(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action on Friday, September 1st with the Valenti Modified Racing Series in the house for the 8th Annual VMRS 80. Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Rowan Pennink in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Glenn Griswold in the SK Light feature, Cliff Saunders in the Limited Late Model feature, and Johnny Walker in the DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Glen Reen took the early lead with Keith Rocco in second. Tyler Hines was third with Josh Wood fourth and Matt Galko fifth in the early laps. Rocco hounded Reen for the lead until lap-8 when he was able to make a move going into turn 3 to take over the race lead. Rowan Pennink went around Galko to move into fifth on lap-10 with Hines and Wood still third and fourth.
Ted Christopher got around Wood to move into sixth on lap-13 and he was applying heavy pressure to Pennink for fifth when the caution came out with 17 laps complete for Tommy Membrino, Jr., who spun on the backstretch.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Reen glued to his back bumper. Hines had Pennink to his outside and Christopher on his bumper in the fight for third with Ronnie Williams and Wood side by side for sixth. Hines got out of shape coming out of turn 4 on lap-20, which allowed Pennink and Christopher to both get past and move up to third and fourth behind Rocco and Reen.
Pennink took second from Reen on lap-23 and Christopher got by Reen to move into third on lap-24 with Rocco still out front. Pennink pulled alongside Rocco and was able to take the lead with a pass in turn 4 on lap-25. Christopher was working Rocco over for second, but Rocco was able to keep Christopher behind as they were both still right behind Pennink in a 3-car fight for the lead. The caution came out with 34 laps complete for debris on the track.
Tom Bolles spun in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution right back out before a lap could be completed. The next restart saw Pennink take the lead with Rocco drifting up the track and falling back to fourth as Reen and Christopher took second and third. The caution came out with 36 laps complete for a multicar incident coming out of turn 4 involving Mike Christopher, Jr., Tony Membrino, Jr., Eric Berndt, and Cam McDermott.
Pennink took the lead with Christopher sliding into second. Todd Owen was third with Ryan Preece up to fourth and Williams in fifth. Coming to the white flag, Christopher had a run to the inside of Pennink and he took the lead with a dive bomb move in turn 1. As the two leaders hit turn 3, Pennink gave Christopher a shot to the bumper and moved him out of the way just enough to take the lead and he took the checkered flag for his first win of the 2017 season. Owen finished third with Preece and Williams rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Josh Wood took the lead at the green with a nearly 4-wide move in turns 1+2 with Tom Fearn right behind him in second. Fearn took the lead from Wood on lap-2 and Michael Wray took second from Wood as Wood fell back to third in line. Behind Wood was Tyler Leary in fourth, Glen Reen fifth, and Michael Bennett sixth.
Wray was applying heavy pressure to Fearn but Fearn was able to hold him off. Bennett got around Reen and Leary to move into third on lap-7 as Wray continued to give chase to Fearn out front.
At the halfway point of the race, Fearn was still in command with Wray and Bennett behind him. Leary was fourth with Reen in fifth and Kevin Gambacorta sixth. Fearn led what became a 5-car train to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2017 season. Wray finished second with Bennett, Leary, and Reen rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, there was a caution right at the start as Ed Chicoski and Todd Clark both got into the frontstretch wall.
Glenn Korner took the lead on the start with Glenn Griswold and Todd Douillard fighting side by side for second. George Nocera, Jr. was fourth with Joey Ferrigno in fifth when the caution came out with 2 laps complete for debris on the track.
Griswold took the lead at the line on the restart on the outside of Korner and he got clear into the lead on lap-4. Douillard was third with Ferrigno fourth and Nocera in fifth. Ferrigno pulled alongside Douillard and was able to complete the pass on lap-7 to move into third. Dan Wesson was on the charge as he was up to fifth with Nocera right on his bumper in sixth. Nocera spun in turn 1 to bring the caution out with 9 laps complete.
On the restart Griswold and Korner were side by side for the lead. Griswold was able to get clear on lap-12 after 3 laps of side by side racing. Wesson moved up to third with Cory DiMatteo dueling with Douillard for fourth when the caution came out with 15 laps complete for Chris Viens, and Nocera who hit the turn 4 wall.
Griswold took the lead with Korner in tow on the restart but the field could only complete one lap before the caution came right back out for a spin on the backstretch by Cory DiMatteo.
Griswold took the lead on the restart with Korner in tow behind him. Wesson was third with David Arute moving up to fourth and Douillard was fifth. Korner looked high and low for a way to get around Griswold, but Griswold was able to hold him off to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2017 season. Wesson finished third with Arute and Douillard rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Alexandra Fearn took the lead at the line on the outside of Matt Clement and she got clear into the lead on lap-2. Clement slotted into second with Robert Bloxsom, III and Jeremy Lavoie side by side for third. Lavoie got loose coming out of turn 2 and slid back to seventh on lap-3 as Cliff Saunders took third, Duane Provost fourth, and Bryan Narducci fifth. Lavoie took sixth back from Bloxsom on lap-5 as Fearn was starting to stretch out the lead over Clement.
Saunders got around Clement for second and at the halfway point of the race he was right on the back bumper of Fearn in a fight for the lead. Clement was third with Narducci fourth and Al Saunders fifth. The action at the front got crazy with 5 laps to go. Narducci made a move to go from third to first with Fearn and Cliff Saunders behind him. Going into turn 3, Narducci spun to bring the caution out and set up a green white checkered finish. Under the caution, Fearn came to pit road with a fluid leak at the rear of her car and she was done for the race, putting Cliff and Al Saunders alongside each other for the restart.
On the restart, Lavoie’s car dropped off the pace and he dropped to the rear of the field but up front the Saunders twins ran side by side for a lap before Cliff got clear of Al. Duane Provost pulled alongside Al Saunders on the final lap in a fight for second, giving Cliff all the margin he needed to take the checkered flag unchallenged. Saunders beat Provost to the line by a nose to take second with Clement and Bloxsom rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Chuck Harrison took the early lead with Chris Bagnall and George Bessette, Jr. right on his back bumper. Johnny Walker quickly worked his way up to fourth in the first three laps of the race with Vince Gambacorta in fifth. Bagnall got into the frontstretch wall to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete.
Walker took the lead from Harrison on the restart with Brandon Michael slotting into second. Bessette took third with Travis Hydar fourth and Dave Secore, Jr. was up to fifth. Harrison slid back to seventh after leading the first 4 laps with Gambacorta in front of him in sixth.
Michael closed in on Walker but couldn’t get close enough to make a move as Walker took down his fourth consecutive feature victory and sixth of the 2017 season. Bessette, Jr. finished third with Hydar and Secore 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.