(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the Inaugural NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $27,000. Stafford Speedway held an online vote prior to the race with fans able to vote on the qualifying procedure, the number of laps for the feature, the tire rule, and how the lineup would be handicapped. The qualifying, tire rule, and handicapping procedures were decided by the fan vote prior to the race but the lap number remained a mystery to everyone. A weighted draw was held just prior to the start of the race with the top-3 fan choices of 76, 80, and 100 laps in a bucket. The 100-lap chip was drawn, making the race 100-laps long. After a 2014 season that has seen more downs than ups for Huntingdon Valley, PA driver Rowan Pennink, he used a strong move in turns 3+4 to take the lead from Ryan Preece as they were heading towards the white flag and took home the $5,000 winner’s check.
In other feature action during the night, Jay Stuart recorded his second consecutive Late Model feature victory, Dylan Menditto won the SK Light feature, David Arute took his first Ltd. Late Model checkered flag of the 2014, Frank L’Etoile, Jr. picked up his first win of the 2014 season in the DARE Stock feature, and Mike Christopher, Jr. picked up his first win of the year in the Legend Cars feature.
In the 100-lap SK Modified® feature event, Rowan Pennink took the lead from the pole while Keith Rocco moved into second. Frank Ruocco settled into third, with Ted Christopher quickly moving into fourth and Eric Berndt fifth. Rocco was already searching for a line that would allow him to make a pass on Pennink and he found that groove on lap-5 as he passed Pennink in turn 3. Pennink came right back to the inside of Rocco on lap-6 and he had the lead at the line by a nose. Pennink and Rocco ran side by side until lap-10 when Pennink got clear of Rocco.
Behind Pennink and Rocco, Ruocco was still running third, with Christopher in fourth and Ryan Preece got around Berndt to take over fifth on lap-12. Preece made a move to the inside of Christopher to move into fourth on lap-14 while Rocco was looking high and low for a way to get back by Pennink for the lead. Rocco made his move in turn 4 on lap-15 to retake the lead from Pennink.
Pennink went back around Rocco for the lead and Preece was now looking to the high side of Ruocco in a fight for third on lap-20. Behind Ruocco and Preece, Berndt was now side by side with Christopher for fifth place as Pennink continued to lead Rocco.
Rocco went back by Pennink for the lead on lap-23 in turn 4, but his time at the front was very short as Pennink retook the lead the very next lap with a pass in turn 1. Ruocco was able to hold off the charge of Preece and he maintained third place with Preece behind him in fourth. Berndt got the better of his duel with Christopher for fifth and just behind Christopher in seventh place was Woody Pitkat.
The first caution of the night came out with 29 laps complete as Tommy Membrino, Jr. found himself facing perpendicular to the track just out of turn 2.
Rocco took the lead on the restart with Pennink able to hold off Preece for second. Preece was now locked in a side by side duel with Ruocco once again for third with Christopher behind them in fifth place. Rocco and Pennink swapped the lead on lap-32 with Pennink taking the lead in turns 1+2 and Rocco going back out front in turns 3+4. The caution came back out with 32 laps complete as Chris Jones spun in turn 3.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Ruocco and Pennink side by side for second. Preece was fourth behind Ruocco and Pennink and Christopher was side by side with Woody Pitkat for fifth. Christopher quickly moved in front of Pitkat leaving Ruocco and Pennink as the only side by side battle taking place in the top-5. On lap-37, Pennink got loose in the corner and Ruocco moved into second while Preece took over third, dropping Pennink back to fourth place.
Ruocco went by Rocco for the lead in turn 3 on lap-39 to move into the race lead for the first time. Rocco tried to make a crossover move coming out of turn 4, but he didn’t have enough traction to make the pass and he slid back into line behind Ruocco to mount another challenge. Rocco made his move back by Ruocco on lap-41 to retake the lead. Pennink was now in third behind Rocco and Ruocco with Preece in fourth and Christopher fifth.
With 49 laps complete, Ruocco was making a pass on Rocco for the lead but the caution came out for Tommy Membrino, who spun through the frontstretch grass.
Rocco resumed the race lead back under green with Pennink moving into second. Christopher was now third with Ruocco back to fourth and Preece in fifth. Todd Owen was sixth, with Pitkat seventh, Glen Reen eighth, Dan Avery ninth, and Tony Membrino, Jr. rounding out the top-10.
Pennink went back to the lead around Rocco on lap-59 and with 40-laps to go, the lead trio of Pennink, Rocco, and Christopher had pulled away from Preece in fourth while Ruocco was holding down the fifth position.
With 30 laps to go, Pennink had stretched out his advantage over Rocco to just over half a second and Christopher was now third and closing in on Rocco’s bumper. Preece was still running fourth and Ruocco was still fifth with Reen now up to sixth, just ahead of Owen in seventh and Pitkat in eighth.
The caution came back out with 76 laps complete as Danny Cates spun in turn 2 and collected the car of Doug Coby.
Pennink took the lead back under green with Christopher and Rocco side by side for second. Behind them, Ruocco and Preece were side by side for fourth, but the action was slowed with 77 laps complete as Reen spun in the middle of turns 3+4 and several other cars spun to avoid him including Berndt and Brian Sullivan.
Pennink took the lead on the restart, but before he could get back to the start/finish line, Christopher moved to the front. The caution came back out the next lap for a multicar crash on the backstretch involving Sean Foster, Michael Gervais, Jr., Joey Cipriano, III, Tony Membrino, Jr., Nick Boivin, and Ronnie Williams.
Christopher made a move to the inside of Pennink on the restart to move into the lead while Ruocco was now back up to second. The action was wild and crazy behind the top-2 as Pennink was briefly three-wide with Preece and Rocco with Preece taking third, Pennink fourth, and Rocco fifth. Pitkat was sixth, Zach Sylvester was seventh, Chase Dowling was eighth, Owen was ninth, and Richie Pallai, Jr. was tenth.
Ruocco got by Christopher to take the lead on lap-83 and Preece moved into second. Christopher was now on the outside of Pennink in a fight for third with Rocco fifth. Pennink won the battle with Christopher to move into third and Rocco was now looking to the outside of Christopher for fourth. Preece was all over the back bumper of Ruocco, hounding him for the lead. Preece was taking a look to both the high and low side of Ruocco, but Ruocco was able to stay out front.
Just as Ryan Preece was making a move to take over the lead on lap-92, the caution came out for Tony Membrino, Jr. who spun in turn 1. The caution put Ruocco back out in front of Preece for the upcoming restart as the lap that Preece took the lead wasn’t completed.
The race went back to green with the top-4 rows remaining side by side for an entire lap. Ruocco and Preece were side by side for the lead with Pennink getting by Christopher to move into third. Pennink then got by Preece on lap-95 to move into second. Pennink then took the lead with a banzai move in turn 3, but he got loose and moved up the track, which allowed Preece to shoot by both Ruocco and Pennink to take over the lead. The caution came out with 95 laps complete for Berndt, who spun in turn 4.
There was a wreck in turns 1+2 on the restart involving Berndt, Tom Bolles, Pallai, and Berndt that brought the caution right back out. Preece took the lead on the next restart attempt with Pennink moving into second. Christopher moved into third as Ruocco was sliding backwards in the high groove. Ruocco was able to get into line in fourth place as Preece clicked off lap-97 on the scoreboard.
Pennink was glued to Preece’s back bumper and he made a pass for the lead in turns 3+4. The two cars came to the white flag side by side but as they went into turn 1, Preece spun. Preece did a quick 360 turn and kept going, but it was all Pennink at the front and he took the checkered flag and the $5,000 payday that came with it. Christopher finished second, with Ruocco, Rocco, and Reen rounding out the top-5.
SK 5k Feature Results
Updated SK Modified Points Standings
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Kyle Casagrande took the lead from the pole and took the early lead with Tom Fearn applying heavy pressure to his back bumper. Josh Wood was third, with Jay Stuart quickly moving up to fourth and Cory Casagrande in fifth.
Fearn got around Kyle Casagrande for the lead on lap-5. Stuart was continuing his charge to the front as he took second behind Fearn, with Wood third. Kyle Casagrande fell from the lead back to fourth place, just ahead of Adam Gray who was now in fifth at the halfway point of the feature.
The top-3 of Fearn, Stuart, and Cory Casagrande were now nose to tail with inches separating them. The trio got bunched up in turn 4 on lap-17 and the bottleneck allowed Fearn and Stuart to pull away from Wood in third. Cory Casagrande took third from Wood on lap-20 while Stuart was looking to take the lead away from Fearn. Behind the top-3 cars, Gray was making a move around Wood for fourth and his pass opened the door for Jim Peterson to move into fifth, dropping Wood back to sixth.
Stuart took the lead from Fearn on lap-21, with Cory Casagrande, Gray, and Peterson making up the top-5. The racing was slowed with 26 laps complete as the caution came out for Justin O’Neill, who spun in turn 2.
Stuart took the lead back under green with Cory Casagrande pulling alongside and then passing Fearn to take second. Fearn came back the very next lap and retook second with a pass in turn 2. Casagrande lost third to Peterson on lap-28, but he took the spot back from Peterson on lap-29 as Stuart was pulling away in the lead.
Stuart led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive and third overall victory of the 2014 season. Fearn finished second, with Cory Casagrande, Kevin Gambacorta, and Peterson rounding out the top-5.
Late Model Feature Results
Updated Late Model Points Standings
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Joey Ferrigno took a trip through the frontstretch grass at the start and came back onto the track directly in front of Jeremy Sorel. The two cars came to a stop in turn 1 just before they got into the wall and into each other to bring the caution out.
Geoff Boisjolie took the lead on the restart with Tyler Hines behind him. Dylan Menditto was third, with Bob Charland fourth and Nick Salva in fifth. Hines took the lead on lap-5 from Boisjolie and the caution came out with 5 laps complete as Carlos Gray spun in turn 4.
Menditto took the lead on the restart with Hines slotting into second. Charland was third, with Goff fourth and Boisjolie fifth. The caution came out with 12 laps complete for Boisjolie, who spun in turn 2.
Menditto took the lead on the restart, with Hines moving into second. Goff got a good run on the outside of Charland to move into third and Branden Dion followed Goff in the high groove to move by Charland and take over fourth place. Nick Salva was now looking to take fifth from Charland on lap-16 and Jeremy Sorel was right behind him in sixth after recovering from his lap-0 incident with Ferrigno.
The caution came out with 16 laps complete as Charland got into the frontstretch wall and then Salva spun in turns 1+2.
Menditto took the lead on the restart and Goff moved into second as Hines didn’t get a good restart on the outside of Menditto. Hines was now locked in a side by side duel with Dion for third with Sorel now in fifth after his early race misfortune.
Menditto stretched out his advantage over Goff and he took down his second SK Light feature win of the 2014 season. Hines finished third, with Dion and Sorel rounding out the top-5.
SK Light Feature Results
Updated SK Light Points Standings
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, the field took the green with a bang as Norm Sears got into the turn 1 SAFER wall to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.
Paul Arute led the field to the green and he took the early lead. His brother, David Arute, quickly moved into second while Austin Bessette took third. Albert Saunders was fourth and Duane Provost was fifth. The top-5 cars ran in line until the caution came out with 8 laps complete for a spin in turns 3+4 by R.J. Surdell.
Back under green, David got by Paul to move into the race lead. Bessette, Saunders, and Provost continued to make up the top-5 in the running order. As the race stayed under the green flag, the top-5 ran in the same order until lap-19 when Paul Arute fell from second back to seventh as Bessette, Saunders, Provost, Andrew Hayes, and Justin Bren all got by.
David Arute led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2014 season. Bessette finished second, with Saunders, Provost, and Hayes rounded out the top-5.
Ltd. Late Model Feature Results
Updated Ltd. Late Model Points Standings
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Brandon Michael took the lead at the green. Tyler Trott and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. both got by Allison Coelho on lap-2 to move into second and third, but the caution came out for Ryan Fearn, who came to a stop in the middle of turns 1+2.
Michael took the lead back under green and he immediately pulled away from Coelho and L’Etoile. But the green didn’t stay out long as the caution came out with 3 laps complete for a spin by Paul Bourdon, Jr. in the middle of turns 1+2.
Michael again powered his way to the lead while L’Etoile took second. Andy Marchese moved up to third with Alexandra Fearn fourth and Jeff Jolly fifth. Allison Coelho fell back to sixth when the caution came back out with 5 laps complete for Dan Dembek and Bourdon, who spun coming out of turn 4.
The next restart saw Michael have his hands full as L’Etoile was hanging right with him in the outside groove. Marchese was third, with Jolly and Alexandra Fearn side by side for fourth place. Michael and L’Etoile spent 4 laps side by side before L’Etoile got clear into the lead.
Marchese spun in turn 1 on lap-11, but he was able to get his car moving and the race stayed green. This moved Fearn into second behind L’Etoile with Jolly, Johnny Walker, and Michael making up the top-5 with 3 laps to go.
L’Etoile led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2014 season. Fearn finished second, while Jolly, Michael, and Walker rounded out the top-5.
DARE Stock Feature Results
Updated DARE Stock Points Standings
In the 20-lap Legends Car feature event, Mike Christopher, Jr. took the early lead and began to set the pace with Nick Ladyga and Brendon Bock hot on his trail. The DiMatteo brothers, Dana and Cory, rounded out the top-5 in the early going. The caution came out with 10 laps complete for Noah Korner, who spun in turns 3+4.
Christopher took the lead on the restart ahead of Ladyga and Bock. After several laps, Bock spun which allowed Kyle Rogers to move into third. Dana DiMatteo was fourth and Cory DiMatteo was fifth. DiMatteo got around Rogers to move into third and Bock was recovered from his spin and he took fourth as Rogers fell back to fifth place.
Christopher led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first Legend Cars feature win at Stafford Speedway. Ladyga finished second, with Dana DiMatteo third, Bock fourth, and Rogers rounding out the top-5.
Legend Cars Feature Results
Updated Legend Cars Points Standings
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit them on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.