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Austin Bessette Wins 20-lap Limited Late Model Feature at Stafford Motor Speedway

PREECE, FEARN, WILLIAMS, BESSETTE, FLUCKIGER, & PALLAI SCORE JUNE 28th CARQUEST CHAMPIONS FOR CHARITIES FEATURE WINS
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Scott Running
June 28, 2013

(Stafford Springs, CT)---Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with a special bonus race featuring Stafford Speedway’s CARQUEST Champions For Charities Drivers.  13 current and former open wheel champions together raised over $46,000 for their various charities and took part in a 15-lap race on the Stafford Mini-Mile using Senior Outlaw Wild Thing Karts.  Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Ryan Preece in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Ronnie Williams in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Austin Bessette in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kris Fluckiger in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.  Richie Pallai, Jr. was the winner of the 15-lap CARQUEST Champions For Charities race.  Pallai was racing to raise funds for the Catherine Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tom Bolles and Zach Aszklar were side by side for the first lap in a fight for the lead with Bolles taking the lead.  Sean Foster moved into second behind Bolles, with Rowan Pennink, Dan Avery, and Aszklar, making up the top-5 in the early laps.  Woody Pitkat was sixth, with Eric Berndt, Doug Coby, Ted Christopher, and Ryan Preece making up the top-10.

Pennink got around Foster to move into second place and he was looking to pressure Bolles for the race lead when the caution came out with 6 laps complete for Glen Reen, who came to a stop on the backstretch.
On the restart, Bolles got in front of Pennink to keep the lead.  Foster and Aszklar were side by side for third, but that battle was over quickly as Foster took the spot and Pitkat followed him by.  Keith Rocco, Tommy Membrino, Jr. and Frank Ruocco were involved in an incident in turn 3 that brought the caution back out with 8 laps complete.

Bolles maintained the lead back under green with Pitkat pulling alongside Pennink for second.  Ryan Preece was riding behind both Pitkat and Pennink in fourth place with Foster in fifth.  Preece and Pennink came together with Pennink spinning in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution back out with 11 laps complete.  Preece was sent to the rear of the field for the contact with Pennink.

Bolles again took the lead on the restart with Pitkat holding off Foster for second.  Pitkat took a look to the inside of Bolles for the lead on lap-13, but Bolles was able to stay out front.  Coby moved into fourth with Christopher right behind him in fifth place.  Danny Cates was sixth with Michael Bennett, Avery, Berndt, and Curt Brainard making up the top-10.  Christopher got around Coby to move into fourth place on lap-16 while Pitkat was still searching for a line to get by Bolles for the race lead. 

At the halfway point of the race, the field had settled into a single file line with Bolles leading Pitkat, Foster, Christopher, Coby, Cates, Bennett, Berndt, Avery, and Pennink.  The cauiotn came out with 21 laps complete for Ryan Preece, who spun coming out of turn 4 after contact from Frank Ruocco.  Ruocco was given a drive through penalty under green flag conditions for the contact with Preece as it was his second infraction of the race.

Bolles took the lead back under green, but the race complexion changed one lap later as Foster, Christopher, Cates, Bennett, and Todd Owen all spun in turn 3 to bring the caution back out.  Coby got into the back of Foster’s car, which turned Foster to the right and into Christopher, which set off a chain reaction.  Coby was put to the rear of the field for the contact with Foster.  The restart order was now Bolles and Pitkat on the front row, Coby and Berndt in row 2, and Preece and Avery in row 3.

Pitkat was able to stay with Bolles for a lap before he slotted back into second place behind Bolles.  Preece was now up to third after his earlier penalty and Berndt and Pennink made up the remainder of the top-5.  Avery was sixth, with Christopher, Membrino, Ruocco, Rocco, and Coby behind him.

Preece got around Pitkat to move into second on lap-27 and he immediately began to pressure Bolles for the lead.  Preece tried the outside groove several times, but Bolles was able to keep the lead.  Preece was continuing to apply the pressure to Bolles, but the caution came out with 30 laps complete for a spin by Membrino in turn 3 after contact from Ruocco.  Ruocco was parked for the remainder of the race for the contact with Membrino. 

Preece got a strong run on the restart and powered his way by Bolles to take the race lead.  Bolles slotted into second, with Pitkat and Pennink side by side for third behind Bolles.  Christopher was fifth behind Pitkat and Pennink, with Berndt, Avery, Coby, Rocco, and Brainard making up the second half of the top-10.

Once Preece took over the lead, he drove away from the field to pick up his division leading fourth victory of the 2013 season.  Bolles came home in second, with Pennink, Pitkat, and Christopher rounding out the top-5.

In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Jim Peterson led the field to the green and took the early lead ahead of Kevin Gambacorta and Mark St. Hilaire.  Cory Casagrande was fourth with Woody Pitkat dueling with Adam Gray for fifth.  Pitkat’s night came to a quick end as his car came to a stop in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.

St. Hilaire kept pace with Peterson for half a lap before Peterson got clear into the lead on the restart.  Gambacorta, Gray, and Jay Stuart were all able to get by St. Hilaire and Ryan Posocco took another spot from St. Hilaire one lap later to drop St. Hilaire from second back to sixth in a matter of three laps.  St. Hilaire came back strong and took fifth from Posocco on lap-7 with Peterson continuing to lead Gambacorta, Gray, and Stuart.

Gray made a move to the inside of Gambacorta to move into second on lap-9 and he brought Stuart with him as Gambacorta fell from second back to fourth place.  George Nocera, Jr. came to a stop against the backstretch wall to bring the yellow back out with 9 laps complete.

Gray was able to hang with Peterson in the outside groove in a duel for the lead on the restart whle Stuart, St. Hilaire, Tom Fearn, Gambacorta, J.J. Hill, and Casagrande were lined up behind him.  Rick Charette and Jim Mavlouganes spun in turn 3 to bring the yellow out with 11 laps complete.

Peterson was able to get clear of Gray on the restart and he resumed leading the race.  Stuart was now alongside Gray for second place, but Peterson slipped up the track in turn 4 on lap-13 and Stuart took advantage of that slip to power his way into the race lead.  Fearn was also able to take advantage of the slip, moving from fourth up to second with Gray slotting in third and Peterson in fourth.  Hill was fifth, with Casagrande behind him.  Andrew Durand did a half spin in the middle of turns 1+2 on lap-16, but he was able to get going and the race stayed under green.

With 10 laps to go, it was Stuart, Fearn, and Gray locked in a three-car train for the race lead.  Casagrande was up to fourth place behind them, with Hill, Michael Scorzelli, and Gambacorta behind him.  Stuart held the lead until lap-23 when Fearn made a strong move to Stuart’s inside to take over the lead coming out of turn 4.  Gray followed Fearn by Stuart to drop Stuart back to third after holding the lead since lap-13. 

Fearn led Gray back to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2013 season.  Stuart finished third, with Casagrande and Hill rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Jason Lafayette and Payton Henry spent the first lap side by side for the race lead and Ronnie Williams nearly made a three-wide move for the lead as the field came off turn 4 to complete the first lap.  The cars of Geoff Boisjolie and Fred Nees, Jr. came together against the frontstretch wall to bring the caution out with 1 lap complete.

Lafayette took the lead on the restart with Williams and Henry side by side for second place.  Williams took the spot and he took the lead from Lafayette on lap-2.  Dylan Menditto was third behind Williams and Lafayette, with Henry fourth and Bob Charland fifth.  Troy Talman and Tony Membrino, Jr. were side by side for sixth place, but Membrino took the spot from Talman on lap-6 and one lap later he made a move by Charland and Henry to take fourth place.

At the halfway point of the race, Williams was still the leader with Menditto in second.  Membrino was now third, bur he was under heavy pressure from Chase Dowling with Lafayette and Henry right behind.  SK Light points leader Talman spun in turn 1 to bring the caution out with 12 laps complete.

On the restart, there was a pileup of cars in turn 4 involving the cars of Lafayette, Rick Williams, Dylan Campbell, and Joey Ferrigno that brought the caution right back out.

Williams took the lead on the restart, but before the field got back to the line, Dowling had made a move to the inside of Williams to take over the race lead.  Menditto was third behind Dowling and Williams, with Membrino and Henry making up the top-5.  Membrino made a bid for third on lap-15, but Menditto was able to hold off Membrino’s challenge.  Williams was all over the back bumper of Dowling, but the caution came back out with 16 laps complete for Pete Lopuch, who spun at the entrance of turn 3.

On the restart, Williams stayed even with Dowling in a side by side duel for the lead.  Neither driver was giving an inch as they ran virtually identical lap times for the first two laps.  Dowling was able to inch ahead as they came to the white flag.  Williams made a crossover move and got to Dowling’s inside on the last lap and Williams led Dowling back to the checkered flag by a nose to pick up his first win fo the 2013 season in thrilling fashion.  Membrino finished third, with Menditto, and Henry rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Don Wood took the lead at the green with Andrew Hayes pulling alongside Albert Saunders for second.  Hayes took the spot from Saunders and Austin Bessette followed Hayes by Saunders to drop Saunders back to fourth place, just in front of David Arute.

Arute was able to make a move on Saunders for fourth place on lap-6 and he brought D.J. Burnham with him as Saunders fell back two more spots to sixth place.  Don Wood, Hayes, and Bessette were locked in a nose to tail battle for the lead with Arute several car lengths back in fourth.  Arute was leading a second train of cars that consisted of himself, Burnham, Josh Wood, Jesse Hinze, and Saunders at the halfway point of the race.

Hayes took a look to the inside of Don Wood for the lead on lap-11, but Wood was able to keep Hayes behind him.  But that all changed on lap-13 as Hayes was able to make the move to Wood’s inside to move into the lead.  Bessette followed Hayes by Don Wood as Wood fell from the lead back to third place.  Don Wood continued to backslide as on lap-15, Burnham and Josh Wood got by to drop him to fifth place.

At the front of the field, Bessette was all over the back of Hayes for the race lead, but Hayes was able to keep the lead.  Bessette gave Hayes a bump coming to the white flag, but Hayes was able to keep in front.  The two cars again touched in turns 3+4 with Bessette taking the lead and the win and Burnham was able to take second at the line as Hayes finished third.  Josh Wood was fourth and Don Wood completed the top-5.

In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Gus Coelho took the lead at the green with Kelsey Rottino and Kris Fluckiger right on his bumper.  Several cars spun in turn 1 on the opening lap, including Jeremy Lavioe and Allison Coelho, but they got moving and the race stayed green.

Back at the front, Fluckiger got by Gus Coelho to take over the lead and Fran Siana, David Comeau, and Rottino all followed him by Coelho.  Comeau got by Siana to move into second while Fluckiger was pulling away in the race lead.  Rottino was fourth behind Fluckiger, Comeau, and Siana, and in fifth was last week’s winner Ryan Fearn, who was charging his way through the field.

Fluckiger led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2013 season.  Comeau finished second, with Rottino, Ryan Fearn, and Siana rounding out the top-5.

In the 15-lap CARQUEST Champions For Charities race, David Arute led the field to the green flag and he led the first laps but he was quickly overtaken by Ted Christopher.  Richie Pallai, Jr. moved into second with Ron Midford, Jr. in third, and Doug Coby in fourth.

Midford moved into second on lap-5 while Christopher continued to lead the race.  Midford made contact with Christopher fighting for the lead on lap-6, but both cars kept going.  Randy Cabral came to a stop against the turn 4 wall to bring the caution out with 6 laps complete.

Christopher led the field back under green with Midford and Coby behind him.  Pallai was fourth with Ryan Preece in fifth.  Midford got by Christopher for the lead on lap-9 and Coby and Pallai were also able to move by Christopher.    Christopher was about to make a three-wide to move from fourth to second, but the caution came out for debris on the frontstretch with 10 laps complete.

Midford took the lead on the restart, but Pallai took the lead coming out of turn 4.  No sooner did Pallai take the lead than Christopher streaked by Pallai to move into the lead.  Christopher’s time at the front was short as Pallai came back strong to retake the lead on lap-13.  Pallai was beginning to pull away from Coby but the caution came out with 13 laps complete as Ryan Preece and Ronnie Silk came together on the backstretch.

Pallai took the lead on the restart and had the lead at the white flag.  Christopher went three wide for second, but wasn’t able to make the pass.  Pallai led Midford back to the checkered flag to win the race as Cabral ended up on his roof on the frontstretch on the final lap.  Coby finished third, with Christopher fourth and Woody Pitkat in fifth.

For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit them on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.