(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to racing action with a Kids Night / Weekly Series program on Friday, June 3rd. The kids big wheel race was won by Adam Gray’s 6-year-old son Jacob. Stephen Kopcik came up a winner for the second consecutive week in the SK Modified® feature while it was a big night for the Gray family as Adam Gray won the Late Model feature and his 6-year-old son Jacob won the Kids Big Wheel race. There was a pair of first time winners on the night with Josh Carey winning the SK Light feature and Damian Palardy winning the Limited Late Model feature while Travis Hydar scored his second win of the season in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Wesley Prucker spun at the start to bring the caution flag out with 1 lap complete as Doug Meservey, Jr. led the first lap.
Meservey led the field back to green but Michael Gervais, Jr. got a good run in the outside lane and was neck and neck with Meservey for the lead. Gervais got clear into the lead on lap-4 with Dylan Kopec taking second. Jon Puleo moved up to third with Michael Christopher, Jr. fourth and Tyler Hines up to fifth as Meservey slid back to sixth place. Hines and Puleo touched as the field was coming to the line with 6 laps complete with Puleo getting turned into the frontstretch wall and losing a right front tire to bring the caution flag out.
Gervais and Kopec went side by side for two laps fighting for the lead before Gervais got clear on lap-8. Marcello Rufrano worked his way up to second with Christopher third and Stephen Kopcik and Kopec side by side for fourth. Kopcik took third from Christopher on lap-11 with Gervais and Rufrano still the top-2 cars with Kopec behind Christopher in fifth place.
Rufrano took the lead from Gervais on lap-16 and Kopcik was looking to take second from Gervais when the caution came back out with 17 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by John Montesanto.
Rufrano took the lead back under green with Kopcik working his way into second. Keith Rocco was up to third with Christopher in fourth and Gervais back to fifth. Kopcik got around Rufrano to move into the lead on lap-21 with Rocco, Christopher, and Bryan Narducci making up the top-5. Rufrano was all over the back bumper of Kopcik trying to retake the lead but Kopcik was able to maintain the lead.
With 33 laps complete, Kopcik and Rufrano were still out front but behind them Narducci was now up to third with Rocco fourth and Teddy Hodgdon up to fifth. Christopher was back to sixth followed by Ronnie Williams, Gervais, Anthony Bello, and Kopec.
As the cars were on the final lap, Fran Siana went through the grass in turn 1 and came back on to the track just in front of the leaders but Kopcik was able to hold off Rufrano and Narducci to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2022 season. Rocco finished fourth and Hodgdon rounded out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Chris Meyer spun on the first lap but he recovered at the rear of the field and the race stayed green with Adam Gray setting the early pace with Wayne Coury, Jr., Darrell Keane, Paul Varricchio, Jr, and Michael Bennett giving chase.
With 10 laps complete, the top-5 remained the same with Gray leading Coury, Keane, Varricchio, and Bennett. Sixth through tenth were Michael Wray, Andrew Molleur, Kevin Gambacorta, Tom Fearn, and John Blake. Gambacorta spun in turn 2 with 10 laps complete after contact from Tom Fearn, which saw Fearn get sent to the rear of the field and the caution flag displayed to the field.
Gray took the lead back under green with Coury, Keane, and Bennett behind him. Michael Wray and Varricchio were side by side for fifth with Wray taking the spot on lap-12. John Blake came to a stop coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 12 laps complete.
Gray again took the lead on the restart with the field two by two behind him. Keane and Coury were side by side for second with Michael Wray and Bennett side by side for fourth. Paul Arute spun into the turn 1 wall to bring the caution back out with 14 laps complete.
Gray took the lead on the restart with Michael Wray getting around Keane to move into second. Varricchio took fourth while Coury was sliding backwards to sixth place as Bennett took fifth. Keane made a move to the inside of Michael Wray on lap-17 for second but wasn’t able to complete the pass. Keane was finally able to make the pass stick on lap-20 after three laps of side by side action. Varricchio followed him by Keane to take third and Bennett got by Keane for fourth place on lap-21 as Gray was slowly pulling away with all the side by side racing going on behind him.
Gray led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2022 season. Michael Wray finished second with Varricchio, Gambacorta, and Keane rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Zach Aszklar and Jason Chapman touched wheels and spun into the turn 2 wall at the start of the race, which collected several others cars including Ron Midford, Jr., Chris Bagnall, Anthony Forino, Brandon Michael, Casey Vogt, Meghan Fuller, and Chris Matthews.
The race restarted with Nick Anglace and Josh Carey going side by side for the lead with Carey holding the lead by a nose for the first two laps before getting clear from Anglace on lap-3. Amanda West was third in the early going with Bob Charland and Tyler Chapman in fourth and fifth. Charland took third on lap-3 and he made a move to the inside of Anglace on lap-4 to take second place on lap-5. Chapman was now side by side with Anglace for third with Norm Sears up to fourth and Alexander Pearl up to fifth. Chapman got clear from Anglace for third place on lap-8 while Carey continued to hold the race lead.
Chapman got around Charland to move into second place on lap-11 with Sears and Anglace now side by side for fourth place behind Carey, Tyler Chapman and Charland with Pearl in sixth and Tyler Barry in seventh place. Carey was able to hold off Chapman to the checkered flag to pick up his first career SK Light feature win at Stafford. Charland finished third with Anglace and Pearl rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Damian Palardy led the field to the green flag and he led the first lap before the caution came out for a spin in turn 1 by Ari Jencik.
Palardy took the lead back under green with Kevin Cormier in second. Devon Jencik was third in line followed by Gary Patnode and a side by side duel between Alexandra Fearn and Jay Clement for fifth place. Fearn took the spot on lap-4 with Jeremy Lavoie taking sixth to drop Jay Clement back to seventh place. Devon Jencik took second from Cormier on lap-8 with Patnode moving up to third and Fearn fourth as Cormier began to slide backwards. Cormier was finally able to get back in line on lap-10 in sixth place as Lavoie took fifth.
Up front, Patnode had caught up to the back bumper of Devon Jencik, who was on the back bumper of Palardy for the lead on lap-11. The cars settled back into line with Fearn now closing in on the back of Patnode in the fight for third place. Palardy began to slowly stretch out his lead while Jencik, Patnode, Fearn, and Lavoie were nose to tail on lap-17. With 18 laps complete, Patnode got into the back of Jencik which sent him around and behind them Lavoie got into the back of Fearn and got her car sideways as they hit the brakes to try and avoid hitting Jencik to bring the caution out and set up a green white checkered finish. Patnode was sent to the rear of the field for the contact with Jencik.
Palardy took lead on the restart with Lavoie taking second from Fearn. Fearn and Rich Hammann were now side by side for third on the final lap but it was all Palardy at front as he scored his first career Limited Late Model feature win. Lavoie finished second with Hammann, Fearn, and Matt Clement rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Nickolas Hovey streaked into the lead at the start of the race but just before he was going to complete the first lap, his car dropped off the pace and he crawled his way back to pit road. This handed the lead over to Pat Grady with Ryan Waterman, Marvin Minkler, Adrien Paradis, III, and Chris Danielczuk lined up behind him. As the field rumbled through turn 4 about to complete the third lap, Danielczuk got sideways and spun, which collected the cars of Bobby Stirk, III and Travis Downey, which brought the caution out with 2 laps complete.
Waterman took the lead on the restart with Paradis taking second and Travis Hydar moving up to third. Grady fell from the lead back to fourth place with Minkler in fifth place. Cindy Stirk spun on lap-5 but was able to recover and the race stayed green. Jason Finkbein moved into fifth on lap-6 while Hydar was starting to apply heavy pressure to Paradis for second on lap-9.
With 10 laps complete, the top-3 cars of Waterman, Paradis, and Hydar were locked in a nose to tail fight for the lead. Grady was still in fourth with Finkbein in fifth place. Paradis took the lead from Waterman on lap-12 and Hydar followed him by to take second and drop Waterman from the lead back to third place.
Hydar made his move to take over the lead on lap-15 with a pass going into turn 3. Paradis came right back to the inside of Hydar on lap-16 to retake the lead. The 3 leaders headed into turn 1 on lap-17 3-wide with Waterman going from third back to the lead with Hydar coming out in second and Paradis in third. Hydar and Waterman touched slightly with Waterman getting sideways on lap-18 and as Paradis went by Waterman, those two cars touched and got into the wall with Hydar getting promoted to the lead with Grady up to second and Finkbein and Bert Ouellette in row 2 for the restart with 17 laps complete.
Hydar took the lead on the restart with Finkbein moving into second. Minkler took third with Tyler Trott coming up to fourth and Ouellette in fifth. Finkbein couldn’t catch Hydar as Hydar took down his second win of the 2022 season. Finkbein finished second with Minkler, Trott, and Ouellette rounding out the top-5.
The Kids Big Wheel race was won by Late Model driver Adam Gray’s 6 year old son Jacob Gray from Granby, MA.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.