(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 5-Star program that was also an Ingersoll Rand contingency night with bonuses going to the winners of the SK Modified®, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock features. Ronnie Williams took his fifth win of the year in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn collected his seventh win in the Late Model feature, Payton Henry scored his second win in the SK Light feature, Duane Provost took down his second win of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, Marcello Rufrano won for the second time this year in the DARE Stock feature, and Teddy Hodgdon was a career first time winner at Stafford in the Legend Cars feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Todd Owen and Tyler Hines led the field to the green with Owen taking the lead. Ted Christopher briefly pulled alongside Hines before falling back to a duel with Michael Gervais, Jr. for fourth place as Eric Berndt and Hines were side by side for second behind Owen.
Berndt made a move to the inside of Owen in turn 4 but Owen still had the lead at the line by a nose. Berndt got clear to the lead on lap-5 with Gervais third, Matt Galko fourth and Ryan Preece was quickly up to fifth place.
Preece went around Galko to move into fourth on lap-8 and he got by Gervais and was about to pass Owen for second when the caution came out for spins on the frontstretch by Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink, and Dan Avery.
Berndt took the lead back under green with Preece using the outside lane to pull even with Owen for second. Gervais and Ronnie Williams were side by side behind Preece and Owen in a fight for fourth. Berndt did a half spin in turn 2 on lap-12, which handed the race lead back to Owen and Berndt rejoined in 11th place.
Preece pulled to the outside of Owen on lap-15 and he powered his way by Owen to take over the lead on lap-16. Once Preece was clear into the lead, Williams pulled alongside Owen for second. Gervais and Woody Pitkat were now side by side for fourth behind Williams and Owen as Preece continued to lead.
At the halfway point of the race, things had settled down slightly at the front with Preece leading Williams Owen, Gervais, and Pitkat in a single file line. Williams took a look to Preece’s inside on lap-21 but he settled back into line in second. Rowan Pennink cracked into the top-5 for the first time on lap-25 as he got by Gervais.
At the front of the field, Williams got around Preece to take over the lead on lap-26 while Owen got out of shape behind them, allowing Pitkat and Pennink to both get by as Owen fell back to fifth. Keith Rocco was right on Owen’s bumper in sixth with Williams and Preece beginning to distance themselves from the pack. Pennink went by Pitkat to move into third with 12 laps to go and nearly a full straighaway gap to make up in order to close in on the lead duo of Williams and Preece.
With 5 laps to go, Pennink was slowly reeling the two leaders in as Preece was staying right on Williams’ back bumper and he was looking high and low for a place where he might be able to make a pass for the lead. The opportunity for Preece never materialized as Williams led him back to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2015 season. Pennink finished third, with Rocco and Pitkat rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Michael Wray took the early lead with Ed Ricard slotting in second. Michael Bennett and Rich Hammann were contesting third when the cars touched and Bennett spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 2 laps complete.
Wray again took the lead with Josh Wood moving by Ricard to take over second place. Wayne Coury, Jr. followed Wood by Ricard and looked like he was going to take second from Wood, but the caution came out with 3 laps complete for debris on the frontstretch.
Coury took the lead on the restart with Tom Fearn following Coury past Wray to move into second. Tom Butler also got by Wray to move into third and drop Wray back to fourth after he led the first 4 laps of the race. Fearn took a look to the inside of Coury in turn 4 on lap-6 for the lead but he settled back into line in second. Fearn made the pass stick on lap-7 with a pass in turn 3 to move into the race lead. Kevin Gambacorta moved around Wood to take over fifth as Fearn continued to lead the race.
At the halfway point of the race, Fearn was still out front although Coury was right on his back bumper. Butler was third with Wray in fourth and Gambacorta still rounding out the top-5 in front of Wood in sixth.
As the race was nearing the checkered flag, Fearn’s car began to show smoke at the rear of the car but he was able to continue in the lead as Coury was still giving chase. The smoke from the rear of Fearn’s car didn’t hamper him as he led Coury to the checkered flag to pick up his 7th win of the 2015 season. Coury finished second, with Butler, Wray, and Gambacorta rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, the race started with spins by Rit Dulac and Jay Goff that brought the caution out before a lap could be completed.
Paul French took the lead on the restart with Todd Douillard in second. Payton Henry was third, with Geoff Boisjolie all over his back bumper in fourth and Kyle Jette was fifth. Jette got a good run in the outside groove on lap-5 and he moved from fifth up to third as he went past both Henry and Boisjolie.
The action was really beginning to pick up as Stephen Kopcik was now working the outside lane and he went around Jette to move into third. Jette lost another spot on lap-9 as Nick Salva pulled alongside but the action was slowed by the caution flag for a spin by Boisjolie coming out of turn 4 with 9 laps complete.
French and Douillard were side by side for the lead and Kopcik nearly made a 3-wide bid for the lead. Carlos Gray spun in turn 3 and then French spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 10 laps complete.
Douillard took the lead back under green with Kopcik, Nick Salva, Henry, and Jette all giving chase. Salva took the lead from Douillard on lap-14 and the positions were also shuffling behind the leader as Henry moved into second, Douillard fell back to third, Kopcik fell back to fourth, and Jette was locked in a side by side fight with Daniel Wesson for fifth when the caution came out with 17 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by Gray.
Henry got a good run on the restart and he was able to not only keep pace with Salva out front, he took the lead at the line by a nose. They ran side by side again for lap-18 with Salva the leader by a nose. The two cars took the white flag in a virtual dead heat. Henry prevailed in the outside groove as he got a better run than Salva coming off turn 4 to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Kopcik finished third with Wesson and Douillard rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Paul Arute nearly made a 3-wide bid for the lead on the opening lap but he settled into line behind David Comeau. Duane Provost was third in the early running, with Al Saunders moving up to fourth and Andrew Hayes moving into fifth.
Hayes made a move under Al Saunders to take over fourth on lap-6 as Comeau continued to lead Paul Arute and Provost. Comeau bobbled in turn 3 on lap-7 and Paul Arute took advantage of that to pull alongside and then take the lead from Comeau on lap-8. Arute’s move opened the door for Provost, Hayes, Justin Bren, David Arute, and Al Saunders to all get by Comeau as he fell from the lead back to seventh.
Glenn Bartkowski and R.J. Surdell spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 11 laps complete.
Paul Arute and Provost ran side by side for a lap before Provost got clear into the lead on lap-12. Hayes and Bren went 3-wide with Arute in the middle as Hayes took second, Arute settled into third, and Bren fall back to fifth as Cliff Saunders moved into fourth. Point leader Al Saunders was off the pace and he was circulating the track at the rear of the field.
Provost held off Hayes to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Paul Arute held off Bren for third at the line with David Arute rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Marcello Rufrano streaked into the early race lead with the action behind him wild and crazy. Frank L’Etoile, Jr. and Tyler Trott were side by side for second with Trace Beyer and Dan Dembek side by side for fourth. L;Etoile took second with Beyer taking third as Trott settled into fourth and Dembek fifth. Nicole Chambrello spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Rufrano took the lead on the restart with Beyer in second. Dembek and L’Etoile were side by side for third with Trott right behind them. Jake Higginson spun in turn 4 and Alexandra Fearn spun on the frontstretch on lap-6 but both cars were able to get moving and the race stayed green.
With 5 laps to go, Rufrano led Beyer by several car lengths and Beyer had a several car length lead back to L’Etoile, Dembek, Trott, and Zack Robinson. Dembek spun coming off turn 4 to bring the caution out with 13 laps complete.
Rufrano resumed the lead on the restart with L’Etoile moving into second. Beyer was side by side with Trott for third with Robinson and and Fearn side by side for fifth. Rufrano led L’Etoile back to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Trott finished third, with Beyer and Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Legend Cars feature, Teddy Hodgdon and Brett Crowther ran side by side for the 2 laps in a fight for the lead with Hodgdon emerging as the leader. Noah Korner was on an early charge as he moved up to second behind Hodgdon with Dana DiMatteo in third. Devin O’Connell was streaking his way through the field and was up to fourth before falling back to sixth behind Cory DiMatteo and Crowther.
At the midway point, Hodgdon had opened a comfortable lead up over Korner, who had Dana DiMatteo right behind him. Cory DiMatteo was fourth and Crowther was fifth before O’Connell spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 13 laps complete.
Hodgdon took the lead back under green but the field was only able to complete one lap before the caution came back out for a spin by Korner in turn 2.
Hodgdon took the lead again back under green with Cory DiMatteo side by side with O’Connell for second. Mike Hopkins was up to fourth but he lost that spot to Korner on lap-16. O’Connell was working Cory DiMatteo over in a side by side duel for second, which was allowing Hodgdon to pull away in the lead. O’Connell took second from DiMatteo on lap-18 with Korner moving into third, which dropped DiMatteo back to fourth.
Hodgdon led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his first career Legend Cars feature win at Stafford Speedway. O’Connell came home in second, with Korner, Cory DiMatteo, and Hopkins 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.