(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with a Five-Star Series event as part of the 5th Annual VMRS 80 program on August 29th. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on the night were Rowan Pennink, who won for the fourth time in the last 6 races in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Josh Wood was a first time winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno won for the fifth time in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Duane Provost won for the fourth time in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Brandon Michael took down his second win in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Sean Foster got a good run in the outside groove to take the lead from Matt Galko on the very first lap. Dan Avery moved up to second with Ted Christopher taking third. Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece were side by side for fourth place as Galko slid from the pole back to ninth place.
Avery made a move to the inside of Foster to move into the lead on lap-5. But Foster came back strong to the outside of Avery and the two cars were virtually even at the line. Christopher was now right on both Avery and Foster’s bumpers with Preece and Rowan Pennink side by side for fourth place just behind Christopher.
Avery got clear to the lead on lap-8 with Christopher moving into second. Preece and Foster were now side by side for third place. Preece got the better of that duel and both Pennink and Pitkat got past Foster to drop him back to sixth place.
Positions continued to shuffle behind Avery as Preece moved into second, Pennink took third, and Pitkat moved up fourth as Christopher backslid to fifth place. Pennink made a move to the inside of Preece to take over second place on lap-19.
Pennink was beginning to close in on Avery while Preece, Pitkat, and Christopher were running virtually identical lap times and the gaps between each car was holding steady. Pennink caught Avery on lap-25 and he was looking high and low for a way to make a pass for the lead. Pennink was able to make a pass on lap-28 to take the lead at the start/finish line. The duel between Pennink and Avery allowed Preece to close down the gap and he was right on Avery’s back bumper. Pitkat was following closely behind Preece as Pennink was starting to ever so slightly stretch out his lead over Avery.
Preece was applying heavy pressure to the inside of Avery for second and on lap-34, Preece got slightly out of shape as he was trying to make the pass and he rubbed nerf bars with Avery, which allowed Pitkat to close in on the both of them. Chase Dowling spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 34 laps complete and set up a 6 lap dash to the finish.
Pennink took the lead back under green while Preece took second from Avery. Nichole Morgillo spun through the infield grass and Sean Foster was rolling backwards down the frontstretch to bring the caution out with 35 laps complete.
Preece got a great restart and he took the lead from Pennink on the restart. Doug Coby was now up to third after starting deep in the pack at the start with Christopher and Avery making up the top-5. Pennink made a power move back to the inside of Preece as they raced into turn 3 to retake the lead on lap-38. The caution came out for Joey Cipriano, III and Dowling, who made contact on the backstretch and Cipriano spun.
Pennink took the lead back under green with Christopher pulling alongside Coby for second as the cars took the white flag. Pennink led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2014 season, which have all come in the last 6 SK Modified® races dating back to the July 25 NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k. Christopher beat Coby to the line by a nose to take second, with Avery and Preece rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Josh Wood took the lead at the green with Jay Stuart quickly moving into second. Behidn them, Tom Fearn moved into third, with Kyle Casagrande fourth and Kevin Gambacorta in fifth. Cory Casagrande moved by Gambacorta to take over fifth on lap-5 and Adam Gray followed Casagrande by to drop Gambacorta from fifth back to seventh. Gray then went past Casagrande to move into fourth.
Wood had opened up a nice margin over Stuart in second while Gray was closing in on the back of Fearn for third place. Tom Butler was also on the move in the early laps, coming from the back of the pack at the start to sit in sixth place behind Cory Casagrande on lap-10.
At the halfway point, Wood was still in the lead with a healthy margin back to Stuart in second. Stuart was coming under heavy pressure from Gray with Butler in fourth and Cory Casagrande was still running in fifth. Gray got around Stuart in turns 3+4 to move up to second on lap-19 but Wood had nearly a full straightaway lead. Over the next several laps, Stuart was sliding backwards as Butler, Casagrande, Fearn, and Gambacorta all got by. Stuart’s night got a bit tougher as he spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 24 laps complete.
Wood took the lead back under green as Gray’s car stumbled. Butler took second, Fearn moved into third, J.J. Hill took fourth and Jim Peterson took fifth. There was some three wide as Gray was scrambling to get his car back up to speed and he eventually settled back into line in seventh place.
Wood led Butler back to the checkered flag to pick up his first career Late Model feature victory in a dominating performance. Butler finished second, with Fearn, Stuart, and Gray rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Paul French took the lead at he green with Wesley Prucker and D.J. Burnham locked in a tight duel for second. Prucker got the better of the duel to clear Burnham and hold second while Bob Charland was fourth and Nick Salva powered his way around Dylan Menditto to move into fifth. Prucker spun in turn 2 and collected the car of Geoff Boisjolie to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.
Burnham took the lead on the restart with Charland moving into second. Joey Ferrigno slotted into third with Jeremy Sorel and Menditto making up the top-5 as French slid back to ninth place. Sorel was now side by side with Ferrigno for third place on lap-10. Salva got out of shape coming out of turn 2 on lap-11 but he was able to gather his car up and he rejoined the field in 12th place.
Ferrigno held off the challenge from Sorel and he was now challenging Charland for second on lap-12. Ferrigno was able to complete the pass on lap-13 and the top-5 cars of Burnham, Ferrigno, Charland, Sorel, and Menditto were all now lined up in a 5-car train. Ferrigno was making a move on Burnham for the race lead but the caution came out with 18 laps complete for Mike Christopher, Jr., who spun in turn 4.
Ferrigno edged his way out front on the restart by a nose but as the leaders hit turn 3, Burnham and Ferrigno came together and spun, which collected several other cars and brought the caution back out. Both Ferrigno and Burnham wrere given their places back for the restart as was Menditto.
Ferrigno got a monster restart and he powered his way into the lead with Burnham behind him. Ferrigno led the final two laps to pick up his fifth win of the 2014 season. Burnham came home in second, with Charland, Sorel, and Kopcik rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, R.J. Surdell took the lead but his lead was short lived as Brian Clement powered his way past on lap-2. Paul Arute, Duane provost, Cliff Saunders, and Austin Bessette all followed Clement by Surdell. Bessette got around Saunders to take over third place on lap-6. David Arute spun coming out of turn four to bring the caution out with 6 laps complete. Justin Bren was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Arute.
Provost made good use of the outside groove to power past Clement for the race lead on the restart. Cliff Saunders was third behind Clement with Bessette and Norm Sears making up the top-5.
Andrew Hayes moved by Sears on lap-12 to take over fifth place and just as Hayes was making his move, Bessette moved by Clement to move into second as Provost continued to lead the race.
The order remained the same until lap-17 when Hayes got under Cliff Saunders to move into fourth place. Provost had a comfortable lead over Bessette, who in turn had a comfortable margin over Clement in third. Hayes got around Clement for third on lap-18 but it was all Provost as he took down his fourth win of the 2014 season. Bessette finished second, with Hayes, Cliff Saunders, and Albert Saunders rounding out the top-5.
Ltd. Late Model Feature Results
Ltd. Late Model Points Standings
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Dan Dembek took the lead at the green flag but as the cars headed down the backstretch on the first lap, there was a melee involving several cars with Nicole Chambrello facing backwards on the track to bring the caution out.
Dembek streaked into the lead on the restart with Allison Coelho taking second. Brandon Michael moved up to third as Doug Phelps was sliding backwards in the outside groove. Johnny Walker followed Michael by Phelps to move into fourth and Andy Marchese took fifth. Michael went under Coelho to move into second on lap-3 and the caution came back out for a spin by Phelps in turn 3.
Back under green, Dembek resumed the lead of the race while Jeff Jolly got into the wall on the frontstretch. Jolly was able to keep going and he brought his car back to pit road while Michael, Marchese, Walker, and Scott Fanning made up the remainder of the top-5 behind Dembek.
Fanning began to slice his way through traffic, moving past Walker, Marchese, and Michael to move up to second on lap-12. The next lap saw Fanning go by Dembek to move into the race lead. Michael made a move back to the inside of Fanning on lap-14 to briefly retake the lead but Fanning came back strong on the final lap and he took the checkered flag. In post-race inspection, Fanning’s car was found to have no restrictor plate as well as using pump gas and he was immediately disqualified, making Michael the winner for the second time this season. Walker finished second with Comeau, Dembek, and Trace Beyer rounding out the 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.