Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Open Modified cars returned to Stafford Motor Speedway for their second of five visits of the 2022 season on Friday, May 20th for the Call Before You Dig Open 81. Ronnie Williams took the checkered flag with a dominant drive to outlast Woody Pitkat over the final laps.
Ronnie Williams and Eric Goodale brought the field to the green flag and they were still side by side after 1 lap was completed before the caution flew for a spin in turn 2 by Matt Swanson.
Williams took the lead on the lap-2 restart with Goodale and Keith Rocco side by side for second and Jeff Gallup and Matt Galko side by side for fourth place. Goodale and Rocco were still side by side for second place on lap-8 with Rocco getting clear to second on lap-9. Galko was now fourth with Chase Dowling in fifth as Williams continued to lead the race.
With 20 laps on the board, Williams was still comfortably leading Goodale with Galko, Dowling, and Rocco making up the top-5. Gallup was sixth followed by Tommy Barrett, Jr., Woody Pitkat, Teddy Hodgdon, and Stephen Kopcik.
At the halfway point of the race, Williams was in the elad with Goodale, Dowling, Galko, and Rocco making up the top-5. Gallup was sixth, followed by Barrett, Pitkat, Hodgdon, and Kopcik. The action was slowed by the caution flag with 50 laps complete for a spin by Marcello Rufrano.
Under the caution the field came to pit road with Williams winning the race off pit road followed by Galko, Dowling, Pitkat, Kopcik, Hodgdon, Gallup, Rocco, Barrett, and DiMatteo. Galko streaked into the lead on the restart with Pitkat moving into second. Williams fell back to third with Dowling and Hodgdon side by side for fourth place. Pitkat took the lead from Galko on lap-53 and Williams was now trying to follow Pitkat by Galko, which he did on lap-54 to move into second and drop Galko back to third. Dowling was fourth with Hodgdon right behind him in fifth place.
Williams was now applying heavy pressure to Pitkat for the lead and he made a move to the inside of Pitkat on lap-59 to move back into the lead. Gallup spun in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 60 laps complete.
A multicar incident broke out on the restart with Barrett taking the hardest hit into the turn 2 wall to bring the caution right back out before a lap could be completed.
Pitkat powered his way into the lead on the outside of Williams on the lap-61 restart with Hodgdon third, Galko fourth, and Kopcik fifth. Williams made a move to the inside of Pitkat in turn 3 on lap-64 to move back into the lead but Pitkat didn’t cede the position and he retook the lead on lap-65 coming out of turn 2. The lead battle continued on lap-66 with Williams taking the lead in turns 3+4. Hodgdon was still third with Goodale and Galko making up the top-5. Kopcik was just behind Galko in sixth place while Williams was slowly starting to stretch out his advantage over Pitkat at the front.
Pitkat couldn’t get close enough to Williams over the final laps as Williams took down a dominating victory. Goodale finished third with Hodgdon and Kopcik rounding out the top-5.
CALL BEFORE YOU DIG 81 (81)
1) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, CT
2) Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA
3) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY
4) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
5) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
6) Keith Rocco, Berlin
7) Matt Galko, Moodus
8) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, CT
9) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown, CT
10) Anthony Bello, Newtown, CT
11) Dave Etheridge, Portland, CT
12) Buddy Charette, Dracut, MA
13) Dylan Izzo, Monroe
14) Robert Bloxsom, III, Branford, CT
15) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
16) Todd Owen, Somers, CT
17) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
18) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington, CT
19) Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA
20) Tommy Barrett, Jr., Millis, MA
21) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA
22) Dave Salzarulo, Monson, MA
23) Matt Swanson, Harvard, MA