(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway kicked off its 2023 race season with the NAPA Auto Parts Duels as part of the 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® Weekend. Feature races were held for the American Canadian Tour, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks along with two 40-lap NAPA Duel races that set the top-20 lineup for Saturday’s 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler® main event. Scoring wins in the two NAPA Duel races were defending NAPA Spring Sizzler® winner Matt Hirschman and Ron Silk. Taking down feature wins were D.J. Shaw in the ACT feature, Matt Clement in the Limited Late Model feature, and Ryan Waterman in the Street Stock feature.
In the first 40-lap NAPA Duel Race, Jeff Gallup and Dana DiMatteo both spun at the start, which brought the caution flag out. Woody Pitkat took the lead on the restart with Noah Korner, Matt Hirschman, Marcello Rufrano, and Jimmy Blewett behind him but the caution came back out with 2 laps complete for a spin coming out of turn 2 by Buddy Charette.
Pitkat took the lead with Hirschman right on his bumper in second on the restart. Blewett powered his way past Korner to move into third with Rufrano taking fourth and Jon McKennedy fifth as Korner fell back to seventh, just behind Anthony Bello. Hirschman went by Pitkat on lap-4 to take over the race lead while Rufrano was all over the back of Blewett looking for a way to move up to third place. The caution flew with 11 laps complete for another spin by Charette in turn 3.
Hirschman resumed his place at the front of the field on the restart with Pitkat right behind him in second. Rufrano was third in line, followed by McKennedy and Blewett. Blewett lost fifth to Korner on lap-15 while McKennedy took over third from Rufrano on lap-16. The caution came back out with 17 laps complete for a spin by George Bessette, Jr. on the frontstretch and spins by Tommy Barrett, Jr. and Dana DiMatteo in turn 1.
Hirschman took the lead again with Pitkat right behind him but the field could only complete one lap before the caution flew for Bryan Narducci, who spun and came to a stop on the backstretch grass.
Hirschman and Pitkat were again the top-2 cars back under green with McKennedy, Korner, and Rufrano lined up behind them. Matt Swanson was up to sixth with Blewett, Bello, David Arute, and Glen Reen rounding out the top-10. The caution came back out with 25 laps complete for a spin in turn 3 by Charette.
The restart saw Korner and Rufrano touch wheels with Korner going through the grass in turn 3 and several cars behind him, including Bessette and Ed Flemke, Jr., spun to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed. On the next restart Hirschman took the lead with McKennedy briefly going side by side with Pitkat for second before he fell into line behind Pitkat. Rufrano was still fourth with Bello behind him in fifth. The caution came back out with 28 laps complete as Todd Owen and Charette came together coming out of turn 4 with Owen getting into the frontstretch wall and Charette spinning down into the infield.
The field completed one more lap with Hirschman as the leader before the caution came back out for Reen, who spun in the middle of turns 3+4. Hirschman again took command on the restart with Pitkat behind him in second. Matt Swanson dropped off the pace and limped back to pit road on lap-32 while Rufrano was now third behind the two lead cars with Korner and Ryan Doucette making up the top-5.
Hirschman led Pitkat to the checkered flag to win the NAPA Duel Race. Rufrano finished third with Korner and Bello rounding out the top-5. Finishing 6th through 10th and earning starting positions in Saturday’s 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler® main event were Doucette, Narducci, Charette, Blewett, and Reen.
In the second 40-lap NAPA Duel Race, Ron Silk led the field to the green flag and he began to set the early pace with Craig Lutz behind him in second. Doug Coby was third in line with Chris Pasteryak and Michael Christopher, Jr. making up the top-5. The top-5 was still the same when the caution flew with 15 laps complete for Brett Meservey, who spun on the backstretch.
Silk was back on the lead on the restart with Lutz in second. Coby was applying heavy pressure to Lutz for second but the caution came back out with 17 laps complete for Bobby Santos, III, who took a hard hit into the turn 4 wall.
Silk took the lead with Coby getting around Lutz to move into second before the caution came back out with 19 laps complete for a spin in turn 3 by Gary Putnam. The field completed one lap back under green before the caution came back out for Coby, who spun in turn 4. Lutz was sent to the rear of the field for contact with Coby.
Silk took the lead on the restart with Stephen Kopcik now up to second. Christopher was third in line with Andrew Krause up to fourth and Eric Goodale fifth. Chris Pasteryak was sixth with Jake Johnson, Matt Galko, Meservey, and Santos making up the top-10. Spencer Davis came to a stop in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution back out with 21 laps complete.
Pasteryak spun in turn 1 on the restart, which saw several other cars get collected in the melee, including Meservey and Ronnie Williams. Silk was back in the lead on the restart with Kopcik, Krause, Christopher, and Galko behind him. Pasteryak spun on the frontstretch to bring the caution back out with 24 laps complete. Silk was back in the lead on the restart while Krause went wheel to wheel with Kopcik for second and he took second on lap-25. Galko was fourth in line with Lutz back up to fifth. Goodale was sixth, with Coby, Johnson, Christopher, and Putnam making up the top-10.
With 5 laps to go it was still Silk in command with Krause, Kopcik, Galko, and Lutz giving chase. Krause closed in on Silk’s back bumper but he couldn’t get close enough to make a bid for the lead as Silk took the checkered flag to win NAPA Duel #2. Kopcik finished third with Galko, Goodale, Coby, Lutz, Christopher, Santos, and Pasteryak making up the top-10 of qualified cars for tomorrow’s 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler® main event.
In the 75-lap American Canadian Tour feature event, before the green flag came out, Dillon Moltz had a mechanical issue that shot him into the turn 2 wall and he came to pit road to work on his car after having an outside pole starting position for the race. Jimmy Renfrew, Jr. took the lead at the green with Woody Pitkat charging up to second. D.J. Shaw and Bryan Wall, Jr. were side by side for third but the caution flew with 1 lap complete for PJ Evans, who spun into the turn 1 wall.
Renfrew took the lead on the restart with Wall taking second. Matthew Lowinski-Loh moved into third with Shaw fourth and Eric Sands fifth. Pitkat slid from second back to ninth place in a matter of several laps while Derek Gluchacki took seventh place from Michael Bennett on lap-5. Wall was applying heavy pressure to Shaw for second and he nearly had a pass lined up coming out of turn 4 on lap-7 but he fell back into line. The caution came back out with 8 laps complete as Adam Gray got loose coming out of turn 2 and ended up against the backstretch wall.
Renfrew took the lead back under green with Shaw moving up to second. Wall settled into third with Gluchacki in fourth and Sands fifth. Gluchacki made a move to the inside of Wall coming off turn 4 to complete lap-9 to take over third place. The caution came back out with 11 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Cody LeBlanc.
Renfrew resumed his place at the front of the field on the restart with Gluchacki taking second from Shaw. Sands was fourth and Pitkat was up to fifth before the caution came back out with 13 laps complete for a spin by LeBlanc on the frontstretch.
Renfrew took the lead with Shaw taking second back from Gluchacki before the caution came back out with 14 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Jason Corliss. Renfrew again took the lead on the restart with Gluchacki and Shaw running door to door for second for a lap before Gluchacki took the spot. Pitkat was fourth in line with Sands in fifth. The caution came back out with 20 laps complete as Jaret Curtis came to a stop at the apron of turn 4.
Renfrew took the lead on the restart with Gluchacki holding off Shaw for second. Ryan Olsen spun on the backstretch to bring the caution flag back out with 21 laps complete.
With restarts now single file, Renfew took the lead ahead of Gluchacki, Shaw, Sands, and Wall. Pitkat made a move to take sixth place from Andrew Molleur before the caution came back out with 22 laps complet for a multi-car spin at the end of the backstretch involving Bennett, Lowinski-Loh, and Jordan Hadley.
Renfrew nearly lost the lead to Gluchacki on the next restart but he was able to maintain the race lead. Shaw was still third with Sands and Wall making up the top-5. Just behind Wall was Pitkat, Tom Carey, Jonathan Bouvrette, Brooks Clark, and Molleur. A multi-car spin in turn 2 brought the caution back out with 26 laps complete.
Renfrew, Gluchacki, Shaw, Sands, and Wall were again the top-5 runners back under green but only 1 lap was complete before the caution came back out for a multi-car spin on the frontstretch involving Dillon Moltz, Tom Fearn, and several other cars.
Back under green, the running order was Renfrew, Gluchacki, Shaw, Sands, Wall, Pitkat, Gabe Brown, Carey, Brian Hoar, and Lowinski-Loh. The caution came back out with 33 laps complete as Brown and Pitkat came together and got into the turn 4 wall.
Renfrew took the lead back under green with Gluchacki right on his back bumper. Shaw was third in line with Sands in fourth and Wall in fifth. Gluchacki took a look to the inside of Renfrew on lap-36 but couldn’t make a pass. Quinny Welch spun in tgurn 2 on lap-42 but kept moving and the race stayed green. Renfrew was starting to slowly pull away from Gluchacki, who had Shaw all over his back bumper looking to make a bid for second. Ryan Olsen spun in turn 2 on lap-48 but kept moving and the race stayed green.
Gluchacki made a move to the inside of Renfrew on lap-50 to take the lead but before he could get to the start/finish line, Shaw took the lead from Gluchacki with Renfrew back to third. Renfrew got back by Gluchacki to move into second on the next lap while Sands and Wall were still running fourth and fifth. With 25 laps to go, Shaw was starting to pull away ever so slightly from Renfrew and Gluchacki and Gluchacki took second on lap-58 as Renfrew drifted up the track in turn 2.
Brian Tagg took a quick spin on the backstretch on lap-67 but he was able to keep going and the race stayed green. Gluchacki had closed the distance to Shaw in the fight for the lead and with 5 laps to go he was within a car length of Shaw’s back bumper. Carey spun on the backstretch to bring the caution flag out with 70 laps complete.
Shaw set off in the lead back under green with Gluchacki right behind him in second. Renfrew was still third with Sands and Wall continuing to make up the top-5. With 2 laps to go, Gluchacki was looking like he was going to make a pass for the lead but the caution came out for a spin by Hoar.
Shaw took the lead on the green white checkered restart and he led Gluchacki to the checkered flag to become the first ACT winner at Stafford in 38 years. Renfrew finished third with Sands and Wall rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Devon Jencik took the early lead with Damian Palardy and Matt Clement side by side for second. The two cars touched on lap-2 with Clement falling back to sixth while Palardy continued in second place. Jeremy Lavoie was now third with Rich Hammann fourth and Kevin Cormier fifth. Pete Slavin spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution flag out with 4 laps complete.
Lavoie powered his way into the lead on the restart with Jencik falling back to second. Hamman was third with Clement back up to fourth and Palardy was fifth when the caution came back out with 5 laps complete for Trinity Provost, who got into the wall in turn 4.
Lavoie took the lead back under green while Hammann worked his way by Jencik to move into second but that was short lived as Matt Clement took second one lap after the restart. Cormier was up to fourth with Gary Patnode taking fifth place.
At the halfway point of the race, Lavoie had built up a lead of several car lengths over Matt Clement with Hammann, Cormier, and Patnode making up the top-5. Palardy was sixth followed by Adrien Paradis, III, Devon Jencik, Christopher Phelps, and Connor Jencik. Lavoie appeared like he was headed to victory but the caution came out with 19 laps complete for Devon Jencik and Palardy, who came together and spun in turn 1 to set up a green white checkered finish.
Clement worked his way around Lavoie on the restart to take over the lead and he led Lavoie to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2023 season. Hammann finished third with Cormier and Patnode rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Chris Danielczuk led the field to the green flag and he powered into the lead with David Macha, Jr. in second. Bill Cote moved from fourth up to third but as the cars hit turn 3, John Orsini got loose and spun into Tyler Trott which also collected the car of Travis Downey and brought the caution flag out before a lap could be completed.
Danielczuk again took the lead on the restart with David Macha, Sr. moving into second. Waterman took second from Macha on lap-2 with Travis Hydar moving up to third and Cote took fourth as Macha slipped back to a side by side battle with Bert Ouellette for fifth place. Ouellette took fifth on lap-3 while at the front Waterman streaked by Danielczuk to take over the race lead on lap-4. Hydar and Cote followed him by Danielczuk to take second and third and drop Danielczuk back to fourth with Ouellette still in fifth place. Bill Cote did a quick 360 spin in turn 4 on lap-7 and the race stayed green but Sean Petlock came to a stop in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 7 laps complete.
Waterman took the lead on the restart with Hydar moving up to second. Ouellette took third with Danielczuk fourth and Walt Hovey was up to fifth before the caution came back out with 9 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Walker.
Waterman again took the lead with Hydar in close pursuit on the restart. Ouellette came up to third but before the lap could be completed, the caution back out for a spin in turns 1+2 by Cindy Stirk.
Waterman streaked away from Hydar on the restart with Ouellette again taking third behind the two leaders. Lafayette was fourth in line with Hovey fifth when the cauiotn came back out with 11 laps complete for spins in turn 2 by Macha, Jr., which collected his father Macha, Sr. and Jeff Asselin also spun behind the two Macha cars.
The top-5 remained the same on the restart with Waterman leading Hydar, Ouellette, Lafayette, and Hovey. Hydar went by Waterman to take over the lead on lap-11 just before the caution flew again for a spin in turn 1 by Patrick Jenks.
Hydar took the lead on the restart but just as they completed lap-13, Waterman took over the lead with Ouellette moving up to third, Hovey fourth, and Aaron Plemons fifth as Lafayette slid back to sixth place. Macha, Jr. came to a stop at the entrance of turn 3 to bring the caution back out with 16 laps complete.
Waterman and Hydar resumed their duel at the front on the restart with Hydar giving chase to Waterman. The field completed one more lap before the caution came back out for a spin by Lafayette in turn 2 after contact with Walker. Walker was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Lafayette.
Waterman took the lead again with Hydar giving chase from second. Ouellette was third in line followed by Plemons and Hovey. Hydar and Waterman touched on the final lap with Waterman pulling away from Hydar to take his first win at Stafford. Ouellette finished third with Plemons and Hovey 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.