Michael Bennett Wins 3rd Late Model Feature at SMS
Kopcik, Bennett, Wesson, Saunders, & Robinson Score August 4 Stafford 150 Feature Wins at Stafford
Posted on by Scott Running
(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway was back in action on Friday, August 4th with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on hand for the 27th Annual Stafford 150. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on the night were Stephen Kopcik, who scored his very first career SK Modified® feature victory, Michael Bennett in the Late Model feature, Dan Wesson in the SK Light feature, Al Saunders in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson took the checkered flag first in the DARE Stock feature but he was found to have an illegal timing chain in his engine and he was disqualified from the feature, making Johnny Walker the winner.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tom Abele, Jr. took the early lead with Stephen Kopcik, Glen Reen, Dan Avery, and Michael Gervais, Jr. behind him. The caution came out with 2 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Tyler Hines.
Abele took the lead back under green with Kopcik behind him in second. Kopcik took the lead from Abele on lap-5 and his move brought Gervais alongside Abele. Gervais got clear of Abele on lap-7 and now Cam McDermott was side by side with Abele for third with Ronnie Williams fifth and Avery in sixth.
Gervais took the lead from Kopcik on lap-10 and the order was stacking up behind him as McDermott was second with Williams and Kopcik dueling side by side for third with Abele in fifth. Williams got clear to third on lap-14 and the top-7 was now single file with Gervais leading McDermott, Williams, Kopcik, Abele, Rowan Pennink, and Chase Dowling. The caution came back out with 20 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Pennink and Abele.
Gervais took the lead on the restart with Kopcik taking second. Williams was third with McDermott fourth and Dowling and Ted Christopher side by side for fifth. Williams pulled alongside Gervais for second on lap-26 with Dowling fourth, Todd Owen fifth, and Ted Christopher sixth. Christopher’s car dropped off the pace and he came to stop at the exit of turn 2 to bring the caution out with 27 laps complete.
Kopcik took the lead back under green with Williams and Gervais right behind him. Williams got loose on lap-32 and slid back to fifth as Kopcik continued to lead Gervais, Owen, Dowling, and Williams. Kopcik held off Gervais to the checkered flag to pick up his first career SK Modified® feature victory at Stafford. Dowling finished third with Owen and Williams rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Rich Hammann took the lead at the green with Josh Wood taking second. Kevin Gambacorta got by Chase Cook to move into third with Cook slotting into fourth with Michael Bennett behind him in fifth. Bennett took fourth from Cook on lap-3 and up front, Wood was closing in on Hammann for the race lead.
Wood took the lead from Hammann on lap-5 with a pass coming out of turn 2 and Gambacota got by Hammann to move into second one lap later and his pass brought Bennett with him into third as Hammann fell back to fourth. Bennett quickly went by Gambacorta to move into second on lap-7 and began to close down the gap to Wood out front. Behind Hammann in fifth was last week’s feature winner Tyler Leary, Glen Reen, and Tom Fearn.
Bennett caught Wood on lap-11 and he made his move to take the lead on lap-12 with a pass in turn 2. Gambacorta was still running third but behind him, Reen took fourth, Fearn took fifth, and Leary took sixth as Hamman fell back to seventh in the running order. Gambacorta was now working Wood over for second on lap-15 and he took the spot with a pass in turn 4.
The order shuffled again on lap-19 as Reen took third from Wood. Fearn followed him through into fourth to drop Wood back to fifth with Leary in sixth. Bennett was slowly starting to stretch out his lead over Gambacorta and with 10 laps to go, the margin was 1.2 seconds.
As the laps began to wind down to the end of the race, Gambacorta and Reen were nose to tail and they were reeling Bennett back in. With 3 laps to go, the Gambacorta/Reen duo had caught right up to Bennett’s back bumper to make a 3-car duel for the lead and the win. Gambacorta and Reen couldn’t get close enough to Bennett to make a move for the win as Bennett took down his third win of the 2017 season. Fearn finished fourth behind Bennett, Gambacorta, and Reen with Wood rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, the race took the green with Glenn Bartkowski, Glenn Korner, George Nocera, Jr., and Andrew Les coming together in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 0 laps complete.
Dan Wesson took the lead on the restart with Cory DiMatteo quickly working his way into second. Joey Ferrigno was third, but he lost that spot on lap-4 to David Arute with Nocera in fifth. Arute was hounding DiMatteo for second but DiMatteo was able to stay in front.
At the halfway point of the race Wesson was still in command with DiMatteo, Arute, Nocera, and Brett Gonyaw in fifth. With 3 laps to go, Wesson had slightly pulled away from DiMatteo and Arute with Arute still hounding DiMatteo for second. Wesson took the checkered flag to pikc up his first win of the 2017 season with DiMatteo, Arute, Nocera, and Marcello Rufrano rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Brian Clement took the early lead with Al Saunders, Bryan Narducci, Alexandra Fearn, and Jeremy Lavoie behind him. Saunders and Narducci were side by side for second on lap-2 and on lap-3 Saunders streaked his way into the lead. Alexandra Fearn came through to second with Narducci taking third. Lavoie was now fourth with Clement sliding all the way back to fifth. Clement continued to slide backwards until he settled into line in ninth place.
Saunders was starting to stretch out his advantage over Fearn in second but the caution came out with 8 laps complete as Tyler Trott spun in the middle of turns 3+4.
Saunders again took the lead back under green with Narducci sticking right with him in second. Lavoie and Fearn were side by side for third with Duane Provost up to fifth. Narducci was looking to the inside of Saunders for the lead and he made a pass stick in turn 4 on lap-12 to move into the lead. Saunders came right back and nearly had the lead back on lap-13. Saunders had a good run out of turn 2 on lap-14 and he retook the lead. Lavoie was third with Provost getting by Fearn to move into fourth and drop Fearn back to fifth.
Narducci chased Saunders to the checkered flag but couldn’t get close enough to make a move as Saunders picked up his second win of the 2017 season. Lavoie finished third with Provost and Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, George Bessette, Jr. went around Chuck Harrison on the first lap to set the early pace. Chris Bagnall came out of a 3-wide situation behind Bessette to take second but the field only completed one lap before the caution came out for a spin in turn 2 by Rob Sears.
Bessette took the lead on the restart with Travis Hydar and Trace Beyer side by side for second. Beyer took second on lap-3 with Vince Gambacorta pulling alongside Hydar in a fight for third. Zack Robinson was fifth with Johnny Walker right behind him in sixth. Hydar fell back several spots on lap-4 to sixth as Gambacorta took third, Robinson fourth, and Walker fifth.
Robinson then took third from Gambacorta on lap-5 and Walker followed him through to drop Gambacorta back to fifth. Up front, Beyer was all over the back bumper of Bessette. The caution came back out with 6 laps complete.
Bessette and Beyer were side by side for the lead on the restart and they ran door to door for a lap before Beyer got clear to the lead on lap-8. Robinson moved into second with Walker taking third as Bessette fell back to fourth. Gambacorta was fifth with Bagnall and Hydar behind him in sixth and seventh.
Robinson took the lead from Beyer on lap-13 and Walker followed him through to second. Robinson then led Walker to the checkered flag. Following post race inspection, Robinson’s car was found to have an illegal timing chain in his crate engine and he was thusly disqualified from the feature, making Walker the winner. Bessette was now second, with Beyer, Gambacorta, and Hydar making up the new 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 Fri, Aug 4, 2017
Updated: Mon, Sep 4, 2017