Rufrano KOs field for SK Modified victory

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Aug. 6—STAFFORD — Since entering the SK Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2018, Marcello Rufrano has led many laps, but never the final lap. He was a contender on many occasions, but never a winner.

He was able to rewrite the script Friday, however, in the biggest SK Modified race of the season at Stafford Motor Speedway.

"This means everything to me," Rufrano said after taking the lead for the first time in 35 laps and holding off Todd Owen and Keith Rocco down the stretch.

The race was filled with a several caution flags in the first 35 laps, but the final 45 went green, which turned out to be to Rufrano's advantage,

Keith Rocco made a bold inside pass to move into second midway through the race, but could not get to within striking distance of Rufrano. Owen moved into second with 13 laps left, but by that time Rufrano was well in command.

"This was the hardest I ever drove," Rufrano said. "I was on Cloud 9 for the last 20 laps."

And he wouldn't let anyone else on that cloud.

"Marcello has been way overdue," Owen said. "He's been working hard."

He also wanted to thank longtime Stafford Speedway announcer Ben Dodge, who has missed the last three weeks because of illness.

"I talked to Ben today," Rufrano said. "I wish he was here to see this."

The race was interrupted by a fight on lap 34 after Daniel Wesson got tangled up in a melee with Steve Kopcik. After Wesson confronted Kopcik, who was still in his car, Kopcik climbed out of the car and tackled Wesson.

Cooler heads, however, prevailed. And the coolest head of all belonged to Rufrano.

Teen triumph

Tyler Alkas has spent most of his life looking to get old enough so he could drive a Modified race car.

Because he is only 16, however, he didn't have long to wait.

Alkas came of age Friday, when he blitzed the field in the 20-lap SK Light feature.

Alkas took the lead on a lap 2 restart from Frank L'Etoile and immediately opened up a cozy lead on the field. He had one nervous moment when a caution flag came out on lap 11, forcing a restart.

Alkas blistered past L'Etoile on the restart and spent the rest of the race expanding his lead.

"This was crazy," Alkas said. "I just want to thank everyone for racing me clean."

Fearn fest

Tom Fearn has developed a reputation as being one of the top fender car drivers in Stafford Speedway history.

He added another chapter to that reputation Friday. Fearn took the lead early and kept plenty of distance between himself and the rest of the field the rest of the way, dominating the 30-lap Late Model feature.

It was Fearn's second win of the season and the 59th Late Model win of his career. He has 76 total Stafford wins, fourth on the all-time list.

A-plus adjustment

Jeremy Lavoie had a fast car during qualifying for the 20-lap Limited Late Model race, but knew he needed a little more velocity when it came to the feature. He found it, and a fast car became even faster.

"We made a few adjustments after the heat race and we hoped they were the right ones," the Windsor Locks driver said. "They were."

It didn't take Lavoie long to show how formidable he would be when he sizzled his way into the lead on lap 6, surging past Ari Jencik. He kept the advantage the rest of the way on his way to a second straight victory.

20-lap SK Light Modified: 1. Tyler Alkas, Berlin; 2. Chris Matthews, Stafford; 3. George Bessette Jr., Danbury; 4. Frank L'Etoile, Wethersfield; 5. Derek Debbis, Oakdale; 6. Tyler Chapman, Ellington; 7. Alexander Pearl., Salem; 8. Bob Charland, Stafford; 9. Amanda West, Colchester; 10. Meghan Fuller, Auburn, Mass.

30-lap Late Model: 1. Tom Fearn, East Longmeadow, Mass.; 2. Adam Gray, Belchertown, Mass.; 3. Kevin Gambacorta, Ellington; 4. Darrell Keane, Enfield; 5. Wayne Coury Jr., Fairfield; 6. Michael Bennett, Willington; 7. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 8. Michael Wray, Northford; 9. Paul Arute, Tolland; 10. Andrew Durand, Chicopee, Mass

20-lap Street Stock: 1. Travis Downey, Barkhamstead; 2. Jason Finkbein, Manchester; 3. Adrien Paradis III, Plainville; 4. Tyler Trott, East Hartford; 5. Travis Hydar, Woodbury; 6. Pat Grady, Berlin; 7. Nick Hovey, Chaplin; 8. Marvin Minkler, Stamford; 9. Bill Cote, Belchertown, Mass.; 10. Chris Danielczuk, Goshen.

20-lap Limited Late Model: 1. Jeremy Lavoie, Windsor Locks; 2. Kevin Cormier, Agawam, Mass.; 3. Gary Patnode, Barkhamstead; 4. Alexandra Fearn, East Longmeadow; 5. Rich Hammann, Tolland; 6. Ari Jencik, Canton; 7. Jay Clement, Wethersfield; 8. Matt Clement, Wethersfield; 9. Damien Palardy, Willington; 10. John Orsini, Morris