(Stafford Springs, CT)— Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the Late Model and Ltd. Late Model Xtra Mart Xtra D feature events as part of Military Appreciation Night and Whelen Event Night on Friday, May 27th. Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $1,000 bonus that was split among the top-5 Late Model finishers and a $500 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the Ltd. Late Model feature event and the night produced some of the best weekly short track racing you’ll ever see with exciting racing and photo finishes. Woody Pitkat won both the SK Modified® and Late Model feature events, Daniel Wesson came out the winner of the SK Light feature event after a 3-wide photo finish, Paul Arute won for the second consecutive week in the Limited Late Model feature, Johnny Walker won the DARE Stock feature, and Noah Korner was the Legend Cars feature winner.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tom Bolles took the lead from Mike Christopher, Jr. at the start and Keith Rocco followed him by Christopher in the outside groove. Rocco moved by Bolles in turn 1 on lap-4 to move into the lead. Christopher and Bolles were now side by side for second with Dan Avery in fourth and Ronnie Williams was up to fifth. With 10 laps complete, Rocco continued to hold the race lead with Christopher, Jr. in second, Bolles third, Williams fourth, and Woody Pitkat was now in fifth.
Williams moved around Bolles for third and he was closing in on the Rocco and Christopher, Jr. up front and at the halfway point of the feature, it was a three-car fight for the lead with Rocco, Christohper, Jr., and Williams lined up in a nose to tail train. Pitkat was up to fourth with Bolles continuing to run in fifth. The caution came out with 27 laps complete as D.J. Burnham came to a stop sideways on the frontstretch.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Williams moving up to second and Pitkat was third. A multicar melee in turn 2 involving Eric Berndt, Brian Sullivan, Tyler Hines, D.J. Burnham, and Dan Avery brought the caution back out with 28 laps complete.
Rocco took the lead on the restart although Pitkat was applying heavy pressure right from the green. The two cars touched going down the backstretch with Pitkat slotting into line behind Rocco. Williams was third with Christopher, Jr. fourth and Ted Christopher was now up to fifth. Pitkat made a move in turn 4 to the inside of Rocco to move to the front of the field. Danny Cates made a pass on Ted Christopher in turn 4 to move into fifth on lap-35 as Rocco was looking high and low for a way to get by Pitkat and reassume the race lead.
Rocco was working the outside lane and on lap-39 he was able to pull even with Pitkat as they took the white flag. Rocco made one final effort on the final lap, but he wasn’t able to make the pass stick in the outside groove as Pitkat picked up his first win of the 2016 season. Williams finished third, with Christopher, Jr. and Cates rounding out the top-5.
In the 50-lap Xtra Mart Xtra D Late Model feature event, Scott Cook got a good run on the outside of his son Chase Cook at the drop of the green flag to take the early race lead. Joel Monahan was third with Tom Butler fourth and Jim Mavlouganes was fifth. Butler was making hay in the outside lane and he streaked by Chase Cook for second on lap-4 and he took the lead from Scott Cook on lap-6. The caution came out with 7 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Chase Cook.
Butler took the lead on the restart with Mavlouganes moving into second. Wayne Coury, Jr. moved into third with Tom Fearn fourth and Woody Pitkat up to fifth as Scott Cook slid back to 10th place after restarting second. Fearn rode behind Mavlouganes until lap-13 when he took second. That pass opened the door for Pitkat to follow him through as Mavlouganes slid from second back to fourth. Fearn and Butler touched in turn 4 on lap-18 while battling for the lead which sent Butler around and collected the car of Mavlouganes and brought the caution out. Fearn was black flagged for the contact with Butler and was sent to the rear of the field, putting Pitkat and Michael Wray on the front row for the restart with Coury and Monahan on the second row.
Pitkat took the lead back under green with Coury, Glen Reen, Wray, and Scott Cook lined up behind him. Monahan dropped off the pace on the restart and he brought his car to pit road. Butler spun on lap-23 but was able to keep going but the caution came out one lap later as Chase Cook got in the backstretch wall and came to a stop in turn 3.
Pitkat took the lead back under green with Reen in second. Coury was third and Fearn was already back up to fourth after his penalty to the rear. Fearn got around Coury to move into third on lap-26 and he brought Michael Wray with him as Coury fell back to fifth as Pitkat continued to lead Reen with Fearn closing in on the lead duo. Paul Varricchio, Jr. spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 32 laps complete.
Pitkat took the lead with Fearn, Wray, Coury, and Josh Wood lined up behind him on the restart. Fearn was all over Pitkat’s bumper looking for a way past, but Pitkat was able to hold him at bay. Wray got sideways in turn 4 on lap-37 but he was able to hold onto his car and maintain third in front of Coury. Fearn was still hounding Pitkat for the race lead and Pitkat was able to fend off his challenges.
Fearn got a run to the inside of Pitkat on lap-40 and briefly took the lead as the cars touched and leaned on each other. Fearn and Pitkat’s touch allowed Coury and Wray to close right up to the leader’s bumpers and it was nearly 4-wide for the lead as all four cars touched and banged going into turn 1. Pitkat emerged with the lead with Fearn second, Wray third, and Coury fourth after three laps of pure all out excitement at the front of the field.
Pitkat held the lead to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the night and his first Late Model feature win since 2013. Fearn came home second, with Wray, Coury, and Mavlouganes rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Paul French took the lead at the green and he led the first 3 laps before surrendering the lead to Jay Goff on lap-4. Joey Ferrigno got around French for second and David Arute moved up to fourth with Todd Douillard in fifth before the caution came out for Sean Mandel, who spun in turns 1+2.
Goff took the lead with Ferrigno on his bumper in second. David Arute charged into third with Tony Membrino, Jr. fourth and French fell back to fifth. Arute was applying heavy pressure to the back bumper of Ferrigno lap after lap but he couldn’t find a way around. With 11 laps complete, Membrino spun from fourth and Douillard also spun into the frontstretch infield to bring the caution out.
Goff didn’t come up to speed on the restart and Ferrigno took the lead with Arute moving into second. A multicar accident on the backstretch involving the cars of Todd Clark, Mandel, Brett Gonyaw and several others brought the caution out before a lap could be competed and Goff got his lead spot back with Ferrigno alongside for the restart.
Goff took the lead back under green with Ferrigno and Daniel Wesson side by side for second. Arute and Joe Graf, Jr. were side by side for fourth. Arute spun in turn 2 which collected French and Vinny Anglace to bring the caution back out with 13 laps complete.
Ferrigno powered into the lead on the restart with Wesson moving in to second. Goff settled inot line in third with Graf fourth and Ted Cain was fifth. Wesson got loose in turn 2 on lap-18 but managed to gather his car back in and stay in hunt for the race lead. Graf spun coming to the white flag in turn 4 to bring the caution back out and set up a green white checkered finish.
Wesson nearly turned into the frontstretch wall on the restart and as he chased Ferrigno into turn 1, he got sideways and behind him the cars of Pytko and Graf spun to bring the yellow right back out. Ferrigno and Wesson went side by side on the restart with neither driver getting an advantage. They took the white flag still side by side and ran the final lap side by side. As they came off turn 4 to the checkered flag, Ferrigno and Wesson slid up the track which allowed Goff to make three-wide bid for the win. The three cars took the checkered flag in a photo finish with Wesson getting the win over Ferrigno and Goff by a matter of just several inches. Membrino recovered from his early spin to finish fourth and Norm Sears rounded out the top-5.
In the 25-lap Xtra Mart Xtra D Limited Late Model feature event, R.J. Surdell took the lead at the drop of the green with Justin Bren racing side by side with Jeremy Lavoie for second and Al and Cliff Saunders were side by side for fourth. With 2 laps complete, Bren lost a tire in turn 1, which collected the car of Lavoie to bring the caution out.
Cliff and Al Saunders both got by Surdell on the restart to move into the top-2 spots. Surdell slid back to third with Matt Clement and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. making up the top-5. Paul Arute was on the back bumper of L’Etoile in sixth and Duane Provost was right behind him in seventh.
Arute hounded L’Etoile for several laps before he was able to make the pass for fifth on lap-9. Arute’s pass opened the door for Provost to follow him by L’Etoile as Cliff and Al Saunders continued to lead Surdell and Clement. Arute got by Clement to move up to fourth and he brought Provost with him to fifth as Clement fell back to sixth before the caution came back out with 16 laps complete for a spin by Robert Bloxsom, III.
Cliff Saunders took the lead back under green with Al Saunders able to slide into second. Arute was strong on the outside of Surdell and he took over third place with Provost falling into line in fifth behind Surdell. Arute continued his charge to the front on lap-19 with a move in turn 1 to take over second from Al Saunders. Arute then ran behind Cliff Saunders until lap-22 when he made a move for the lead going down the backstretch and into turn 3. The Saunders twins were now side by side for second with Provost hot on their bumpers. The side by side action was allowing Arute to slowly pull away from his closest pursuers. Al Saunders got the better of the battle for second and Provost took third from Cliff Saunders on the final lap as Arute took down his second consecutive feature victory. Surdell rounded out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Ryan Fearn streaked into the lead at the drop of the green and immediately opened up a gap as the cars behind him didn’t come up to speed as quickly. On lap-2 Vince Gambacorta and Alexandra Fearn both spun and damaged their cars and Trace Beyer and several others got out of shape to bring the caution out. Johnny Walker had taken second behind Ryan Fearn with Brandon Michael third, Nicole Chambrello fourth and Zack Robinson fifth.
Fearn took the lead back under green with Walker slotting into second behind him. Michael took third with Robinson moving up to fourth and Marcello Rufrano moved into fifth. Robinson was working the outside groove against Michael for third on lap-7 when he spun in turn 3 to bring the caution back out.
Fearn and Walker ran side by side for a lap before Fearn got clear to the lead. Chambrello spun in turn 3 and Bryan Granger then spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 8 laps complete.
Walker got a good run on Fearn on the restart and looked to have the lead taken over but Fearn came back strong and they were neck and neck at the stripe. Fearn took the lead from Walker on lap-10 while Michael spun from third on the restart and Chambrello did an excellent job of doing a half spin to avoid slamming into Michael and both cars were able to continue and the race stayed green.
Tyler Trott was third behind Fearn and Walker with Beyer back up to fourth after his earlier misfortune and Dave Secore was fifth. Fearn got sideways coming out of turn 2 on lap-14, which allowed Walker to move to the lead. Walker held Fearn off to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2016 season. Trott finished third, with Beyer and Michael Hopkins rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Legends Car feature event, Ryan DeCandia took the early lead but he lost the lead to Noah Korner on lap-2. Brett Crowther was running third, but he locked up his brakes on lap-3 and fell back to fourth as Teddy Hodgdon moved up to second and DeCandia was third behind Korner with Glenn Korner making up the top-5.
Hodgon stayed glued to the back bumper of Korner for the remainder of the feature but he was unable to make a pass stick as Korner took his first win of the 2016 season. DeCandia finished third, with Crowther 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.