(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway hosted its final Friday night race program of the 2023 season with NAPA Auto Parts Championship Night on October 6. The final event of the 2023 season will be the NAPA Fall Final on October 28th. Taking down feature wins on the night were Michael Christopher in the SK Modified® feature, Keith Rocco in the TC 13 Shootout SK Modified® feature, Chris Meyer in the Late Model feature, Tyler Chapman in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar in the Street Stock feature. With NAPA Championship Night serving as the final Friday night race of the 2023 season, track championships were clinched by Todd Owen in the SK Modified® division, George Bessette, Jr. in the SK Light division, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and Ryan Waterman in the Street Stock feature. Kevin Gambacorta had already clinched the Late Model track championship back on Sept. 22nd.
As part of the Ted Christopher Safety Initiative undertaken by Christopher’s widow Quinn, 5 drivers were awarded new Leaf Racewear firesuits with each feature winner drawing a chip in NAPA Victory Lane to determine the winners. The 5 lucky winners were Michael Christopher, Jr. in the SK Modified® division, Chris Meyer in the Late Model division, Meghan Fuller in the SK Light division, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model division, and Travis Hydar in the Street Stock division.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Mikey Flynn took the early lead at the drop of the green flag with Troy Talman in second. Dylan Kopec was third with Michael Christopher, Jr. taking fourth and Noah Korner fifth. The caution came out with 2 laps complete as Tyler Barry hit the backstretch wall and came to a stop just before the entrance to turn 3.
Flynn took the lead on the restart with Christopher taking second from Talman on lap-5. Kopec and Michael Gervais, Jr. were wheel to wheel for fourth place with Gervais taking fourth on lap-6. Anthony Flannery went to the outside line to get by Kopec for fifth place and David Arute followed him through in the high lane to take sixth and drop Kopec back to seventh on lap-7. Korner would take seventh from Kopec on lap-8 while Christopher went around Flynn tot take the lead on lap-8 but Flynn came right back to the inside of Christopher and the two cars were racing wheel to wheel for the lead with Christopher holding the lead by a nose at the line.
Flynn led lap-12 but Christopher put his car in front of Flynn on lap-13 to retake the lead. Talman was third in line with Gervais in fourth and Flannery in fifth. Arute was sixth followed by Korner, Keith Rocco, Marcello Rufrano, and Todd Owen. Flynn wasn’t going away quietly as he was all over Christopher’s back bumper looking to retake the lead. With 25 laps complete, the order was Christopher, Flynn, Gervais, Rocco, Flannery, Korner, Arute, Rufrano, Cory DiMatteo, and Owen.
With 10 laps to go, Christopher was still leading Flynn with Gervais, Rocco, and Flannery making up the top-5. D.J. Burnham spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution flag out with 32 laps complete.
Christopher took the lead on the restart with Gervais taking second. Flynn was third with Rocco fourth and Flannery fifth. Arute was sixth followed by Korner, Owen, DiMatteo, and RJ Marcotte. Christopher led the field to the checkered flag with Gervais, Rocco, Flannery, and Flynn rounding out the top-5. Owen’s 10th place finish was good enough to make him the 2023 SK Modified® champion. Owen’s championship is his third consecutive at Stafford, which makes him the first SK Modified® driver to win the championship in three consecutive years.
In the TC 13 Shootout Keith Rocco took the lead from pole position after the top-3 from the top-13 finishers of the 40-lap SK Modified® feature finish were inverted. Gervais was second in line behind Rocco with Christopher third, Flynn fourth, and RJ Marcotte fifth.
Gervais made a move to the inside of Rocco on lap-6 to take the lead by a nose at the line. Gervais cleared Rocco on lap-7 but Rocco came right back to the inside of Gervais in turn 3 to retake the lead before lap-7 was completed. Christopher was third in line with Flynn fourth and Marcotte fifth. With 2 laps to go, Rocco was in command with Christopher now in second. Marcotte and Flynn touched dueling for fourth with Flynn spinning into the turn 3 wall to bring the caution out and set up a green white checkered finish.
Rocco took the lead with Gervais right behind him and Christopher in third. Gervais tried to make a last lap pass but came up just short as Rocco won the TC 13 Shootout and the $1,313 purse that goes along with it. Christopher finished third with Marcotte and Owen rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Bobby Stirk took the lead from Alexandra Fearn at the drop of the green flag to set the early race pace. Zack Robinson was third followed by Chris Meyer and Andrew Durand. Meyer moved by Robinson to take third on lap-6 and Durand and Adam Gray followed him by Robinson on the next lap to move into fourth and fifth as Robinson slid back to ninth place.
Meyer was applying heavy pressure to Fearn for second but was unable to make a pass stick. Meyer was able to make a move stick on lap-12 to move into second and drop Fearn back to third. Behind Meyer and Fearn, Gray was now in fourth with Wayne Coury, Jr. fifth as Durand fell back to sixth place. Durand would lose sixth place to 2023 Late Model champion Kevin Gambacorta on lap-15 as Stirk was still in command at the halfway point of the race.
Meyer took the lead from Stirk on lap-18 in turn 1. Stirk tried to make a crossover move in turn 2 but Meyer was able to shut that move down and maintain the lead. Gray was up to third now behind Meyer and Stirk with Coury in fourth and Gambacorta in fifth.
Gray was looking to make a move to the inside of Stirk for second on lap-22 and the two cars touched and got sideways, allowing Coury to pass them both and move into second with Stirk third and Gray fourth. Gray was able to make the move to get past Stirk on lap-24 to take over third place. Paul Varricchio, Jr. and Gambacorta both followed Gray by Stirk to move into fourth and fifth and drop Stirk back to sixth place. Varricchio took third from Gray on lap-26 while Meyer was comfortably leading Coury at the front of the pack. Meyer held the lead to the checkered flag to pick up his first career Late Model feature victory. Coury finished second with Varricchio, Gray, and Gambacorta rounding out the top-5. Gambacorta had already clinched the 2023 Late Model championship in the last feature event on Sept. 22, becoming the first driver in Stafford history to win a track championship in three different divisions.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature, Cassandra Cole took the early lead from pole position with Amanda West, Meghan Fuller, Brian Sullivan, and Nickolas Hovey lined up behind her. The caution flew with 4 laps complete as Bob Charland and Tyler Barry touched with several other cars spinning to avoid Barry. Charland was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Barry.
West streaked into the lead on the restart but Sullivan took the lead from her going down the backstretch and into turn 3. Tyler Chapman took second and almost took the lead from Sullivan before falling back into line. West was third with Fuller fourth and Cole in fifth. Chapman took the lead from Sullivan on lap-5 with a pass going into turn 3. George Bessette, Jr., who came into the race tied with Sullivan for the championship lead, was on the move and he made his way up to third behind Chapman and Sullivan with Fuller in fourth and West in fifth before the caution flew with 14 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Hovey.
Chapman took the lead with Sullivan taking second. Bessette took second from Sullivan on lap-16 with Sullivan now wheel to wheel with Fuller for third. Jason Chapman was up to fifth behind the wheel to wheel duo of Fuller and Sullivan. Fuller cleared Sullivan on lap-19 to drop Sullivan back to fourth with Tyler Chapman leading George Bessette, Jr. Tyler Chapman took the checkered flag to score his fourth win of the season but Bessette’s second place finish combined with Sullivan’s fourth place finish gave makes him the 2023 SK Light champion. Fuller finished third with Jason Chapman finishing fifth.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Gary Patnode led the field to the green and he took the early lead with Adrien Paradis, III right behind him in second. Kevin Cormier quickly took third with Kevin Crosby fourth and Jeremy Lavoie moved into fifth. Cormier took second from Paradis on lp-5 but before that lap was completed, the caution came out for a spin in turn 2 by Christopher Phelps.
Patnode took the lead on the restart but one lap after the restart, Cormier took the lead from Patnode but the caution flew for a spin by Crosby that negated the pass and put Patnode back in first place for the next restart.
Lavoie made a 3-wide move on the restart to move into the lead. Cormier took second with Matt Clement third, Damian Palardy fourth, and Paradis fifth. Clement took second from Cormier on lap-8 and Palardy tried to follow him past Cormier but couldn’t complete the pass and he got back in line in fourth place behind Cormier. The caution flag came back out with 15 laps complete for a spin by Dana Wray in turn 2.
Lavoie took the lead back under green with Cormier, Clement, Paradis, and Palardy lined up behind him. Lavoie led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the season and clinch the 2023 track championship. Lavoie’s championship was the third of his career, making him the first driver to ever win three championships in the division. Cormier finished second with Clement, Paradis, and Palardy rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature, Brandon Warren led the field to the green flag and he led the first lap with Tyler Trott behind him in second with the caution flag coming out as the field completed the first lap for the cars of Pete Cayer and Sean Petlock coming together on the frontstretch and spinning to the infield.
Warren took the lead aback under green with Travis Downey taking second from Trott. Travis Hydar was already up to fourth behind Trott after starting 12th with Bert Ouellette in fifth and Ryan Waterman in sixth. Hydar moved into third on lap-4 and Ouellette and Waterman moved into fourth and fifth on lap-5 as Trott fell back to sixth in line.
Hydar continued his march towards the front of the field by taking second from Warren on lap-7. Ouellette took third place from Warren on lap-9 with Waterman following him by to move into fourth and drop Warren back to fifth place. Waterman made a move to the inside of Ouellette to move into third on lap-13 while Hydar took the lead in turn 3 from Downey on the same lap. The caution came back out with 16 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Chris Danielczuk, which set up a 4-lap sprint to the checkered flag.
Hydar took the lead on the restart with Waterman taking second from Downey just before the caution came back out with 17 laps complete for a multi-car spin in turn 3 involving Jeff Asselin, Bobby Wilson, Matt Martel, Chris Danielczuk, and Kyle Johnson.
The restart saw the caution come right back out for a multi-car spin in turn 2 involving David Macha, Sr., Johnson, and Wilson. The next restart saw another spin in turn 2 by Danielczuk and Rob Sears. The third restart was good with Hydar and Waterman going door to door for the lead with Downey right behind them in third. Trott took fourth from Warren on lap-19 while the two leaders were still door to door coming to the white flag. Hydar held Waterman off by a half car length to win the race but Waterman’s second place finish was good enough to clinch the 2023 Street Stock championship. Downey finished third with Trott and Warren 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.