Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – Stafford Speedway returned to racing action on Friday, May 26 with the SK Lights taking center stage with their first of two 40-lap Double Down extra distance feature events for the 2023 season.
Brian Sullivan was the big winner of the night taking down his second win of the 2023 season in the 40-lap SK Light feature event.
Stephen Kopcik scored his first win of the season in the SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray was a first-time 2023 winner in the Late Model feature, Matt Clement notched win #2 of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar won the Street Stock feature after finishing first in the first two races of the season.
In the 40-lap SK Light Double Down feature event, the caution came out right at the start as the car of Tyler Chapman came to a stop in turn 3. Cassandra Cole shot into the lead on the next start with Tyler Barry and Jason Chapman wheel to wheel for second. Barry took to the outside lane and he went around Cole to take the lead on lap-2. Nick Anglace followed in Barry’s tire tracks and moved around Cole and took second. Brian Sullivan followed the lead two cars by Cole on lap-3 and took third before the caution and red flags came out with 3 laps complete for a multi-car incident in turn 3 involving Casey Vogt, Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Josh Morrison, David Webb, Hailey Desaulniers, Ed Chicoski, Matt Brewer, and several others.
Barry took the lead back under green while Sullivan and Anglace nearly went 3-wide with Barry as they completed lap-4. Anglace powered his way around Barry on lap-6 to move into the lead with Sullivan also going around Barry on lap-7 to move into second. Just behind the lead trio Jason Chapman and Tyler Alkas were racing wheel to wheel for fourth place. George Bessette, Jr. was sixth followed by Cassandra Cole, Chris Matthews, Alexander Pearl, and Joey Ferrigno.
Jason Chapman won the duel with Alkas for fourth place and Bessette worked his way around Alkas to take fifth and drop Alkas from fourth back to sixth. Sullivan took the lead from Anglace on lap-12 and Barry went by Anglace on lap-13 to move into second and drop Anglace back to third just before the caution came back out for a spin coming out of turn 4 by Stephen Kalogiannis.
Sullivan took the lead on the restart with Barry taking second. Anglace and Chapman were side by side for third with Bessette in fifth. Pear and Matthews were wheel to wheel for sixth just behind Bessette with Alkas and Cole behind them. Chapman took third from Anglace on lap-18 while Sullivan was starting to stretch out his lead over Barry. At the halfway point it was Sullivan in the lead followed by a 5-car train with Barry leading the side by side duos of Chapman and Anglace and Bessette and Pearl. Barry spun in turn 2 on lap-23 but he kept going and the race stayed green.
With 10 laps to go, Sullivan was stretching out his lead over Bessette and Chapman with Anglace in fourth and Pearl fifth after Matthews was shown a black flag. Pearl and Anglace were trading fourth place between themselves which allowed Meghan Fuller to close in on them from sixth while Sullivan was still leading Bessette and Chapman. David Webb spun through the frontstretch grass on lap-34 but kept on going and the race stayed green.
Bessette closed in on Sullivan’s back bumper and he gave Sullivan a shot going into turn 3 on the final lap but Sullivan was able to hold on and take the checkered flag for his second win of the 2023 season. Chapman finished third with Pearl and Anglace rounding out the top-5.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dylan Kopec took the early lead but he gave way to Marcello Rufrano on lap-3. Stephen Kopcik made a power move to the inside of Kopec on lap-5 to move into second with Keith Rocco fourth and Todd Owen fifth.
Kopcik took a look to the inside of Rufrano on lap-8 but couldn’t make the pass. Kopcik did make the pass one lap later, moving to the lead on lap-9. Rocco got around Kopec to take third with Cory DiMatteo taking fifth from Owen.
With 15 laps on the board, it was still Kopcik in command with Rufrano and Rocco glued to his back bumper. DiMatteo was fourth with Kopec in fifth. Jimmy Blewett was up to sixth Owen, Tyhler Hines, Teddy Hodgdon, and RJ Marcotte making up the top-10. Rocco took second from Rufrano on lap-18 and that move allowed Kopcik to pull away slightly from the now 3-car train of Rocco, Rufrano, and DiMatteo.
On lap-26 DiMatteo got by Rocco to move into third with Blewett following him through to take fourth and drop Rocco from third back to fifth as Kopcik continued to comfortably hold the race lad with Rufrano in second.
In a race that ran all 40 laps green to checkered, Kopcik picked up his first win of the 2023 season in domination fashion. Rufrano came home in second with Blewett, DiMatteo, and Kopec rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, John Blake took the early lead at the drop of the green flag with Andrew Durand and Chris Meyer behind him. Wayne Coury, Jr. was fourth in line with Adam Gray fifth after they started 8th and 10th respectively. With 6 laps complete, the top-5 cars were lined up nose to tail in a 5-car train. Meyer took a look to the inside of Durand for second, but Durand was able to hold him off. Durand then took a look to the high side of Blake on lap-9 for the lead and he was able to make the move coming out of turn 4. Meyer followed him by Blake to move into second and drop Blake back to third. Coury was now alongside Blake for third on lnap-11 and he made the pass, opening the door for Gray, Zack Robinson, Darrell Keane, and Tom Fearn to all get by as Blake fell back to ninth place.
Durand and Meyer were starting to pull away from the field while Gray and Coury were side by side for third place on lap-14 with Gray taking the spot and bringing Robinson with him up to fourth to drop Coury back to fifth. Michael Wray spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution flag out with 15 laps complete.
Durand took the lead on the restart with Gray taking second. Meyer slotted into third with Coury fourth and Tom Fearn fifth. Robinson was sixth with Blake seventh and Keane eighth. Alexandra Fearn and Kevin Gambacorta were door to door for ninth place with Fearn taking the spot. Fearn’s car began to smoke heavily and she was shown the black flag on lap-20. At the front of the field, Gray was looking high and low for a way to get around Durand and take over the lead but Durand was able to fend off Gray’s challenges.
Gray looked like he had a pass lined up on lap-24 but Durand slammed the door shut on Gray to maintain the lead. The tussle for the lead allowed Meyer to catch up to the two leaders with Tom Fearn also closing in from fourth place. Gray again took a look to the inside of Durand on lap-27 and he was able to make the pass stick on lap-28. Meyer followed him through as did Tom Fearn, which dropped Durand back to fourth place with Robinson now in fifth. Gray took the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2023 season while Tom Fearn sneaked his way into second at the line with Meyer third. Durand was fourth with Robinson rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Devon Jencik took othe lead a the green with Damian Palardy and Matt Clement going door to door for second. Gary Patnode developed a flat tire and had to bring his car to pit road, done for the evening, while the caution flag came out with 2 laps complete for a spin in the middle of turns 3+4 by Jeremy Lavoie. Adrien Paradis, III was sent to the rear of the field for making contact with Lavoie.
Jencik took the lead back under green with last week’s winner Kevin Cormier hounding his back bumper for the lead. Palardy was third in line with Matt Clement and Rich Hammann behind him. Cormier was able to get to the inside of Jencik on lap-5 and he moved into the lead. Palardy took second with Matt Clement taking third as Jencik slipped back to fourth, just in front of Hammann.
Matt Clement worked his way to the inside of Palardy and he moved into second place on lap-8 as they raced out of turn 2. Behind the lead trio, Hammann took fourth and brought Lavoie up to fifth as Jencik fell from fourth back to sixth.
With 3 laps to go, Matt Clement was applying heavy pressure to Cormier for the lead and he was able to take over the lead on lap-18. Lavoie was driving back through the field after his earlier misfortune and he was up to fifth place behind Hammann but it was all Clement at the front as he took down his second win of the 2023 season. Cormier finished second with Palardy, Hammann, and Lavoie rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, David Macha, Sr. and Johnny Walker brought the field to the green with Walker taking the early lead. Bill Cote worked his way up to second with Macha falling back to third. The field completed one lap before the caution flew for a spin on the frontstretch by Sean Petlock.
The restart saw a pileup on the backstretch that began midpack and collected the cars of Macha, Marvin Minkler, Travis Downey, Tyler Trott, Travis Hydar, Bill Cote, and Ryan Waterman that brought the caution flag right back out.
Walker took the lead back under green with Bert Ouellette diving to the inside of Jason Lafayette to move up to second. Lafayette settled into third place with Ryan Perry moving into fourth and Tyler Trott fifth as Jeff Asselin fell from fourth back to sixth. Perry drifted up the track in turn 1 on lap-5, which allowed Hydar and Trott to both get by him with Hydar also getting past Trott to take fourth with Trott fifth and Perry back to sixth as Walker continued to lead Ouellette and Lafayette.
Ouellette drifted up the track in turn 2 on lap-10, which opened the door for Lafayette to take over second and one lap later Hydar took third to drop Ouellette back to fourth place as Walker continued to lead and Trott was still in fifth. Hydar overtook Lafayette to move into second place on lap-12 and he began to close in on Walker for the race lead.
Hydar took the lead from Walker on lap-15 with Lafayette, Ouellette, and Trott still making up the top-5 cars. Hydar led Walker to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2023 season after finishing second in the first two races. Lafayette finished third with Ouellette and Trott rounding out the top-5.
SK LIGHT MODIFIED (40)
1) Brian Sullivan, Tolland
2) George Bessette, Jr., Danbury
3) Jason Chapman, Ellington
4) Alexander Pearl, Salem
5) Nick Anglace, Seymour
6) Meghan Fuller, Auburn, MA
7) Cassandra Cole, Westbrook
8) Paul Arute, Tolland
9) Ron Midford, Jr., Ellington
10) Tyler Alkas, Berlin
11) Tyler Barry, Griswold
12) Brandon Michael, Granville, MA
13) Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford
14) Norm Sears, Andover
15) Matt Brewer, Norwich
16) Ethan Durocher, Canterbury
17) Sami Anderson, Wolcott
18) Stephen Kalogiannis, New Hartford
19) Chris Matthews, Stafford Springs
20) Paul Arcari, Somers
21) Daltin McCarthy, Oxford, MA
22) Wade Gagner, East Longmeadow, MA
23) Anthony Forino, Waterbury
24) Todd Clark, Bristol
25) David Webb, Nashville, TN
26) Josh Morrison, Ashford
27) Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin
28) Frank L’Etoile, Jr., Wethersfield
29) Amanda West, Colchester
30) Casey Vogt, Windsor
31) Zach Aszklar, Newtown
32) Chris Viens, Putnam
33) Bob Charland, Stafford Springs
34) Hailey Desaulniers, Windham
35) Ed Chicoski, New Hartford
36) Tyler Chapman, Ellington
SK MODIFIED® (40)
1) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
2) Marcello Rufrano, North Haven
3) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ
4) Cory DiMatteo, Farmington
5) Dylan Kopec, East Longmeadow, MA
6) Keith Rocco, Berlin
7) Todd Owen, Somers
8) Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury
9) David Arute, Tolland
10) Tyler Hines, North Haven
11) RJ Marcotte, Millville, MA
12) Michael Gervais, Jr., Wolcott
13) Anthony Flannery, East Hampton
14) Jon Puleo, Branford
15) Noah Korner, Avon
16) Steven Chapman, Ellington
17) Troy Talman, Oxford, MA
18) Michael Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
19) Tyler Leary, Hatfield, MA
20) Wesley Prucker, Stafford Springs
21) Curt Brainard, Canton
22) Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA
23) John Sandberg, South Windsor
LATE MODEL (30)
1) Adam Gray, Granby, MA
2) Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
3) Chris Meyer, Franklin
4) Andrew Durand, Chicopee, MA
5) Zack Robinson, Putnam
6) Wayne Coury, Jr., Fairfield
7) Darrell Keane, Enfield
8) John Blake, North Haven
9) Tom Butler, Stafford Springs
10) Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington
11) Michael Wray, Durham
12) Ryan Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
13) Paul Varricchio, Jr., Berlin
14) Chris Buffone, Belchertown, MA
15) Duane Noll, Monroe
16) Bobby Stirk, III, Naugatuck
17) Richard Ciriello, Reading, MA
18) Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow, MA
LIMITED LATE MODEL (20)
1) Matt Clement, Wethersfield
2) Kevin Cormier, Agawam, MA
3) Damian Palardy, Willington
4) Rich Hammann, Tolland
5) Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks
6) Devon Jencik, Canton
7) Adrien Paradis, III, Plainville
8) Connor Jencik, Canton
9) Matthew Winter, II, Springfield, VT
10) Christopher Phelps, New Salem, MA
11) Pete Slavin, Mansfield, MA
12) Samantha Dell, Pascoag, RI
13) Dana Wray, Durham
14) Scott Clement, Wethersfield
15) Gary Patnode, Barkhamsted
STREET STOCK (20)
1) Travis Hydar, Woodbury
2) Johnny Walker, Agawam, MA
3) Jason Lafayette, Somers
4) Bert Ouellette, Ellington
5) Tyler Trott, East Hartford
6) Kyle Johnson, Manchester
7) Jeff Asselin, Granby, MA
8) Ryan Perry, West Suffield
9) Jason Raymond, Somers
10) David Macha, Jr., Columbia
11) Marvin Minkler, Stamford
12) Cindy Stirk, Naugatuck David Macha, Sr., Columbia
13) Kevin Foote
14) John Snyder
15) Bill Cote, Belchertown, MA
16) David Macha, Sr., Columbia
17) Travis Downey, Barkhamsted
18) Ryan Waterman, Danielson
19) Sean Petlock, Ware, MA