Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Motor Speedway kicked off its 2023 season with “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring,” the 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler® with Open Modified cars.
Ron Silk picked up where he left off in modified competition at Stafford by following up his NAPA Fall Final victory last September with a victory in his NAPA Duel Qualifying Race along with taking the checkered flag in the 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler.
With $11,550 in lap money from the laps he led during the 100-lap race, plus $3,500 from winning his NAPA Duel and $20,000 for the NAPA Spring Sizzler, Silk goes home with a payday of $35,050.
The race took the green flag with Matt Hirschman leading the field to green and he took the lead at the drop of the green with Ronnie Silk, Woody Pitkat, Marcello Rufrano, and Stephen Kopcik lined up behind him. Silk was applying heavy pressure to Hirschman’s back bumper and he dove to the inside of Hirschman on lap-4 to take over the lead. The caution flew with 9 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Ryan Doucette.
Silk took command on the restart with Pitkat and Hirschman wheel to wheel for second. Pitkat took second on lap-10 with Kopcik fourth and Rufrano fifth. Rufrano went by Kopcik on lap-1 2 to move into fourth and drop Kopcik back a spot to fifth as Silk continued to lead Pitkat and Hirschman. The caution came back out with 18 laps complete as Jake Johnson appeared to lose an engine.
Silk took the lead back under green with Pitkat, Hirschman, Rufrano, and Matt Galko lined up behind him. Korner was sixth followed by Doug Coby, Michael Christopher, Jr., Eric Goodale, and Anthony Bello. The caution came out with 24 laps complete for a spin in turn 3 by Andrew Krause after contact with Bryan Narducci.
Silk took the lead on the restart with Pitkat, Hirschman, Galko, and Coby behind him. Rufrano was sixth followed by Goodale, Bello, Kopcik, and Blewett. The caution came back out with 30 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Krause.
Silk again took the lead on the restart with Hirschman looking to the inside of Pitkat for second before backing out and slotting into third. Galko was fourth with Coby right behind him in fifth. Goodale was up to sixth with Bello, Kopcik, Blewett, and Christopher behind him. Rufrano spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 34 laps complete.
Silk again took the lead with Pitkat right behind him on the restart. Hirschman and Coby were still third and fourth with Bello now up to fifth. Galko was back to sixth in line with Goodale, Kopcik, Christopher, and Ronnie Williams rounding out the top-10. The caution came back out with 44 laps complete for Bobby Santos, III and Marcello Rufrano, who both got into the frontstretch wall. Under the caution, Coby and Galko came to pit road for a tire change and adjustments.
Silk took the lead ahead of Pitkat and Hirschman on the restart with Bello in fourth and Goodale up to fifth. Ronnie Williams moved up to sixth with Christopher, Teddy Hodgdon, Chase Dowling, and Chris Pasteryak now making up the top-10. Hirschman lost several spots and fell back to sixth place on lap-47 as Bello went to third, Goodale fourth, and Williams fifth.
With 40 laps to go, Silk was still in the lead with Pitkat in second. Goodale was now in third with Bello and Williams making up the top-5. Sixth through tenth were Hirschman, Christopher, Hodgdon, Dowling, and Pasteryak. Narducci got into the turn 2 wall and came to a stop to bring the caution out with 65 laps complete. This caution period was when the majority of the leaders came to pit road for new tires and adjustments. Silk won the race off of pit road with Goodale, Hodgdon, Pitkat, McKennedy, Williams, McLaughlin, Glen Reen, Hirschman, Christopher, Bello, and Kopcik behind him. This put Coby and Galko on the front row for the restart with Spencer Davis and Matt Swanson in the second row.
Coby took the lead on the restart with Galko giving chase in second. Silk quickly sliced his way through traffic to move into third with Pitkat fourth and Davis fifth. Silk went by Galko to move into second on lap-69 with Goodale getting around Davis to move into fifth. Pitkat took third from Galko on lap-72 and Silk caught and passed Coby on lap-74 to retake the lead. With 25 laps to go the order was Silk, Coby, Pitkat, Goodale, McKennedy, Galko, Davis, Hirschman, Kopcik, and Christopher. The caution came back out with 75 laps complete for McLaughlin, who had an issue with his car and came to pit road.
Silk was back out front on the restart with Pitkat taking second from Coby. Goodale was fourth in line and McKennedy was fifth with Hirschman sixth. With 10 laps to go, it was still Silk in the lead with Pitkat, Coby, Goodale, and Hirschman lined up behind him. Pitkat closed in on Silk’s bumper on the final lap but couldn’t make a pass coming to the checkered flag to win the 51st Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler®. Coby finished third with Hirschman and Goodale rounding out the top-5.
NAPA Spring Sizzler® (100)
1) Ronnie Silk, Norwalk
2) Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA
3) Doug Coby, Marion
4) Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA
5) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY
6) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA
7) Anthony Bello, Newtown
8) Noah Korner, Avon
9) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
10) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
11) Andrew Krause, Holmdel, NJ
12) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
13) Ronnie Williams, Lebanon
14) Chris Pasteryak, Moosup
15) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA
16) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
17) Matt Swanson, Harvard, MA
18) Nick Anglace, Seymour
19) Spencer Davis, Dawsonville, GA
20) Ryan Doucette, Framingham, MA
21) David Arute, Tolland
22) Matt Galko, Meriden
23) Max McLaughlin, Mooresville, NC
24) Bryan Narducci, Colchester
25) Buddy Charette, Woodstock
26) Ed Flemke, Jr., Southington
27) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ
28) Bobby Santos, III, Fishers, IN
29) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
30) Jake Johnson, Rehoboth, MA
31) Austin Bessette, Stafford Springs
32) Craig Lutz, Middle Island, NY