was up to second with Jette, D.J. Burnham, and Nick Salva making up the top-5.
The action at the front picked up with 7 laps to go as Kopcik was side by side with Anglace for the lead and he actually took the lead at the line by a nose. Behind them, Burnham and Jette were side by side for third with Salva right in the mix in fifth. Ferrigno spun in the middle of turns 1+2 after making contact with Charland to bring the caution out with 17 laps complete.
Kopcik streaked back into the lead on the restart as Anglace didn’t quite come up to speed and bottlenecked the outside lane. Burnham moved into second while Anglace settled into third with Salva and Jette behind him. Salva moved to third on lap-21 while Burnham and Kopcik touched wheels coming to the white flag, which allowed Burnjham to move to the lead. Bjurnham held off a hard charging Salva on the final lap to take down his third win of the 2015 season. Anglace finished third, with Kopcik falling back to fourth and Ferrigno rounded out the top-5.
In the 22-lap Limited Late Model feature event, R.J. Surdell took the early lead with Andrew Hayes going around Kelsey Rottino to move into second. Al Saunders quickly moved into fourth and then went by Rottino to take third on lap-2. Hayes got by Surdell to take the lead at the line as they completed lap 3. Surdell was stuck in the high groove and he slid backwards as Al Saunders took second, Justin Bren took third, Rottino took fourth, and Paul Arute moved into fifth. Rottino got out of the groove on lap-6 and he slid back several spots, moving Paul Arute into fourth and David Arute into fifth.
Things began to settle down as the cars began to click laps off the scoreboard but Bren was closing in on the lead duo and the Arute brothers were fighting for position behind the three leaders. Bren made a pass on Saunders to move into second on lap-14 while David Arute got by his brother to move up to fourth. Duane Provost followed David Arute by Paul Arute to take over fifth while Hayes was still out front with Bren giving chase.
David Arute quickly closed down the gap to Saunders and he took to the outside groove to make a pass and take over third place on lap-21. Hayes led Bren to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2015 season. Arute finished third with Saunders and Provost rounding out the top-5.
In the 17-lap DARE Stock feature event, Zack Robinson and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. were side by side for the lead the entire first lap before L’Etoile got clear to the lead on lap-2. The action behind the lead duo was fast and furious with 3-wide action that saw Trace Beyer climb up to third, Tyler Trott in fourth, and Alexandra Fearn in fifth.
Trott pulled alongside Beyer for third place on lap-5 while behind them, Fearn and Dan Dembek were locked in a tight fight for fifth place. Trott completed the pass on Beyer to take over third on lap-7 and the cvaution came out with 7 laps complete when Ian Plasch lost the motor in his car, which caused Dembek spun in the middle of turns 3+4.
L’Etoile took the lead back under green with Trott moving into second. Robinson settled into third with Dembek and Beyer side by side for fourth with Dembek taking the spot one lap after the restart. Robinson spun on lap-13 after contact with Trott and fell to the rear as he was able to get his car moving and the race stayed green. Trott was still giving chase to L’Etoile with Dembek, Beyer, and Nicole Chambrello making up the top-5.
L’Etoile led Trott back to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Dembek finished third, with Beyer and Chambrello rounding out the top-5.
In the 22-lap Legend Cars feature, Noah Korner took the early lead with Dana DiMatteo, Mikey Flynn, Teddy Hodgdon, and Andrew Molleur making up the top-5. Brett Crowther spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Korner took the lead back under green with DiMatteo in second. Flynn was third while Molleur got around Hodgdon to take fourth. Point leader Devin O’Connell dropped off the pace on lap-8 and he was lapped by Korner on lap-9. Jerry Macchia spun to bring the caution out with 17 laps complete and Korner still leading DiMatteo, Flynn, Hodgdon, and Molleur.
Back under green, Korner took the lead and DiMatteo took second with Flynn, Hodgdon, and Molleur lined up behind him. DiMatteo made a move to take the lead from Korner on lap-21 in turns 1+2. Flynn spun in turn 1 on the final lap and DiMatteo led Korner to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2015 season. Molleur finished third, with Hodgdon, and Crowther 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.