Tag Archives: SK Modifieds

Rocco, Coury, Puleo, Durand, & Hydar Score NAPA Auto Parts Opening Night Victories At Stafford Motor Speedway

(Stafford Springs, CT)—After a 2-month delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Stafford Motor Speedway opened its doors for racing with NAPA Auto Parts Opening Night on Friday, June 26.  126 cars lined the paddock area with Keith Rocco in the SK Modified® feature, Wayne Coury, Jr. in the Late Model feature, Jonathan Puleo in the SK Light feature, Andrew Durand in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar in the Street Stock feature all becoming the first drivers to reach NAPA Victory Lane in 2020 at Stafford. 

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Ronnie Williams and Todd Owen went side by side for the lead at the green with Williams getting clear on lap-2.  Michael Christopher, Jr. was third in the early laps with Cory DiMatteo moving into fourth and Keith Rocco was fifth. 

Owen made a move to the inside of Williams in turn 3 to take the lead on lap-4.   Christopher followed him through to take second before the caution came out with 4 laps complete for Teddy Hodgdon and Dan Wesson, who both went through the frontstretch infield with Wesson coming to a stop.

Owen powered his way back to the lead on the restart with Williams in second.  Rocco was up to third with Christopher fourth and Woody Pitkat fifth.  Williams made a move to the inside of Owen for the lead on lap-8 and he was able to complete the pass on lap-9 and take over the lead.  Rocco followed him by Owen to take second and Christopher took third, dropping Owen back to fourth.  Matt Vassar and Tyler Hines spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 9 laps complete.

Williams was the leader back under green with Owen and Rocco side by side for second.  Pitkat was fourth in line with Christopher fifth and Andrew Molleur in sixth.  The caution came back out with 12 laps complete for a spin in turn 4 by DiMatteo.  Bryan Narducci spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed.

Owen took the lead on the restart with Rocco right behind him in second.  Williams was third in line with Molleur in fourth and Pitkat back to fifth.  Stephen Kopcik was applying heavy pressure to Pitkat for fifth but Pitkat was able to hold him off.  Up front, Rocco was all over Owen’s back bumper looking high and low for a way to take over the lead.  Owen was able to keep Rocco behind him.  Rocco continued to look high and low for a way around Owen until the caution flew with 19 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by Michael Gervais, Jr.

Rocco got right back to applying heavy pressure to Owen’s back bumper on the restart as they fought for the lead but Owen was once again able to keep Rocco behind him.  Williams was third with Kopcik up to fourth and Pitkat in fifth.  Rocco was finally able to make a pass stick on lap-24 as he went by Owen in turns 1+2 to take over the race lead.  David Arute spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution out with 27 laps complete.

Rocco took the lead on the restart while Williams got around Owen to take second but the caution came back out with 28 laps complete for a multi-car accident on the backstretch involving the cars of Glen Reen, Tony Membrino, Jr., Tyler Leary, Teddy Hodgdon, Molleur, and Troy Talman.  The restart saw Tom Bolles get into the turn 3 wall, which collected several other cars that brought the caution right back out.

The restart saw Owen go from third to first with Rocco falling back to second.  Pitkat was up to third with Kopcik fourth and Williams fifth.  Rocco was immediately back to applying heavy pressure to Owen, looking high and low for a way to get back to the front of the pack.  Rocco made his move in turn 3 on lap-34 to get back to the front.  Pitkat was still third behind Owen with Kopcik and Williams continuing to make up the top-5 cars. 

Kopcik made a move to the inside of Pitkat on lap-38 to move into third.  Williams followed Kopcik by Pitkat to take fourth and drop Pitkat back to fifth.  Rocco pulled away from Owen at the front to take down the first SK Modified® win of 2020.  Kopcik finished third with Williams and Pitkat rounding out the top-5.

In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tom Fearn took the lead at the green with Paul Arute right behind him in second.  Tyler Leary and Ryan Fearn were side by side for third place with Adam Gray riding in fifth place.  Fearn took third from Leary on lap-2 and the top-5 were now single file with Tom Fearn showing the way.

Fearn was starting to pull away from Arute, Ryan Fearn, Leary, Gray, and the rest of the field.  Darrell Keane took fifth from Gray on lap-8 while the top-4 cars remained unchanged.  With 10 laps complete, Tom Fearn had opened up a nearly half straightaway lead over the field but his car dropped off the pace on lap-12 and he limped back to pit road and pulled behind the wall with Arute now the race leader.  The caution came out with 12 laps complete to slow the field.

Arute took the lead on the restart but Ryan Fearn was applying heavy pressure.  The field was only able to complete one lap before a pileup in turn 1 occurred involving Kevin Gambacorta, Duane Provost, Al Saunders, Rick Lanagan, Jordan Hadley, and Trace Beyer to bring the caution back out with 13 laps complete.

Ryan Fearn powered his way into the lead on the outside of Arute as the race went back to green.  Arute slid back to sixth in line as Gray took second, Leary third, Keane fourth, and Wayne Coury, Jr. fifth.  Keane spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the caution back out with 15 laps complete.

Gray did to Ryan Fearn what Fearn did to Arute on the previous restart and he took the lead in the outside lane.  Coury was up to third behind Fearn and Arute with Leary fourth and Arute fifth.  Fearn made a move to the inside of Gray in turn 1 on lap-17 and got loose and spun, collecting Gray in the spin and bringing the caution flag back out with 17 laps complete.   Coury was now the race leader with Leary on his outside and Arute and Jim Mavlouganes lined up behind him for the restart.

Coury took the lead with Leary holding off a stiff challenge from Michael Bennett for second.  Bennett slotted into third with Michael Wray up to fourth and Jim Mavlouganes up to fifth.  Keane was back up to sixth after his earlier spin and Arute was seventh in line. 

Bennett got around Leary to take second on lap-23 and he took the lead from Coury on lap-24, but before the lap could be completed, Gambacorta spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution back out and put Coury back up front for the restart.

Coury took the lead back under green but the caution came back after one lap had been completed as Mavlouganes’ car came to a stop in turn 4.

Coury took the lead on the restart with Bennett taking second.  Arute was up to third with Saunders fourth and Gray in fifth.  Bennett was almost glued to Coury’s back bumper as they completed lap-28.  Coury held off a determined Bennett to take down the first Late Model win of the 2020 season.  Arute finished third with Saunders and Gray rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap SK Light feature, Rit Dulac spun on the start in turn 2 to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.  Robert Bloxsom, III and Joey Ferrigno ran the first lap side by side for the lead before Bloxsom got clear on lap-2.  Chris Matthews and Jonathan Puleo were side by side for third with Brian Sullivan in fifth.  Matthews got the better of the duel with Puleo to take third on lap-3 as Bloxsom continued to hold the lead. 

Puleo was looking to get back around Matthews for third, but Matthews was able to fend off his challenge on lap-5.  Puleo made the move stick on lap-6 and he took third with Sullivan moving into fourth as Matthews slid back to sixth, just behind Amanda West in fifth.  Bloxsom was still leading Ferrigno when Cassandra Cole spun on the frontstretch infield to bring the caution out with 11 laps complete. 

Bloxsom took the lead on the restart with Puleo pulling alongside Ferrigno for second but only one lap was completed before a multi-car incident on the backstretch brought the caution back out with 12 laps complete.

Puleo went side by side with Bloxsom for the lead on the restart with Puleo taking the lead  on lap-14.  Sullivan was third behind Puleo and Bloxsom with Alexander Pearl up to fourth and Joey Ferrigno was back to fifth.  Peter Bennett went around Ferrigno on lap16 to move into fifth and Bert Ouellette followed him by as Ferrigno slipped back to seventh place.

Bloxsom made one last ditch effort on the final lap, getting to the inside of Puleo in turn 3 but Puleo powered his way off turn 4 on the outside and he held off Bloxsom and Sullivan for not only the first SK Light win of the 2020 season, but his first career win at Stafford.  Pearl finished fourth and Bennett rounded out the top-5.

In the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature, Matt Clement powered into the early lead from pole position with Jeremy Lavoie and Andrew Durand side by side for second.  Lavoie took second on lap-2 with Gary Patnode up to fourth and Alexandra Fearn sitting in fifth.  Devon Jencik was shown the black flag for leaking fluid from his car.

Durand made a strong move to the inside of Lavoie on lap-5 to move into second.  Just behind the Durand-Lavoie battle, Fearn was making a move to the inside of Patnode for fourth place and she took the place at the line as the field completed lap-6.

With 10 laps complete Clement was still in front with Durand right behind him in second.  Lavoie was starting to fade backwards from the lead duo  with Fearn in fourth and Patnode fifth.  Clement slipped up the track in turn 1 on lap-12 and Durand took full advantage of the slip to get to Clement’s inside and take over the race lead. 

Durand led Clement to the checkered flag to pick up his first Stafford win since August 2010, a span of nearly 10 full years.  Lavoie finished third with Fearn and Patnode rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Street Stock feature, Meghan Fuller charged into the early race lead with Chris Meyer in second.  Al Stone, III was third with Ryan Waterman fourth and Travis Hydar in fifth.  The caution came out with 2 laps complete for Jason Futoma who spun in the middle of turns 1+2 and had nose damage on the #22 car. 

Fuller took the lead on the restart but she was overtaken by Meyer on lap-4.  With Fuller stuck in the outside land, she slipped all the way back to eighth place as Waterman was now second, Stone third, Hydar fourth, Moose Douton fifth, Zack Robinson sixth, and Adrien Paradis, III seventh.

Up front the action was heating up as Waterman and Meyer swapped the lead back and forth between them with Waterman taking the lead on lap-9.  Jason Lafayette spun on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 10 laps complete.

Waterman took the lead back under green with Meyer slotting into second right behind him.  Robinson took third from Hydar on lap-12 with Douton holding down fifth.  Waterman’s car got loose in turn 4 and he spun in front of the field to bring the caution back out with 12 laps complete.  The field avoided hitting Waterman as he did a 360 and rejoined at the rear of the field.

Meyer took the lead on the restart with Hydar holding off a 3-wide duel with Paradis and Robinson to take second.  Paradis and Robinson were side by side for third with Paradis emerging in third on lap-14.  Douton was still running fifth.  The caution came back out with 15 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Paradis. 

Meyer held off a challenge from Robinson and Hydar on the restart but the caution came right back out one lap later as Stone got into the frontstretch wall and came to a stop just past the start/finish line.

Meyer powered into the lead on the restart while Douton was up to second before he got loose in turn 4 and fell back several spots.  Waterman was charging his way back through the field when the caution came out with 18 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Larry Barnett. 

Lafayette nearly went 3-wide on the restart but fell back into line behind Meyer and Robinson.  On the final lap Paradis and Waterman got together and hit the backstretch wall.  The race stayed green to the finish and in turn 4 Robinson made contact with Meyer with Meyer spinning and Robinson taking the checkered flag.  Robinson was penalized by NASCAR Officials for the contact with Meyer, making Hydar the winner.  Meyer finished second with Douton, John Orsini, and David Macha, Sr. 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) Todd Owen, Somers

3) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown

4) Ronnie Williams, Tolland

5) Woody Pitkat, Stafford Springs

6) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA

7) David Arute, Stafford Springs

8) Matt Vassar, Plantsville

9) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott

10) Joey Ternullo, Jr., Middletown

11) Tony Membrino, Jr., Wolcott

12) Bryan Narducci, Colchester

13) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury

14) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA

15) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA

16) Jonathan Smith, Trumbull

17) Jeff Malave, Manchester

18) Anthony Flannery, East Hampton

19) Chase Dowling, Roxbury

20) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott

21) Tom Bolles, Ellington

22) Andrew Molleur, Shelton

23) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA

24) John Catania, Agawam, MA

25) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington

26) Tyler Hines, North Haven

27) Dan Wesson, Monson, MA

LATE MODEL (30)

1) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield

2) Michael Bennett, Willington

3) Paul Arute, Northridge, MA

4) Al Saunders, Stafford

5) Adam Gray, Granby, Ma

6) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, Ma

7) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, Ma

8) Rick Lanagan, Broad Brook

9) Darrell Keane, Enfield

10) Michael Wray, Northford

11) R.J. Surdell, Willington

12) Duane Provost, Palmer, MA

13) Jim Mavlouganes, Bethany

14) Marc Curtis, Brookfield, Ma

15) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin

16) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington

17) Trace Beyer, Stratton, VT

18) Cliff Saunders, Stafford

19) Jordan Hadley, Waterford

20) John Blake, North Haven

21) Gary Theriault, Enfield

22) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

SK LIGHT (20)

1) Jonathan Puleo, Branford

2) Robert Bloxsom, III, Stratford

3) Brian Sullivan, Tolland

4) Alexander Pearl, Salem

5) Peter Bennett, Cromwell

6) Bert Ouellette, Ellington

7) Kyle Ellwood, Riverhead, NY

8) Amanda West, Colchester

9) Steven Chapman, Ellington

10) Andrew Les, Palmer, MA

11) Chris Matthews, Stafford

12) Wesley Prucker, Stafford

13) Norm Sears, Andover

14) Rit Dulac, Plantsville

15) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford

16) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook

17) Sami Anderson, Wolcott

18) Todd Douillard, Palmer, MA

19) Nathan Pytko, Douglas, MA

20) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester

21) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, MA

22) Noah Korner, Canton

23) Zack Aszklar, Newtown

24) Bob Charland, Stafford

25) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon

26) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury

27) Charles McDougall, Derby

LIMITED LATE MODEL (15)

1) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA

2) Matt Clement, Wethersfield

3) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks

4) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA

5) Gary Patnode, New Hartford

6) Rich Hammann, Tolland

7) Lucas Leone, Southington

8) Steven Martel, Barkhamsted

9) Jay Clement, Wethersfield

10) Devon Jencik, Canton

STREET STOCK (20)

1) Travis Hydar, Woodbury

2) Chris Meyer, North Franklin

3) Chris Douton, Waterford

4) John Orsini, Morris

5) David Macha, Sr., Columbia

6) George Yuska, S. Glastonbury

7) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen

8) Daltin McCarthy, Oxford, MA

9) Kyle Johnson, Manchester

10) Bill Staves, Windsor Locks

11) Jason Lafayette, Somers

12) Larry Barnett, Moosup

13) Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin

14) Zack Robinson, Putnam

15) Ryan Waterman, Killingly

16) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville

17) Al Stone, III, Durham

18) Brandon Michael, Granville, MA

19) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA

20) Marvin Minkler, Stamford

21) Jason Futoma, Avon

Ryan Preece Posts $500 SK Modified® Bonus for NAPA Fall Final

Tom Morris/Myracenews photo

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Ryan Preece Racing has announced a $500 bonus for Sunday’s SK Modified® feature at the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final. The bonus will be split with $250 going to the winner and $250 to the hard charger of the race, the driver advancing the most positions over the course of the feature.  With the bonus, Sunday’s 40-lap SK Modified® feature will pay $2,075 to win, with a total posted purse of $10,060.

“I’m excited to have the ability to post this bonus for Stafford’s SK Modified® teams,” explained Preece.  “I attribute much of the opportunities I have today to my time spent on the Stafford half-mile running against guys like Ted Christopher, Keith Rocco, and Woody Pitkat.  The SK Modified® division is one of the toughest weekly divisions in the country and is home to some of the best short track talent around.”

Preece is no stranger to Stafford Victory Lane, notching 35 career victories including back to back Spring Sizzler® wins and a $12,000 pay day in the NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K, the richest SK Modified race of the season.  Most recently Preece grabbed the win in the June 2019 Stafford Open Modified 80 in Ryan Preece fashion, pitting late and blasting through the field with just 25 laps to go.

“I wanted to post a hard charger award because the challenge at Stafford is starting deep in the field,” continued Preece, driver of the #47 JTG Racing Cup Car.  “With Stafford’s handicapping system and big car counts the top drivers always end up starting outside the top-10.”

Preece is currently in his rookie season in the Monster Energy Cup Series driving the #47 car for JTG Daugherty racing. Ryan has scored 3 top 10’s in his rookie campaign including a career best 3rd place run at Talladega in April.

“We want to thank Ryan for posting this bonus,” explained Stafford General Manager Mark Arute.  “Ryan’s passion for short track racing is unrivaled and he is a great representative of modified racing at the cup level.  All of us at Stafford are proud to have a past SK Modified® champion competing at the highest level of our sport and we look forward to whenever he gets a chance to come back to half-mile to compete.”

Tickets for this weekends NAPA Fall Final Weekend, September 28 & 29, are priced at $40.00 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. Reserved seat tickets are $45.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles. Discount tickets are available through participating NAPA stores.

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

Keith Rocco Looks To Seal Eighth Thompson Sunoco Modified Title at Sunoco World Series

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park 

Tom Morris/Myracewnews photo

THOMPSON, Conn. — Twelve years ago, Keith Rocco hoisted his first championship trophy in the Sunoco Modified division at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. 

At the time, it’s hard to think the Berlin, Connecticut, driver knew the title run would begin a stretch of dominance at TSMP. Over the last 12 years, Rocco has seven championships in the division, including the last three – and he is in position to clinch another as the 57th annual Sunoco World Series — October 11-13 – draws closer. 

He leads Woody Pitkat by 40 points heading into the finale, which is a lead he should be more than comfortable with. Thompson competitors earn 50 points for winning a feature race, while each position down through the field earns two less, meaning second earns 48, third receives 46, etc. In heat races, the winner earns five points, with a one-point drop throughout the top five, with fifth earning just one. Pitkat would need Rocco to have a major stumble to have a shot. 

How is Rocco able to have this success every single year? 

“It’s just a passion for racing. If anything, things seem to get easier with the amount of years that we have run. It isn’t as stressful as it was in the beginning, when I was trying to get those first championships,” Rocco said. “But the competition is definitely the fiercest it has been in the last couple of years.” 

With 48 different drivers taking a green flag in Sunoco Modified racing so far this season, the competition level has spiked, and Rocco has some stiff contenders to pick up feature wins. But that hasn’t slowed him down. Rocco has four wins in the races to date, which puts him tied with Ronnie Williams for the most in the division. Pitkat has two wins, and the three of them have combined to score 10. 

“From the first day I went to race Thompson, Woody has been there. We’ve raced a long time and we race really well together,” Rocco said. “Woody is in pristine equipment this year and it’s definitely stepped up his program.” 

In the familiar black and orange No. 57, Rocco competes for the Pane family. The success they are having together shows how strong the chemistry is. 

“The thing about racing with the Pane family that separates them from the average team, we ended up getting together, I got a call with an offer for a car and he knew I had a shot at a NASCAR national title,” Rocco said. “We started working together and we had a few different crew chiefs, and when we really started having a lot of success, he encouraged me and told me I knew these cars better than anyone else. They really backed me to do things how I want to do it and I think that’s what separates us from everyone else. They put all of their trust in me.” 

On the stats front, his eighth track title would be his 17th overall NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I track championship. Rocco also has six championships to his credit under the NASCAR sanction at New London-Waterford Speedbowl, and three at Stafford Motor Speedway. Before the World Series ever takes the green flag, Rocco could increase his number by one.  

He trails Ronnie Williams and Todd Owen in the Stafford championship battle, and he’s just 16 points from the top. If he can win at least one between the two tracks, he will tie Joe Kosiski for the most Division I track titles in NASCAR history. If he can win both, he will make the record his own. 

On the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship front, Rocco finished fifth this season, just 18 points from the top. He did win the national title back in 2010, but his competition for the crown includes drivers who compete at three tracks down south. Rocco only competes at two in New England. 

“I haven’t looked as those standings all year, we just go out and do our thing,” Rocco said. “It’s not something I can change because we are limited to two tracks, and it’s tough racing against guys down south. I’m happy to be up there again. I’m also extremely happy to be able to get a National Title back in 2010– that was a perfect season for us – and I’m not sure if anyone in New England will ever have the chance do that again. There are so many different drivers that win up here, and it’s hard to dominate like that.” 

For now, Rocco will shift his focus on capturing the title at Stafford Motor Speedway at their Fall Final on Sunday, September 29. After that, all eyes will turn towards the 57th annual Sunoco World Series at Thompson, October 11-13, where the division will open Sunday festivities with a 30-lap feature. 

“We’ll go out there and try to win the race like we always do,” Rocco said. “To me, it’s just another number (the eighth title). I’ve always gone to Thompson to win races and it’s always been my type of racetrack. It’s fast, and the way you drive it down in the corner, the adrenaline is a real rush because of the high speeds.” 

The 57th annual Sunoco World Series will take the green flag on Friday, October 11, and roll through Sunday, October 13. The event begins on Friday, with practice sessions running throughout the afternoon, and qualifying heat racing set to begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. Feature racing on Friday includes the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Late Models, Open Vintage Modifieds and Senior Tour Auto Racers. 

Saturday, action begins early with practice at 9 a.m., while qualifying racing begins at 2:30 p.m. There are 10 different feature races planned for Saturday night. Sunday, action begins at 1 p.m., with the season-finale for Thompson’s Sunoco Modified division. The NEMA Lites, ISMA Supermodifieds and TSMP Limited Sportsman will also join the headliner of Sunday — the Sunoco World Series 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. 

Admission to the paddock area for the entire three days is $75, with grandstand general admission set at $55. Any seniors (65+), veterans and active military will have general admission tickets priced at $50, while kids 12 and under are free in general admission.  

Thompson’s annual breakfast and dinner buffets will also take place during Sunoco World Series weekend. The breakfast buffet runs from 7-11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday and is $14 per person. The dinner buffet runs from 5-11 p.m. on Saturday night only and is $24 per person. For any children 12 and under, the dinner buffet is $14.  

For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans should visit the track on the web, www.thompsonspeedway.com and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.