Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Stafford Motor Speedway opened the weekend of racing with the 6th Annual Dunleavy’s Modifieds Night.
Prior to the event there had been some bad blood generated between Bryan Narducci and Ron Williams who crashed together between turns three and four.
The two made contact going down the backstretch with Williams ending going thru the grass and ended up making contact with Narducci.
It was later found out that Narducci was cleared too early by his spotter, pushing Williams into grass, hence causing #50 out of control, driving both into wall.
Stafford’s SK Lights took center stage with a 40-lap feature that paid over $10,000 in total posted awards. Chris Matthews took home the biggest prize of the SK Light season for his second win of the 2022 season after leaders Derek Debbis and Alexander Pearl tangled with 4 laps to go. Matthews’ victory was worth over $2,000 in purse and contingency money while in victory lane, Doug Dunleavy did his pick from the hat and the 4th and 10th place finishers, Josh Carey and Frank L’Etoile, Jr., each won a $500 bonus while the 7th place finisher, Meghan Fuller, won a $1,000 bonus from Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair. Stafford’s other four feature events all featured first time 2022 winners with Tyler Hines winning the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn won the Late Model feature, his 75th victory Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and Adrien Paradis, III in the Street Stock feature.
In the SK Light 40 lapper Derek Debbis took the lead from Alexander Pearl on a lap 26 restart. Tyler Chapman spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the caution back out with 26 laps complete. Debbis took the lead on the restart with Chris Matthews briefly taking second but Pearl made a crossover move and the two cars ran wheel to wheel for second. Pearl got clear of Matthews on lap-29 with Stephen Chapman up to fourth and Nick Anglace in 6fifth. With 5 laps to go, it was still Debbis in the lead followed by Pearl, Matthews, Stephen Chapman, and Anglace. Pearl tried a move to the inside of Debbis for the lead on lap-37 but the two cars touched with Debbis spinning and backing his car into the wall to bring the caution flag out with 36 laps complete. Pearl was sent to the rear of the field for the contact with Debbis, which put Matthews and Stephen Chapman on the front row for the restart.
Matthews took the lead back under green with Chapman all over his back bumper in second. Anglace was up to third with Josh Carey up to fourth and Bob Charland in fifth place. Matthews led Chapman to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2022 season. Anglace finished third with Carey and Tyler Barry rounding out the top-5. Meghan Fuller finished eighth. It’s just a matter of time before she gets a win. Pearl ended up 15th
Tyler Hines went pole to pole to win the 40 lap SK Modified main. Ron Williams nearly took the lead from Hines a lap 24 restart but Hines maintained the lead by a nose at the line. Hines got clear from Williams on lap-25 with Cory DiMatteo in third, Stephen Kopcik in fourth, and Bryan Narducci in fifth. DiMatteo made a move to the inside of Williams on lap-27 and he took over second place on lap-28 after two laps of wheel to wheel action. Kopcik was now side by side with Williams for third but he went by Williams and DiMatteo on lap-30 to move into second place. Williams and DiMatteo were side by side for third with Williams getting clear on lap-33. Narducci took over fourth and Todd Owen took fifth as DiMatteo slid back to sixth place with 6 laps to go.
Hines led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2022 season in dominating fashion. Kopcik finished second with Williams, Narducci, and Owen rounding out the top-5.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night Eric Berndt made it two in a row as he won the 75 lap SK Modified feature. Anthony Flannery finished second with Rob Janovic, third.
Tom Abele Jr. was victorious in the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island JR Bertuccio was the 50 lap Modified winner. Kyle Soper finished second with Michael Rutkoski, third.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed for the Wall Stadium at the Jersey shore this past Saturday night. The event drew 27 cars and an overflow crowd. Jimmy Blewett picked up his 81st win in one of the most competitive events on the tour this season. Starting on the outside pole, Blewett was content to follow early leaders Ron Silk and Andrew Krause. With thirteen laps left to the 150 lapper Blewett made his move and made it stick as he out distanced Matt Hirschman for the win. Patrick Emerling finished third with Krause and Silk rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Justin Bonsignore, Austin Beers, Jon McKennedy, Blake Barney and Kyle Bonsignore.
A replay of the Jersey Shore 150 can be seen on the USA Network on Friday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. ET. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Saturday, July 16, for the running of the Whelen 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Doug Coby will be driving the Tommy Baldwin Jr 7NY. Post time is 6:00pm. FloRacing will provide live coverage.
The Modified Racing Series (MRS) was at the Wiscasset Speedway in Maine on Saturday night. Matt Swanson drove the Casella No. 25 ride to victory lane in the 75-lap event. Ryan Doucette Mass. was second and Jacob Perry was third. Perry had a good workout for his arms and shoulders as he drove the entire event without power steering.
In the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium Burt Myers won his 86th career race and second in a row. Myers beat defending champion Tim Brown, who is still winless this season, but is still very much in the points race. On a double-points night, Brown had a good night and Brandon Ward, the points leader, was third.
What helped Myers in the later stages was his restarts, but on at least one occasion he jumped the start and race officials had to redo it. Myers defended his starts, but Brown said it’s something that needs to be addressed. Brown worked his way toward the front with just nine cars left on the track for the final 25 laps. There were six cautions, but after Myers overtook Ward for the lead on a restart on lap 67, Myers never faltered the rest of the way.
Because Myers struggled early in the year, he says he’s out of the points races with six weeks to go. But he loves the fact that his crew has found something and he’s looking forward to the rest of the season, even if it doesn’t include a points championship.
Jeremy Gerstner, who was on the pole, dominated the first portion of the race and had a large lead until the first caution flag. On the cone re-start points-leader Ward took the outside lane and it paid off as he overtook Gerstner. On the second caution on lap 54 on another restart Ward stayed in front. The night turned into a wreck fest. After the third caution there were only nine cars left on the track on lap 64. Ward, who is still winless this season, says he’s somewhat frustrated even though he’s right there in pursuit of his first points’ championship.
FloRacing recently ranked the top pavement race car drivers during the month of June.
1. Matt Hirschman (Previous Rank: 1st) No surprise here as he has won 15 of the last 31 races he entered. Hirschman’s kept the wins coming during the month of June. “Big Money” collected a pair of wins at Mahoning Valley Speedway and a win at Evergreen Speedway before ending the month with his fifth Open Wheel Wednesday win at Seekonk Speedway. He also scored a controversial second-place finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway. One can argue that Hirschman would have won that race before he had a run-in with JB Fortin while he was putting Fortin a lap down.
2. William Byron (Previous Rank: 5th)
3. Bubba Pollard (Previous Rank: 3rd)
5. Sammy Smith (Previous Rank: 8th)
8. Bryan Narducci (Previous Rank: Unranked) When it comes to weekly pavement racing, it’s hard to find a better division than the SK Modifieds at Stafford Motor Speedway. Bryan Narducci was by far the strongest driver in that field throughout the month of June. Stafford ran four races in June and Narducci had finishes of first, second and third. Narducci had another second-place run, but he was disqualified from that finish for an infraction in post-race technical inspection.
10. Kyle Soper (Previous Rank: Unranked) Soper, driving for former NASCAR National Modified Champion Wayne Anderson is a multi-time NASCAR Modified division champion at Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway, but this month he pulled off the most powerful feat of any weekly competitor at Riverhead in a very long time. Soper passed Justin Bonsignore to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Riverhead, the first time a weekly competitor had scored a NWMT win at Riverhead in 27 years. Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr. was the last driver to beat the NASCAR invaders in 1995 before Soper pulled it off.
The Thompson Speedway comes alive on Wednesday, July 13. The second of three Wednesday night Outlaw Modified events gets the green this coming week. The Mid-Summer 75 goes to post at 6:00pm. All five of Thompson Speedway’s local divisions, the Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsmen, SK Light Modifieds, and Mini Stocks will be in competition.
At the conclusion of the 1969 season the Norwood Arena Speedway management announced that they were dropping the modifieds off their racing program. Stafford announced that in 1970 the speedway would switch to Saturday nights.
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 siteor at the track in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!