Congratulations to #3 Mark St. Hilaire
Takes Down 1st LM Victory at Stafford Motor Speedway
ALBERT SAUNDERS WINS XTRA MART DARE STOCK
XTRA D FEATURE AT STAFFORD; PITKAT, ST. HILAIRE,
HINES, & WOOD ALSO SCORE MAY 18th FEATURE WINS
For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Running
May 18, 2012
(Stafford Springs, CT)---Stafford Speedway was back on track with the Xtra Mart DARE Stock Xtra D program on Friday night, May 18th. Albert Saunders drove to victory in the extra distance 20-lap DARE Stock feature to score his second consecutive feature victory. Woody Pitkat was the winner of a wild and thrilling 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Mark St. Hilaire was the a first time winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tyler Hines was a first time winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, and Josh Wood scored his third consecutive Limited Late Model feature victory of the 2012 season in the 20-lap feature.
In the 20-lap Xtra Mart DARE Stock Xtra D feature event, Andy Marchese took the early lead ahead of James Carroll. Carroll’s time in second was short as Stephanie Berardi and Vince Gambacorta moved by Carroll. Last week’s winner Albert Saunders was on the charge in the early stages and by the time the race hit the halfway point, he was right on Marchese’s bumper fighting for the race lead.
Saunders was able to get by Marchese on lap-11 and his move opened the door for Austin Bessette to follow Saunders by Marchese. Bessette got loose in turn 2 on lap-12 and he fell back to fifth place as Marchese, Kyle Casagrande, and Cliff Saunders all got by Bessette.
Albert Saunders was pulling away from the field while Casagrande was working his way into second place with Cliff Saunders following Casagrande towards the front. The caution came out with 15 laps complete for a spin by Berardi and Marchese through the infield grass.
Albert Saunders and Casagrande were side by side for a lap on the restart with Saunders getting clear to the lead. Cliff Saunders got to the inside of Casagrande one lap after the restart and he brought Bessette with him as Casagrande fell from second back to fourth place. Gambacorta was in fifth place, with Kris Fluckiger right behind him in sixth place.
Albert Saunders led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive DARE Stock feature victory. Cliff Saunders finished second, with Bessette, Casagrande, and Gambacorta rounding out the top-5. Each top-5 finisher took home and extra $50 bonus courtesy of Xtra Mart Convenience Stores.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tom Bolles led the field to the green and he led the first two laps before Frank Ruocco moved to the front on lap-3. Woody Pitkat followed Ruocco by Bolles and Ryan Preece was able to make the move by Bolles one lap after Pitakt made his move. Glen Reen was fifth behind Bolles and Preece was able to move by Pitkat for second on lap-7.
Preece closed right in on Ruocco’s bumper and began to search for a way around Ruocco. Preece took to the high groove after several laps of following Ruocco around the track and he was able to pull alongside Ruocco several times, but couldn’t complete the pass. Preece tried a crossover move on lap-12 and he and Ruocco touched but Ruocco was again able to maintain the race lead. With Ruocco and Preece dueling for the lead, Pitkat was able to close the distance to the lead pair and made it a three-way fight for the lead with 15 laps complete.
The duel between Ruocco and Preece ended with 20 laps complete as the two cars made contact in turn 1 with Ruocco’s car hitting the turn 1 wall to bring the caution out. Preece was sent to the rear of the field by NASCAR Officials for the contact with Ruocco. This put Pitakt and Reen on the front row for the restart with Todd Owen and Danny Cates in the second row.
Pitakt took the lead back under green with Reen settling into second. The caution came out with 22 laps complete for a spin by Dan Avery and Kyle Spencer in turn 1, while in turn 2 there was a multicar spin involving about 7 cars. Ted Christopher was sent to the rear of the field by NASCAR Officals for contact which put Eric Berndt alongside Owen in the second row behind Pitakt and Reen for the restart.
Pitakt and Reen stayed side by side for a lap and a half before Pitkat was able to get clear to the lead. Reen stayed right on Pitakt’s bumper with Berndt in third. Nichole Morgillo was now up to fourth with Keith Rocco right behind her. Rocco made the move around Morgillo on lap-25 to move into fourth. Berndt was able to get past Reen just before Tommy Membrino, Jr. brought out the caution with 27 laps complete with a spin in turn 3.
Pitkat took the elad back under green but Rocco was on the charge and he moved to the lead on lap-29. Rocco’s move opened the door for Reen to pull alongside Pitkat, but the two cars remained side by side, allowing Rocco to pull away a couple of car lengths. Right behind the side by side duo of Reen and Pitkat was Michael Gervais, Jr. and Ryan Preece, who were also side by side.
Preece stayed in the outside groove and he went from fifth to second passing Gervais, Berndt, Reen, and Pitkat. The caution came back out with 34 laps complete as Reen and Berndt touched wheels on the frontstretch with Berndt going through the grass. Once Berndt hit the grass, he lost control of his car and he came back on the track and collected the cars of Morgillo and Todd Owen. Reen was sent to the rear of the field for the contact with Berndt. The restart order was now Rocco and Preece on the front row with Pitkat and Gervais in the second row.
Preece and Rocco were side by side for a half lap before Preece backed off heading into turn 3 and he was able to pull alongside Rocco. Danny Cates spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 35 laps complete with Rocco holding the lead over Preece, Pitkat, Gervais, and Ted Christopher.
On the restart, Rocco and Preece raced side by side for 2 laps with Preece the leader at the line before Rocco got cleared of Preece on lap-38. Preece made a last ditch effort coming to the checkered flag and he made contact with Rocco’s car, which resulted in Rocco spinning. Preece took the checkered flag first, but he was penalized to the last car on the lead lap by officials for the contact with Rocco, making Pitkat the winner. Gervais came home in second, with Christopher, Cates, and Matt Galko rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Ed Ricard took the lead at the green flag ahead of Mark St. Hilaire and Corey Hutchings. Adam Gray was fourth and Jim Peterson was in fifth in the early laps. On lap-5, Tom Fearn and Mike Quintiliano went by Keith Rocco to move into sixth and seventh place. The next lap saw Ricard slip up the track in turn 3, wh ich allowed both St. Hilaire and Hutchings to get by Ricard. Scott Cook brought out the caution out with 7 laps complete as his car was smoking and dropped fluid on the track.
Back under green, Hutchings got by St. Hilaire to take over the race lead. Gray took third, with Peterson ahead of Fearn. The cars ran in line until lap-13 when Fearn got by Peterson to take over fourth place. Fearn continued his charge as he and Peterson both got by Gray to move into third and fourth.
With 5 laps to go, St. Hilaire, Hutchings, Fearn, and Peterson were locked in a four car train for the top spot. Hutchings was able to close to St. Hilaire’s bumper and he gave St. Hilaire several shots, but St. Hilaire held strong and picked up his first career Late Model feature victory at Stafford Speedway. Hutchings finished second, with Fearn, Peterson, and Gray rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Rick Williams took the lead at the drop of the green and he took the lead ahead of Bob Charland, Jay Goff, Tyler Hines, and Dylan Kopec. Hines made a move around Goff for third on lap-3 and Charland almost made a pass for the lead. Goff spun coming out of turn 4 but was able to get going again and the race stayed green.
Williams stayed out front until lap-8 when Charland made a pass to take over the lead. Charland’s move opened the door for Hines to follow him by Williams. Hines’ time in second was short lived as both Zach Aszklar and Kopec got by, dropping Hines from second back to fourth as Charland continued to hold the race lead. Aszklar’s good run came to an end as he got loose and spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 13 laps complete.
Back under green, Kopec got a good to the outside of Charland and he was able to take the lead. Hines was third behind Charland, with Williams and the side by side duo of Tony Membrino, Jr. and Ronnie Williams making up the top-6. Ronnie Williams brought the caution out with 17 laps complete with a spin in turn 3.
On the restart Kopec was penalized for jumping the start and he was put to the rear of the field. The next restart saw a three-wide scramble for the lead between Charland, Hines, and Harry Wheeler with Wheeler taking the lead. Wheeler didn’t stay out front long as Charland and Hines went by him on the next lap. Hines then took the lead from Charland with 2 laps to go and he led Charland back to the checkered flag to pick up his first career SK Light feature victory. Charland finished second, with Membrino, Aszklar, and Scott Bouley rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, it was immediately three wide at the drop of the green with D.J. Burnham going by both Dennis Botticello and Jesse Hinze to take the lead on the first lap. Cory Casagrande quickly came through to second, with Hinze, Josh Wood, and Carla Botticello making up the top-5 in the early laps. Carla Botticello spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 6 laps complete.
On the restart, Burnham didn’t come up to speed right away, which bottlenecked the inside line. Duane Provost ran in to the back of the car in front of him and buckled his hood, which resulted in him being black flagged. Casagrande took the lead on the restart, but Wood quickly made a pass for the lead on lap-9. Hinze ran in third, with David Arute and Burnham making up the top-5. Burnham got by Arute for fourth place on lap-11 while Wood continued to hold the lead over Casagrande. Hinze spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 13 laps complete after contact with Burnham. Burnham was sent to the rear of the field by NASCAR Officials for the contact with Hinze.
On the restart, Wood took the lead and Casagrande settled into line right behind him. Arute was in third, with Justin Bren and Andrew Hayes making up the top-5. While Casagrande was able to keep pace with Wood in the previous green flag run, Wood was slowly stretching out his advantage and he pulled away to make it three wins in three tries thusfar in his rookie season of Limited Late Model competition at Stafford. Casagrande was able to hold off a hard charging Arute to take second, while Hayes and Dennis Botticello rounded out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit them on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
Posted: to Racing News on Sat, May 19, 2012
Updated: Sat, May 19, 2012