Here are stories and results from Stafford Speedway’s past weekend of racing action…
Michael Christopher, Jr. Wins Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81 At Stafford Speedway
Source: Scott Running/Stafford PR
(Stafford Springs, CT)—Open Modified cars returned to Stafford Motor Speedway for the first of four visits during the 2021 season on Friday, May 14th for the Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81. Michael Christopher, Jr., driving for Tommy Baldwin, Jr., took the lead from NASCAR Cup Series competitor Ryan Preece on lap-50 and he led the final 31 laps to pick up winning contingency bonuses of $1,000 from GAF Roofing and $500 from New England Racing Fuel to push his winner’s check up to $5,000.
The race took the green flag with Chase Dowling taking the early race lead with Michael Christopher, Jr. and Patrick Emerling side by side for second. Christopher won that duel and took second on lap-3 with Ronnie Williams in fourth and Joey Cipriano in fifth. Ryan Preece was sixth in line followed by Keith Rocco, Stephen Kopcik, Todd Owen, and Craig Lutz.
Dowling was beginning to slowly stretch out his lead over Christopher in second while Williams made a move to the inside of Emerling to take over third place on lap-11 and Preece overtook Cipriano to move into fifth. Preece took fourth place from Emerling on lap-18 while Dowling was still comfortably in the lead with Christopher and Williams still giving chase. This was still the running order when the caution came out with 29 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by Lutz.
Dowling took the lead on the restart with Christopher and Williams going side by side for second. Preece was fourth in line with Rocco in fifth place. Emerling was in sixth place followed by Cipriano, Cam McDermott, Woody Pitkat, and Marcello Rufrano. Just before he was about to complete lap-34, Dowling abruptly pulled his car to pit road through the mini mile, which handed the race lead over to Christopher. Preece was now up to second behind Christopher with Williams, Rocco, and Cipriano making up the top-5. The caution came back out with 47 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Eric Goodale.
Under the caution the entire lead lap of cars with the exception of Noah Korner and Anthony Nocella came to pit road for a change of two tires and adjustments. Cipriano won the race off pit road followed by Preece, Williams, Christopher, Matt Galko, Emerling, Goodale, Chris Pasteryak, Kopcik, and McDermott.
Nocella took the lead on the restart with Korner and Preece right there with him, but the caution came back out with 48 laps complete for Goodale, who dropped off the pace on the backstretch and the car of Tom Abele, Jr. came to a stop on the backstretch.
Nocella took the lead on the restart but Preece made a 3-wide move in turn 4 to take the lead but his time at the front was short as Christopher shot under Preece in turns 1+2 on lap-50 to move into the lead. Burt Myers spun on the backstretch to bring the caution flag back out with 51 laps complete.
Christopher took the lead back under green with Preece and Cipriano right behind him. Emerling was fourth in line followed by Williams, the side by side duo of Nocella and Pasteryak, McDermott, Pitkat, and Galko.
With 10 laps to go, Christopher was still in the lead with Preece several car lengths behind in second. Cipriano was third followed by Emerling, Williams, Nocella, McDermott, Goodale, Rocco, and Owen.
Christopher led Preece to the checkered flag to win the Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81. Cipriano finished third with Emerling and Nocella rounding out the top-5.
CALL BEFORE YOU DIG OPEN MODIFIED 81 (81)
1) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott, CT
2) Ryan Preece, Kannapolis, NC
3) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, NY
4) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA
5) Joey Cipriano, Plymouth, CT
6) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY
7) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, CT
8) Cam McDermott, Canterbury, CT
9) Keith Rocco, Berlin, CT
10) Todd Owen, Somers, CT
11) Chris Pasteryak, Moosup, CT
12) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven, CT
13) Burt Myers, Kernersville, NC
14) Craig Lutz, Middle Island, NY
15) TJ Bleau, Troy, NH
16) Dave Etheridge, Portland, CT
17) Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA
18) Matt Galko, Meriden, CT
19) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown, CT
20) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott, CT
21) Noah Korner, Canton, CT
22) Mike Willis, Jr., Grantham, NH
23) Earl Paules, Palmerton, PA
24) Dana DiMatteo, Farmington, CT
25) Tom Abele, Jr., Norwich, CT
26) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, CT
Rocco, Fearn, Sullivan, Clement, & L’Etoile, Jr. Score Call Before You Dig Open Mod 81 Feature Wins at Stafford Speedway
Source: Scott Running/Stafford PR
(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway hosted another round of Stafford Weekly Racing on Friday, MAY 14th with Open Modified cars in the house for the Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81. Keith Rocco scored his first win of the 2021 season in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn won his first Late Model feature since August 2019, Brian Sullivan scored his first win of 2021 in the SK Light feature, Matt Clement was a first time 2021 winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. was a 2021 first time winner in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Bryan Narducci led the field to the green flag and he took the early race lead with Mikey Flynn right behind him in second. Michael Gervais, Jr. was side by side with Doug Meservey, Jr. for third with Noah Korner in fifth. Flynn made a move around Narducci on lap-4 to move into the lead while Gervais took third. Meservey was sliding backwards outside the top-10 as Korner took fourth and Ronnie Williams moved into fifth.
Gervais made a move to get by Narducci and take over second on lap-9. Williams was also on the charge as he took fourth and then took third from Narducci on lap-11. The caution came out with 13 laps complete as Matt Vassar spun coming out of turn 2 and collected the car of Troy Talman.
Tom Bolles spun in turn 1 on the restart to bring the caution right back out on the restart. Gervais took the lead on the next restart with a 3-wide move against Narducci and Flynn but Narducci charged back to the front on lap-15. Todd Owen was on a charge as he took the lead from Narducci on lap-16. Narducci came right back to the inside of Owen on lap-17 to hold the lead at the line. Stephen Kopcik was now fighting side by side with Owen for second when the caution flew with 18 laps complete for Teddy Hodgdon, who got into the frontstretch wall.
Kopcik got around Narducci with a slick move going into turn 3 on the restart to take the race lead. Keith Rocco took third and then went by Narducci on lap-20 to move into second. Narducci was third in line followed by Owen and Flynn. Owen got around Narducci to move into third on lap-23 while Rocco was applying heavy pressure to Kopcik for the race lead. Rocco was able to make a move to get by Kopcik on lap-25 to take the lead. Kopcik came back to the inside of Rocco on lap-27 to take the lead by a nose at the line.
With 5 laps to go, Kopcik and Rocco had pulled away from Owen in third to settle the race between themselves. The caution flew with 37 laps complete for a spin by Narducci coming out of turn 4 to set up a 3 lap dash to the finish. Dan Wesson was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Narducci.
Kopcik took the lead back under green with Rocco in second. Owen was third followed by Flynn and Tyler Hines. Rocco made a move to get to the inside of Kopcik as they came to the white flag. Rocco beat Kopcik to the checkered flag by a half car length to pick up his first win of the 2021 season. Owen finished third with Hines and Flynn rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, the caution flew right after the green flag dropped as Armand Cote, Jr. spun in turn 1. Back under green, Paul Varricchio, Jr. took the lead with Andrew Molleur in close pursuit. Tom Fearn was third in the early running with Darrell Keane fourth and Ryan Fearn fifth.
With 10 laps on the board, Varricchio was still in command of the race with Molleur still right on his bumper. Michael Bennett and Wayne Coury, Jr. touched on the backstretch with Bennett spinning to bring the caution out with 10 laps complete.
Varricchio took the lead on the restart with Tom Fearn moving up to second. Ryan Fearn moved into third with Molleur sliding back to fourth and Darrell Keane running in fifth. Tom Fearn took the lead from Varricchio on lap-15 and his move opened the door for Ryan Fearn to follow him by Varricchio and take second. Varricchio continued to slide backwards as Molleur took third, Keane fourth and Michael Wray fifth before Varricchio got back in line in sixth place.
With 10 laps to go, Ryan Fearn was applying heavy pressure to Tom Fearn for the lead which allowed Molleur to close in on the lead duo and make it a 3-car train for the lead. Molleur worked his way by Ryan Fearn to move into second on lap-25 but Ryan Fearn came right back on lap-27 and moved back into second. Molleur slid back to fifth as Keane moved into third and Wray took fourth but Tom Fearn was still holding off Ryan Fearn for the lead.
Tom Fearn led his cousin Ryan Fearn to the checkered flag to pick up his first win since August 23, 2019. Keane finished third with Wray and Molleur rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Amanda West led the field to the green and she streaked into the lead at the drop of the green flag. Tyler Chapman was second in line followed by Nick Anglace. Peter Bennett took fourth place on lap-4 and Brian Sullivan was right behind him in fifth as they dropped Norm Sears from fourth back to sixth. Casey Vogt spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.
Tyler Chapman took the lead from West on lap-6 but just as soon as he took the lead Sullivan moved by him to take over the race lead. Anglace and West were now side by side for third with George Bessette, Jr. up to fifth. Sullivan and Chapman started to pull away from the field as Bessette and Anglace were swapping third place back and forth between themselves with Peter Bennett and Derek Debbis lined up behind them in fifth and sixth. The caution came out with 18 laps complete as Cassandra Cole, Norm Sears, and Anthony Bello came together coming out of turn 4 with Sears spinning and Bello heading to pit road with heavy right front damage to set up a green white checkered finish.
Sullivan took the lead on the restart with Bessette charging his way into second. Vogt spun to bring the caution back out with 19 laps complete and set up another green white checkered finish.
Sullivan took the lead on the restart with Tyler Chapman moving back into second. Bennett and Bessette were side by side for third with Anglace and Steven Chapman side by side for fifth. Tyler Chapman made one last charge at Sullivan but Sullivan was able to hold him off at the line by a nose to score his first win of the 2021 season. Bennett finished third with Bessette and Steven Chapman rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Matt Clement led the field to the green and he took the early lead. Right behind him was Gary Patnode but the caution flew with one lap complete as several cars, including Jay Clement, last week’s winner Rich Hammann, Alexandra Fearn, and R.J. Surdell all spun in turn 1.
Clement took the lead on the restart with Patnode again right behind him in second. Jeremy Lavoie was third in line but he took second place from Patnode on lap-3. Fearn followed Lavoie by Patnode to move into third and she then took second from Lavoie on lap-4. Devon Jencik was running in fifth place with Hammann in sixth as Matt Clement continued to lead the race. Hammann got around Jencik on lap-6 to move into fifth place.
With 10 laps complete, Matt Clement was still in command followed by Fearn, Lavoie, Hammann, and Patnode. Jencik was sixth in line and he was followed by Jay Clement, Matt Scappini, Damian Palardy, Dave Shinder, and Trinity Provost.
Hammann was able to work his way past Lavoie to take over third place on lap-15 but he was still chasing both Fearn in second and Matt Clement in the lead. Matt Clement led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2021 season. Fearn finished second with Hammann, Lavoie, and Patnode rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Marvin Minkler streaked into the lead at the start of the race with Adrien Paradis, III moving into second. Bobby Stirk, III was third with Chris Danielczuk fourth and David Macha, Sr. fifth. The caution flew with 1 lap complete for a spin in the middle of turns 1+2 by Patrick Jenks.
James Desrosiers spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out on the restart. Paradis took the lead on the restart but the caution came back out with 3 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Minkler after contact from Macha, who was black flagged for jumping the restart.
Paradis took the lead on the next restart with Chris Meyer slotting into second. Kyle Johnson was up to third with Frank L’Etoile, Jr. fourth and Nickolas Hovey in fifth. Travis Hydar was on the move, getting by both Stirk and Jason Finkbein on lap-5 to move into sixth place. Meyer took to the outside lane on lap-7 and he powered his way around Paradis to take over the race lead. Behind them, L’Etoile took third from Johnson with Hovey still in fifth place. Jenks spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 12 laps complete.
Meyer took the lead back under green with L’Etoile moving into second. Hovey made a move to the inside of Paradis to move into third on lap-14 with Johnson still running in fifth. Bill Cote spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution back out with 17 laps complete and set up a 3 lap dash to the finish.
The restart saw Hovey spin and collect the car of Paradis, who hit the turn 1 SAFER barrier head on to bring the caution right back out. Danielczuk spun on the restart but the race stayed green with L’Etoile getting around Meyer to take the lead. L’Etoile led Meyer to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2021 season. Hydar finished third with Finkbein and Tyler Trott 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 http://www.staffordspeedway.com.
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Keith Rocco, Berlin
2) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
3) Todd Owen, Somers
4) Tyler Hines, North Haven
5) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA
6) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott
7) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
8) Chase Dowling, Bethlehem
9) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
10) Noah Korner, Avon
11) David Arute, Stafford Springs
12) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
13) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
14) Dan Wesson, Monson, MA
15) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
16) Tom Bolles, Ellington
17) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
18) Doug Meservey, Jr., Chatham, MA
19) Jonathan Puleo, Branford
20) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
21) Nick Giardina, South Salem, NY
22) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
23) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
2) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
3) Darrell Keane, Enfield
4) Michael Wray, Durham
5) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
6) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
7) John Blake, North Haven
8) Michael Bennett, Willington
9) Paul Arute, Northbridge, MA
10) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA
11) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield
12) Marc Curtis, Brookfield, MA
13) Duane Provost, Palmer, MA
14) Rick Lanagan, Broad Brook
15) Mike Mordino, Southington
16) Jim Mavlouganes, Bethany
17) Zack Robinson, Putnam
18) Adam Gray, Granby, MA
19) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
20) Michael O’Sullivan, Wilbraham, MA
21) Tom Butler, Stafford Springs
22) Armand Cote, Jr., Rocky Hill
1) Brian Sullivan, Tolland
2) Tyler Chapman, Ellington
3) Peter Bennett, Cromwell
4) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
5) Nick Anglace, Seymour
6) Derek Debbis, Oakdale
7) Steven Chapman, Ellington
8) Amanda West, Colchester
9) Chris Matthews, Stafford
10) Alexander Pearl, Salem
11) Josh Carey, East Longmeadow, MA
12) Tyler Barry, Griswold
13) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA
14) Bobt Charland, Stafford
15) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
16) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
17) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford
18) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
19) Todd Clark, Bristol
20) Anthony Forino, Waterbury
21) Casey Vogt, Windsor Locks
22) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, MA
23) Anthony Bello, Newtown
24) Norm Sears, Andover
25) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
2) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
3) Rich Hammann, Tolland
4) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
5) Gary Patnode, New Hartford
6) Jay Clement, Wethersfield
7) Matt Scappini, Litchfield
8) Devon Jencik, Canton
9) Damian Palardy, Willington
10) David Shinder, West Granby
11) Trinity Provost, Holland, MA
12) R.J. Surdell, Willington
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
2) Chris Meyer, North Franklin
3) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
4) Jason Finkbein, Manchester
5) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
6) Travis Downey, Barkhamsted
7) Bert Ouellette, Ellington
8) Daltin McCarthy, Oxford, MA
9) John Orsini, Morris
10) Jeremy Washburn, Willimantic
11) Sam Calvo, East Berlin
12) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck
13) Bill Cote, Belchertown, Ma
14) Kyle Johnson, Manchester
15) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen
16) Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin
17) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
18) Marvin Minkler, Stamford
19) Rob Sears, Stafford Springs
20) Patrick Jenks, Scranton, PA
21) James Desrosiers, Groton, MA
22) David Macha, Sr., Columbia
WOODY PITKAT, STAN MERTZ RACING SALVAGE 17TH PLACE FINISH AFTER TOUGH DAY AT STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY
By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
STAFFORD, Conn. — After a rough afternoon and night at Stafford Motor Speedway, Woody Pitkat and Stan Mertz Racing salvaged a 17th place finish on Friday, May 14. Competing in the 811 Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81, Pitkat struggled with the handling and also dealt with a leaking rear end, which was found by the team in the pit area after the feature.
To start the day, the Twisted Tea/Truly Hard Seltzer team couldn’t get the engine to fire, forcing Pitkat to miss the first practice session. He competed in the second round of warmups — and qualified through the heat race — but struggled in the feature. For Pitkat and Stan Mertz Racing, the one positive leaving Stafford was a race car in one piece.
“Frustrating the whole day, from the time we unloaded right through the end of the night,” Pitkat said. “I thought we had a good setup baseline from last year when we won the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 race at Stafford, but it just didn’t work out. The car is in one piece. We have a quick turnaround to head to Star next week.”
Sponsors of the team include Twisted Tea, Truly Hard Seltzer, Axis Engineering Group, Black and White Grille (Spencer, MA), TowBoatUS, Cape Towing & Salvage, J&S Motors, Pomfret Wine & Spirits, Mike Holmes & Son Excavating, Earnest Performance Shocks & Kenneth Blackmer Transport.
As Pitkat mentions, the Stan Mertz Racing team is already underway with preparations for the next of their 10-race schedule — at Star Speedway — on Saturday, May 22, with the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
For more information on Stan Mertz Racing, visit stanmertzracing.com and follow the team on social media.