Category Archives: Stafford Motor Speedway

Woody Pitkat Wins Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 At Stafford Speedway

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Open Modified cars returned to Stafford Motor Speedway for the fourth and final time during the 2020 season on Friday, September 18th for the Twisted Tea Open Mod 80.  Woody Pitkat survived a host of late restarts to hold off all challengers and win the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80.

Chase Dowling took the lead at the green with Keith Rocco in second.  Woody Pitkat was third in the early laps with Mike Willis, Jr. coming up to fourth and Ronnie Williams fifth.  Rocco went by Dowling to take over the lead on lap-5 while Craig Lutz went by both Williams and Willis to move into fourth.  Williams got back by Willis to retake fourth place on lap-12 as Rocco continued to set the pace with Dowling and Pitkat behind him.

Pitkat took to the outside lane on lap-17 and he went by Dowling to move into second.  The top-6 cars were lined up in a nose to tail train with Todd Owen in sixth behind Rocco, Pitkat, Dowling, Williams, and Lutz.  Owen was starting to charge to the front as he took fifth from Williams and fourth from Lutz on lap-22.  Williams was starting to fade backwards as Willis, Stephen Kopcik, and Matt Swanson all went by to drop Williams back to ninth in line.  Dylan Kopec brought the caution out with 29 laps complete with a spin in turn 4.

Jeff Gallup spun in turn 1 and Dana DiMatteo spun in the middle of turns 1+2 on the restart to bring the caution right back out.  Rocco chose to restart in the outside lane and Pitkat took the lead on the restart.  Rocco came right back the next lap with a crossover move going into turn 3 and he retook the lead with Pitkat slotting back into second.  Lutz was third followed by Swanson, Dowling, and Kopcik.  Lutz got around Pitkat to take second on lap-34 as Rocco  continued to hold the lead.  Lutz and Rocco touched in turn 3 on lap-37 with Rocco spinning to bring the caution out.  Lutz was sent to the rear of the field for the contact with Rocco. 

Under the caution, the majority of the lead lap cars all came to pit road for 2 fresh tires.  Joey Cipriano won the race off pit road and he restarted in 9th as it was Kopcik and Owen on the front row with Matt Galko and Richard Savary lined up behind them for the restart.

Kopcik took the lead on the restart but Galko powered his way to the lead by the time the leaders hit the start/finish line.  Owen was third behind Kopcik with Willis in fourth and Savary in fifth.  Owen quickly took second and on lap-42 he took the lead from Galko.  Willis was third in line behind Owen and Galko with Cipriano in fourth and Cam McDermott in fifth.  Pitkat was back up to sixth, the first car in line that stopped for 2 fresh tires under the last caution period. 

With 22 laps to go, Owen was still in command of the race with Galko holding back a hard charging Pitkat for second.  Pitkat was finally able to make a pass stick and he took over second place on lap-60.  Galko now had Williams all over his back bumper in the fight for third place with McDermott still running in fifth.  The caution came back out with 63 laps complete for a spin through the backstretch grass by Dylan Kopec.

Pitkat took the lead from Owen on the restart but Swanson got into the turn 4 wall to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed, which put Owen back in the lead for the next restart.  Pitkat again took the lead from Owen on the restart with Williams also getting by Owen to take second.  Owen slotted into third with Cipriano in fourth and Galko in fifth.  A spin by Rocco in turn 2 brought the caution back out with 65 laps complete.

Williams powered his way by Pitkat on the restart to take over the race lead.  Owen and Cipriano were side by side for third with McDermott in fifth.  Owen cleared Cipriano on lap-68 for third while Williams was starting to stretch out his advantage over Pitkat at the front of the pack.

Pitkat came back and charged his way back into the lead on lap-72 with Owen third, Cipriano fourth, and Lutz fifth.  The caution came back out with 73 laps complete for a spin by Savary in turn 2.

Pitkat charged into the lead on the restart but behind him the cars of Anthony Flannery, Kopec, and Gervais all spun in turn 1 to bring the caution back out and eliminate Pitkat’s pass for the lead.

Pitkat again took the lead back under green with Cipriano working his way into second.  Galko was third but he lost third to Swanson on lap-75 and Owen was fifth.  Williams had fallen back to sixth but he spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 75 laps complete.

Pitkat took the lead and Galko shot into second on the restart, with Lutz taking third.  Swanson took fourth and Owen got around Cipriano on lap-77 to move into fifth.  Swanson spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 77 laps complete.

Galko got loose on the restart and fell back to fourth as Pitkat took the lead and Eric Goodale and Cipriano were side by side for second.  Goodale got clear as the cars came to the white flag.  Goodale made one last charge on the final lap but Pitkat was just strong enough to hold him off to win the Twisted Tea Open 80.  Cipriano finished third with Galko and Rocco rounding out the top-5.

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TWISTED TEA OPEN MODIFIED 80 (80)

1) Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA

2) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY

3) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury

4) Matt Galko, Meriden

5) Keith Rocco, Berlin

6) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY

7) Timmy Solomito, Islip, NY

8) Dana DiMatteo, Farmington

9) Austin Kochenash, Danielsville, PA

10) Richard Savary, Holbrook, MA

11) Cam McDermott, Canterbury

12) Mike Willis, Jr., Grantham, NH

13) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown

14) Matt Swanson, Acton, MA

15) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven

16) Dylan Kopec, Palmer, MA

17) Dave Etheridge, Portland

18) Todd Owen, Somers

19) Anthony Flannery, East Hampton

20) Chase Dowling, Roxbury

21) Ronnie Williams, Ellington

22) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott

23) Jeff Gallup, Feeding Hills, MA

24) Scott Wylie, Blasdell, NY

Rocco, Gray, Pearl, Durand, & Fuller Score Twisted Tea Open Mod 80 Feature Wins at Stafford Speedway

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, September 18th with Open Modified cars in the house for the Twisted Tea Open Mod 80.  Keith Rocco scored his 5th win of 2020 in the SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray scored his 5th win of 2020 in the Late Model feature, Alexander Pearl notched his 3rd win of 2020 in the SK Light feature, Andrew Durand scored his 6th win of 2020 in the Limited Late Model feature, and Meghan Fuller took down her second win of 2020 in the Street Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Andrew Molleur took the early lead from the outside pole with Tony Membrino, Jr. in second.  Mikey Flynn was third with Troy Talman in fourth when the caution flew with 1 lap complete for a spin in turn 2 by Marcello Rufrano.

Molleur took the lead back under green with Membrino and Talman behind him.  Membrino pulled alongside Molleur for the lead on lap-3 but Matt Vassar spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution back out.

Molleur took the lead on the restart while behind him there was a 3-wide scramble for second with Talman taking second.  Membrino and Flynn were side by side for third with Flynn taking the position on lap-6.  Teddy Hodgdon was up to fourth in line with Todd Owen right behind him in fifth place.  Owen made a move to the inside of Hodgdon for fourth on lap-8 but Hodgdon was able to hold him off.  Owen came back to the inside of Hodgdon and he made ht pass stick on lap-10 as he got by both Hodgdon and Flynn to move from fifth up to third.  Owen continued his charge to the front by taking second from Talman on lap-11.  Behind the top-3 of Molleur, Owen, and Talman, Stephen Kopcik was up to fourth with Flynn holding off Michael Christopher, Jr. for fifth. 

Owen took the lead from Molleur on lap-13 while Christopher took fifth from Flynn.  Kopcik went by Talman to move up to third on lap-17 with Owen continuing to set the pace with Molleur and Kopcik behind him.  Christopher made a move to the inside of Talman on lap-22 to move into fourth with Kopcik getting around Molleur to move into second place behind Owen.

Kopcik began to work Owen over and he dove to the inside of Owen in turn 3 on lap-27 and he took the lead by a nose at the line.  Kopcik completed the pass on lap-28 but Owen was glued to his back bumper.  Owen almost made a move to the inside of Kopcik on lap-29 but fall back into second.  The caution came back out with 29 laps complete for spins in turn 3 by Rufrano and Jeff Malave.

Owen took the lead on the restart with Kopcik right behind him in second.  Christopher was third in line with Chase Dowling charging up to fourth before the caution came back out with 31 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by Flynn.

The caution came right back out on the restart as John Catania spun in turn 2.  The next restart saw Owen take the lead but Christopher locked up his brakes going into turn 3 and he and Dowling drifted up the track, allowing Keith Rocco to power his way into second.  Christopher recovered in third with Michael Gervais, Jr. up to fourth and Ronnie Williams fifth.  Dowling slid back to eighth in line.  The caution came back out with 35 laps complete as Vassar and Dan Avery got into the turn 3 wall.

Owen was fully sideways on the restart going into turn 1 and he fell all the way back to 14th place as Rocco took over the lead.  Kopcik was second followed by Dowling, Hodgdon, Williams, Christopher, Gervais, Glen Reen, Talman, and Molleur.  Rocco led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2020 season.  Kopcik finished second with Dowling, Hodgdon, and Williams rounding out the top-5.

In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, John Blake took the early lead at the drop of the green with Paul Varricchio, Jr. and Duane Provost side by side for second.  Varricchio took second on lap-2 and with Darrell Keane taking third and Al Saunders fourth.  Michael Bennett took fifth from Provost on lap-4 but Adam Gray was right behind him and he took fifth from Bennett on lap-5.  Keane got around Varricchio to move into second on lap-5 and Saunders and Gray also got around Varricchio to drop him from second back to fifth in line with Blake still in command of the race.  Provost spun on the backstretch to bring the yellow flag out with 8 laps complete.

Blake took the lead back under green with Keane, Bennett, and Ryan Fearn now lined up behind him.  Gray and Tom Fearn got sideways on the restart in turn 2 and both cars slipped back several positions.  Gray recovered in fifth while Tom Fearn was eighth in line. 

Gray got around Ryan Fearn to move up to fourth while Bennett was all over the back bumper of Keane, looking for a way to take over second place with Blake still out front.  Varricchio spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 22 laps complete.

Blake took the lead on the restart while Gray went to the outside lane to get by Keane to move into second.  On lap-23 Bennett and Ryan Fearn both got by Keane to take third and fourth and drop Keane back to fifth where he had Tom Fearn on his inside in a side by side duel.  Up front, Gray was looking high and low for a way past Blake and he made his move on lap-25 to get to the inside of Blake and he took the lead on lap-26 but Paul Arute spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the yellow back out with 25 laps complete, putting Blake back in front with Gray in second for the restart.

Gray took the lead from Blake on the restart while Blake went 3-wide with Coury and Bennett for second with Bennett emerging in second, Coury third, and Blake fourth.  Ryan Fearn was fifth in line but he took fourth from Blake on lap-28.  Coury made a move to the inside of Bennett on lap-28 and he took second on lap-29.  Ryan Fearn followed Coury by Bennett to take over third but no one could catch Gray as he took down his fifth win of the 2020 season.  Coury finished second with Ryan Fearn, Bennett, and Tom Fearn rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Nick Anglace took the lead on the outside of Joey Ferrigno at the start of the race.  Andrew Les took second with Alexander Pearl quickly moving into third with Bob Charland fourth and George Bessette, Jr. in fifth.  Ferrigno was sliding backwards and was 10th in line on lap-5. 

Pearl was looking high and low for a way to get around Anglace and he finally found the room he was looking for on lap-8 as he took the lead.  Anglace tried a crossover move and was briefly back alongside Pearl, but Pearl was able to complete the pass.  Bessette was third in line followed by Brian Sullivan and Jonathan Puleo.

Pearl led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2020 season.  Anglace finished second with Bessette, Sullivan, and Puleo rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Gary Patnode went 3 wide at the start to emerge with the race lead, but Rich Hammann and Lucas Leone both spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.

Patnode took the lead from Damian Palardy on the restart with Andrew Durand coming up to second.  Jeremy Lavoie took third with Palardy fading back to fourth, just in front of Alexandra Fearn. 

Fearn took the spot from Palardy on lap-4 and began to apply heavy pressure to Lavoie for third while Leone got by Palardy to take fifth and drop Palardy back to sixth as the Patnode and Durand were still leading the race.  Fearn went by Lavoie to take over third place on lap-9 and she began to close down the gap to Durand and Patnode.  Fearn spun coming off turn 2 to bring the caution flag out with 12 laps complete.

Patnode took the lead on the restart but he and Durand touched coming off turn 4 to complete lap 13 and Patnode got sideways and slid back to fifth as the new order was Durand in the lead followed by Lavoie, Leone, Fearn, and Patnode. 

Durand led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his sixth win of the 2020 season.  Lavoie finished second with Leone, Fearn, and Patnode rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, George Yuska took the lead at the start but he was overtaken by Kyle Johnson on lap-2.  The caution flew with 2 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by Jason Finkbein.

Jason Lafayette spun on the backstretch before a lap could be completed to bring the caution flag right back out.  Johnson spun coming to the green flag and he rejoined the field a lap down as Meghan Fuller was now in the lead.  Brandon Michael was second with Frank L’Etoile, Jr. third and Zack Robinson in fourth.  Robinson took third from L’Etoile on lap-4 as the 2 cars touched and L’Etoile went up the track and fell back to sixth.  Robinson then took second from Michael on lap-6 with Travis Hydar moving into third, Chris Meyer fourth and L’Etoile fifth as Michael slid all the way back to sixth. 

Robinson was starting to apply heavy pressure for the lead on lap-13 but Fuller was able to hold off his challenges.  Hydar was third in line with L’Etoile back up to fourth and Meyer in fifth.  With 4 laps to go, Hydar had closed the gap to Fuller and Robinson and it was a 3-car train for the lead.  Hydar worked his way around Robinson to move into second on lap-17 and he began to set his sights on taking the lead from Fuller.

Hydar was looking high and low for a way around Fuller and he made his move to the outside lane as the leaders came to the white flag.  Hydar worked the outside lane on the final lap but he came up just short of Fuller at the checkered flag as Fuller picked up her second win of the 2020 season.  Robinson held off a hard charging L’Etoile for third with Chris Meyer 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) Keith Rocco, Berlin

2) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown

3) Chase Dowling, Roxbury

4) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury

5) Ronnie Williams, Tolland

6) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott

7) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott

8) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA

9) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA

10) Andrew Molleur, Shelton

11) Todd Owen, Somers

12) Tyler Hines, North Haven

13) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA

14) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA

15) Tony Membrino, Jr., Wolcott

16) Bryan Narducci, Colchester

17) David Arute, Stafford Springs

18) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven

19) John Catania, Agawam, MA

20) Fran Siana, Enfield

21) Dan Avery, Somers

22) Matt Vassar, Plantsville

23) Jeff Malave, Manchester

24) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford

LATE MODEL (30)

1) Adam Gray, Granby, MA

2) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield

3) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

4) Michael Bennett, Willington

5) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

6) Al Saunders, Stafford

7) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA

8) John Blake, North Haven

9) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington

10) Michael Wray, Northford

11) Dave Wray, Durham

12) Duane Provost, Palmer, MA

13) Cliff Saunders, Stafford

14) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin

15) Paul Arute, Northridge, MA

16) Greg DeMone, Ludlow, MA

17) Mike Mordino, Southington

18) Darrell Keane, Enfield

19) Gary Theriault, Enfield

SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)

1) Alexander Pearl, Salem

2) Nicholas Anglace, Oxford

3) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury

4) Brian Sullivan, Tolland

5) Jonathan Puleo, Branford

6) Tyler Chapman, Ellington

7) Andrew Les, Palmer, Ma

8) Norman Sears, Andover

9) Peter Bennett, Cromwell

10) Derek Debbis, Oakdale

11) Steven Chapman, Ellington

12) Robert Charland, Stafford

13) Wesley Prucker, Stafford

14) Amanda West, Colchester

15) Josh Carey, East Longmeadow, Ma

16) Chris Matthews, Stafford

17) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, Ma

18) Paul Charette, Woodstock

19) Joseph Ferrigno, East Hartford

20) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington

21) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester

22) Todd Douillard, Palmer, Ma

23) James Houghton, Springfield, Ma

24) Chris Bagnall, Winsted

25) Todd Clark, Bristol

26) Anthony Forino, Waterbury

LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)

1) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA

2) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks

3) Lucas Leone, Southington

4) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

5) Gary Patnode, New Hartford

6) Frank L’Etoile, Sr., Wethersfield

7) Rich Hammann, Tolland

8) Mike Hopkins, Springfield, MA

9) Damian Palardy, Willington

10) David Shinder, West Granby

STREET STOCK (20)

1) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA

2) Travis Hydar, Woodbury

3) Zack Robinson, Putnam

4) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield

5) Chris Meyer, North Franklin

6) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville

7) Nick Hovey, Chaplin

8) Brandon Michael, Granville, MA

9) Jason Finkbein, Manchester

10) Tyler Trott, East Hartford

11) George Yuska, South Glastonbury

12) John Orsini, Morris

13) Marvin Minkler, Stamford

14) David Macha, Sr., Columbia

15) Daltin Mccarthy, Oxford, MA

16) Kyle Johnson, Manchester

17) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen

18) Christopher Phelps, New Salem, MA

19) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck

20) Jason Lafayette, Somers

Matt Galko Looking for First Open Modified Victory in Stafford’s Twisted Tea Open 80

(Stafford Springs, CT)—With open modified cars taking center stage this Friday at Stafford Speedway for the Twisted Tea Open 80, many would look at drivers like Keith Rocco, Ronnie Williams, Tommy Barrett, Jr., or Eric Goodale as the favorites to win.  While all 4 drivers have multiple tour style modified wins at Stafford, one driver who might be flying under the radar as a potential open modified winner is Meriden, CT native Matt Galko.  Galko, the driver of the #3 AAA Consulting, LLC. Chevrolet, is a former 2-time SK Light champion at Stafford and he has also tasted the fruits of victory in the SK Modified® division.  Galko is still searching for his first tour type modified victory but in 7 open modified starts from 2018-2020, Galko has posted 5 top-5 finishes with a worst finish of 8th.

“Everything has been great and we can’t ask for much more,” said Galko.  “The car has been really good and we’ve had good pit strategy, we just can’t seem to seal the deal at the end of the races.  We put ourselves into a good position for the end of the race and then one thing or another happens and we don’t have the luck to close out races.  I really have to thank Tim Rowe with AAA Consulting, LLC.  We’ve had to cut down on our budget and he’s really stepped up for us and my Uncle Roger has bought us some tires so thanks to all my sponsors and all my crew guys for dedicating their time.  Hopefully I can get them the win that they all deserve this Friday night.  I’m confident, the whole crew is confident, and we’re all due for a win.  They’re getting disappointed of doing all the work getting into post race tech inspection and not having a win.”

In each of his 7 open modified starts at Stafford, Galko and the #3 team have put themselves into a good position for the end of the races, but they have struggled to close out their good runs with a victory.  The team starts races off with a good car but the handling seems to go away from them during the second stint of their races.

“In the first Stafford race this year, I think we had a bad tire from our pit stop and that kind of messed the car up at the end of the race, the second race we had fresh tires at the end and we took the lead, but the car tightened up and we couldn’t hold Keith [Rocco] off, and in the last race we put ourselves in a hole at the start by not qualifying through the heat and we were able to get back up to fifth but we just didn’t have enough to get by the guys ahead of us,” said Galko.  “Right now we need to focus on our adjustments on the pit stops and making the car better for the second half of races.  We seem to hit the nail on the head for where we want the car to be for the start of races but once we put tires on it throws the balance off and we have to learn how to compensate for that.”

Galko began his modified career in Stafford’s SK Light division and won back to back championships in 2010 and 2011 before moving to the SK Modified® division.  Galko raced in the SK Modified® division from 2012-2018 and he scored his only 2 SK Modified® wins during the 2017 season.  Galko gave up full-time racing in the SK Modified® division so he could create his own tour type modified team and while his results have been stellar for a still relatively new team, he wants to add a tour type modified victory to his resume.

“Last year out of the 4 or 5 open shows we ran all together, I think the worst finish we had was fourth,” said Galko.  “We hit the ground running starting our own Tour type team and it’s a combination of having Stash Butova as the crew chief giving me a good car right out of the trailer and having really good horsepower from Mike Pettit.  Having a good motor is a big piece of the puzzle when you race at bigger tracks like Stafford and the longer races are not an all out brawl like the SK Modified® races are, you have to learn when to use your stuff and when to not use your stuff up.  We’ve been knocking on the door with 4 or 5 third place finishes so a second place finish would be great but we’re really looking for a win.”

One factor that Galko is hoping to play into his favor is the weather for the Twisted Tea Open 80.  The first three open modified races at Stafford in 2020 have all been run in the heat of Summer while the Twisted Tea Open 80 will have more of a Fall feeling as temperatures are expected to be in the 60s.

“We’re hoping that the cooler weather might play into our favor,” said Galko.  “We’ve struggled to get the car balanced like we had it last season so we’re hoping the cooler weather will allow us to go back to some of our notes from last year.  As a driver you love the cooler weather because the tires have more grip and the engines make more power.  I think we have a good plan to compensate for the cooler weather and I’m hoping it will be the right plan.  I think we’re one of the top cars that will be contending for the win.  There’s going to be a lot of good cars at this race but I like to consider ourselves as part of that top tier of cars.  I’m as confident as I can be without getting ahead of myself.”

This Friday night’s Twisted Tea Open 80 will pair the open modified cars with Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, Late Models, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, and Street Stocks.  Tickets are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission, $10.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Paddock passes are $50 and all tickets for this event are available for purchase now at www.staffordspeedway.com.  The first 3 open modified races at Stafford have sold out this season and this race is expected to sell out as well.  If there are any remaining tickets available, they will be sold the day of the event with the price increasing $5 at the gates.

Any fans who can’t make the race in person can watch a live stream of the entire evening starting at 6pm with qualifying heats all the way through the final feature event of the night on www.staffordspeedway.tv for only $30.

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