Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway kicked off its 2022 race season with the NAPA Auto Parts Duels as part of the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler® Weekend.
Feature races were held for the Pro-All Star Series Late Models, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, and Vintage All-Stars along with two 40-lap NAPA Duel races that set the top-20 lineup for Sunday’s 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler® main event.
Scoring wins in the two NAPA Duel races were Ronnie Silk and Ryan Preece. Taking down feature wins were Eddie MacDonald in the 75-lap PASS Late Model race, Matt Scappini in the 20-lap Limited Late Model race, Travis Hydar in the 20-lap Street Stock feature, and Ben Levangie in the 15-lap Vintage All-Stars feature.
In the first 40-lap NAPA Duel Race, Matt Swanson took the early lead with Ron Silk, Chuck Hossfeld, Stephen Kopcik, and Bobby Santos, III lined up behind him. Mark Bakaj got into the backstretch wall and spun to bring the caution out with 2 laps complete.
Swanson took the lead on the lap-3 restart with Hossfeld and Silk side by side for second while Santos and Kopcik were side by side for fourth behind them. Santos got loose coming out of turn 2 and he spun on the backstretch to bring the caution flag back out with 4 laps complete.
On the restart, Artie Pedersen, III shot into the turn 3 wall to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed. The next restart saw Silk get around Swanson to move into the lead but he only held the lead until lap-6 when Swanson went back to the front. Hossfeld was third in line followed by Craig Lutz in fourth and Jon McKennedy in fifth place. Kopcik fell back to seventh place in line as Anthony Nocella moved up to sixth with Michael Christopher, Jr,, Anthony Flannery, and Jimmy Blewett making up the top-10.
McKennedy was starting to apply heavy pressure to Lutz for fourth place on lap-16 and he was able to make the move on lap-17. McKennedy’s move opened the door for Kopcik to follow McKennedy by Lutz to take over fifth and drop Lutz from fourth to sixth. The caution came back out with 19 laps complete for Eric Goodale, who came to a stop at the entrance to pit road.
The lap-20 restart saw Swanson and Silk race side by side for a lap before Swanson got clear into the lead. Hossfeld continued to run in third with McKennedy and Kopcik making up the top-5. Silk took the lead from Swanson on lap-22 and one lap later saw McKennedy take third from Hossfeld. McKennedy’s move allowed Kopcik to take fourth and drop Hossfeld from third back to fifth. Christopher was now up to sixth with Blewett, Lutz, Flannery, and Bobby Labonte making up the top-10.
Silk ran unchallenged to the checkered flag to win NAPA Duel #1 and earn pole position for the 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler® tomorrow. The remainder of the top-10 positions, which will make up the first 10 cars on the inside row for Sunday’s main event were Swanson, McKennedy, Hossfeld, Christopher, Kopcik, Blewett, Labonte, Flannery, and Andrew Molleur.
In the second 40-lap NAPA Duel Race, Teddy Hodgdon took the lead from the second starting position with Woody Pitkat in second. Cory DiMatteo was third with Ryan Preece in fourth and Ronnie Williams in fifth. The field completed the first lap before a multi-car incident broke out going down the backstretch that involved the cars of Keith Rocco, Jeff Gallup, Anthony Bello, and Noah Korner to bring the caution flag out.
The lap-2 restart saw Pitkat streak into the lead with Preece taking second. Hodgdon settled into line in third with Williams fourth and Matt Hirschman taking fifth from Cory DiMatteo. Preece took the lead from Pitkat on lap-4 with Hodgdon, Williams, and Hirschman still making up the top-5. Chris Pasteryak was sixth, followed by Brian Robie, Matt Galko, Chase Dowling, and DiMatteo.
At the halfway point of the race Preece was still in the lead followed by Pitkat, Hodgdon, Hirschman, and Williams. Matt Galko had worked his way up to sixth with Pasteryak, Doug Coby, Robie, and Tommy Barrett, Jr. making up the top-10.
With 5 laps to go, it was still Preece in the lead with Pitkat, Hirschman, Hodgdon, and Galko making up the top-5. 6th through 10th were Williams, Coby, Pasteryak, Dowling, and Marcello Rufrano.
Preece led Pitkat to the checkered flag to win the race and earn the outside pole position for Sunday’s 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The remainder of the top-10 positions, which will make up the first 10 cars on the inside row for Sunday’s main event were Swanson, McKennedy, Hossfeld, Christopher, Kopcik, Blewett, Labonte, Flannery, and Andrew Molleur.
In the 75-lap PASS Late Model feature event, Gabe Brown and Eddie MacDonald led the field to the green flag with MacDonald taking the early lead on the outside of Brown. Brown settled into second with Joey Polewarczyk in third, Ryan Kuhn fourth and Cory Casagrande in fifth.
With 10 laps complete, MacDonald was still in the lead with Polewarczyk in second. Brown slid back to sixth place in line as Kuhn was third, Casagrande fourth, and Ben Rowe fifth. The caution flew with 15 laps complete as Brandon Barker came to a stop on the frontstretch.
MacDonald took the lead on the lap-16 restart with Polewarcyk right behind him. As the field completed lap-17, the cars of D.J. Shaw, Mike Scorzelli, and Corey Bubar came together and got into the turn 1 wall to bring the caution flag out.
MacDonald charged back into the lead on the lap-18 restart with Polewarczyk maintaining second place. Kuhn was still in third with Casagrande fourth and Rowe in fifth. Casagrande slipped back several spots on lap-21 as Brown, Austin MacDonald, and Johnny Clark all went by. Brown then took fourth on lap-22 with Austin MacDonald fifth, Clark sixth, and Rowe seventh as Casagrande slid all the way back to 10th place.
With 30 laps complete, Kuhn was starting to apply heavy pressure to Polewarczyk for second place but Polewarczyk was able to fend off the challenges as Eddie MacDonald continued to lead the race. At the lap-40 mark, MacDonald had pulled away from Polewarczyk by several car lengths while Kuhn and Brown were right behind Polewarczyk in a 3-car fight for second.
As the leaders began to weave their way through lapped traffic, MacDonald started to expand his lead while Brown worked his way past both Kuhn and Polewarczyk to move into second with Kuhn third and Polewarczyk falling back to fourth while Austin MacDonald continued to run in fifth place.
With 10 laps to go, it was still Eddie MacDonald in the lead by a comfortable margin over Brown in second. Kuhn was right behind Brown in third with Polewarczyk fourth and Rowe in fifth place. Kuhn made a move to get by Brown and move into second place on lap-67. The caution came out with 72 laps complete as Kuhn got into the wall and came to a stop against the turn 3 wall.
MacDonald took the lead on the lap-73 restart with Polewarczyk moving into second. Brown slotted into third with Jake Matheseon moving up to fourth and Rowe was fifth. MacDonald led Polwarczyk to the checkered flag to pick up the victory. Brown finished third with Matheson and Rowe rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Jeremy Lavoie and Mike Hopkins ran side by side for the first lap of the race with Hopkins taking control of the lead as the cars reached turn 4. Alexandra Fearn quickly took third place with Rich Hammann in fourth and Devon Jencik in fifth.
Hopkins immediately began to stretch out his lead while Fearn got around Lavoie to move into second on lap-4. Hammann followed Fearn by Lavoie to move into third to drop Lavoie back to fourth place with Matt Clement up to fifth place. Trinity Provost spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 8 laps complete.
Hopkins took the lead on the lap-9 restart while Fearn maintained second place and nearly took the lead from Hopkins on lap-10 but fell back into line. Hammann was third in line with Lavoie and Clement behind him but the action was slowed with 10 laps complete for a spin in the middle of turns 3+4 by Dana Wray.
Hopkins streaked back into the lead on the lap-11 restart with Hammann taking second from Fearn. Fearn held off a challenge from Lavoie to keep third place with Clement in fifth. Fearn took second from Hammann on lap-11 while Lavoie drifted up the track in turn 2 and fell from third back to sixth as Hammann took third, Clement fourth, and Gary Patnode moved into fifth place. Clement spun in the frontstretch to bring the caution back out with 15 laps complete.
On the restart Kevin Cormier spun on the backstretch to bring the caution right back out. The next restat aaw Hopkins take the lead with Fearn right behind him. Coming out of turn 4 to complete lap-16 the two cars touched with Hopkins getting into the wall and Fearn collecting several other cars to bring the caution flag out. This put Hammann into the lead with Ari Jencik in second, Matt Scappini third, and Jay Clement fourth for the upcoming restart.
Scappini charged into the lead on the lap-17 restart while Devon Jencik moved up to second. Jay Clement made a 3-wide move with Devon and Ari Jencik going into turn 3 in a fight for second and Devon clipped the wall and spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 18 laps complete.
Scappini again took the lead on the lap-19 restart with Lavoie moving up to second right behind Scappini. Ari Jencik took third with Jay Clement fourth and Hammann fifth. Wray spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 19 laps complete and set up a green white checkered finish.
Lavoie was able to stick with Scappini on the restart and they ran side by side for lap before Scappini got clear into the lead as they took the white flag. Scappini took the checkered flag to win the race while Ari Jencik got around Lavoie on the final lap to finish second. Devon Jencik finished fourth with Jay Clement rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Nickolas Hovey led the field to the green flag and he took the early race lead with Travis Hydar taking second. Bobby Stirk moved from fourth to third and he was applying heavy pressure to Hydar for the second spot on lap-2. Kyle Johnson was fourth in the early laps with Jason Finkbein rounding out the top-5. Travis Downey was sixth followed by Tyler Trott, Adrien Paradis, III, Marvin Minkler, and Johnny Walker. David Macha, Jr. spun in turn 2 on lap-4 but he was able to recover and the race stayed green with Hovey still leading the pack. The first caution flag of the race came out with 8 laps complete as Cameron Varricchio spun in turn 2.
On the lap-9restart, Hydar powered his way by Hovey to take over the race lead. Stirk was third in line followed by Finkbein and Paradis. Hovey went back by Hydar on lap-10 but just as he made the move the caution came out for a spin by Johnson. Under the caution Finkbein was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Johnson.
The lap-10 restart saw Hydar maintain his lead while Stirk went by Hovey to move into second. Paradis was fourth and Bill Cote took over fifth place, but the action was slowed again with 10 laps complete for Johnson, who came to a stop on the infield grass in turn 3.
Hydar again took the lead on the lap-11 restart with Hovey getting back by Stirk to move into second. Paradis was up to fourth while Bert Ouellette went 3-wide to move into fifth. The caution came back out with 13 laps complete for a spin by Varricchio in turn 1 that collected the car of Macha.
Hydar took the lead back under green with Hovey right on his back bumper. The field completed one lap before Hovey got into the wall on the backstretch coming out of turn 2 and collected the car of Samantha Dell while Finkbein ended up in the turn 3 wall to bring the yellow flag back out.
Hydar took the lead back under green on lap-15 with Stirk taking second. Paradis was third followed by Ryan Waterman and Bert Ouellette. Stirk couldn’t get close enough to Hydar over the final laps as Hydar took down his first win of the 2022 season. Stirk finished second with Paradis, Waterman, and Ouellette rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap Vintage All-Stars feature event, Gary Byington took the lead at the green flag with Ben Levangie glued to his back bumper. Wade Gagner was third in line followed by Leon Jasinski and Glenn Gagner. Levangie was all over Byington, looking high and low for the lead but Byington was able to hold him off. Darryl Dutch spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 5 laps complete.
Back under green Byington again took the lead with Levangie right behind him in second. Jasinski moved up to third with Wade Gagner fourth and Skip Swaintek moving into fifth place.
At the halfway point of the race, Levangie nearly had the lead at the line as he raced to the outside of Byington, but Byington was able to maintain the lead. Levangie again nearly took the lead from Byington on lap-10 but couldn’t complete the pass. With Byington and Levangie dueling side by side for the lead, Jasinski was able to close in on the two lead cars to make it a 3-car fight for the lead. Byington spun coming out of turn 4 on lap-12, handing the lead over to Levangie.
Jasinski made a final move coming to the checkered flag but he came up just inches short at the line as Levangie took the win. Wade Gagner finished third with Swaintek and Dan Domball rounding out the top-5.
NAPA AUTO PARTS DUEL #1 (40)
1) Ronnie Silk, Norwalk
2) Matt Swanson, Harvard, MA
3) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA
4) Chuck Hossfeld, Lockport, NY
5) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
6) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
7) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ
8) Bobby Labonte, High Point, NC
9) Anthony Flannery, East Hampton
10) Andrew Molleur, Shelton
11) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, NY
12) Jack Ely, Howell, NJ
13) Bobby Santos, III, Franklin, MA
14) Anthony Nocella, Berlin, MA
15) Dave Etheridge, Portland
16) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY
17) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA
18) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY
19) Robert Bloxsom, III, Branford
20) Artie Pedersen, III, Center Moriches, NY
21) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon
NAPA AUTO PARTS DUEL #2 (40)
1) Ryan Preece, Kannapolis, NC
2) Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA
3) Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA
4) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
5) Matt Galko, Meriden
6) Ronnie Williams, Ellington
7) Doug Coby, Marion
8) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
9) Chris Pasteryak, Moosup
10) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
11) Brian Robie, Sunapee, NH
12) Buddy Charette, Woodstock
13) David Arute, Stafford Springs
14) Anthony Bello, Newtown
15) Noah Korner, Avon
16) Todd Owen, Somers
17) Tommy Barrett, Jr., Millis, MA
18) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
19) Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA
20) Keith Rocco, Berlin
PASS LATE MODEL (75)
1) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, MA
2) Joey Polewarczyk, Hudson, NH
3) Gabe Brown, Center Conway, NH
4) Jake Matheson, Hillsboro, NH
5) Ben Rowe, Turner, ME
6) Cory Casagrande, Stafford Springs
7) Austin MacDonald, Pictou, Nova Scotia
8) Kate Re, Harrison, ME
9) Joshua King, Vernon, VT
10) Johnny Clark, Hallowell, ME
11) Dan Winter, Deerfield, NH
12) Derek Gluchacki, North Dartmouth, MA
13) Brandon Barker, Windham, ME
14) Ryan Kuhn, E. Bridgewater, MA
15) Adam Gray, Granby, MA
16) Garrett Hall, Scarborough, ME
17) Michael Scorzelli, Feura Bush, NY
18) D.J. Shaw, Center Conway, NH
19) Corey Bubar, Windham, ME
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Matt Scappini, Litchfield
2) Ari Jencik, Canton
3) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
4) Devon Jencik, Canton
5) Jay Clement, Wethersfield
6) Rich Hammann, Tolland
7) Scott Clement, Wethersfield
8) Trinity Provost, Holland, MA
9) Dana Wray, Durham
10) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
11) Mike Hopkins, Stafford Springs
12) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted
13) Damian Palardy, Willington
14) John Orsini, Morris
15) Kevin Cormier, Agawam, MA
16) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
2) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck
3) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
4) Ryan Waterman, Danielson
5) Bert Ouellette, Ellington
6) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
7) Johnny Walker, Agawam, MA
8) Travis Downey, Barkhamsted
9) Chris Danielczuk, Goshen
10) Kyle Johnson, Manchester
11) Ikechukwa Chima, New London
12) Joe Marek, Stafford Springs
13) Adon Burrell, Jr., Barkhamsted
14) Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin
15) Jason Finkbein, Manchester
16) Samantha Dell, Harrisville, RI
17) Marvin Minkler, Stamford
18) Bill Cote, Belchertown, MA
19) Rob Sears, Stafford Springs
20) Cameron Varricchio, Berlin
21) David Macha, Jr., Columbia
VINTAGE ALL-STARS (15)
1) Ben Levangie, Carver, MA
2) Leon Jasinski, Long Island, NY
3) Wade Gagner, East Longamedow, MA
4) Skip Swaintek, Higganum
5) Dan Domball
6) Glenn Gagner, East Longmeadow, MA
7) Darryl Dutch, Greenville, RI
8) Gary Byington, Unionville
9) John Jalbert, Gardner, MA
10) Jody Mills, Plainville
11) Curt Snow, West Warren, MA
12) Art Merchant, Rutland, MA
13) Dennis Desautels, Palmer, MA
14) Scott Neleber, Guilford, CT