FOSTER, GRAY, WILLIAMS, BOTTICELLO, & CASAGRANDE SCORE AUG. 31 FEATURE WINS AT STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY
(Stafford Springs, CT)---Stafford Motor Speedway returned to racing on Friday, August 31st with the 3rd Annual Shark Cycle 80 Valenti Modified Racing Series program. In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature action, Sean Foster was a first-time feature winner in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray used a last lap pass to beat Tom Fearn in a thrilling Late Model finish, Ronnie Williams was a first-time winner in the 20-lap SK Light features, Carla Botticello picked up her first win of the season in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande took his 6th win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Nichole Morgillo and Michael Bennett got out of shape and came to a stop before they hit the turn 1 wall to bring the caution out. On the restart, Sean Foster powered into the lead to the outside of Curt Brainard with Matt Galko also getting around Brainard and taking over second. Danny Cates, Michael Gervais, Jr., and Dan Avery followed Galko by Brainard on lap-2. Cates then moved into second as Gervais was side by side with Galko right behind him.
The order continued to shuffle up front as Gervais moved into third behind Cates, with Ted Christopher moving up to fourth and Galko falling back to fifth. Behind Galko was Pitkat, Berndt, and Avery.
Gervais made a move to the inside of Cates on lap-13 to take over second with Christopher following Gervais by Cates, dropping Cates from second back to fourth place. Foster was still the race leader by a half straightaway with 15 laps complete. Christopher got around Gervais for second and he began to set his sights on reeling in Foster, who was still nearly a half straightaway ahead of Christopher. Gervais was now third behind Foster and Christopher, with Cates and Pitkat making up the top-5. Berndt was sixth, with Galko, Todd Owen, Avery, and Ryan Preece making up the top-10.
As Foster was beginning to navigate lapped
traffic, he was maintaining the gap back to Christopher and once the
cars got back into clean air, Foster and Christopher were turning
nearly identical lap times.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Joe Rzeszutek took the lead at the green with Jim Peterson moving into second. Tom Fearn got by Peterson for second on lap-2 with Mark St. Hilaire in fourth behind Peterson.
Rzeszutek held the lead until lap-3 when Fearn took over the top spot. Rzeszutek would fall back outside the top-10 over the next several laps as he couldn’t get his car to stick in the high groove. Peterson was now second behind Fearn, with St. Hilaire, Corey Hutchings, and Adam Gray making up the top-5.
Gray got by Hutchings to move into fourth place on lap-11, with Mike Quintiliano, Woody Pitkat, Patrick Townsend, Ed Ricard, and Peter Portante making up the top-10. Gray continued to make a hard charge towards the front as he got by St. Hilaire and Peterson to move into second place behind Fearn. Peterson began to slide backwards to 8th place as Gray was closing in on Fearn at the front of the pack.
With 5 laps to go, Gray had closed to within a car length of Fearn for the race lead. Gray made a dive to the inside of Fearn on lap-26, but Fearn was able to hold him off. They touched in turn 4 on lap-27 with Fearn still in front of Gray. Gray was making his time in turns 3+4 while Fearn looked to be a bit stronger in turns 1+2. Fearn got loose in turn 1 on the final lap, which allowed Gray to pull alongside. Heading into turn 3, Gray moved ahead of Fearn and St. Hilaire was right behind Gray. Gray took the checkered flag for his second win of the season, with Fearn holding off St. Hilaire for second by a nose. Quintiliano and Pitkat rounded out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Nick Salva used the outside line to charge into the lead and Bob Charland was coming on strong like a rocket in the outside as he took the lead on lap-2. Ronnie Williams moved into second behind Charland and he took the lead from Charland on nlap-3. Harry Wheeler was now third, with Tyler Hines and Salva behind him. Salva got into the wall coming out of turn 4 on lap-4, which brought the caution out as his car was showering sparks.
Williams took the lead back under green, but one lap after the restart, Bo Gunning, Dylan Kopec, and Harry Wheeler got together and came to a stop in turn 1 to bring the caution back out.
Williams took the lead back under green with Hines right on his bumper in second. Charland was third, with Payton Henry fourth and Tony Membrino, Jr. in fifth. Gunning’s car came to a stop in turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 8 laps complete.
Williams took the lead ahead of Hinze back under green with Charland and Membrino side by side for third place. Williams and Hines were putting on a great fight for the lead while behind them the action was just as intense with Membrino, Kopec, and Charland swapping positions. Ronald Boisjolie brought the caution out with 15 laps complete after hitting the wall.
Williams took the lead back under green with Hines settling into second. Kopec made a charge into third, with Henry moving into fourth and Membrino was fifth. Hines was all over the back bumper of Williams for the race lead but Williams was able to keep Hines behind him. Hines made one last charge on the final lap, but he came up just short as Williams scored his very first career SK Light feature victory in his rookie season. Kopec finished third, with Henry and Membrino rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Carla Botticello changed into the lead at the green with Glenn Bartkowski settling into second. Brian Clement was third, with a hard charging Dennis Botticello moving into fourth and D.J. Burnham was fifth.
Dennis Botticello took third from Clement on lap-3 and Burnham followed him by Clement to drop Clement from third back to fifth. Botticello continued his charge by taking second on lap-4 and again Burnham followed him through, dropping Bartkowski from second back to fourth.
Josh Wood and Cory Casagrande were beginning to make their presence known in the top-5 after starting shotgun on the field as they moved into fourth and fifth on lap-8, dropping Clement back to sixth as Carla Botticello, Dennis Botticello, and Burnham occupied the top-3 spots. The action was slowed with 12 laps complete as Justin Bren came to a stop against the frontstretch wall.
Carla Botticello took the lead back under green with Burnham moving into second. Casagrande moved into third, with Dennis Botticello falling back to fourth and Josh Wood was fifth in line. Burnham and Casagrande were having quite the battle for second in the closing laps, which gave Carla Botticello all the margin she needed at the front of the field as she took down her first feature win of the season. After trading some paint in the closing laps, Burnham held off Casagrande for second. Dennis Botticello finished fourth and Josh Wood rounded out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Jeremy Lavoie took the lead at the green flag and he took the race lead ahead of Johnny Walker, Andy Marchese, Kyle Casagrande, and Cliff Saunders. The top-5 ran in line until lap-4 when Marchese made a move to the inside of Walker, but Casagrande made a move to the inside of Marchese and moved into second place. Cliff Saunders followed Casagrande through and took over third place, with Marchese falling back in line. The caution came out with 5 laps complete for spins by Marchese and James Carroll in turns 1+2.
On the restart, Casagrande charged into the lead and began to open up a lead. Cliff Saunders moved into second, with Kris Fluckiger getting around Lavoie for third. Albert Saunders followed Fluckiger by Lavoie and Austin Bessette followed suit, dropping Lavoie back to sixth place.
Cliff Saunders began to reel Casagrande in over the closing laps, but he couldn’t get close enough to Casagrande to make a pass as Casagrande took down his sixth victory of the 2012 season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Casagrande and Cliff Saunders was Fluckiger, Albert Saunders, and Bessette.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.