Category Archives: Stafford Motor Speedway

Eric Sanderson Named Grand Marshal of NAPA Fall Final at Stafford

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway is pleased to name Eric Sanderson, long time car owner and past competitor, as the Grand Marshal of the 47th Annual NAPA Fall Final.  The NAPA Fall Final is set for Saturday and Sunday, September 28 & 29 and Sanderson will close out the 2019 Stafford Speedway season with the command to fire engines for the 150 lap event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Sanderson’s racing roots date back to the days of the All-American Sportsman division at Stafford in the early 1970’s.  Sanderson got started as a car owner for Warren Bren’s #66 car before taking the wheel himself in the #89 car for the 1972 and 1973 seasons.  Sanderson then moved up to Stafford’s modified division behind the wheel of the #43 owned by Ken DePeau in 1974 before stepping down as a driver and becoming a crew member with Everett Manning. 

“I got started at Stafford as a car owner for Warren Bren in the All-American Sportsman 6-cylinder division before I drove for a couple of years,” said Sanderson.  “I drove a modified for one season in 1974 and I remember the first time I got behind the wheel of the modified I thought, ‘wow, this car is pretty fast’, and then Bugsy Stevens blew by me like I was standing still.  Everett Manning was my crew chief for the modified and after I stopped driving I started helping him.  We built a Sportsman car for him that became a modified and Everett went on to drive in the SK Modified® division.  I had a lot of fun working together with Everett.  It’s is a huge honor for me to be the Grand Marshal of the Fall Final and it caught me by surprise when Mark Arute asked me.  It’s the first time I’ve ever been asked to give the command and I’m really looking forward to it.”

In 1995 Sanderson debuted the #16 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car with Chris Kopec behind the wheel. The #16 has since been a staple of the NWMT for over 24 years.  Sanderson is a two-time championship winning car owner, taking the NWMT championship with Mike Stefanik in 2006 and Ryan Preece in 2013. 

“I was helping Chris Kopec out at Riverside with tires and that’s how we came up with the name Flamingo Motorsports,” said Sanderson.  “Chris asked me what I wanted to put on the side of the car and I told him let’s make it Flamingo Motorsports out of Orlando, FL.  We had a lot of fun with that, people actually thought we raced flamingos in Orlando.  We ran part time on the Tour in 1995 and we’ve been full-time on the Tour since 1996,” said Sanderson.  “We’ve had Chris, Rob Summers, Mike Stefanik, Ryan Preece, and now Timmy Solomito driving the car.  My best memory in racing was winning our first race with Chris at Holland Speedway in 1999 and then winning our first championship with Mike in 2006.  We also won the last Modified Tour race that was held at Martinsville in 2009 with Mike driving the car and I still have that grandfather clock in my office.  People have often asked me when I’m going to move up to another division but I love the modifieds and that’s where I want to race.”

In addition to serving as the Grand Marshal of the NAPA Fall Final, Sanderson will be looking to take home his fourth career NAPA Fall Final trophy as a car owner.  Sanderson won the Fall Final in 2007 and 2008 with Stefanik as well as the 2014 Fall Final with Ryan Preece.

“Having Timmy [Solomito] win the race would be the icing on the cake and make the day for me,” said Sanderson.  “We’ve won the Fall Final 3 times before with Mike and Ryan and we’d love to make it four wins with Timmy.”

Sanderson is the owner of Sanderson-MacLeod and Flamingo Motorsports, both located in Palmer, MA.  Sanderson-MacLeod designs, manufactures, and supplies twisted wire brushes while Flamingo Motorsports is your one-stop shop for Motorcycles, ATVs, Side x Sides, Snowmobiles, Dirt Bikes, and Jet Skis. 

“My father started Sanderson-MacLeod in 1957 and I bought the business after he passed away in 1985,” said Sanderson.  “We make all kinds of brushes.  Mascara applicators are number one for us but we also do a lot of brushes for medical device cleaners and internal medicine and we also make gun brushes.  We started Flamingo Motorsports as Flamingo Racing just to go racing with Chris Kopec and we sold speed parts.  We decided we wanted to start to do something for winter so we began to sell snowmobiles and now we’re a full-line dealer selling Kawasaki, Can-Am, Ski-Doo, and Sea-Doo.”

The NAPA Fall Final Weekend will kick off on Saturday, September 28 with practice sessions for the Whelen Modified Tour, Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and the Vintage All Stars from 10:00am to 2:15pm.  The Whelen Modified Tour will take to the track for group qualifying at 2:30pm with Stafford’s NWAAS divisions and Vintage All Stars qualifying to follow.  Feature events for the Street Stocks, Limited Late Models, Vintage All Stars and Ladies Challenge will conclude Saturday’s festivities. 

The NAPA Fall Final Weekend continues on Sunday, September 29 with the popular NAPA Pit Party, a meet and greet with drivers and teams, taking place from 11:00am to noon.  Feature racing will begin at 1:00pm with the SK Modifieds® first on track followed by the Late Models, SK Lights, and the Whelen Modified Tour.

Discount tickets for the NAPA Fall Final Weekend are available at your local participating NAPA Auto Parts Store.  The NAPA tickets include general admission for both days along with a lunch buffet on Sunday, all for only $38 per person.  For a list of participating NAPA Stores, please click the PARTICIPATING NAPA STORES link found at the top of the www.staffordspeedway.com homepage.

Tickets for the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $10.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $45.00 for all ages. All NAPA Fall Final tickets are good for admission on both Saturday and Sunday and ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. 

For more information on the 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend, visit StaffordSpeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

Kopcik, Saunders, Hodgdon, Lavoie, & Secore Score First Responders Friday / Final Friday Night Shoot-Out Feature Wins at Stafford Speedway

Photo Tom Morris/Myracenews

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, September 13 with the First Responders Friday / Final Friday Night Shoot-Out program that paid tribute to Ambulance, EMS, Fire, Police, and all First Responder personnel.  Scoring feature wins on the night were Stephen Kopcik in the SK Modified® feature, Cliff Saunders in the Late Model feature, Teddy Hodgdon in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and Dave Secore in the Street Stock feature.  Tom Fearn was officially crowned as the 2019 Late Model track champion.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Marcello Rufrano took the lead at the drop of the green with Glen Reen taking second, Joey Cipriano third, and Stephen Kopcik fourth.  Tyler Leary was sliding backwards after starting from pole position and he slotted into line in ninth place. 

Reen was challenging Rufrano for the race lead on lap-6 with Kopcik nearly going 3-wide for the lead on lap-7.  Ronnie Williams was up to fourth behind the lead trio of cars with Todd Owen fifth and Michael Christopher, Jr. in sixth.  Reen took the lead from Rufrano on lap-9 with Kopcik on his inside.  Reen bounced off the backstretch wall on lap-11 but kept on going and he only fell back to fourth place as Rufrano took second and Williams moved into third while Kopcik was in the lead.

Kopcik began to slightly pull away from Rufrano in second with Williams, Reen, Owen, and Christopher still making up the top-6.  The caution came out with 18 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Reen. 

Kopcik took the lead back under green with Rufrano in second.  Williams and Owen were side by side for third with Dan Avery in fifth.  Michael Gervais, Jr. was up to sixth with Keith Rocco in seventh.  Kyle Armstrong brought the caution out with 23 laps complete with a spin coming out of turn 4.

Kopcik took the lead once again on the restart with Williams moving into second.  Owen was third in line but Rufrano bounced off the backstretch wall and spun to bring the caution back out with 25 laps complete.

Kopcik was the leader on the restart with Owen and Williams going side by side for second.  Owen got clear to second on lap-28 while Rocco was up to fourth and Gervais was fifth in line.  Spins by Fran Siana, Patrick Yuhas, Armstrong, and Nick Giardina in turn 1 brought the caution back out with 30 laps complete.

Kopcik took the lead on the restart with Owen slotting into second.  Williams and Rocco were sie by side for third with Gervais in fifth.  Reen was sixth and he took fifth from Gervais on lap-33.  Owen was hounding Kopick for the lead while Williams and Rocco were still side by side for third place with 4 laps to go.

Williams was able to finally get clear of Rocco on lap-38 while Owen was still looking high and low for a way around Kopcik.  Kopcik led Owen to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2019 season.  Williams finished third with Rocco and Gervais rounding out the top-5.

In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Al Saunders took the lead at the green with Kevin Gambacorta quickly working his way up to second.  Ryan Fearn slotted into third with Tyler Leary up to fourth and Tom Fearn was up to fifth with 5 laps complete.

Tom Fearn got around Leary to move into fourth while Gambacorta was applying heavy pressure to Al Saundes for the race lead.  Tom Fearn took third from Ryan Fearn on lap-11 while Al Saunders was able to fend off the challenges of Gambacorta to maintain the race lead.  Gambacorta made a move to the outside of Saunders on lap-12 but was unable to make the pass and in the process Tom Fearn took second place.  The caution came out with 14 laps complete for spins in turn 1 by Andy Marchese, Paul Arute, and Michael Bennett. 

Al Saunders took the lead back under green while Gambacorta was side by side with Tom Fearn for second.  Cliff Saunders was up to fourth with Ryan Fearn in fifth.  Cliff Saunders took third from Tom Fearn on lap-16 with Ryan and Tom Fearn now side by side for fourth place.  Ryan Fearn took fourth from Tom Fearn on lap-18 with a pass coming out of turn 4 while Gambcorta was still looking for a way to get around Al Saunders.  Gambacorta made the pass on lap-20 going down the backstretch to take over the race lead.  Cliff Saunders followed Gambacorta’s tire tracks and took second to drop his brother Al back to third with Ryan and Tom Fearn fourth and fifth.  The caution came out with 22 laps complete for a spin by Mike Mordino in turn 3.

Gambacorta took the lead back under green with Al Saunders in second.  Tom Fearn was third with Ryan Fearn fourth and Michael Bennett was back up to fifth after his early race misfortune.  Tom Fearn took second from Al Saunders on lap-24.  Arute and Dave Wray both spun going into turn 3 to bring the caution out  with 25 laps complete. 

Gambacorta took the lead on the restart but his car took a spin through the grass on the backstretch before sliding into the turn 3 wall to bring the caution flag right back out.  Tom Fearn was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Gambacorta.

Al Saunders and Michael Bennett went side by side for the lead on the restart with Cliff Saunders getting sideways before slotting into third.  Cliff Saunders got to the inside of both Al Saunders and Bennett on lap-27 to move into the race lead but the caution came out for a spin in turn 4 by Richard Ciriello, nullifying the move and putting Al Saunders and Bennett back out front for the restart.

Cliff Saunders went 3-wide to take the lead on the restart with Ed Ricard nearly taking second before slotting back into third place.  Bennett was back to fourth with John Blake up to fifth.   The fast and furious action was slowed by the caution the flew with 28 laps complete for a spin by Ciriello that collected the car of Marchese. 

Cliff Saunders took the lead on the restart with Bennett and Al Saunders side by side for second.  Bennett took second from Al Saunders on the final lap but he couldn’t get close enough to make a bid for the lead as Cliff Saunders took his second win of the 2019 season.  Ryan Fearn finished third with Al Saunders and Ed Ricard rounding out the top-5.  Tom Fearn was crowned as the 2019 Late Model track champion with his seventh place finish. 

In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Nick Anglace took the lead at the green but Jonathan Puleo shot into the lead on lap-2.  Teddy Hodgdon was up to third with Mark Bakaj fourth and Chris Matthews in fifth.  Anglace slid back to sixth place on lap-3, moving Bakaj into third, Matthews into fourth and Noah Korner in fifth.  The caution came out with 6 laps complete for a spin by Charlie McDougall on the frontstretch.

Hodgdon took the lead on the restart with Puleo in second.  Matthews was third in line Anglace fourth and Bakaj in fifth.  Korner spun in turn 2 and collected several other cars including Joey Ferrigno and Chris Bagnall to bring the caution back out with 10 laps complete.

Hodgdon took the lead on the restart with Puleo in second, Matthews third, and Bakaj fourth.  The action was hotting up with 5 laps to go as Anglace and Alexander Pearl were side by side for fifth and Steven Chapman and Amanda West were side by side for seventh place. 

Hodgdon was starting to pull away from Puleo, Matthews, and Bakaj while Pearl took fifth.  Hodgdon led Puleo to  the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2019 season.  Matthews finished third with Bakaj and Pearl rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Gary Patnode took the lead at the drop of the green and he led the first lap but he gave way to Jeremy Lavoie on lap-2.  Matt Clement quickly moved into second with Duane Provost taking third.  Patnode fell back to a side by side battle with Alexandra Fearn for fourth place.  Fearn took fourth on lap-5 to drop Patnode back to fifth in line.  Andrew Durand brought the caution out with a spin with 9 laps complete.

Lavoie took the lead back under green with Provost taking second.  Clement was third in line with Patnode and Fearn making up the top-5.  Patnode spun in turn 2 on lnap-11 but the race stayed green with Devon Jencik moving in to fourth and David Tefft fifth.  Damian Palardy spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 12 laps complete.

Lavoie took the lead back under green with Provost right behind him in second.  Clement was still third in line while Fearn came up to fourth and Patnode took fifth.  Fearn got loose on lap-15 and slid back to sixth as Patnode moved up to fourth and David Tefft took fifth while Lavoie was still in command with Provost and Clement giving chase.

Lavoie led Provost and Clement to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2019 season.  Patnode finished fourth with Tefft rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Marvin Minkler took the early race lead but he lost the lead to Tyler Trott on lap-2.  Dave Secore moved into second with Meghan Fuller taking third as Minkler fell back to fourth in line, just in front of Adrien Paradis, III.  Minkler spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.

Trott and Secore ran side by side on the restart with Secore taking the lead at the line.  Fuller took to the outside line to get by Trott for second place on lap-6 with George Bessette, Jr. and Travis Hydar side by side for fourth place behind the lead trio of Secore, Fuller, and Trott.

Bessette made a move to take over third from Trott on lap-8 and Hydar followed him through to take fourth and drop Trott back to fifth place.  Fuller was applying heavy pressure on Secore for the race lead but Secore was able to maintain the lead. 

With 5 laps to go, Secore was still out front with Fuller, Bessette, Hydar, and Trott lined up behind him.  Fuller was looking high and low for a way to get around Secore but Secore was able to keep his car out front.  Fuller made one final effort on the last lap but Secore was to strong to be overtaken and he scored his first win of the 2019 season.  Hydar finished third with Bessette and 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 www.staffordspeedway.com.

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SK MODIFIED® (40)

1) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown

2) Todd Owen, Somers

3) Ronnie Williams, Tolland

4) Keith Rocco, Berlin

5) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott

6) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA

7) Joey Ternullo, Jr., Middletown

8) Andrew Molleur, Shelton

9) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin

10) David Arute, Stafford Springs

11) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA

12) Curt Brainard, Canton

13) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury

14) Tyler Hines, North Haven

15) Ed Spiers, Beacon Falls

16) John Catania, Agawam, MA

17) Nick Giardina, South Salem, NY

18) Patrick Yuhas, Uncasville

19) Kyle Armstrong, New Milford

20) Fran Siana, Enfield

21) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven

22) Dan Avery, Somers

23) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Ma

24) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott

LATE MODEL (30)

1) Cliff Saunders, Stafford

2) Michael Bennett, Willington

3) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

4) Al Saunders, Stafford

5) Ed Ricard, Stafford Springs

6) John Blake, North Haven

7) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

8) Michael Wray, Northford

9) Scott Bouley, Thomaston

10) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin

11) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, MA

12) Gary Theriault, Enfield

13) Richard Ciriello, Reading, MA

14) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA

15) Andy Marchese, Tolland

16) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington

17) Paul Arute, Northridge, MA

18) Dave Wray, Durham

19) Mike Mordino, Southington

SK LIGHT (20)

1) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury

2) Jonathan Puleo, Branford

3) Chris Matthews, Stafford

4) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon

5) Alexander Pearl, Salem

6) Nick Anglace, Oxford

7) Amanda West, Colchester

8) Steven Chapman, Ellington

9) Wesley Prucker, Stafford

10) Glenn Griswold, Vernon

11) Bob Charland, Stafford

12) Chris Viens, Putnam

13) Sami Anderson, Wolcott

14) Norm Sears, Andover

15) Andrew Les, New York, NY

16) Ethan Durocher, Canterbury

17) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester

18) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, MA

19) Todd Clark, Bristol

20) Rit Dulac, Plantsville

21) Paul French, Andover

22) Charlie McDougall, Derby

23) Noah Korner, Canton

24) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford

25) Brian Sullivan, South Windsor

26) Bryan Narducci, Colchester

27) Chris Bagnall, Winsted

28) Jonathon Avery, Norwich

LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)

1) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks

2) Duane Provost, Palmer, MA

3) Matt Clement, Wethersfield

4) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted

5) David Tefft, Southampton, MA

6) Lucas Leone, Southington

7) Devon Jencik, Canton

8) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

9) Kevin Crosby, Coventry

10) Damian Palardy, Willington

11) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA

STREET STOCK (20)

1) Dave Secore, Jr., Union

2) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA

3) Travis Hydar, Woodbury

4) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury

5) Tyler Trott, East Hartford

6) Zack Robinson, Putnam

7) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville

8) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck

9) David Macha, Sr., Columbia

10) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen

11) Marvin Minkler, Stamford

12) Nick Bendiak, Hopkinton, MA

13) George Yuska, S. Glastonbury

14) Chris Kuczo, Stamford

15) Chris Hickey, Esperance, NY

16) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington

17) Chris Ciriello, Beacon Falls

Tight Duel for Stafford Limited Late Model Crown

(Stafford Springs, CT)—With only 2 races left in the 2019 season, the race for the Limited Late Model title at Stafford Speedway will come down to the #6 L & S Equipment team of Jeremy Lavoie and the #59 Aquatic Wildlife / Elmo’s Dockside Restaurant team of Matt Clement.  There could not be a more stark contrast between two drivers fighting for the championship than Lavoie and Clement.  Lavoie is the defending track champion in the Limited Late Model division while Clement had never won a race before this season or finished in the top-5 of the standings.

Both Lavoie and Clement came out of the gate strong, combining to win 4 of the first 5 Limited Late Model races this season to establish themselves as championship contenders.  The two drivers have taken turns swapping the point lead back and forth between themselves this season and Clement currently leads Lavoie with 6 wins to 4 heading into the final 2 races of the season.  Although Lavoie has 2 fewer wins than Clement, he leads Clement by 4 points in the race for the championship.

“We’ve both had great years with Matt taking 6 wins and we have 4,” said Lavoie.  “We’ve been real close to each other all year long and every position on the track counts and that’s really showed this season.  We’re 4 points ahead right now and our plan is to keep our nose clean and to finish in front of Matt these last 2 races.  Our focus is to still try to win these last 2 races but ultimately the only car I’m racing for points is Matt so we’re going to try to play both cards by finishing in front of Matt as well as winning the last 2 races.  I’d love to win the Fall Final, that’s always a bigger trophy and it would be a great way to end the year on a high note.”

Matt Clement is one of 2 drivers with a shot at winning the 2019 Limited Late Model Title at Stafford Motor Speedway.

“This season has been kind of unbelievable for us,” said Clement.  “I was actually just watching a video of our first win this season back at the Sizzler and it still gives me goose bumps watching it.  I’ve probably watched all of our other wins this season at least a 100 times each on YouTube trying to pick apart what I could do better and maybe see where we can pick up a little speed on Jeremy.  We’re all excited to be in the position that we’re in right now and we’re going to do the best we can the last 2 races.  The plan is to be aggressive at the start of the races and be out there in front at the end.  It’s going to be tough because Jeremy is probably the best or 2nd best driver in the division and he’s very consistent.  We’re going out to win these last 2 races and have a take no prisoners attitude.  I think we’re the underdog right now and I’ve been joking with my Dad that we work better under pressure.  We’re excited to be in this position only 4 points behind and we’re going to try to go out and win two more trophies this season.”

The race for the Limited Late Model championship continues this Friday, September 13 as part of First Responder Night at Stafford.  All first responders with proper I.D. will get a general admission ticket for only $10.  Regular tickets are priced at $20 for Adult General Admission, $5 for kids 6-14 and kids 5 & under are free.  Reserved seating is $23 for all ages. 

The Limited Late Model champion will be determined at the season ending NAPA Fall Final on September 28-29.  Tickets for the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $10.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $45.00 for all ages. All NAPA Fall Final tickets are good for admission on both Saturday and Sunday.  Discount tickets for the NAPA Fall Final Weekend are available at your local participating NAPA Auto Parts Store.  The NAPA tickets include general admission for both days along with a lunch buffet on Sunday, all for only $38 per person.  For a list of participating NAPA Stores, please click the PARTICIPATING NAPA STORES link found at the top of the www.staffordspeedway.com homepage.  All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. 

For more information, visit StaffordSpeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.