STEFANIK CAPTURES WMT WIN AT STAFFORD
Mike Stefanik couldn’t have asked for a much better showing at the
CARQUEST Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway this past weekend.
The driver set fast time in qualifying, redrew the pole, and wrapped
up the weekend with a win in the 150-lap Whelen Modified Tour event.
In the process, Stefanik set a number of WMT records by posting his
eighth Fall Final win, his 20th win at Stafford, and his 69th career
“We had a good run last week and a little better run this week…it’s
a good time to get our program up to where it always should have
been,” Stefanik commented in Victory Lane. “It’s great to win.
That’s what it’s all about.”
Stefanik started the race on the pole, with Ted Christopher to his
outside. Stefanik took the lead on the start, with Christopher
falling into second and Eric Beers third. Chuck Hossfeld sat fourth.
By lap 1, Ryan Preece had rocketed from a 10th place starting spot
up to fifth, while Matt Hirschman had come from 13th to sixth. By
lap 11, Stefanik and Christopher had begun to break away from the
remainder of the field, and Jake Marosz was the first car to be
lapped by the duo on lap 14.
On lap 16, Beers got out of shape in turns 1 and 2, allowing
Hossfeld to pull up on the inside to challenge for the third spot.
Hossfeld grabbed the spot coming into turn 3. Preece attempted to
follow underneath for fourth, but was unsuccessful and settled back
into fifth. By lap 24, Hossfeld was very apparently reeling in
Stefanik and Christopher, who had built a sizeable lead. Hossfeld
positioned himself right on Christopher’s back bumper by lap 27.
On lap 28, Frank Ruocco slid through the infield on the
frontstretch, but no caution was thrown. The leaders began to
encounter lapped traffic at lap 32. At lap 35, Stefanik had roughly
a three-car length lead over Christopher and Hossfeld, and the three
were distancing themselves from the rest of the field. Heavier
lapped traffic came into play by lap 37, as Stefanik continued to
build his lead, which had grown to about six car lengths by lap 42.
The leaders continued to consistently lap cars, while Preece had
grabbed the fourth spot from Beers by lap 43 and he began to close
the gap between himself and the leaders. At lap 58, Stefanik was
still roughly six car lengths ahead of Christopher, Hossfeld, and
Preece, who were running nose to tail. On lap 59, the first caution
of the race was thrown after Eric Goodale slid through the infield
on the frontstretch.
The majority of the field pitted, leaving Rob Summers in the lead
as he opted not to pit. Preece was the first of the lead cars out of
the pits, followed by Hossfeld, Hirschman, Doug Coby, Stefanik, and
Jimmy Blewett. Christopher had issues during his pit stop, and lost
considerable track position. After pit stops, Summers was the race
leader, followed by Jamie Tomaino and Preece.
On the lap 66 restart, Summers shot out to the lead, as Preece
grabbed the second spot and Hirschman took third. On lap 67,
Stefanik pulled to the inside of Hirschman, battling side-by-side
for third. Stefanik took third on lap 68. On lap 70, Preece looked
to the inside of Summers as Stefanik moved to the outside of Preece.
Stefanik grabbed second on lap 71.
Caution waved on lap 80 as Danny Sammons spun between turns 1 and
2. Summers pitted from the lead on lap 81, surrendering the position
The field restarted on lap 83, with Stefanik on the inside and
Preece on the outside. Stefanik grabbed the top spot, with Preece
second and Hirschman third. On lap 85, Reggie Ruggerio slowed
considerably on the backstretch, but was able to get the car to the
pits and no caution was thrown. Caution came out on lap 87 for Tom
The lap 92 restart once again pitted Stefanik on the inside against
Preece on the outside. Preece was able to nose ahead of Stefanik
coming into turn 1, but the two battled side-by-side and Stefanik
was once again in the lead by the time the lap was completed.
Hirschman pulled to the inside of Preece on lap 93, with Beers and
Hossfeld side-by-side behind them. Preece was able to retain second,
but the two continued to wrestle for the position. Meanwhile, Todd
Szegedy broke into the top five on lap 95. Hirschman took over
second on lap 96. The top 11 cars were running nose to tail, as
Hirschman looked for a way around Stefanik. By lap 105, the top four
cars began to pull away from the remainder of the competition.
On lap 115, Preece suddenly fell off the pace and pulled down to
the inside of the track, handing the third position to Hossfeld. At
lap 120, Stefanik, Hirschman, and Hossfeld were running nose to
tail. Preece’s car was pushed behind the wall. On lap 134, Hossfeld
looked to the outside of Hirschman for second, but caution came out
again on lap 135 as Glen Reen and Ronnie Silk spun in turn 1.
The race restarted on lap 140 with Stefanik on the inside and
Hirschman on the outside. Stefanik jumped out front and Hossfeld
shot into second, but the caution came out again before a lap was
completed because of a loose tire near the frontstretch.
Stefanik was out front for the single-file restart on lap 145, with
Hirschman again in second and Hossfeld third. Wade Cole spun in turn
1 on lap 145, but there was no caution. Stefanik went on to win the
race, followed by Hirschman and Hossfeld.