ROCCO, HUTCHINGS, KOPEC, CARDILE, CASAGRANDE, BERARDI, & GIBBS SCORE AUG. 24 FEATURE WINS AT STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY
(Stafford Springs, CT)---Stafford Motor Speedway returned to racing on Friday, August 24th with an SK Light / DARE Stock double feature night. Taking wins in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature action was Keith Rocco in the SK Modified® feature, Corey Hutchings in the Late Model feature, Dylan Kopec and Frank Cardile in the twin 15-lap SK Light features, Cory Casagrande in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Stephanie Berardi and Monte Gibbs in the Double Duty DARE Stock features.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Curt Brainard and Todd Owen were side by side for a lap before Owen cleared Brainard to take over the lead on lap-2. Brian Sullivan was following Owen’s tire tracks in the outside groove and he was second ahead of Brainard when the caution came out for a spin by Nichole Morgillo with 3 laps complete.
Owen and Sullivan were side by side for the lead on the restart with Owen getting clear after 2 laps of side by side racing. Dan Avery was third and he went by Sullivan for second on lap-7. Sean Foster was now fourth, just in front of the side-by-side duo of Tom Bolles and Brainard.
The caution came back out with 9 laps complete for spins by Morgillo and Frank Ruocco, who both spun on the frontstretch. Owen and Avery were dueling side by side for the lead on the restart while Keith Rocco moved up to third place. Rocco continued his charge, taking second from Avery on lap-12 and was immediately looking to both the high and low grooves to try to get by Owen. The caution came out with 13 laps complete for spins by Glen Reen, Chris Matthews, and Kurt Lenahan in turn 2.
Rocco got a good run to the outside of Owen to take the lead by a nose on the restart. Rocco cleared Owen on the next lap while Foster, Avery, and the side-by-side cars of Sullivan and Matt Galko were lined up behind him. Michael Bennett spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 19 laps complete.
Rocco took the lead ahead of Owen on the restart while Avery got around Foster to move into third. Foster and Galko were side by side for fourth and Sullivan and Woody Pitkat were side by side for sixth. The cars of Tommy Barrett, Brainard, and Morgillo spun in turn 1 to bring the caution out with 24 laps complete.
Rocco shot to the lead on the restart with Owen holding onto second. Avery and Galko were side by side for third with Pitkat and Foster side by side behind them. Pitkat got clear of Foster to move into fourth and he made a move to the inside of Avery on lap-28, but bobbled in the corner and couldn’t make the pass. Pitkat was able to get by Avery on lap-29 to move into third behind Rocco and Owen. The caution came out with 30 laps complete as Tommy Membrino, Jr. came to a stop in turn 3, Joe Gada was a backwards at the entrance to pit road, and Kyle Spencer was stopped against the backstretch wall.
Rocco again took the lead on the restart while Pitkat was hounding Owen for second. Pitkat made a pass on Owen to take over the spot, but just as he made the move, the caution came out with 31 laps complete as Foster and Tom Bolles got together against he turn 2 wall.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Pitkat making a quick move into second. Ted Christopher moved around Owen for third, with Avery making up the top-5. Pitkat was all over the back of Rocco, but Rocco was able to keep Pitkat behind him. Rocco was too strong for Pitkat to make a move as he picked up his fourth feature win of the season. Christopher finished third behind Pitkat, with Owen and Danny Cates rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Joe Rzeszutek led the field into turn 1 at the green, but Kevin Gambacorta overtook him down the backstretch and he led the first lap of the race. Jim Peterson spun through the grass on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 1 lap on the scoreboard.
The restart saw Corey Hutchings power into the lead with Gambacorta falling into line behind him. Rzeszutek was third, with Ed Ricard and Mike Quintiliano making up the top-5 in the early laps.
Hutchings continued to lead with Gambacorta running in second. Rzeszutek was third, with Quintiliano, Tom Fearn, Mark St. Hilaire, Woody Pitkat, and Peterson lined up in a 7-car train behind him. The caution came out with 21 laps complete for debris on the track, which erased Hutchings’ large lead.
Hutchings took the lead back under green but going down the backstretch, Quintiliano and Peterson touched and both cars spun to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed.
Hutchings took the lead back under green with Gambacorta and Fearn right behind him. St. Hilaire moved up to fourth and woody Pitkat was now fifth as Rzeszutek got out of shape in turn 3 and fell back several spots.
In the first 15-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Rick Williams took the lead at the green with Payton Henry glued to his back bumper. Harry Wheeler was third, with Dylan Kopec fourth and Tony Membrino, Jr. fifth. The caution came out with 2 laps complete for debris on the track.
On the restart, Nick Salva spun and collected the cars of Bo Gunning and David Webb to bring the caution back out. Henry took the lead on the restart, but his time at the front was short as Kopec shot into the lead on lap-5. With 5 laps complete, the caution came back out for spins by Frank Cardile, Dylan Campbell, and Salva in turn 3.
Back under green, Kopec took the lead with Henry right on his bumper. Wheeler was third, with Rick Williams fourth and Membrino fifth. Zack Aszklar went around Membrino for fifth on lap-8 while Kopec continued to lead Henry. Aszklar made a move to the inside of Williams to move into fourth on lap-10. Shawn Brule spun on the frontstretch to bring the caution out with 10 laps complete.
Henry got a good run on the restart and he briefly took the lead in turn 1, but Kopec came back strong and went into the lead. Aszklar went by Henry and Wheeler to take over second and one lap later, Wheeler and Henry touched wheels in turn 2 and they both spun to bring the caution out.
Back under green, Kopec charged into the lead with Aszklar and David Webb lined up behind him. Joey Ferrigno was fourth and Jay Goff was fifth with 3 laps to go. Aszklar made contact with Kopec in turn 1 and both cars nearly spun, but they stayed in the gas and raced down the backstretch. Aszklar inched ahead of Kopec, but he spun in turn 3 to bring the caution out and set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Kopec took the lead on the restart with Webb slotting into second. Bob Charland and Goff were side by side for third, but it was all Kopec at the front as he picked up his 7th victory of the 2012 season. Webb finished second, with Goff, Charland, and Ferrigno rounding out the top-5.
In the second 15-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Nick Salva took the lead at the drop of the green with Ronnie Williams, Bob Charland, Tony Membrino, Jr., and Payton Henry behind him. Dylan Campbell brought the yellow out with a spin in turn 4 with one lap complete.
Back under green, Salva and Williams were side by side for the lead with neither driver giving an inch. Williams got clear of Salva on lap-3 to take the lead. Frank Cardile made a strong run on the outside groove to move into third. He took second from Salva on lap-4 and he took the lead from Williams on lap-5. The caution came back out with 6 laps complete as Salva spun and collected the car of Joey Ferrigno on the frontstretch. Dylan Kopec, who earlier in the night won the first SK Light feature, came to pit road with a flat left front tire and was finished for the night.
On the restart, there was a pileup in turn 1 that collected the majority of the field behind Cardile and Tony Membrino, Jr. to bring the caution right back out.
Cardile took the lead back under green with Membrino in second. Tyler Hines was now in third, with Bo Gunning and Jay Goff right behind him. Cardile’s car was on cruise control as he took the checkered flag for his second win of the season. Membrino, Hines, Gunning, and Goff rounded out the top-5.
In the first 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Jesse Hinze took the lead ahead of Duane Provost. Joe Nogiec slotted into third, with D.J. Burnham fourth and Carla Botticello in fifth. Burnham got around Nogiec to move into third while Provost was beginning to hound Hinze for the race lead.
Provost made a move to the inside of Hinze on lap-6, but he couldn’t make the pass stick. Carla Botticello spun in turn 2 and collected the car of Andrew Hayes with 6 laps complete to bring the caution out.
On the restart, Provost went around in turn 2 in front of the field, but no one hit him and he was able to get going to keep the race under green. Hinze was the race leader with Burnham now in second and Cory Casagrande in third. Burnham took the lead from Hinze on lap-10 and Casagrande followed him by. Hinze settled into line in third, with Josh Wood fourth and Dennis Botticello in fifth.
Casagrande was all over the back of Burnham, but Burnham was able to keep Casagrande behind him. Wood was now in third, with Hinze in fourth just in front of Dennis Botticello. Coming to the white flag, Casagrande was able to get to the inside of Burnham and take the lead. Burnham tried to make a crossover move, but Casagrande was able to hold Burnham off and he powered his way to his second consecutive Limited Late Model feature victory of the season. Wood came home in third, with Hinze and Dennis Botticello rounding out the top-5.
In the first 12-lap DARE Stock feature event, Stephanie Berardi took the lead at the drop of the green from second on the grid and began to set the pace at the front of the field. Jeremy Lavoie spun in turn 1, but he was able to get his car going again and the race stayed green.
Andy Marchese and Austin Bessette were lined up nose to tail behind Berardi, while last week’s winner Kris Fluckiger was fourth and Albert Saunders got around Monte Gibbs to take over fifth place.
The order stayed the same until lap-6 when Bessette and Fluckiger both got by Marchese to move into second and third. One lap later, Marchese lost a spot to Albert Saunders to fall back to fifth after running in second for the first half of the race.
Bessette was all over the back bumper of Berardi for the race lead with 2 laps to go. Bessette made a dive to the inside of Berardi in turn 1 on the final lap, but he couldn’t make the pass stick. Berardi held Bessette off through turns 3+4 and led him back to the line to pick up her first DARE Stock feature victory of the season after driving from High Point University in North Carolina to race. Bessette finished second, with Fluckiger, Albert Saunders, and Marchese rounding out the top-5.
In the second 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Johnny Walker shot into the lead at the drop of the green with Andy Marchese slotting in behind him. Marchese spun in turns 3+4 in front of the field to bring the caution out before the field could complete the first lap.
Walker took the lead on the restart with Monte Gibbs slotting into second. Albert Saunders was third with Austin Bessette and Jeremy Lavoie making up the top-5. Albert Saunders looked to have a pass made on Gibbs for second on lap-6, but Gibbs was able to hang strong in the outside groove and he kept the position. The caution came out with 8 laps complete as Gary Spinnato, Jr. and Trevor Berry spun on the backstretch.
On the restart, Gibbs made a strong move to the inside of Walker to move into the race lead. Albert Saunders followed Gibbs by Walker to move into second. Austin Bessette was fourth behind Walker with James Carroll making up the top-5. The caution came back out with 9 laps complete for a spin by Josh Parker.
Gibbs took the lead back under green with Albert Saunders fending off Walker to remain in second. Bessette was fourth and Carroll was fifth. Bessette got by Walker for third and Saunders was looking to the low side of Gibbs for the lead. Gibbs was able to fend off Saunders’ challenges and he was still the leader as the field took the white flag. Saunders tried to make one final run and got out of shape on the backstretch, which allowed Bessette to move into second. Gibbs led Bessette back to the checkered flag to pick up his very first career victory. Albert Saunders finished third, with Walker and Cliff Saunders rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.