RPW Column: The Champ Trail: Stafford’s Spring Sizzler Split Into Two Weekends Due To Rain

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Shortly after noon on Friday the Stafford Motor Speedway management pulled the plug on the Sunday segment of the Spring Sizzler.

In the words of Paul Arute “Due to the impending heavy rain forecasted for Sunday, April 25th, the 49th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® event has been postponed to Friday, April 30th.

Qualifying for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, and Vintage Modifieds will begin at 6:00pm with Whelen Modified Tour time trials to follow. Feature racing will begin at approximately 7:00pm”.

Ryan Preece announced that he will be at Stafford to compete on Friday night.

All tickets purchased for the NAPA Spring Sizzler will be good for the April 30th event.

Saturday’s weather at Stafford was picture perfect for the debut of the FloRacing live stream telecast. It was also the 699th SK Modified event run at Stafford. Twenty five SK Modifieds were on hand.

Defending SK Mod track champion Keith Rocco started off his season with a bang. With two laps complete in the third heat Rocco was taken out by Mikey Flynn in turn 3. After some frantic thrashing Rocco made it to the starting grid with little time to spare.

Tyler Hines started on the pole and led all 40 laps but it was far from a cake walk as he withstood seven restarts after cautions to score his first win. All eyes were on Rocco as he made a determined charge from the start and at the checker was on Hines’ bumper. Ronnie Williams finished third. Rounding out the top-five were Chase Dowling and Michael Gervais. Sixth was Matt Vassar, followed by Bryan Narducci, Doug Meservey Jr, Todd Owen and Mikey Flynn.

Eleventh thru 15th was Mike Christopher Jr., Marcello Rufrano, David Arute, Teddy Hodgdon and Stephen Kopcik.

In other Saturday action at Stafford, Michael Bennett led the Late Model field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2021 season and his first Stafford late Model win since the 2017 season. Adam Gray finished second with Michael Wray, Wayne Coury, and Tom Fearn rounding out the top-5. Alexandra Fearn won the Late Model Limited 20 lapper, Chris Meyer won the Street Stock 20 lapper and in Granite State Pro Stock action Joey “Pole” Polewarczyk Jr. took the lead on lap 15 from Eddie MacDonald and never looked back en route to the triumph in the Casagrande Builders 75. Pole crossed the line over six seconds ahead of hometown favorite Cory Casagrande, with seven-time Seekonk Speedway champion David Darling finishing third.

The debut of FloRacing coverage at Stafford was nothing short of fantastic. Ben Dodge and Kyle Ricky did an outstanding job calling the race and the camera crew was up on the wheel with their coverage and instant replays. Great job done by all!

Bob Finan sends word that Riverhead Raceway on Long Island is good to go. Seven divisions of NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series racing is set for opening night this Saturday May 1st as Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz swing open the gets for the 71st year of racing at Riverhead Raceway. The Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds, Late Models, Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds, Figure Eights, Blunderbusts, Super Pro Trucks and INEX Legend Race Cars will all see action. Pits will open at 1:00 pm with warm-ups slated to start at 2:30 pm. Spectator gates will open at 4:00 pm with qualifying set for 5:00 pm.

Adult admission Saturday night is $30, kids 6-12 are $10, 5 and under are free.

Big Money” Matt Hirschman scored the Race of Champions Lid Lifter 75 win in Pennsylvania at the Mahoning Valley Speedway over Austin Beers and Kyle Strohl. The win marked Hirschman’s eighth consecutive Modified victory this season.

Get well wishes to Todd Ceravolo who is in the hospital for cancer treatments.

Connecticut plans to phase out many COVID-19 restrictions affecting businesses next month. Gov.Ned Lamont announced Beginning May 1, outdoor restrictions will be lifted on businesses, such as mask-wearing when social distancing can’t be observed. Beginning May 19, all remaining business restrictions will end, including capacity limits on movie theaters, race tracks and outdoor gatherings.

In some good news for North Carolina race fans and competitors at the Bowman Gray Stadium track management is telling one and all to be at the Madhouse on June 5 when the green flag drops for the start of the 2021 season.

At Governor Cooper’s recent press conference, he announced his intention to remove all restrictions on mass gathering capacity and social distancing starting June 1. With that exciting development, the track is pleased to announce that they will be kicking off their 2021 racing season on June 5 with the Hayes Jewelers 200 for the Modifieds, along with racing for the Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock Divisions.

Plenty of general admission tickets will be available for purchase at the ticket gates for the same family-friendly prices fans have enjoyed for years.

Hot off his Spring Sizzler victory in 1972, Fred DeSarro made it two in a row at Stafford as he won the Sunday afternoon 30-lap event. Bob Santos finished second and was followed by Hop Harrington, Ray Miller, Moose Hewitt, Rene Charland and Bernie Miller.

Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!

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