Berndt, Gray, Williams, Saunders and Michael score Carquest 150 Feature wins at Stafford

STAFFORD SPRINGS — Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in the house for the CARQUEST 150.  Eric Berndt was a first time winner on the season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray extended his streak of consecutive podium finishes to 11 with his fourth win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Ronnie Williams took down his second win in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Albert Saunders claimed his second win in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Brandon Michael scored his first win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dan Avery got a good run on the outside of Zach Aszklar to take the early lead.  Aszklar settled into second with Curt Brainard third and Michael Bennett was side by side with Sean Foster for fourth place.  With 3 laps complete, Bennett got out of shape in turn 4 after contact with Danny Cates.  As cars were getting on the brakes behind them, Todd Owen got out of shape and came back across the track into Keith Rocco, who clipped the car of Rowan Pennink and sent Pennink’s car hard into the wall to bring out the caution.

Avery took the lead back under green while Aszklar got loose and into Foster, which dropped both cars back in the field.  Brainard was up to second behind Avery with Cates, Ryan Preece, and Eric Berndt making up the new top-5.

Preece moved by Brainard for second on lap-8 and he nearly took the lead from Avery on lap-9.  Preece was continuing to pressure Avery for the lead, but Avery was able to keep Preece behind him.  Berndt and Cates both got around Brainard to move into third and fourth before the caution came out with 17 laps complete for a spin by Tommy Membrino, Jr. in turn 4.

Avery took the lead on the restart and immediately Preece was applying pressure for the lead.  Preece pulled alongside Avery on lap-19, but Avery was able to shut the door on Preece and maintain the lead.  Berndt was third behind Preece with Cates and Ted Christopher making up the top-5.  Cates slid by Berndt to take over third on lap-21 and Christopher moved by Berndt to take over fourth on lap-24 as Avery continued to lead the race.

Preece took the lead from Avery on lap-25 before the caution came out for spins by Foster and Dave Salzarulo in turn 4.

Preece took the lead on the restart with Christopher moving by Avery to take over second.  Avery was able to get back into line in third with Berndt and Cates behind him.  Tom Bolles spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 27 laps complete.

Preece took the lead back under green with Avery slotting into second in front of Christopher.  The caution came back out with 29 laps complete as Brian Sullivan and Cates spun in turn 2 and hit the wall.

Preece took the lead back under green with Christopher and Avery side by side for second.  Berndt was right behind the Avery/Christopher duel and Cates was right behind Berndt.  The caution came back out with 31 laps complete as Woody Pitkat hit the turn 2 wall after another car came up the track and touched wheels with Pitkat.

Preece took the lead on the restart with the field quickly settling into single file behind him.  Avery was second, Berndt was third, Doug Coby moved into fourth, and Christopher fell back to fifth.  Rit Dulac spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 38 laps complete and set up a green white checkered finish.

The restart was called back and on the next start, Preece took the lead with Avery right behind him.  Preece got sideways in turn 1 on the white flag lap and as Avery went low to pass Preece on the backstretch, they touched and Preece spun back across the track directly into the path of Christopher to bring the caution out and set up another green white checkered finish.  This put Avery and Berndt on the front row for the restart with Coby and Cates on row 2 and Michael Gervais, Jr. and Bolles in row 3.

On the restart, Berndt took the lead on the outside of Avery and Coby pulled alongside Avery in a fight for second.  Berndt led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2013 season.  Coby edged out Avery by mere inches at the line to finish second with Cates and Gervais rounding out the top-5.

In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Dennis Botticello took the early lead with Michael Scorzelli taking second.  J.J. Hill moved into third with Kevin Gambacorta moving by Andrew Durand to take fourth.  Tom Fearn, Adam Gray, and Jay Stuart were lined up in a three-car tandem in the low groove and they quickly worked their way towards the top-5 in the first few laps of the race.

Gray took fifth on lap-6 while Fearn fell back several spots after getting loose in the corner.  Fearn spun on lap-8 coming out of turn 4, but he rejoined the race at the back of the pack and the race stayed green.  The top-6 cars were now lined up in a nose to tail train with Botticello leading Scorzelli, Hill, Gambacorta, Gray, and Stuart.  Paul Varricchio, Jr. spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution out with 11 laps complete.

Botticello took the lead back under green with Hill moving into second.  Gray moved by Scorzelli to take over third and Gambacorta settled into line in fifth just behind Scorzelli.  Hill made a move to the inside of Botticello in turn 4 on lap-14, but Botticello was able to hold him off and maintain the lead.

Hill was able to complete the pass on Botticello on lap-17 to take over the race lead.  Gray followed Hill past Botticello to take over second while Botticello settled back into line in third.  Scorzelli was fourth with Jim Mavlouganes now occupying fifth place.  Hill drifted up the track in turn 1 on lap-21 and that opened up enough room for Gray to get by and take over the race lead.  Jim Peterson spun and collected the car of Jay Stuart in the middle of turns 1+2 to bring the caution out with 21 laps complete.

Gray took the lead on the restart while Scorzelli moved into second.  Mavlouganes and Botticello were side by side for third with Mark St. Hilaire behind them in fifth place.  Mavlouganes took the third spot and St. Hilaire got by Botticello to move up to fourth as Gray continued to lead the race.  Botticello lost two more spots on lap-25 as Woody Pitkat and Gambacorta dropped him back to seventh place.

Gray led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2013 season.  Scorzelli finished a career best second, with Mavlouganes, St. Hilaire, and Pitkat rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Bob Charland took the early lead ahead of Troy Talman and Ronnie Williams.  On lap-3, Talman and Williams went 3-wide with Charland with Williams coming out with the race lead.  Talman was second and Charland fell from the lead back to third place.  Tony Membrino, Jr. was fourth and Geoff Boisjolie was fifth with 7 laps complete.

Williams was beginning to pull away slightly from Talman at the front of the pack and the lead duo was pulling away from Charland in third.  Membrino almost took third from Charland on lap-10, but he wasn’t able to complete the pass.  Membrino again tried the pass on lap-11, but he wasn’t able to make the pass and in the process he lost a spot to Tyler Hines.  Membrino then got back by Hines and they both got by Charland to move into third and fourth.

The caution came out with 15 laps complete for spins by Rich Hammann and Dylan Menditto to erase the large lead that Williams and Talman had built up over the rest of the field.

Williams took the lead on the restart with Membrino moving into second.  Joey Ferrigno was on the charge as he pulled alongside Talman for third, but Talman was able to keep the spot.  With 2 laps to go, Williams was pulling away from Membrino, Talman, Ferrigno, Hines and Chase Dowling, who were locked in a 5-car fight fro second.  Williams took the checkered flag for his second win of the season.  Membrino finished second, with Hines, Talman, and Dowling rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Glenn Bartkowski took the lead at the green and began to set the early pace.  Albert Saunders quickly worked his way up to second with Duane Provost and Austin Bessette right behind him.  D.J. Burnham was a distant fifth and the lead changed hands on lap-8 as Saunders, Provost, and Bessette all got by Bartkowski.

The three-car shift at the front of the pack allowed Burnham to close the gap and there were now nine cars lined up at the halfway point of the race.  Saunders held the lead ahead of Provost and Bessette with Burnham moving into fourt.  Right behind Burnham was Andrew Hayes, Josh Wood, and David Arute.  Bessette moved around Provost for second, which allowed Burnham and Hayes to close in on Provost in a fight for third.

Bessette made a move to the inside of Saunders on lap-18 to take over the race lead.  But Saunders came right back on the same lap and retook the lead in turns 3+4 as they came to the white flag.  Bessette made one final run coming to the checkered flag but he came up just short as Saunders took his second win of the 2013 season.  Provost finished third behind Saunders and Bessette with Burnham and Hayes rounding out the top-5.

In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Alexandra Fearn led the field to the green and she took the early lead.  Gus Coelho took second behind Fearn with Frank Siana and Brandon Michael lined up behind him.  Siana made a move to the outside of Coelho to move into second on lap-2 and Michael and Kelsey Rottino followed suit on lap-3, moving into third and fourth.  Coelho continued to slide backwards as David Comeau took fifth.

With 6 laps complete, Fearn was still the race leader with Siana and Michael behind her.  That all changed as Fearn got loose and spun on lap-8, handing the race lead over to Siana.  Michael made a move to the inside of Siana on lap-9 to move into the lead.  Rottino was now third behind Siana with Comeau fourth and Ryan Fearn up to fifth.

Rottino was pressuring Siana for second place and he was finally able to make a pass on lap-14 to move into second.  Michael cruised to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2013 season.  Rottino finished second, with Dave Secore charging his way through the field in the closing laps to finish third.  Siana finished fourth with David Comeau 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.

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