Keith Rocco Wins 39th Annual Coors Light SK Modified 100 at Stafford SpeedwayJune 30, 2012
(Stafford Springs, CT)---Stafford Speedway’s SK Modifieds® took center stage on Friday, June 29th with the 39th Annual running of the Coors Light SK Modified® 100. Keith Rocco took the checkered flag in the extra distance classic for his first win of the 2012 season, Corey Hutchings was a first time 2012 winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. was a career first time winner in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Josh Wood picked up his 5th win of the 2012 season in the extra distance Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande took home his fourth win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the 39th Annual Coors Light 100, Glen Reen took the early lead from the pole and set the pace for the first 3 laps before Dan Avery got a good run to the inside of Reen on lap-4. Reen fought hard on the outside and he managed to stay ahead of Avery until lap-6 when Avery moved to the front. The caution came out with 6 laps complete for a spin by Brian Sullivan.
On the restart, Michael Bennett and Nick Boivin began to shower sparks with flat tires and the caution came back out. Avery took the lead back under green with Reen holding off Matt Galko for second. Matt Gallo was fourth behind Galko, and Ted Christopher was fifth behind Gallo. Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Danny Cates, Tom Bolles, and Sean Foster made up the remainder of the top-10 with 10 laps complete.
The order began to shuffle as Christopher made a move around Gallo to take over fourth and he brought Preece with him by Gallo as Gallo fell from fourth back to sixth place. Christopher continued his charge as he moved into third on lap-14 and again his move allowed Preece to follow him by another car. Preece was looking for ways to get around Christopher, but Christopher was able to keep Preece behind him.
Preece was finally able to get around Christopher as he took to the high groove to make the pass on lap-19 to take over third place behind Avery and Reen. Preece continued to run in the high lane and he got around Reen on lap-21 to move into second place behind Avery.
With 23 laps complete, Preece did a half spin in turn 2 while he was trying to pass Avery for the lead and he immediately pulled behind the wall with an expired engine and the caution came out. Avery took the lead back under green with Reen hanging tough to his outside and Christopher sniffing to his inside. Avery got clear of Reen and Christopher moved by Reen to take over second one lap after the restart and Christopher immediately began to apply pressure to Avery for the lead. Matt Gallo and Woody Pitkat were able to get by Reen as he fell from second back to fifth place.
Avery was able to keep the lead until lap-28 when Christopher moved to the front of the field. With 28 laps complete, the caution came out for a spin by Mike King in turn 4.
Christopher took the lead on the restart, but Avery was glued to Christopher’s back bumper. Pitkat was third behind Avery, with Eric Berndt up to foruth after starting last in the 27-car field, just ahead of Keith Rocco, who moved from 8th on the restart to 5th at lap-32. Pitkat came down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop on lap-33, giving up his third spot. Donny Travaglin spun in turn 1 to bring the caution out with 33 laps complete.
Christopher took the lead back under green as Rocco was able to pull alongside Avery and then move into second one lap after the restart. Avery was staying side by side with Rocco while Eric Berndt was right behind Rocco and Avery in fourth place. After several laps of side by side racing, Avery was able to retake the spot from Rocco as Berndt continued to run fourth and Danny Cates was up to fifth.
Avery’s good run came to an end on lap-46 as he dropped to the low groove and was off the pace. Avery was able to crawl his way back around the track to pit road and the race stayed green with Christopher still leading. Rocco was now into second, with Cates third, Michael Gervais, Jr. fourth, and Berndt in fifth. The caution came out with 49 laps complete as Nichole Morgillo lost an engine.
Christopher took the lead ahead of Rocco, Cates, Berndt, and Chris Jones on the restart, but the caution caem back out one lap later as Michael Bennett came to a stop in turn 1 against the wall.
Christopher and Rocco were side by side for the lead back under green with Cates and Berndt side by side behind them. Christopher got clear of Rocco after two laps of side by side racing and Cates did the same, getting clear of Berndt. Rocco hounded Christopher and he moved into the lead on lap-53, but just as Rocco made the move the caution came out as Gallo spun in turn 4 and Reen came to pit road with a flat tire.
Christopher and Rocco were again racing hard for the lead back under green with Christopher able to hold Rocco off. Rocco was determined to get by Christopher and he was finally able to make a pass on Christopher to move into the lead on lap-57. Frank Ruocco was now up to third behind Rocco and Christopher after riding around at the back of the pack for much of the first half of the race, with Chris Jones and Berndt making up the top-5. John Montesanto brought the caution back out with 67 laps complete with a spin in turn 4. Under the caution, Christopher came to pit road with a flat tire and he restarted at the back of the pack.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Jones moving into second place. Ruocco was now third behind Jones as Kyle Spencer touched wheels with another car and he came to a stop in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 69 laps complete. Christopher made a return trip to pit road under the caution to make further adjustments on his car.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Ruocco getting past Jones as Jones didn’t get through the gears quite as well as the rest of the field. Jones settled into line in third, with Berndt fourth and Matt Galko back up to fifth place. Rocco was continuing to lead the race but he had Ruocco all over his back bumper. Jones was several car lengths back in third, with Berndt and Galko making up the top-5 with 25 laps to go.
Berndt made a power move to the inside of Jones in turn 4 to take over third place on lap-77 and he brought Galko and Foster with him as Jones fell from third back to sixth place. Rocco and Ruocco were pulling away from the third place fight to settle the race amongst themselves.
The top-5 remained the same until lap-87 when Foster made a move to the inside of Galko to move into fourth place. Just behind Galko in sixth place was Christopher, but with 10 laps to go, Rocco was beginning to ever so slightly pull away from Ruocco in second place. Rocco was pulling away from Rucoco in the closing laps, but his gap was erased by the caution flag, which was displayed with 95 laps complete as Spencer and Jones spun in turn 4.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Berndt able to move into second. Ruocco came back strong on lap-97 to retake the spot from Berndt. Foster was now on Berndt’s bumper and Christopher was right behind Foster. Rocco was able to pull out to a several car length lead with the position shuffling going on behind him and he led Ruocco back to the checkered flag for his first SK Modified® feature win of the 2012 season at Stafford. Frank Ruocco finished second, with Berndt, Foster, and Christopher rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, the caution came out right at the start and Tom Butler was sent to the rear of the field for jumping the restart. On the second start, there were several cars that rubbed wheels in the middle of the pack, but the field kept going and Scott Cook took the early race lead. The caution came out with 2 laps complete as Jim Mavlouganes spun in turn 2.
Back under green, Woody Pitkat charged by Cook and took over the race lead. Pitkat’s move opened the door for Corey Hutchings, Mike Quintiliano, and Jim Peterson to all move by Cook. Several laps later, Cook fell back several more spots as Keith rocco and Tom Fearn got by.
Pitkat was still leading the race but Hutchings and Peterson were nose to tail in a three car train for the lead. Hutchings mad a move to the inside of Pitkat on lap-7 to move into the lead and he brought Peterson with him past Pitkat. Rocco was now up to fourth, just behind Pitkat in third as the duel for the lead allowed Rocco to close the gap to the lead trio of cars. Fearn was no in fifth, right behind Rocco as Hutchings was holding down the race lead ahead of Peterson and Pitkat.
J.J. Hill pulled off the track on lap-15 as he had smoke pouring out from the right front tire of the car. Hutchings was still the race leader with Peterson, Pitkat, Rocco, and Fearn making up the top-5 at the halfway point of the race. Rocco’s car dropped off the pace on lap-20 and he slowly crawled his way back to pit road as the race stayed green. Rocco’s misfortune moved Pitkat up to third, with Fearn right behind him in fourth and Butler was up to fifth after his early penalty.
With 5 laps to go, Hutchings was still in command of the race with Peterson, Pitkat, and Fearn lined up behind him. Pitkat got by Peterson on the final lap to move into second in turns 1+2, but Fearn almost got by Pitkat in turns 3+4 coming to the checkered flag, but it was all Hutchings as he picked up his first win of the 2012 season. Pitkat finished second with Fearn, Peterson, and Butler making up the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Frank Cardile took the elad at the green ahead of Zach Aszklar and the side by side duo of Joey Ferrigno and Tony Membrino, Jr. Harry Wheeler spun in turn 4, but he was able to get going and the race stayed green. Cardile continued to lead Aszklar, but the caution came out with 3 laps complete for a spin by Dylan Campbell in turn 2.
On the restart, Aszklar got a good run on the initial start, but Cardile was able to power his way in front and he maintained the lead. Membrino continued to run in third, with Ferrigno in fourth and Jay Goff was running in fifth. The caution came back out with 6 laps complete for a spin by Rick Dyer in turn 2.
Cardile again took the lead back under green with Membrino moving by Aszklar to take over second place. Aszklar ran in third ahead of Ferrigno while Payton Henry was now up to the fifth spot as Goff fell back several positions. Nick Salva spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 10 laps complete.
Cardile maintained the lead back under green with Membrino staying glued right to his bumper. Aszklar ran third with Henry and Ferrigno making up the top-5. Membrino charged by Cardile to move into the lead on lap-13 with a pass in turns 1+2 and Aszklar followed Membrino by Cardile to drop him from the lead back to third place. Henry continued to run in fourth with Ferrigno in fifth with 5 laps to go.
Membrino led the field around for the final 5 laps to pick up his first career SK Light Modified feature victory. Aszklar came home in second, with Cardile, David Webb, and Ferrigno rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Carla Botticello took the lead ahead of Justin Bren, Josh Wood, and Duane Provost, but the caution came out with 2 laps complete as D.J. Burnham and Cory Casagrande both took lazy spins down the backstretch and into turn 3.
Botticello took the lead back under green, but her time at the front was short-lived as Provost tok the lead on lap-3. Provost didn’t last long at the point a Josh Wood moved by Provost on lap-5 to take over the lead. With Wood in the lead ahead of Provost, they began to check out from Jesse Hinze in third. Hinze had Carla Botticello, Dennis Botticello, David Arute, and Cory Casagrande lined up right behind him.
With 10 laps to go, it was still Wood leading Provost by several car lengths. Hinze continued to lose time to the front two cars with Carla Botticello, Casagrande, Dennis Botticello, and Arute lined up behind him. But that gap to the front two cars was erased by the caution with 18 laps complete as Provost spun in turn 4 all by himself while running in second just behind Wood.
Wood took the lead back under green with Hinze in second, just ahead of Casagrande. The field completed two more laps before the caution came back out for a spin by Dennis Botticello in turn 4, which set up a five lap dash to the finish.
Wood took the lead back under green with Casagrande giving chase. Hinze ran in third, but Arute ran him down and he took the spot as they were coming to the white flag. Wood led the field around to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2012 season. Casagrande finished second, with Arute, Hinze, and Glenn Bartkowski rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Kris Fluckiger took the lead at the green while behind him it was a mad scramble for second as Monte Gibbs got by Norm Sears while Cliff Saunders was side by side with Sears. Josh Parker spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 2 laps complete.
Gibbs took the lead from Fluckiger back under green with Cliff Saunders also getting by Fluckiger. Norm Sears was fourth behind Fluckiger but he came under pressure from Kyle Casagrande Casagrande took the spot from Sears and opened the door for Austin Bessette and Albert Saunders to follow him by.
Gibbs held the lead until lap-7 when Cliff Saunders moved to the front of the field. Gibbs fell back to second, while Casagrande was now up to third. The caution came back out for a spin by Kelsey Rottino with 8 laps complete.
Cliff Saunders took the lead back under green with Casagrande moving into second right behind Saunders’ bumper. Casagrande was able to move to the inside of Saunders and move into the lead as they completed lap 10. Bessette was also able to move by Cliff Saunders to take over second as Albert Saunders was now fourth and Gibbs was fifth. The caution came back out with 11 laps complete for a spin by Doug Phelps.
Casagrande took the lead back under green as Bessette quickly settled into second behind him. Cliff and Albert Saunders were third and fourth, just ahead of Gibbs in fifth. Casagrande led Bessette to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2012 season. Cliff Saunders finished third, with Albert Saunders and Gibbs 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.