(Stafford Springs, CT)—The race for Stafford Speedway’s 2019 SK Light championship will come down to three drivers, all graduates and former champions in the Wild Thing Kart Series, which races at Stafford on Monday nights. Through 18 races, rookie driver Steven Chapman, the 2014 Tiger A and 2016 Jr. Outlaw champion, leads Teddy Hodgdon, the 2011 Tiger A champion, by 4 points with Alexander Pearl, the 2014 Jr. Outlaw champion, 20 points behind in third place. In addition to Chapman, Hodgdon, and Pearl, Bryan Narducci the 2016 Sr. Outlaw Champion is fourth with Wesley Prucker rounding out the top 5. Rookie driver, Jonathan Puleo sits in the 6th position making 5 former Wild Thing Kart drivers in the top-6 of the points standings.
“It’s really cool that guys like myself, Teddy, Alexander, Bryan, JP, and Mikey Flynn, have all come from karts and it shows how great of an organization that Wade Gagner has with Wild Thing Karts,” said Chapman.
“It shows how good the Wild Thing Karts program is and if you have the right people behind you and the right talent, you can go far in this sport,” said Hodgdon. “It really shows right now with five of the top-6 guys in points all being Wild Thing Kart graduates. It’s pretty cool that the guys I grew up racing with has culminated with us now all racing for the SK light championship.”
“We’ve all been racing against each other since we were young,” said Pearl. “It shows that the kart program helps prepare drivers to transfer over to the big track at Stafford. It’s pretty awesome.”
Chapman has yet to post a victory during his rookie campaign, but he his #14 Chapman Apartment Homes car has finished all but 1 race this season in the top-10. The SK Light championship was won in 2008 by Joe Allegro, Jr. and in 2009 by Michael Gervais, Jr. without winning a race but Chapman would like to capture his first SK Light victory as well as the championship.
“It’s amazing that we’re doing as well as we have this season,” said Chapman. “We still haven’t gotten the win that we want yet but we’re putting new tires on the car this week so hopefully we can get a win to help us pull away from those guys in the championship race. This year has been amazing, I would have never thought that we would be in the hunt for a championship this season. The rainout helped us a little bit because that’s one less race where something could go wrong. We’d like to be a little more out in front than we are right now but we’re focused on finishing in front of Teddy and Alexander in these last 2 races and winning the championship.”
Hodgdon and the #55 Montanari Fuel team got out front in the points standings early in the season and have been the pacesetters for the majority of the year. Several finishes outside the top-10 eliminated Hodgdon’s comfortable cushion that he enjoyed earlier in the year but he is focused on putting his #55 car back at the top of the standings.
“It’s been really great to be in a position to fight for a championship every week this season,” said Hodgdon. “I have a great group of guys behind me who bring their best effort every week to make sure this car can succeed. We’re taking it race by race right now and trying to get the best possible finishes we can in the last 2 races and whatever happens happens. Halfway through the season we had a pretty big gap and since then we’ve had some unfortunate incidents that mostly weren’t our fault, but that’s how racing plays out sometimes. We have 2 races left and as long as we can come out on top, we’ll be happy.”
Pearl and the #7 Darling Auto Parts team scored 2 wins in the first 6 races of the season to establish themselves as a championship contender. Pearl also had 2 finishes of 20th or worse in those first 6 races of the season and he has slowly been climbing his way out of the hole those finishes left him in. Pearl has to make up 20 points or 10 more positions on the track to catch Chapman.
“This year has been a big improvement from last year, so that’s been good,” said Pearl. “We got a couple wins early in the season but we’ve had a couple bad finishes which put us behind. We’ve been finishing up front and trying to finish in front of the two guys in front of us so we’ll see how the last 2 races go. We’re going to have the same mentality for the last 2 races that we’ve had all year long, which is to try to win them both. 20 points is only 10 spots on the track and with how competitive the SK Light division is that deficit can be made up at any time.”
The race for the SK Light 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 SK Light 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.
THOMPSON, Conn. — The stars of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions took center stage on Labor Day Sunday, September 1, a makeup day after the original event was rained out in early summer. With only three races left in the championship battles, competitors in each division were seeking every advantage they could get as time runs out on the season.
Woody Pitkat had a big afternoon — earning two wins on the same day for the second time this year at Thompson, continuing his late-summer surge in his push for the Late Model and Sunoco Modified titles. In the Late Model division, former champion William Wall held a 13-point advantage over Pitkat coming into the weekend’s 25-lap feature, but Pitkat carried momentum having won two of the last three races. Wall took an early lead before a late-race caution allowed Pitkat to take the top spot.
It looked like Pitkat was well on his way to another win before another caution set up a two-lap sprint to the finish. Ryan Morgan, who sat third in points coming into the afternoon, wrestled away the lead from Pitkat with an aggressive move that left Pitkat frustrated after the checkered flag waved.
While Morgan was initially named the winner, his car was disqualified post-race after he refused inspection. That handed Pitkat his third win of the season, putting him within ten points of William Wall for the championship lead. The penalty also eliminated Morgan from the points battle — meaning the championship will likely be decided between Pitkat and Wall.
Pitkat was given the opportunity to speak in victory lane at the end of all of the feature events where he thanked his sponsors. “I can’t thank these guys enough. I felt like I pretty much had that race won and got used up there for the win. Some people want to race like that, but that’s not how I race. I’m glad we were able to get the win,” said Pitkat.
Pitkat also scored a dominating win in the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature, but his chances of earning that title are slim going into the final two events. Keith Rocco came in with a sizable 44-point advantage over Pitkat, and despite a dominating run, Pitkat left with a still-sizable 40-point deficit. Pitkat was proud that he was able to celebrate a victory with his family, having not yet learned he was the Late Model winner as well.
“I just wanted to win so bad,” Pitkat said. “I was really mad (about the Late Model finish) and wanted to win and when I get mad for some reason it makes me race a little harder. I just wanted to win one today really bad. My family is here, and they don’t get to come out every time. It’s nice to win when they’re here.”
The Limited Sportsman division has featured one of the most dramatic points battles all season at Thompson and that trend continued over Labor Day weekend with Shawn Monahan, who overcame a slow start to the season including a last-place finish in early June, looking to build on his eight-point lead over Kyle Gero.
The 20-lap feature proved to be disastrous for Monahan, who found himself involved in a three-car accident eleven laps in after fighting for the lead with Scott Sundeen and Ryan Morgan. It would not be the only spin of the night for Monahan, who was relegated to a 16th place finish, while his closest competitors for the title, Kyle Gero and Megan Fuller, each earned top-five finishes. Gero now carries a 16 points advantage over Fuller with two races remaining while Monahan finds himself 17 points behind in his journey for a third consecutive title.
Meanwhile, Ryan Waterman scored his second Limited Sportsman win of 2019 in a brand new car. Waterman, who is well out of the points battle, said the race was a good opportunity for his team to test out the new equipment in preparation for next season. He added that just because the title is out of reach doesn’t mean he will let off the gas in the final events of 2019.
“It was a blast today. I needed this after the last couple of weeks,” Waterman said. “This was kind of a shakedown to try some new stuff, so we didn’t have to mess with our primary car. We learned some more information for the other car too. I want to finish races and just be smart and patient. This race took a lot of patience to get to the front.”
The Mini Stock division continued the tightest points battle at Thompson, as Scott Michalski held a scant eight-point advantage over Steve Michalski coming into the 15-lap feature. Curry, who had won two of the last three events dating back to July, battled for the lead for much of the race and two laps remaining he made his move underneath leader Charles Canfield but was unable to complete the pass.
Canfield earned his second victory of the season at Thompson.
“It was definitely fun racing with Doug. With two or three laps to go, I knew he was there, and I saw him have a run. I got a little nervous, but I just had to drive a little harder. He’s got a really good car and a really good crew. It was tough holding him off,” Canfield said.
By virtue of his runner-up finish, Doug Curry cut his points deficit down to only seven points and Steve Michalski pulled within only a single point from Scott Michalski who failed to crack the top five.
Finally, the SK Light Modified® title has been all but secured by Bryan Narducci, who came into the Labor Day weekend 20-lap feature with five wins and a 65-point edge on Albert Ouellette. Narducci continued his domination, controlling the bulk of the race and earning his sixth win of the season at Thompson.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park jumps right back into the racing action on Sunday, September 8 with the penultimate races of the 2019 schedule, the Sunoco Modified 20/20 and For the Fans event.
LIMITED SPORTMAN FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 2. Jordan Hadley (Oakdale, CT); 3. Kyle Gero (Baltic, CT); 4. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 5. Meghan Fuller (Auburn, MA); 6. Al Stone (Durham, CT); 7. Jason Chicolas (Sutton, MA); 8. Steve Kenneway; 9. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 10. Randy Waterman, Sr. (Danielson, CT)
MINI STOCK FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Charles Canfield (East Haven, CT); 2. Doug Curry (Norwich, CT); 3. Dave Trudeau, Sr. (Mansfield, CT); 4. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 5. Russ Barboza (Griswold, CT); 6. Al Stone, III (Durham, CT); 7. Scott Michalski (Danielson, CT); 8. Andrew Krzeminski; 9. Ian Brew (Woodriver Junction, RI); 10. Bill Sylvia
LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Woody Pitkat (Bellingham, CT); 2. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 3. William Wall (Millbury, MA); 4. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 5. Derek Gluchacki (Dartmouth, MA); 6. Tony Macrino (Waterford, CT); 7. Mike Nenevides (Westerly, RI); 8. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 9. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 10. Buddy Charette (Woodstock, CT)
SUNOCO MODIFIED FINISH TOP-10: 1. Woody Pitkat (Bellingham, MA); 2. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 3. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 4. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 5. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 6. Todd Patnode; 7. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT); 8. Corey Barry (Brooklyn, CT); 9. Paul LaPlante (Scituate, RI); 10. Justin Albernaz (Rehoboth, MA)
SK LIGHT MODIFIED® FINISH: 1. Bryan Narducci (Colchester, CT); 2. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 3. Bert Ouellette (Ellington, CT); 4. Anthony Marvin (Colchester, CT); 5. Nathan Pytko (Oxford, MA); 6. John O’Sullivan (Salem, CT); 7. Matt Janisch; 8. Todd Taylor (Stonington, CT)
(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, August 30th with the Valenti Modified Racing Series in the house for the Lincoln Tech VMRS 80. Keith Rocco was a winner for the second consecutive week in the SK Modified® feature, Tyler Leary won for the first time in nearly 2 years in the Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci scored his second consecutive and eighth overall feature win of the 2019 season in the SK Light feature, Duane Provost secured his second win of 2019 in the Limited Late Model feature, and George Bessette, Jr. took down his second consecutive and fourth overall win of 2019 in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Troy Talman took the early lead with Joey Cipriano applying heavy pressure in second. Tyler Hines was third with Cory DiMatteo fourth and Glen Reen fifth. Hines got into the back of Cipriano on lap-5 with Cipriano recovering in 14th place. Talman still held the lead with Hines now in second, DiMatteo third, Reen fourth and Andrew Molleur fifth.
Todd Owen got around Molleur for fifth on lap-7 with Michael Gervais, Jr. in sixth. Gervais took fifth from Owen on lap-10 and Hines was given the black flag for making contact with Cipriano. This put DiMatteo into second with Reen third, Keith Rocco fourth and Gervais fifth as Talman was still in the lead on lap-14. Reen got around DiMatteo to take over second on lap-15 but DiMatteo came right back and nearly retook the spot on lap-17. DiMatteo continued to look high and low for a way around Reen while Rocco and Gervais were closing in and Talman was still in the lead. DiMatteo made a pass stick on lap-20 to move back into second and drop Reen to third.
With DiMatteo now in second, he was slowly starting to eat into Talman’s lead with Reen and Rocco right behind him. Ronnie Williams and Owen were waging a thrilling side by side duel for sixth place with Williams taking sixth on lap-26.
With 10 laps to go, DiMatteo had closed the gap to Talman and was right on his back bumper. Rocco and Reen weren’t far behind in third and fourth and DiMatteo took the lead from Talman on lap-32 with a pass coming out of turn 2. DiMatteo’s pass for the lead allowed Rocco and Reen to close right up to the back bumper of Talman and Rocco took second on lap-33 with Reen taking third as Talman fell back to fourth.
Rocco took to the outside lane and ran side by side with DiMatteo for lap-36 before falling back into line. Rocco again went to the outside of DiMatteo on lap-38 and the two were virtually even at the line. The three leaders touched going down the backstretch with DiMatteo spinning and Reen hitting the wall to bring the caution out with 38 laps complete. Rocco brushed against the wall as he had white stripes all around his right side tires but he stayed on track in the lead for the restart. Williams was now second for the restart with Gervais and Talman in the second row.
Rocco took the lead with Williams right behind him in second. Williams couldn’t get close enough to Rocco on the final lap to make a move as Rocco took down his second consecutive win and fifth overall of the 2019 season. Gervais finished third with Owen and Talman rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Tyler Leary took the lead at the drop of the green with Richard Ciriello in second. Michael Bennett held off Al Saunders for third with Michael Wray and Cliff Saunders side by side for fifth place. Tom Fearn and Ryan Fearn were slicing their way through traffic in the early going and with Wray taking third on lap-4, Tom Fearn took fourth from Bennett and Ryan Fearn took fifth on lap-5 as Bennett slid back to sixth in line.
Wray got by Ciriello to move into second on lap-6 and his move opened the door for Tom Fearn, Ryan Fearn, Al Saunders, Kevin Gambacorta, Wray, and Bennett to all get by Ciriello as he fell back to outside the top-10. Leary had built up a large lead of almost a full straightaway over Wray and Tom Fearn.
Tom Fearn took second from Wray on lap-9 and Ryan Fearn followed him through to take third and drop Wray back to fourth in line. At the halfway point of the race, Leary still held nearly a full straightway lead over Tom and Ryan Fearn with Wray fourth and Gambacorta fifth in line. Al Saunders was sixth followed by Wayne Coury, Jr., Cliff Saunders, Bennett, and Dave Wray. Bennett’s car began to drop off the pace on lap-19 and he brought his car to pit road on lap-20 where his team went under the hood.
With 5 laps to go, Leary was still out front by a wide margin with Tom and Ryan Fearn still in second and third. Gambacorta was fourth in line with Coury up to fifth. Leary led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season in dominating fashion. Tom Fearn finished second with Ryan Fearn, Gambacorta, and Coury rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Joey Ferrigno took the lead at the green and he led the first lap before Chris Matthews went to the front on lap-2. Teddy Hodgdon followed Matthews by Ferrigno to move into second with Amanda West taking third, Alexander Pearl fourth, and Mark Bakaj fifth as Ferrigno slid back to sixth in line. The caution came out with 3 laps complete for a multicar incident in turn 2 that involved the cars of Ed Chicoski, Glenn Bartkowski, and Sami Anderson.
Matthews and Hodgdon were side by side for the lead back under green with Pearl in third. West and Bob Charland were side by side for fourth. Hodgdon got clear to the lead on lap-6 with Matthews and Pearl now side by side for second while West and Charland were still side by side for fourth place. Pearl took second from Matthews with Charland getting the better of the duel with West for fourth. The caution came back out for debris on the frontstretch with 10 laps complete.
Hodgdon and Pearl were side by side for the lead but the caution came back out with 11 laps compete as Norm Sears, Robert Bloxsom, III, Glenn Griswold, and Ethan Durocher all spun on the frontstretch.
Matthews and Hodgdon were side by side for the lead with Narducci and Pearl side by side for third on the restart before Narducci went 3-wide with Hodgdon and Matthews before backing out and settling back in to second alongside Matthews as Hodgdon got clear to the lead.
Narducci made a move to the inside of Hodgdon on lap-15 to take over the lad. Hodgdon spun on lap-16 going down the backstretch and rejoined at the rear of the field as the race stayed green. Matthews was now second with Pearl third, Charland fourth and Wesley Prucker fifth as Narducci started to stretch out his lead. Narducci led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his eighth win of the 2019 season. Matthews finished second with Pearl, Charland, and Prucker rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Gary Patnode led the first lap before giving way to Duane Provost, who took the lead on lap-2. Jeremy Lavoie pulled alongside Provost on lap-4 for the lead and the two cars ran side by side for two laps before the caution came out with 5 laps complete as Alexandra Fearn slid into the turn 4 wall with a flat right front tire.
Lavoie and Provost resumed their side by side duel for the lead on the restart with Patnode in third. Matt Clement was fourth and Devon Jencik was fifth in line. Lavoie got clear to the lead on lap-8 with Patnode now side by side with Provost for second place with Clement right behind them. The caution came out with 8 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Kevin Crosby.
Lavoie took the lead on the restart with Provost slotting into second. Clement took third with Patnode fourth and Dave Gargaro, Jr. up to fifth. Provost made a move to the inside of Provost on lap-12 and he took the lead on lap-13. Clement was right behind Lavoie in third to form a 3-car train for the lead. Provost led Lavoie and Clement to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2019 season. Patnode finished fourth with Gargaro rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Marvin Minkler led the first lap before Tyler Trott went to the lead on lap-2. Zack Robinson took second with Meghan Fuller third, George Bessette, Jr. fourth, and Adrien Paradis, III fifth as Minkler fell all the way back to ninth place.
Bessette made a move to the inside of Fuller on lap-6 and he was able to complete the pass on lap-7. Bessette then took the lead from Trott on lap-12 before the caution came out for a spin by Fuller in turn 3 that collected the car of Paradis.
Bessette took the lead on the restart with Robinson right on his back bumper in second. Paradis was third in line with Travis Hydar taking fourth from Trott on lap-15. Nicole Chambrello spun on the frontstretch to bring the caution back out with 15 laps complete.
Bessette took the lead back under green with Robinson still glued to his back bumper in second. Hydar took third from Paradis on lap-18 with Trott and Fuller side by side for fifth. Fuller took fifth on lap-19 but no one could catch Bessette as he took down his second consecutive and fourth overall feature win of the 2019 season. Robinson finished second with Hydar, Paradis, and Fuller 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.