Rocco, Pitkat, Galko, Nocera & Saunders Score TSI Harley-Davidson 125 Feature Victories at Stafford Speedway

Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Speedway was back on track with a 5-division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sharing the track with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event as part of the 21st Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 125 on Friday, May 27th. Keith Rocco scored his second victory of the season one week after destroying his car in a heat race accident in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Woody Pitkat picked up his first win of the 2011 season after starting shotgun on the field in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko picked up his second feature win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr. picked up his third win of the 2011 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Cliff Saunders picked up his first win of 2011 in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Adam Skowyra brought the yellow out with a spin into the turn 3 wall with one lap complete. Curt Brainard led the first lap and he again took the lead back under green, but Tom Bolles was hanging tough to the outside of Brainard. Eric Berndt was stalking the top-2 cars and he nearly got by both Bolles and Brainard on lap-4, but he settled into line behind Brainard.

Brainard held the lead until lap-8 when Berndt moved to the front of the field. Bolles continued to hold down third behind Berndt and Brainard, with Mark Bakaj fourth, Frank Ruocco fifth, and Keith Rocco sixth. Ruocco was able to get by Bakaj for fourth on lap-11 and Rocco, Glen Reen, and Woody Pitkat all got by Bakaj.

[Photo Gallery] by Nicholas Teto

Ted Christopher, who had won the previous two SK Modified® features at Stafford, dropped off the pace on lap-16 and brought his car to pit road.

Berndt continued to hold the lead at the halfway point of the race with Brainard in second. Ruocco and Rocco had moved into third and fourth and Reen was up to fifth. The order shuffled again on lap-22 as Ruocco, Rocco, Reen, Pitkat, and Ryan Preece all got by Brainard, as Brainard fell from second back to seventh.

Pitkat pulled alongside Rocco on lap-24 and they ran side by side for several laps before Pitkat fell back into line. Rocco went to the outside of Ruocco and got by for second place on lap-27, and the caution came out with 27 laps complete for John Montesanto, who came to a stop against the frontstretch wall.

Berndt took the lead back under green with Ruocco and Rocco riding side by side for second place. Pitkat and Preece were side by side for fourth behind Ruocco and Rocco and Reen was by himself in sixth. Reen made a move to the inside of Pitkat on lap-30 and the two cars touched with Pitkat going around to bring the caution back out. Reen was black flagged and sent to the rear of the field for rough riding.

Berndt took the lead on the restart with Rocco moving by Ruocco to take over second place. Preece was fourth in line with Brainard taking fifth. Rocco made a strong move to the inside of Berndt in turn 3 to take over the lead on lap-33. The caution came out one lap later for a spin by Bakaj in turn 1.

Rocco again took the lead on the restart with Ruocco moving into second. Preece pulled alongside Berndt and was able to take over third as Berndt fell from second back to fourth. Bakaj spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 37 laps complete.

Rocco powered to the lead with Preece moving into second and Berndt moved into third as Ruocco fell from second back to fourth on the restart. Ruocco led the field around for the final 3 laps to take his second feature victory of the 2011 season. Preece finished second, with Berndt, Ruocco, and Brainard rounding out the top-5.

In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Scott Cook took the early race lead from the pole with Patrick Townsend, John Kasper, Tom Butler, and Corey Hutchings making up the top-5. Tom Fearn got past Hutchings for fifth on lap-5, but Hutchings came right back and retook the spot after a side by side duel with Fearn. Mark St. Hilaire was also able to move by Fearn to take over sixth.

At lap-10 Cook continued to hold down the lead ahead of Townsend, Kasper, Butler, and Hutchings. The running order was still the same with 20-laps complete, as Cook was maintaining a lead of several car lengths over Townsend. The car of Kasper dropped off the pace on lap-28 and came to a stop in the backstretch grass to bring the caution out and set up a green white checkered finish.

Cook spun the tires on the restart, but he recovered to charge back into the lead. Butler and Woody Pitkat were locked in a side by side battle for second with Townsend and Hutchings side by side for fourth. Coming to the white flag, the cars of Tony Lafo, Dillon Moltz, and J.J. Hill spun to bring the caution back out.

Cook took the lead on the restart with Woody Pitkat and Butler right behind him. Pitkat made a three-wide move, but couldn’t complete the pass in turn 2. As the cars headed down the backstretch, Pitkat made a move to the inside of Cook to take over the lead as Cook drifted up the track and got into Butler. The contact with Butler got Cook’s car out of shape and he spun to the grass. Pitkat led the field around for the final lap to take his first victory of the 2011 season. Townsend came home in second, with Hutchings, Jim Mavlouganes, and Adam Gray rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, Earl Pelletier took the lead at the drop of the green, but Zach Aszklar was hounding Pelletier for the lead. Jay Goff was in third with Cody Gneiting in fourth and Kyle Spencer in fifth. Aszklar got around Pelletier to take the lead on lap-4 and Pelletier spun coming out of turn 4 on lap-5, but he was able to get moving and the race stayed under green flag conditions with Aszklar leading Goff and Gneiting. Goff was given a drive through penalty for the contact with Pelletier. Bob Charland spun in turn 3+4 to bring the caution out with 11 laps complete and Aszklar still in the lead.

Aszklar took the lead on the restart with Joey Cipriano pulling alongside Spencer for second. Cipriano made a move by Aszklar to take over the lead on lap-13 and Spencer followed him past Aszklar. Cipriano and Spencer touched in turn 4 on lap-14, which got both cars out of shape and allowed Matt Galko to charge into the lead. Cipriano settled back into second, with Aszklar third, Shayne Prucker fourth, and Spencer fifth. Cody Gneiting spun in turns 1+2 to bring the caution out with 14 laps complete.

Galko took the lead on the restart with Cipriano and Aszklar dueling for second. Cipriano and Aszklar touched, which sent Cipriano around in turn 4 and Aszklar was given a drive through penalty for the contact. Galko led the field around for the final 6 circuits to take his second feature victory of the 2011 season. Frank Cardile came home in second, with Prucker, Spencer, and Pelletier rounding out the top-5.

In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Cory Casagrande took the early race lead with Joe Nogiec, Jesse Hinze, Duane Provost, and George Nocera, Jr. making up the top-5. Nocera charged through the field to move into second behind Casagrande, with Hinze, Kevin Gambacorta, and Norm Sears behind him.

Bill Davis made hard contact with the turn 3 wall to bring the caution out with 12 laps complete. Back under green, Nocera took the lead with Gambacorta, Shawn Thibeault, and Provost all getting past Casagrande as he fell from the lead back to fifth place.

Sears moved by Casagrande for fifth several laps after the restart, but it was all Nocera at the front as he led the final 8 laps to take down his third win of the year. Gambacorta finished second, with Thibeault, Provost, and Sears rounding out the top-5.

In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event, Austin Bessette took the early lead from the pole but on the second lap, Johnny Walker and Nick Salva, who were dueling for second and third, spun in turn 2, which collected Albert Saunders and several other cars to bring the caution out.

Don Wood took the lead on the restart with Vince Gambacorta moving to the inside of Bessette for second. The two cars made contact and Bessette bounced off the wall and then back into the wall with 3 laps complete to bring the caution back out. Gambacorta was black flagged for rough riding.

Kris Fluckiger spun on the restart after contact with Andrew Marchese, but he was able to get moving and the race stayed green with Don Wood holding the race lead over Andrew Hayes and Cliff Saunders. Salva was fourth and Kaitlyn Brice was in fifth, getting by the car of Walker. The caution came back out with 7 laps complete for a spin by David Macha.

Wood again took the lead on the restart with Hayes, Cliff Saunders, Salva, and Brice making up the top-5. The caution came back out with 11 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Marchese.

Saunders took the lead on the restart as Wood’s car dropped off the pace. Hayes was now second, with Salva, Brice, and Walker making up the top-5. Saunders led the field around for the final 4 laps and he picked up his first win of the 2011 season. Hayes came home for second with Salva, Brice, and Walker making up 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.

Sources: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR


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