(Stafford Springs, CT)— Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with a 5-Star Series program. Taking feature wins on the night were Matt Galko, who outlasted Chase Dowling, Ryan Preece, and Ted Christopher in thrilling side by side duel that went on for 20 laps to win the SK Modified® feature, Michael Bennett took down his fourth win of the season in the Late Model feature, Brett Gonyaw scored his second win in the SK Light feature, Duane Provost won his third race of the season in the Ltd. Late Model feature, and Nicole Chambrello scored her first DARE Stock feature win in nearly two years to the day.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Cam McDermott and Tyler Hines were side by side for the first lap dueling for the lead and on lap-2 Glen Reen nearly went 3-wide for the lead but backed out of the move. With 4 laps complete it was still Hines and McDermott side by side for the lead with Reen in third. Matt Galko and Keith Rocco were side by side for fourth behind them.
The order continued to shuffle as Hines got clear to the lead with Reen behind him in second. Galko was by himself in third with Chase Dowling and McDermott side by side for fourth with Tom Bolles in sixth. Reen moved to the front on lap-9 with a move in turns 1+2 and Galko came with him into second. Dowling also followed the two leaders by Hines as he moved into third with Hines slotting into line in fourth with Bolles fifth and Eric Berndt in sixth.
Dowling got by Galko on lap-12 to move into second and Ryan Preece moved into sixth after starting in the back of the pack. With 15 laps complete the order was Dowling out front with Reen, Galko, and Hines behind him. Preece got by Bolles for fifth just as the caution came out for a multi-car spin behind him that involved Joey Mucciacciaro, Jr., Payton Henry, Dan Avery, and D.J. Burnham.
Dowling took the lead back under green with Galko in second. The field stacked up a bit in turn 4 but everyone was able to gather their cars up and it was Preece emerging in third with Bolles in fourth and Berndt fifth before the caution came out with 17 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch involving Tony Membrino, Jr. and Rocco.
Stephen Kopcik got loose on the restart and came to a stop in turn 2 to bring the caution right back out. Dowling took the lead on the restart but only one lap could be completed before a melee broke out coming out of turn 4 with Nick Salva, Josh Wood, Mike Christopher, Jr., Todd Owen, and Tommy Membrino, Jr., all involved to bring the caution back out.
Galko got a good run in the outside lane and took the lead from Dowling on the restart. Dowling and Reen were side by side for second with Preece and Berndt side by side for fourth. With 20 laps complete, Berndt’s car got turned into the frontstretch wall to bring the caution out.
Galko and Dowling were side by side for the lead back under green with Reen and Preece side by side for third with Ted Christopher up to fifth. The two lead duos were still side by side until lap-25 when Preece got clear of Reen and took third. Christopher was now on the outside of Reen in a fight for fourth as Galko and Dowling were still side by side for the lead.
With 28 laps complete, Galko and Dowling were still side by side for the lead but it was now single file behind the two leaders with Preece, Christopher, and Reen making up the top-5 with Bolles still hanging strong in sixth.
With 5 laps to go, Galko and Dowling were still side by side for the racve lead with Preece, Christopher, and Reen lined up behind them. As they completed lap-36 it was now two by two as Galko and Dowling were out front with Preece and Christopher and lined up behind them.
As they took the white flag, it was a 5-car train for the lead. Galko was able to get a good run coming out of turn 4 to beat Dowling and Preece to the line by a car length. Dowling took second by inches over Preece with Christopher beating Reen to the line by inches for fourth place.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Matt Vassar took the lead at the green and he led the first three laps before Michael Bennett moved to the front with a pass in turn 2. Kevin Gambacorta and Josh Wood were sice by side for third with Gambacorta finally getting the spot on lap-4. Tyler Leary was now side by side with Wood for fourth with Tom Fearn behind them in sixth. Leary got clear of Wood and Fearn got around Wood to move into fifth on lap-6 with Bennett, Vassar, and Gambacorta still making up the top-3.
Wood’s car dropped off the pace on lap-9 and he slowly made his way to pit road. After a quick pit stop, he came back out on track a lap down. Bennett was still leading Vassar but the battle for third was heating up with Gambacorta, Leary, and Fearn all nose to tail.
Leary got around Gambacorta and then Fearn was able to get by Gambacorta to move into fourth on lap-18 and Glen Reen muscled his way by Gambacorta right behind Fearn to take fifth and drop Gambacorta back to sixth. With 9 laps to go, Reen was all over the back bumper of Fearn in a fight four fourth as Bennett continued to hold the lead with Vassar in second and Leary in third.
Reen’s car dropped off the pace on lap-28 while at the front Vassar was closing down the gap to Bennett. Vassar ran out of laps as Bennett took down his fourth win of the 2017 season. Leary finished third with Fearn and Gambacorta rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, the feature got started with a bang as several cars touched wheels at the start and Cassandra Cole, Kyle Jette, and Joe Graf, Jr. all took damage to their cars which brought the yellow and red flags out before the first lap could be completed.
The restart saw a pileup in turn1 involving Marcello Rufrano, Ed Chicoski, Rit Dulac, Norm Sears, Tony Santangelo and Amanda West to bring the yellow flag back out before a lap could be completed.
Todd Douillard took the lead on the third restart with Glenn Korner moving into second. Wesley Prucker took third with Joey Ferrigno and Bob Charland side by side for fourth.
Prucker made a move around Douillard to take the lead on lap-7 while behind the two leaders, Joey Ferrigno pulled alongside Brett Gonyaw in a bid for third. Gonyaw was able to hold Ferrigno off and he went outside of Douillard to take second on lap-10. Douillard slotted into third with Ferrigno in fourth and David Arute was side by side with Dan Wesson for fifth. Arute made the pass on Wesson on lap-13 to take fourth as Gonyaw was looking to take the lead from Prucker. The action heated up behind the leaders as Arute went to the outside groove to move into third with Wesson moving into fourth. Douillard spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 15 laps complete.
The field went back to green with Gonyaw and Prucker side by side for the lead with Arute and Wesson side by side for third behind them. With 18 laps complete, Gonyaw had the lead with Prucker and Wesson side by side for second with Arute in fourth and Cory DiMatteo in fifth. Prucker made one last ditch effort in turn 3 on the final lap but wasn’t able to muster up enough momentum to complete the pass as the top-4 came across the line in what looked like a race speed pace lap. Gonyaw beat Prucker to the line by inches with Wesson taking third from Arute by inches with DiMatteo rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Gary Patnode took the lead at the green and he led the first lap before giving way to Robert Bloxsom, III on lap-2. Duane Provost followed Bloxsom past Patnode to take second and drop Patnode back to third. Al Saunders was fourth with his twin brother Cliff right behind him in fifth place.
The order remained the same until lap-8 when the Saunders twins both got by Patnode to move into third and fourth. Alexandra Fearn followed the Saunders twins by Patnode to take fifth as Patnode slid back to sixth. Provost was applying heavy pressure to Bloxsom for the lead and he made a move to Bloxsom’s inside coming out of turn 2 and was able to complete the pass in turn 3 on lap-11 to move to the lead.
Provost led Bloxsom to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2017 season. Al Saunders finished third with Cliff Saunders and Alexandra Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Nicole Chambrello took the lead at the drop of the green with Chuck Harrison in second and Brandon Michael moved into third. Michael quickly got around Harrison to move into second on lap-2 while George Bessette, Jr. was fourth behind Harrison and Chris Bagnall was fifth.
Bagnall took fourth from Harrison on lap-7 and his pass brought Johnny Walker into fifth as Harrison slid back to sixth with Chambrello and Michael still out front. Vince Gambacorta and Travis Hydar came together and spun in turn 1 to bring the caution out with 8 laps complete.
Chambrello took took the lead back under green with Michael slotting into second. Bessette was third with Walker fourth and Bagnall in fifth. Chambrello led Michael to the checkered flag to pick up her first win of the 2017 season. Walker finished third with Bessette and Bagnall 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.