Ryan Preece, Ryan Posocco, Matt Galko, Kevin Gambacorta & Don Wood Honored as 2011 Stafford Speedway Track Champions

Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Motor Speedway welcomed a guest list of nearly 500 people consisting of teams, drivers, sponsors, and employees this past Friday night, November 18 at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor to officially honor Ryan Preece, Ryan Posocco, Matt Galko, Kevin Gambacorta, and Don Wood as the 2011 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champions.

With Stafford Motor Speedway broadcasters Matt Buckler and Joe Coss serving as the Masters of Ceremony, the 42nd annual Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Champions Awards Ceremony not only honored the five track champions, it also honored the top-20 points finishers from the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Other awards that were presented during the evening’s festivities were Most Popular Driver Awards, Most Improved Driver Awards, Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards, and the Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award.

The 2011 SK Modified® season saw Ryan Preece outduel Keith Rocco in a thrilling season-long fight for the championship. Rocco, who was the defending SK Modified® track champion at Stafford, led the division with 8 wins this season, but Preece won 5 times and collected more top-5 and top-10 finishes than Rocco to capture his first career track championship. In 18 starts this season, Preece collected 14 top-5, and 17 top-10 finishes along with his 5 wins for an amazing average finish of 3.8, which allowed him to win the championship by a 78-point margin over Rocco.

The 2011 Late Model championship chase saw Ryan Posocco collect his second consecutive and record sixth Late Model track championship at Stafford. Just as it was during the 2010 season, the Late Model points fight was a tight race all season long between Posocco and Woody Pitkat that came down to the last race of the season. At the end of the season, Posocco took the title by a 24 point margin over Pitkat. Posocco posted 2 wins, 13 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes in 18 starts this season. The championship was also Posocco’s third in the past 4 years driving the #48 Kretschman Motorsports car.

In the SK Light Modified division, Matt Galko moved into the points lead after the second race of the season and he stayed there for the remainder of the season to capture his second consecutive track championship. Joey Cipriano was Galko’s closest pursuer for the championship with 6 victories this season, but Galko and his team had the better overall consistency throughout the season and they won the championship by a 22 point margin over Cipriano. For the season, Galko posted 4 wins, 14 top-5, and 17 top-10 finishes in 19 starts.

In the Limited Late Model division, the championship race was a three-man race for much of the year between Kevin Gambacorta, Shawn Thibeault, and George Nocera, Jr. For Gambacorta, he and Nocera took the championship race down to the wire during the 2006 season, and the championship race once again came down to the final race. Gambacorta finished 7th in the CARQUEST Fall Final, which was enough to make him the champion by a slim 4 point margin over Nocera. Gambacorta was a model of consistency this season, never finishing lower than 7th all season long. For the year, Gambacorta posted 1 win, 16 top-5 and 19 top-10 finishes in 19 starts.

The DARE Stock division saw Don Wood take a roller coaster ride to his second track championship. Originally scheduled to race only half the season, Wood was asked to drive the full season by his car owner John Berardi when they found themselves in championship contention at the halfway point of the year. Wood began the year strong, but a couple of subpar finishes knocked him out of the points lead. Wood posted 10 podium finishes in the final 13 races of the year to lay claim to the championship by 26 points over Cliff Saunders. Wood was tied for the division lead with 5 wins and he posted 14 top-5, and 16 top-10 finishes in 19 starts this season.

Receiving awards for Most Improved Driver were Michael Gervais, Jr. in the SK Modified® division, Patrick Townsend in the Late Model division, Steve Greer in the SK Light division, and Duane Provost in the Limited Late Model division. The Most Improved Driver award is given to a driver who exhibits the greatest degree of improvement in on-track performance over the past season. Nominees are selected and voted upon by a committee of select Stafford Motor Speedway management and track officials.

The Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards were presented by Brad and Linda Hietala of Reliable Welding and Speed to Heather DesRochers from the SK Modified® division, Peter Thickett from the Late Model division, Cody Gneiting from the SK Light division, and D.J. Burnham from the Limited Late Model division. The awards will be worth a $700.00 bonus to DesRochers, and $500.00 bonuses to Thickett, Gneiting, and Burnham from Reliable Welding and Speed. Each Rookie of the Year bonus will be paid out in $100.00 weekly increments to each driver as they attend events during the 2012 season.

The winners of the Most Popular Driver Awards were Woody Pitkat in the SK Modified® and Late Model divisions, Joey Cipriano from the SK Light division, Cory Casagrande from the Limited Late Model division, and David Arute from the DARE Stock division. The Most Popular Driver Awards are voted on by the fans who attend Stafford Motor Speedway race events and fill out the ballots found weekly in the track’s PitStopper Magazine.

The Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award was awarded to Rick Casagrande. Casagrande prepared and maintained cars for his two sons, Cory and Kyle Casagrande. Cory won three races and narrowly missed out on winning Rookie of the Year honors in the Limited Late Model division, while Kyle tied for the DARE Stock division lead with 5 feature wins. The Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award is voted on by Stafford crew members who possess a valid 2011 NASCAR License. Casagrande received a commemorative plaque along with a $100 cash prize and a $300 Craftsman Gift Card for winning the Craftsman Mechanic of the Year.

For more information about the 2011 Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony, or to order a video of the night’s festivities, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway’s track office at (860) 684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Stafford Springs, CT — Stafford Motor Speedway welcomed a guest list of nearly 500 people consisting of teams, drivers, sponsors, and employees this past Friday night, November 18 at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor to officially honor Ryan Preece, Ryan Posocco, Matt Galko, Kevin Gambacorta, and Don Wood as the 2011 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champions.

With Stafford Motor Speedway broadcasters Matt Buckler and Joe Coss serving as the Masters of Ceremony, the 42nd annual Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Champions Awards Ceremony not only honored the five track champions, it also honored the top-20 points finishers from the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Other awards that were presented during the evening’s festivities were Most Popular Driver Awards, Most Improved Driver Awards, Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards, and the Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award.

The 2011 SK Modified® season saw Ryan Preece outduel Keith Rocco in a thrilling season-long fight for the championship. Rocco, who was the defending SK Modified® track champion at Stafford, led the division with 8 wins this season, but Preece won 5 times and collected more top-5 and top-10 finishes than Rocco to capture his first career track championship. In 18 starts this season, Preece collected 14 top-5, and 17 top-10 finishes along with his 5 wins for an amazing average finish of 3.8, which allowed him to win the championship by a 78-point margin over Rocco.

The 2011 Late Model championship chase saw Ryan Posocco collect his second consecutive and record sixth Late Model track championship at Stafford. Just as it was during the 2010 season, the Late Model points fight was a tight race all season long between Posocco and Woody Pitkat that came down to the last race of the season. At the end of the season, Posocco took the title by a 24 point margin over Pitkat. Posocco posted 2 wins, 13 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes in 18 starts this season. The championship was also Posocco’s third in the past 4 years driving the #48 Kretschman Motorsports car.

In the SK Light Modified division, Matt Galko moved into the points lead after the second race of the season and he stayed there for the remainder of the season to capture his second consecutive track championship. Joey Cipriano was Galko’s closest pursuer for the championship with 6 victories this season, but Galko and his team had the better overall consistency throughout the season and they won the championship by a 22 point margin over Cipriano. For the season, Galko posted 4 wins, 14 top-5, and 17 top-10 finishes in 19 starts.

In the Limited Late Model division, the championship race was a three-man race for much of the year between Kevin Gambacorta, Shawn Thibeault, and George Nocera, Jr. For Gambacorta, he and Nocera took the championship race down to the wire during the 2006 season, and the championship race once again came down to the final race. Gambacorta finished 7th in the CARQUEST Fall Final, which was enough to make him the champion by a slim 4 point margin over Nocera. Gambacorta was a model of consistency this season, never finishing lower than 7th all season long. For the year, Gambacorta posted 1 win, 16 top-5 and 19 top-10 finishes in 19 starts.

The DARE Stock division saw Don Wood take a roller coaster ride to his second track championship. Originally scheduled to race only half the season, Wood was asked to drive the full season by his car owner John Berardi when they found themselves in championship contention at the halfway point of the year. Wood began the year strong, but a couple of subpar finishes knocked him out of the points lead. Wood posted 10 podium finishes in the final 13 races of the year to lay claim to the championship by 26 points over Cliff Saunders. Wood was tied for the division lead with 5 wins and he posted 14 top-5, and 16 top-10 finishes in 19 starts this season.

Receiving awards for Most Improved Driver were Michael Gervais, Jr. in the SK Modified® division, Patrick Townsend in the Late Model division, Steve Greer in the SK Light division, and Duane Provost in the Limited Late Model division. The Most Improved Driver award is given to a driver who exhibits the greatest degree of improvement in on-track performance over the past season. Nominees are selected and voted upon by a committee of select Stafford Motor Speedway management and track officials.

The Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards were presented by Brad and Linda Hietala of Reliable Welding and Speed to Heather DesRochers from the SK Modified® division, Peter Thickett from the Late Model division, Cody Gneiting from the SK Light division, and D.J. Burnham from the Limited Late Model division. The awards will be worth a $700.00 bonus to DesRochers, and $500.00 bonuses to Thickett, Gneiting, and Burnham from Reliable Welding and Speed. Each Rookie of the Year bonus will be paid out in $100.00 weekly increments to each driver as they attend events during the 2012 season.

The winners of the Most Popular Driver Awards were Woody Pitkat in the SK Modified® and Late Model divisions, Joey Cipriano from the SK Light division, Cory Casagrande from the Limited Late Model division, and David Arute from the DARE Stock division. The Most Popular Driver Awards are voted on by the fans who attend Stafford Motor Speedway race events and fill out the ballots found weekly in the track’s PitStopper Magazine.

The Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award was awarded to Rick Casagrande. Casagrande prepared and maintained cars for his two sons, Cory and Kyle Casagrande. Cory won three races and narrowly missed out on winning Rookie of the Year honors in the Limited Late Model division, while Kyle tied for the DARE Stock division lead with 5 feature wins. The Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award is voted on by Stafford crew members who possess a valid 2011 NASCAR License. Casagrande received a commemorative plaque along with a $100 cash prize and a $300 Craftsman Gift Card for winning the Craftsman Mechanic of the Year.

For more information about the 2011 Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony, or to order a video of the night’s festivities, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway’s track office at (860) 684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Sources: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR


November 2011
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