RPW Column: The Champ Trail: Stafford’s Fall Final Didn’t Disappoint, RoC 250 Postponed & More…
Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Stafford Speedway came alive this past Friday night Sept 23 for a regular Friday night of weekly racing and Sat, 24th which included the 49th annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final.
The Fall Final include the Tri-Track series. The Tri-Track Open had 51 entries on hand. The competition was second to none as a capacity crowd looked on.
In the Tri-Track Fall Final 80 Ron Silk scored a decisive victory over Jake Johnson and Matt Galko under chilly but clear conditions. Silk took the lead from Ryan Preece on lap-67 with a pass in turn 4. Just as Silk was glued to Preece’s back bumper Preece was now all over the back bumper of Silk and he nearly took the lead on lap-69 but couldn’t complete the pass. Silk fended off several more challenges, but the caution came out with 73 laps complete for a spin in turn 3 by Anthony Flannery.
On the restart going into turn 3, Preece got turned around which brought the caution back out. This put Johnson alongside Silk for the restart with Craig Lutz and Keith Rocco on row 2. Silk charged into the lead back under green with Lutz and Johnson side by side for second. The caution came back out with 74 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch by George Bessette, Jr.
Silk took the lead on the restart with Johnson taking second. Galko moved up to third with Matt Swanson taking fourth and Lutz slid back to fifth with Rocco in sixth. Silk led Johnson to the checkered flag to win the NAPA Fall Final. Galko finished third with Swanson and Lutz rounding out the top-5. Sixth thru tenth included Keith Rocco, Matt Hirschman, Mikey Flynn, Andrew Molleur and Eric Goodale,
In other Saturday action at Stafford, Anthony Bello was victorious for the second time during his rookie SK Modified® season, Steven Chapman dominated the 20-lap SK Light Invitational, and Tony Ferrante, Jr. won the Vintage All-Stars race. Todd Owen finished 5th in the SK Modified® feature, which was good enough to clinch his second consecutive SK Modified® track championship.
In Friday night action at Stafford, Marcello Rufrano used a last lap pass on Troy Talman to claim his second SK Modified® win of the 2022 season, Tom Fearn notched his 5th Late Model win of the season, Tyler Chapman took down his third SK Light win of the season, Kevin Cormier scored the second win of his rookie Limited Late Model campaign, and Travis Hydar locked up his fifth Street Stock win of the season. Hydar’s victory allowed him to clinch the Street Stock championship a week early while Adam Gray’s third place finish in the Late Model feature was good enough to clinch his fourth career Stafford Late Model championship. Gray and Hydar along with Todd Owen will be honored this coming Friday night, September 30th as Stafford’s other track champions will be decided during NAPA Championship Night.
Race of Champions Series management, in conjunction with Lake Erie Speedway in North East Pa. and telecast / streaming partners MAVTV on FloRacing, have made the decision to adjust the schedule for the 72nd Annual Lucas Oil Race of Champions, the final day of Presque Isle Downs & Casino Race of Champions Week and push the conclusion to Saturday, April 22, 2023 with an inclement reschedule date of Sunday, April 23, 2023. The television schedule for the new date will be updated in the future.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour takes one more week off before heading to the Thompson Speedway on Oct 9. With 14 of the 16 events run Jon McKennedy holds a three-point lead over Justin Bonsignore and Ron Silk who are tied for the second spot. Eric Goodale is a distant fourth, some 22 points back. Rounding out the top five is rookie Austin Beers, 47 points in arears. Sixth thru 10th include Tommy Catalano, Kyle Bonsignore, Craig Lutz, Doug Coby and JB Fortin.
The Riverhead Raceway closed out their regular Saturday night season. Kyle Soper collected his fourth NASCAR Modified championship over the past five years at the eastern Long Island speedway Saturday night when he won the 50-lap feature event for his 29th career win moving him to 11th on the all-time win list. Soper recently also clinched another New York State NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series championship on the strength of his four-win season in the Wayne & Joette Anderson owned machine.
At the conclusion of the program Bob Finan, who has been the announcer for 50 plus years announced his retirement. Through the years quite a bit has changed at Riverhead including owners,track officials and competitors has changed. But one constant has been the same, Bob Finan behind the mic. Thanks for all your efforts and have a happy and healthy retirement!
With the cooperation of the Arute family a book has been published with pictures and biographies of the 50 Greatest Drivers at Stafford.
The Stafford Motor Speedway had become the epicenter of NASCAR Modified racing in the northeast by the late 1980’s. From its dirt beginnings to its lightning-fast asphalt, Stafford had become the toughest and most gratifying track to score a victory. The Arute family which has owned and guided the destiny of the facility commissioned their thousands of loyal fans to name their favorite drivers. In alphabetical order so as not to offend anyone:
Tom Baldwin, Gene Bergin, Brett Bodine, Geoff Bodine, Ken Bouchard, Ron Bouchard, Mario “Fats” Caruso, Rene Charland, Ted Christopher, Leo Cleary, Tim Connolly, Jerry Cook, Corky Cookman, Pete Corey, Fred DeSarro, Richie Evans, Mike Ewanitsko, Ed Flemke, Sr., Jeff Fuller, Rick Fuller, Ernie Gahan, Bill Greco, Bo Gunning, Ray Hendrick, George “Moose” Hewitt, Tony Hirschman, George Janoski, Charlie Jarzombek, George Kent, Buddy Krebs, Randy LaJoie, Jan Leaty, Jerry Marquis, Mike McLaughlin, Ray Miller, Steve Park, Bob Polverari, Bob Potter, Brian Ross, John “Reggie” Ruggiero, Greg Sacks, Ollie Silva, “Wild” Bill Slater, Jimmy Spencer, Mike Stefanik, Carl “Bugsy” Stevens, George Summers, Jamie “The Jet” Tomaino, Maynard Troyer and Satch Worley.
Books are priced at $17.95 each and be purchased at the track at the Novelty Booth or at the Stafford Motor Speedway on line store. Books are also available at Amazon.com and at Coastal181 (877-907-8181.