RPW Column: The Champ Trail: Full Night Of Action At Stafford, Racing At Riverhead, Speedbowl, Bowman Gray & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Stafford Motor Speedway started off the weekend with a full night of racing.

With pump gas hitting $5.00 a gallon the head count didn’t appear to suffer plus the cars counts were also good.

There were 27 open tour type modifieds, 27 SK Modifieds, 29 sk Lites plus ample Late Models, Limited Late Models and Street Stocks in the pit area. The night served as a debut for Jacob Perry in the Open Mods. Perry drove a family-owned entry. Driving a heads-up race, he avoided numerous wrecks and finished 18th.

Current point leader in the SK Modifieds, Bryan Narducci started 14th and went on to record the win after a wheel to wheel battle with Cory Dimatteo. Todd Owen finished third with early leader Mike Christopher Jr, fourth. Teddy Hogdon rounded out the top five. With only one good finish at Stafford this year Keith Rocco continues to have a monkey on his back. The former champion was having a good run when his luck ran out on lap 23 as he lost power and dropped out.

With 26 laps complete, Narducci took the lead on a restart with DiMatteo holding off Owen for second. Chistopher was back to fourth just in front of a side by side duo of Gervais and David Arute. Marcello Rufrano and Arute touched with both cars spinning in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 35 laps complete and Narducci still leading DiMatteo, Owen, and Christopher.

Narducci again took the lead with DiMatteo in second on the restart. Owen maintained third place with Christopher fourth and Teddy Hodgdon up to fifth. DiMatteo couldn’t catch Narducci as Narducci scored his first win of the 2022 season.

Narducci’s grandmother Diane Pearl ended up being the big winner as she also had her other grandson, Alexander Pearl record a win in the SK Lites.

Woody Pitkat was the surprise winner of the Bud Lite Open 80 after second place runner Ron Silk spun leader Ron Williams on lap 67. Under the caution, Matt Galko’s car came to a stop at the entrance to turn 3, apparently out of fuel, and had to be pushed back to pit road. This put Dylan Izzo and Pitkat on the front row with Christopher and Chris Pasteryak in the second row for the restart.

Pitkat took the lead with a sideways drift in turn 3 while Izzo was able to keep Christopher from taking second. Christopher worked his way to the inside of Izzo on lap-69 and took over second place. Eric Goodale was now fourth with Chase Dowling in fifth. Dowling took fourth from Goodale on lap-70 and Teddy Hodgdon followed him by to take fifth and drop Goodale back to sixth place.

With 5 laps to go, the order was Pitkat, Christopher, Izzo, Dowling, Hodgdon, Goodale, DiMatteo, Dave Etheridge, Williams, and Silk. Pitkat led Christopher to the checkered flag to win the Bud Light 80. Izzo finished third with Dowling and Hodgdon rounding out the top-5. Sixth thru tenth included Goodale, DiMatteo, Williams, Silk and Dave Etheridge. It was the 79th career feature win overall at Stafford for Pitkat, a Stafford native. He sits second on the track’s all-time win list behind the late Ted Christopher who had 131 wins.

Pre-race favorite Ryan Preece was on hand with a new combination which included a Super Late Model Spec engine. Starting tenth, Preece worked his way to third by lap 26 only to drop out on lap 36 with a bad vibration.

Other Friday night winners at Stafford were Adam Gray for the second consecutive week in the Late Model feature, Devon Jencik in the Limited Late Model feature, and Bobby Stirk, III in the Street Stock feature.

The excitement continues to build as only 200 tickets left for SRX Racing’s Return to Stafford Speedway on Saturday, July 2nd.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season continues this coming Saturday, June 18 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire. The event will be shown live on FloRacing.

Ron Silk holds a slim three point lead over Tommy Catalano. Jon McKennedy sits in third, four points out of the lead. One point behind McKennedy is Eric Goodale. Austin Beers holds down fifth, 22 points out. Sixth thru tenth include Kyle Bonsignore, Justin Bonsignore, Craig Lutz, Dave Sapienza and J JB Fortin.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island ran a 50 lapper for the tour type NASCAR Modifieds. Dylan Slepian took the win. Justin Brown finished second with Chris Young, third. Dave Brigati and Chris Rogers rounded out the top five.

At the New London Waterford Speedbowl there is more than one path to get to the winners’ circle. Early moves paid off for Eric Berndt, Tony Macrino and Tom Silva. Late moves worked for Andrew Molleur, Evan Bourgeois and Zachary Martinez. All six drivers, however, had one thing in common — they posted victories Saturday night. Eric Berndt led 56 of the 60 laps to win the first Fast 3 Series race for SK Modifieds®. Anthony Flannery finished second with Todd Owen, third. Rounding out the top five were Cory DiMatteo and Timmy Jordan.

Evan Bourgeois won his first career victory in the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature. John O’Sullivan finished second and Tom Abele Jr. was third. In the Late Model division Andrew Molleur continued made it two in a row in the division’s 30-lap feature. Ray Christian III finished second and Charles Bailey III, was third.

Tony Macrino of Waterford won the 25-lap Street Stock feature.

Berndt started fifth in the 60-lap SK feature but needed only two laps to challenge Bill Anderson for the lead. Berndt blurred by Anderson and led the rest of the way, but it wasn’t an easy win. He was threatened repeatedly by Cory DiMatteo, Todd Owen and Anthony Flannery and had three restarts against Flannery down the stretch, but was able to hold everyone off.

Racing resumes Saturday with the SK Lights in the spotlight with a 50-lap feature.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium twin 25’s were held for the Modifieds. Jason Myers won the opener as another packed house of 10,000 looked on. Myers held off Chris Fleming to become the sixth different winner in the nine Modified races this season. Jason won his 36th career race and is 10th in stadium history, just two behind his father. Jason won the pole with the fastest qualifying time, and took advantage of starting out front.

In the second Modified race, which had an inverted starting order, Austin Pack pushed Lee Jeffreys into the wall hard on turn one on the first lap that forced Jeffreys out of the race. Jeffreys took the long walk back to the pit area some 120 yards through the middle of the infield but first tried to chase Pack on foot, then pointed at him before Jeffreys threw a cone at Pack’s car as Jeffreys continued to walk back to the pits.

Once Jeffreys’ car was towed off the track, it was the “Junior Snow Show.” All Snow, 26, did was win his first Modified race of his career, holding off Dean Ward, who was second. Zach Brewer was third and Burt Myers was fourth.

This week will be a busy one for both fans and competitors. The Thompson Speedway comes alive this Wednesday with the running of the Nutmeg State 75 for the open competition tour type modifieds plus a full venue of weekly racing divisions including SK Modifieds, SK Lights, Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks. From there the action switches to the Stafford Motor Speedway for their regular Friday night venue and then on to Monadnock in New Hampshire on Saturday for the Whelen for the Whelen Modified Dual at the Dog.

September 20, 1968 Gene Bergin had the M-6 in top form as he took the victory on Friday night. Leo Cleary finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. Bobby Santos and Don MacTavish rounded out the top five.

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. The book documents Modified Racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway from 1967 to 1986. 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 at the track in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!

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