Adam Gray Takes Down 1st Career LM Win at SMS
BFR Chassis Late Models Take 6 of Top Ten Spots
ROCCO, GRAY, GALKO, SEARS, & WOOD SCORE
OPENING NIGHT FEATURE VICTORIES AT STAFFORD
For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Running, Stafford Motor Speedway
May 5, 2011
(Stafford Springs, CT)---Stafford Speedway kicked off its Friday Night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series schedule with 5 divisions of racing on Friday night, May 6th. Keith Rocco picked up his first win of the 2011 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Adam Gray took down his first career victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko was declared the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature after race winner Zach Aszklar's car did not meet the minimum ride height requirement, Norm Sears returned to victory lane after a year away from Stafford Speedway in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Don Wood drove to victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Bo Gunning took the lead at the green flag, but Keith Rocco went around Gunning on the high side to grab the lead on the first lap. Rocco's car was hooked up early on as he immediately began to pull away from Gunning in second. On lap-5, Mark Bakaj moved to the inside of Gunning for second and the two cars began to run side by side. Sean Foster was fourth with Woody Pitkat and Brian Sullivan side by side behind Foster for the fifth position.
Rocco was widening his lead lap by lap, but his lead was erased by the caution flag with 11 laps complete for Fran Siana, who had a flat left front tire.
Rocco took the lead ahead of Bakaj as the race resumed. Gunning continued to run in third, with Pitkat and Ryan Preece making up the top-5. Eric Berndt nearly spun on lap-13 and he fell to the back of the pack and the caution would come out one lap later as Sean Foster went around in turn 4.
Bakaj briefly edged ahead of Rocco on the restart, but Rocco powered past Bakaj to maintain the race lead. The caution came back out with 16 laps complete for a spin by Bo Gunning and John Montesanto. Rocco again took the lead on the restart with Bakaj right behind him. Pitkat was third, with Todd Owen and Avery behind him. The race was red flagged with 17 laps complete for a multicar incident in turn 2 that involved Tom Bolles, Curt Brainard, and Dave Salzarulo.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Bakaj in second. Pitakt made a move to the inside of Owen to take over third place with Avery holding down the fifth spot. The top-5 ran in line until lap-26 when Pitkat was able to make a pass on Bakaj to take over second place.
With 10 laps to go, Rocco held a comfortable margin over Pitkat, who in turn was well in front of the trio of Bakaj, Avery, and Owen. Owen got by Avery and was hounding Bakaj for third place. Owen was finally able to make a pass for the position on lap-36. But at the front of the field, it was all Rocco, who scored a dominating feature victory with Pitkat coming home in second. Owen finished third, with Avery fourth and Bakaj fifth.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Adam Gray powered in the lead lead at the start of the race with Mark St. Hilaire, Tom Butler, Jim Peterson, and Dillon Moltz behind him. Butler spun on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete. Butler was able to keep his car off of the wall he was able to continue in the race.
Gray again took the lead back under green with Peterson moving by St. Hilaire for second. J.J. Hill moved into fourth with Keith Rocco in fifth. Ryan Posocco, who started towards the rear of the field, was now up to sixth place with Woody Pitkat right behind him in seventh. Tom Fearn spun in turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 9 laps complete.
Gray maintained the lead back under green with Peterson and St. Hilaire behind him. Rocco moved up to fourth place and Pitkat was fifth as Posocco was falling back in the outside groove. Posocco fell from sixth back to 11th place before he could find a spot in line. Corey Hutchings spun in turn 2 to bring the yellow back out with 14 laps complete.
Gray again took the lead ahead of Peterson back under green with Rocco moving up to third. Jim Mavlouganes was now into fourth place and St. Hilaire fell back to fifth. Rocco had a half spin in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 18 laps complete.
On the restart, there was a multicar spin in turn 4 that brought the yellow back out. This shuffled the order to put Gray and Mavlouganes on the front row with Posocco and Peterson on the second row for the restart. Gray and Mavlouganes were side by side for the lead with Posocco in third and Moltz in fourth. Mavlouganes and Gray stayed side by side for several laps before Mavlouganes took the lead in the outside groove. Posocco was looking to make a bid for second, but was unable to make a pass.
Posocco's fortunes changed on lap-25 as he was able to move by Gray to take over second. Rocco spun in turn 1 on lap-26 but was able to get going and the race stayed green. But the caution came out with 27 laps complete for a spin by Fearn and St. Hilaire in turn 4.
Mavlouganes took the lead at the green, but Gray made a two for one pass in turns 3+4 as he went by both Posocco and Mavlouganes to take over the lead. Scott Cook brought the yellow back out with a spin in turns 1+2 with 28 laps complete. On the restart, Hutchings and St. Hilaire spun in turn 3 to bring the yellow back out.
Mavlouganes and Gray were once again side by side for a lap before Gray took the lead. Peterson moved into second, with Posocco and Mavlouganes side by side for third. Gray held off Peterson to the checkered flag to pick up his first career victory. Rounding out the top-5 behind Gray and Peterson was Posocco, Mavlouganes, and Pitkat.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Zach Aszklar streaked into the lead as the field scrambled behind Aszklar with Matt Galko moving into second and polesitter Tony Santangelo falling back to third. Joey Cipriano was on the charge and he moved by Santangelo for third on lap-4 and Tommy Barrett, Jr. followed Cipriano by Santangelo. Earl Pelletier was also on the move as he too got by Santangelo and put a move on Barrett for fourth, but was not able to complete the pass. Aszklar continued to hold down a lead of several car lengths on Galko as Cipriano and Barrett were nose to tail for third place. Pelletier was now several car lengths behind Barrett in fifth place at the halfway point of the feature.
Galko began to slowly reel Aszklar in and he made a move to the inside of Aszklar to take over the race lead on lap-14. Galko's move for the lead allowed Cipriano to close in on the lead duo and Cipriano was right on Aszklar's bumper when the caution came out with 14 laps complete for a spin by Cody Gneiting.
On the restart, Victoria Bergenty and Harry Wheeler spun to bring the yellow back out. Galko took the lead back under green, but Aszklar was glued to Galko's bumper. Barrett was taking a peek to the outside of Aszkar in turns 3+4, but the caution came out for Earl Pelletier, who spun and hit the turn 2 wall with 15 laps complete.
Galko took the lead on the restart but Aszklar made a nice move coming out of turn 4 to get by Galko for the lead. Not to be outdone, Galko came right back to the inside of Aszklar for the lead on lap-17, but couldn't complete the pass. Barrett ran third, with Cipriano and Kyle Spencer making up the top-5. Tommy Membrino, Jr. went around in turn 2 to bring the caution out and set up a green white checkered finish.
Aszklar and Galko raced wheel to wheel for the lead as Barrett's car didn't quite come up to speed. Aszklar cleared Galko into the lead, but on the final lap, Galko made a run back to the inside of Aszklar in turns 3+4. Galko and Aszklar made contact coming to the checkered flag with Aszklar doing a 360 degree spin and taking the checkered flag backwards to cross
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Carla Botticello took the early race lead as Shawn Thibeault got out of shape and drifted up the track, causing a 4-wide situation as the cars raced out of turn 2. Jesse Hinze took second with George Nocera, Jr., Norm Sears, and Kevin Gambacorta making up the top-5. With 6 laps complete, Hinze got into the back of Botticello in turn 1, which sent her spinning and brought the caution out. Hinze was sent to the rear of the field by NASCAR officials for rough riding.
Back under green, the fight for the lead was in full effect as Nocera dropped off the pace, putting Sears and Thibeault into a side by side duel with Sears taking the lead. Thibeault settled into line in second with Gambacorta, D.J. Burnham and Cory Casagrande making up the top-5. Nocera's car didn't quite make it back around the track to pit road and came to a stop on the backstretch grass to bring the caution out with 9 laps complete.
Back under green, Casagrande spun to the infield, but was able to get going and the race stayed under green with Sears in the lead ahead of Thibeault, Gambacorta, Burnham, and Bill Davis. Sears continued to hold the lead, but Thibeault was staying glued to Sears' bumper with Gambacorta right behind Thibeault with 5 laps to go.
Just as Thibeault was looking like he was going to get by Sears, Sears began to pull away. But Thibeault put one more run together in the closing laps but he came up just short at the checkered flag as Sears took his first victory of the 2011 season. Gambacorta finished third, with Burnham and Hinze rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Kaitlyn Brice spun in turn 3 before the field completed a lap to bring the caution out. Brice was able to continue the race and she restarted at the rear of the field as Nick Salva took the early race lead back under green. Vince Gambacorta settled into second with Andrew Hayes taking third. Hayes quickly moved by Gambacorta for second on lap-2 and he brought Don Wood with him past Gambacorta. Josh Wood spun in turn 2 to bring the yellow back out with 2 laps complete. Gambacorta came to pit road under the caution period with a flat right rear tire and he was finished for the evening.
Back under green, Salva and Hayes ran side by side for a lap before Salva moved to the front. Don Wood moved by Salva for second with Hayes settling into third. Don Wood continued his charge to the front as he moved to the lead on lap-5. Hayes followed Wood by Salva and David Arute, Josh Wood, and Kyle Casagrande were also part of the train of cars moving by Salva, who fell from the lead back to sixth place.
Josh Wood moved by Arute to take over third place on lap-7 and he nearly took second from Hayes on lap-10, but he got loose in turn 4 and fell back several spots to fifth place. Casagrande moved into third with Arute in fourth as Wood continued to hold down the lead ahead of Hayes.
Don Wood slowly pulled away from the rest of the field over the closing laps as he scored his first win of the 2011 season. Casagrande made a move to the inside of Hayes for second on the final lap, but he got sideways and spun out. Hayes came home for second, with Josh Wood, Arute, and Cliff Saunders 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.
Posted: to Racing News on Sat, May 7, 2011
Updated: Sat, May 7, 2011