Christopher Scores Second Consecutive Stafford Mod Win Friday; L’Etoile Jr. Wins Street Stock 30
Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Michael Christopher, Jr. scored his second consecutive SK Modified® feature win of the season Friday at Stafford Speedway.
The Street Stock division, however, took center stage with their lone extra distance feature event of the 2021 season, the Midstate Site Development 30. Frank L’Etoile, Jr. was the big winner of the night, outdueling Chris Meyer in the closing laps to score his fourth Street Stock win of the 2021 season in the MSD 30.
Other feature winners on the night included Adam Gray beating Michael Bennett to the checkered flag in a thrilling photo finish to score his second Late Model feature win of the season, George Bessette, Jr. was a first time winner SK Light winner, and Matt Clement scored his second Limited Late Model win of the season.
In the 30-lap Midstate Site Development Street Stock event, Kyle Johnson took the early lead with Bobby Stirk, III, Jeremy Washburn, and Bert Ouellette behind him but the caution flew with 1 lap complete for a spin coming out of turn 2 by Chris Danielczuk that collected the cars of Travis Hydar and Nickolas Hovey. Danielczuk was towed off the track while Hovey and Hydar were able to continue racing.
Johnson took the lead on the restart with Ouellette taking second. Chris Meyer quickly worked his way through traffic into third with Stirk back to fourth and Washburn in fifth. The caution flew with 7 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Patrick Jenks.
Ouellette took the lead back under green with Johnson and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. side by side for second. Meyer was fourth in line with Adrien Paradis, III up to fifth while Stirk, who restarted fourth, was off the pace and fell to the rear of the field.
Ouellette slipped up the track in turn 3 on lap-11, which allowed Johnson to power his way into the lead. Meyer came up to second with Ouellette falling back to third with Paradis fourth and L’Etoile fifth. Meyer went by Johnson to take the lead on lap-13 and his move brought Ouellette to second, Paradis to third, L’Etoile to fourth, and dropped Johnson from the lead back to fifth. Bill Cote and David Macha, Sr. came together and spun to bring the caution back out with 13 laps complete.
Meyer took the lead on the restart but Ouellette did a half spin in turn 3 in front of the entire field which collected several cars to bring the caution right back out.
Meyer took the lead after a lap of side by side racing with Ouellette with Ouellette slipping back to fifth in line as L’Etoile took second, Paradis third, and Nickolas Hovey, who was collected in the first caution flag incident of the race, back up to fourth.
L’Etoile was starting to apply heavy pressure to Meyer for the lead on lap-21 while Hovey got around Paradis to move up to third place. L’Etoile was able to get alongside Meyer as they completed lap-23 and he took the lead in turn 1 on lap-24 only to have Meyer make a crossover move to get back to the inside of L’Etoile. L’Etoile held the lead by a half car length to complete lap-24 and on lap-26 Meyer went back to the front of the pack. The jockeying between L’Etoile and Meyer allowed Hovey, Paradis, and Ouellette to close right in on the two leaders to make it a 5-way fight for the lead.
L’Etoile went back to the front on lap-27 with Hovey still leading Ouellette and Paradis. Meyer couldn’t get close enough to L’Etoile over the final 2 laps as L’Etoile scored his fourth win of the 2021 season. Hovey finished third with Ouellette and Paradis rounding out the top-5.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® event, Teddy Hodgdon and Marcello Rufrano ran the first lap side by side for the lead before Rufrano took the lead in the outside lane on lap-2. Michael Gervais, Jr. was third in the early going followed by Mikey Flynn in fourth and Noah Korner in fifth. Rufrano immediately began to draw away from the pack behind him, ,which included several side by side battles. With 10 laps complete the order was Rufrano, Gervais, Flynn, Korner, Hodgdon, Michael Christopher, Jr., David Arute, Todd Owen, Tyler Hines and Chase Dowling.
Christopher made a move to the inside of Flynn on lap-16 to move into third place behind Rufrano and Gervais. Christopher continued his march towards the front as he took second from Gervais on lap-21. Owen was now up to fourth behind Rufrano, Christopher, and Gervais with Korner in fifth. Arute was sixth followed by Stephen Kopcik, Flynn, Hines, and Dowling. Arute hit the backstretch wall while Dan Wesson and Dylan Kopec both spun to bring the caution flag out with 26 laps complete and erase Rufrano’s lead over Christopher and the rest of the field.
Rufrano took the lead back under green but the outside lane got bottled up on the restart and the caution came right back out before a lap could be completed. On the next restart saw Kopec spin in turn 1 to bring the caution right back out. The third restart saw Rufrano take the lead but only one lap was completed before the caution came back out for spins in turn 2 by Tyler Leary and Chris Viens.
Christopher took the lead from Rufrano on the lap-28 restart with Owen now up to third, Hines fourth, and Flynn and Andrew Molleur were side by side for fifth place. Molleur took fifth on lap-31 while Hines was trying to make a pass on Rufrano to take third, but Rufrano was not giving the place up easily. Hines was finally able to make a pass for third on lap-34 and he brought Molleur with him up to fourth to drop Rufrano back to fifth as Christopher and Owen continued to lead the race. Owen was all over Christopher’s back bumper with 4 laps to go and he was looking high and low for a way to make a pass stick to take over the lead.
Owen looked high and low over the final 4 laps but he couldn’t find a way by Christopher and he came up a half car length short at the checkered flag as Christopher picked up his third win of the 2021 season. Hines finished third with Molleur and Rufrano rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Andrew Durand and Darrell Keane led the field to the green with Durand taking the lead on the opening lap. Cliff Saunders pulled alongside Keane to make a side by side fight for second but the caution came out with 1 lap complete due to a multicar incident in turn 3 involving the cars of Al Saunders, Paul Varricchio, Jr., Rick Lanagan, Ryan Fearn, and Trace Beyer. Fearn’s car was taken off the track by a tow truck while the other four cars were able to drive away and rejoin the race at the rear of the field.
Durand took the lead on the restart with Keane in second. Michael Bennett jumped up to third followed by Michael Wray and Tom Fearn. Just behind Fearn was the side by side duo of Adam Gray and Cliff Saunders with Gray taking the position on lap-4. Tom Butler took a trip through the backstretch grass on the restart but kept his car moving and rejoined the race at the tail end of the field.
With 10 laps complete, Durand was still in command with Keane, Bennett, Tom Fearn, and Gray lined up behind him. Andrew Molleur was sixth followed by Wray, Wayne Coury, Jr., Kevin Gambacorta, and Cliff Saunders, who faded from his earlier top-5 position back to 10th place. The caution came out with 15 laps complete for a multicar spin on the backstretch involving Varricchio, Beyer, and Zack Robinson.
Bennett went 3-wide with Durand and Keane on the restart to take over the lead. The caution came back out one lap later for spins in the turn grass 1 by Butler and Lanagan.
Bennett took the lead on the restart but Gray was all over his back bumper. Wray was third in line with Tom Fearn and Keane side by side for fourth and Gambacorta and Durand sixth and seventh in line. Gray tucked back into line behind Bennett but on lap-20 he got a good run to the inside of Bennett and he took over the race lead. Wray was third with Tom Fearn and Gambacorta making up the top-5.
Gambacorta made a move to get by both Wray and Fearn to move up to third but the action was all up front with the two leaders for the final lap and the race for the win. Bennett made a move to the inside of Gray going into turn 1 on the last lap to take the lead. But Gray got a good run down the backstretch and got back to the inside of Bennett going through turns 3+4 and the two cars drag raced to the checkered flag with Gray taking the victory by inches at the line. Gambacorta finished third with Wray and Tom Fearn rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Josh Carey took the lead at the start but he only led the first lap before Chris Matthews charged his way to the front on lap-2. Peter Bennett was third with George Bessette, Jr. fourth and Bob Charland fifth. The caution came out with 3 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 involving Cassandra Cole, Chris Bagnall, and several other cars.
The restart saw Carey jump back into the lead with Bessette coming up to second and Matthews dropping back to third. Casey Vogt spun on the backstretch on lap-3 but the race stayed green until 4 laps were complete when Bob Charland nearly spun and almost collected Steven Chapman coming out of turn 4.
Bessette took the lead on the restart with Carey slotting into second place. Matthews was third in line with Bennett and Charland behind him. Just behind Charland was Alexander Pearl, Steven Chapman, Brian Sullivan, Tyler Chapman, and Derek Debbis. Bessette was slowly starting to stretch out his lead over Carey in second while Steven Chapman got loose in turn 4 on lap-10 and slid back to 12th place. The caution came back out with 11 laps complete for a spin in the middle of turns 1+2 by Alina Bryden.
Carey ran side by side with Bessette for the lead on the restart with Bennett in third and Pearl and Mark Bakaj side by side for fourth. Derek Debbis spun in turn 3 and collected the cars of Steven Chapman, Bob Charland, and Anthony Bello to bring the caution back out with 13 laps complete.
Bessette and Carey resumed their side by side duel for the lead on the restart with Bakaj taking third and dropping Bennett back to fourth. Pearl got around Sullivan to move into fifth place while the two leaders were still side by side on lap-16.
Bessette was finally able to get clear from Carey on lap-18 and with 2 laps to go the order was Bessette, Carey, Bakaj, Bennett, Pearl, and Sullivan. Bessette led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first career SK Light win. Carey finished second with Bakaj, Bennett, and Pearl rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Devon Jencik shot into the lead on the first lap as polesitter Damian Palardy drifted up the track in turn 1. Matt Clement quickly took second behind Jencik with Alexandra Fearn, Jeremy Laovie, and Jay Clement making up the top-5. Gary Patnode got around Jay Clement for fifth place and Clement took the lead from Jencik on lap-3 while Palardy slipped to the back of the field. Jay Clement spun in turn 3 to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.
Matt Clement took the lead on the restart but the caution came back out with 5 laps complete for Jencik, who came to a stop against the frontstretch wall.
Back under green Matt Clement again took the lead with Fearn, Lavoie, Mike Hopkins, and Rich Hammann lined up behind him. Lavoie made a move around Fearn to take over second place on lap-7 but Fearn came right back on lap-8 and took the spot back from Lavoie. Patnode’s car dropped off the pace on lap-9 and he parked on pit road, bringing his race to an early end.
Hopkins went by Lavoie on lap-10 to move into third place and Hammann almost followed Hopkins by, but had to settle back into line behind Lavoie. With 5 laps to go, Matt Clement still held the lead with Fearn giving chase from second. Hopkins, Lavoie, and Hammann made up the remainder of the top-5 with Matt Scappini right behind Hammann in sixth place.
Matt Clement held Fearn off to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2021 season. Hopkins finished third with Lavoie and Hammann rounding out the top-5.
MIDSTATE SITE DEVELOPMENT STREET STOCK 30 (30)
1) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
2) Chris Meyer, North Franklin
3) Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin
4) Bert Ouellette, Ellington
5) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
6) Jason Finkbein, Manchester
7) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
8) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck
9) Daltin Mccarthy, Oxford, MA
10) Kyle Johnson, Manchester
11) John Orsini, Morris
12) Marvin Minkler, Stamford
13) Rob Sears, Stafford Springs
14) Samantha Dell, Harrisville, RI
15) Christopher Phelps, New Salem, MA
16) Christopher Orsini, Morris
17) Patrick Grady, Berlin
18) Sam Calvo, East Berlin
19) Jeremy Washburn, Willimantic
20) Bill Cote, Belchertown, MA
21) David Macha, Sr., Columbia
22) Travis Downey, Barkhamsted
23) Patrick Jenks, Scranton, PA
24) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen
25) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
2) Todd Owen, Somers
3) Tyler Hines, North Haven
4) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
5) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
6) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
7) David Arute, Stafford Springs
8) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA
9) Jon Puleo, Branford
10) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
11) Chase Dowling, Bethlehem
12) Doug Meservey, Jr., Chatham, MA
13) Dan Wesson, Monson, MA
14) Noah Korner, Avon
15) Dylan Kopec, Feeding Hills, MA
16) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott
17) Daniel Cates, Chaplin
18) PJ Peters, Oxford
19) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
20) Chris Viens, Putnam
21) Curt Brainard, Canton
22) Matt Vassar, Plantsville
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Adam Gray, Granby, MA
2) Michael Bennett, Willington
3) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
4) Michael Wray, Durham
5) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
6) Darrell Keane, Enfield
7) Cliff Saunders, Stafford
8) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA
9) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
10) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield
11) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
12) John Blake, North Haven
13) Zack Robinson, Putnam
14) Paul Arute, Northbridge, MA
15) Al Saunders, Stafford
16) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
17) Armand Cote, Jr., Rocky Hill
18) Richard Lanagan, Broad Brook
19) Trace Beyer, Stratton, VT
20) Tom Butler, Stafford Springs
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (20)
1) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
2) Josh Carey, East Longmeadow, MA
3) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
4) Peter Bennett, Cromwell
5) Alexander Pearl, Salem
6) Brian Sullivan, Tolland
7) Tyler Chapman, Ellington
8) Chris Matthews, Stafford
9) Norm Sears, Andover
10) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA
11) Amanda West, Colchester
12) Nicole Chambrello, Kensington
13) Nick Anglace, Seymour
14) Tyler Barry, Griswold
15) Steven Chapman, Ellington
16) Bob Charland, Stafford
17) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook
18) Pete Lopuch, West Redding
19) Anthony Forino, Waterbury
20) Alina Bryden, West Springfield, MA
21) Derek Debbis, Oakdale
22) Anthony Bello, Newtown
23) Paul French, Jr., Andover
24) Glenn Bartkowski, Manchester
25) Casey Vogt, Windsor Locks
26) Chris Bagnall, Winsted
27) Rit Dulac, Plantsville
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
2) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
3) Mike Hopkins, Stafford Springs
4) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
5) Rich Hammann, Tolland
6) Matt Scappini, Litchfield
7) Jay Clement, Wethersfield
8) Damian Palardy, Willington
9) Trinity Provost, Holland, MA
10) Gary Patnode, New Hartford
11) Devon Jencik, Canton
12) David Shinder, West Granby
13) R.J. Surdell, Willington