(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway hosted Stafford Weekly Racing on Friday, May 19th with Open Modified cars on hand for the Call Before You Dig Open 81. Michael Gervais, Jr. was the SK modified® feature winner, his first win of the season and his first SK win at Stafford since June 2015. Ryan Fearn notched the Late Model victory with a dominating driver that saw him lead all 30 laps, George Bessette, Jr. won the SK Light feature, Kevin Cormier won the Limited Late Model feature, and Ryan Waterman won the Street Stock feature to make it two-for-two in 2023 at Stafford.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Michael Christopher, Jr. and Tyler Leary led the field to the green after polesitter Curt Brainard came to pit road before the start of the race and the two cars ran wheel to wheel with Christohper leading lap 1, Leary lap 2, and Christopher lap 3, all by a nose. Tom Bolles came to a stop in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.
Christopher took the lead back under green with Talman now side by side with Leary for second. Just behind them, Anthony Flannery and Todd Owen were wheel to wheel for fourth place. Talman spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 9 laps complete. Keith Rocco also spun in turn 2 and came to pit road with a flat right front tire.
Christopher and Leary resumed their wheel to wheel duel for the lead on the restart with Owen and Flannery side by side for third. Christopher cleared into the lead on lap-12 but Owen made a move to Christopher’s inside and he took the lead by a nose at the line. Owen cleared Christopher on lap-13 with Michael Gervais, Jr. coming up to second and Jimmy Blewett third as Christopher fell back to fourth with Leary fifth.
Gervais made a move to the inside of Owen on lap-16 to take over the lead. Gervais’ pass opened the door for Blewett to take second and drop Owen back to third. Christopher was still fourth and and now Tyler Hines was up to fifth with 18 laps in the books.
With 10 laps to go, Gervais was still out front with Blewett right behind him in second. Owen was third in line with Hines and Christopher making up the top-5. Marcello Rufrano was up to sixth with Dylan Kopec, Cory DiMatteo, Leary, and RJ Marcotte making up the top-10.
Blewett stayed right with Gervais but couldn’t get close enough to make a bid for the lead as Gervais took down his first win of the 2023 season and his first SK Modified® victory at Stafford since June 12, 2015. Owen finished third with Hines and Christopher rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Ryan Fearn led the field to the green flag and he charged into the lead a the start of the race. Wayne Coury, Jr. moved into second with John Blake third, Tom Butler fourth, and Duane Noll fifth. Darrell Keane took fifth from Noll on lap-3 but Kevin Gambacorta and Paul Varricchio, Jr. spun in turn 3 to bring the caution out with 2 laps complete and negate that pass by Keane.
Ryan Fearn took the lead on the restart with Coury taking second. Blake was third with Butler and Keane side by side for fourth but the caution came right back out for Duane Noll, who stalled out on the backstretch.
Ryan Fearn and Coury took the top two spots again on the lap-4 restart while Butler moved into third. Tom Fearn charged up to fourth behind Butler with Blake fading back to eighth place as Michael Wray took fifth, Adam Gray sixth, and Andrew Durand seventh. Fearn continued his charge towards the front as he took third from Butler on lap-8. Ryan Fearn was starting to stretch out his lead over Coury in second with Tom Fearn not gaining much ground on Coury from third place.
At the halfway point of the race, Ryan Fearn was still in command with Coury, Tom Fearn, and Michael Wray lined up behind him. Gray was still fifth but Gambacorta was applying heavy pressure to his back bumper for that spot. Gambacorta was able to get by Gray and take fifth on lap-17 while Ryan Fearn continued to slowly stretch out his lead over Coury.
Ryan Fearn led the field to the checkered flag to score a dominating first win of the 2023 season by leading all 30 laps. Gambacorta made a strong charge over the final laps and he nipped Coury at the checkered flag to finish second. Tom Fearn finished fourth with Wray rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Hailey Desaulniers spun in the middle of the pack in turn 2 right after the green flag, which brought the caution out and collected several other cars.
Cassandra Cole led the field to the green for a second time and took the early lead. Meghan Fuller was right behind Cole in second with Zach Aszklar third, Paul Arute fourth, and Chris Matthews fifth. Aszklar took second on lap-3 and brought Matthews with him to third as Fuller fell back to fourth. Nick Anglace took fifth from Fuller on lap-5 and he continued to charge to the front in the outside groove as he worked his wy to second on lap-6 and then dove to the low groove to take the lead from Cole on lap-7. George Bessette, Jr. took the lead from Anglace on lap-8 but Anglace came right back to the inside of Bessette and the two cars raced wheel to wheel for the lead. Aszklar was third with Matthews fourth and Cole in fifth. Alexander Pearl was on the charge as he moved into sixth on lap-10 after starting 10th. Anglace cleared Bessette on lap-11 which brought Aszklar to second and dropped Bessette back to third. Aszklar was looking to take the lead from Anglace on lap-12 when he spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out.
Anglace and Bessette were wheel to wheel for the lead back under green with Bessette holding the lead by a nose at the line. Matthews and Pearl were wheel to wheel behind Anglace and Bessette for third with Tyler Barry up to fifth. Bessette took the lead on lap-14 just before the caution came back out for Amanda West, who spun in turn 4.
Bessette took the lead at the green but Matthews overtook him for the lead as they completed lap-15. Matthews came right back to the inside of Bessette and they were side by side when the caution came back out for spins in turn 1 by Bob Charland and Nickolas Hovey.
Bessette took the lead back under green with Matthews in second. Pearl and Anglace were side by side for third with Fuller and Barry side by side for fifth. Matthews couldn’t get close enough to Bessette as Bessette scored his first win of the 2023 season. Anglace finished third with Pearl and Barry rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Damian Palardy and Devon Jencik brought the field to the green flag with Palardy charging into the early lead. Jencik slipped from second back to sixth in line as Gary Patnode was second followed by Kevin Cormier, Rich Hammann, and Jeremy Lavoie. Patnode worked his way to the inside of Palardy and he took over the race lead on lap-6. Cormier came up to second with Hammann third, Lavoie fourth, and Jencik fifth as Palardy slipped back to sixth in line.
Cormier made his way by Patnode on lap-8 to move into the lead and his pass opened the door for Hammann to take second and Lavoie third, which dropped Patnode back to fourth. Jencik and Palardy were still fifth and sixth in line behind the lead cars. The caution came out with 12 laps complete as Connor Jencik got into the turn 1 wall after making contact with the car of Pete Slavin.
Cormier took the lead back under green with Lavoie taking second. Hammann was third followed by Palardy and Matt Clement. Clement went by Palardy on lap-16 to move into fourth place while Lavoie was looking for a way to get around Cormier and take the race lead. Christopher Phelps spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 18 laps complete and set up a green white checkered finish.
Cormier took the lead again on the restart but Lavoie was glued to his back bumper in second. Lavoie took a look to the inside of Cormier in turn 3 coming to the white flag but backed out of the move. Lavoie couldn’t make a move on the final lap as Cormier took down his first win of the 2023 season. Hammann finished third with Matt Clement and Paradis rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Jason Lafayette took the lead at the start after running the first lap door to door with Johnny Walker. Walker slipped back to third on lap-2 as Ryan Waterman moved into second with Travis Hydar in fourth and Bert Ouellette fifth. Waterman dove to the inside of Lafayette on lap-4 to take the lead but the caution flew for Jeff Asselin, who spun in turn 3 and collected the car of Walt Hovey to negate the move by Waterman. Travis Downey was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Asselin.
Waterman streaked into the lead on the restart with Lafayette holding off Walker for second. Hydar was still fourth with Ouellette in fifth. Hydar went by Walker to take over third on lap-5 and that move brought Ouellette up to fourth as Walker fell back to fifth. Walker lost fifth to Aaron Plemons on lap-6 with Tyler Trott right behind Walker in seventh place.
Lafayette got loose in turn 4 on lap-10, which allowed Hydar to take second and Ouellette third as Lafayette fell back to fourth in line. Ouellette took third from Lafayette on lap-13 while Hydar was closing in on the back bumper of Waterman for the lead. The caution came out with 15 laps complete for spins in turn 2 by Marvin Minkler and Sean Petlock.
Waterman held off a stiff challenge from Hydar on the restart to maintain the lead with Ouellette third, Plemons fourth, and Lafayette fifth. Hydar was all over Waterman’s bumper looking for a way to get past and take over the lead. Waterman fended off Hydar to make it two wins in two starts this season in Stafford’s Street Stock division. Ouellette finished third with Plemons and Lafayette 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.