Dowling Earns $5,000 Stafford Payday

Chase Dowling pocketed $5,000 Saturday at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Chase Dowling pocketed $5,000 Saturday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. – Chase Dowling took the lead from Marcello Rufrano on lap 84 and held on to win the NAPA SK 5k Saturday night at Stafford Motor Speedway, earning $5,000 for his efforts.

In the 100-lap NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K feature event, Rufrano charged into the lead at the drop of the green by going around Matt Vassar. With two laps complete Stephen Kopcik’s car suddenly dropped off the pace going into turn three and bottled the field up behind him which set off a chain reaction spin by Woody Pitkat and several other cars including Keith Rocco and Andrew Molleur to bring the caution out.

Rufrano and Michael Christopher Jr. went side by side for the lead on the restart with Michael Gervais Jr. in third, Ronnie Williams in fourth and Todd Owen in fifth. Owen took fourth from Williams on lap five and Chase Dowling followed him by to drop Williams back to sixth in line while Rufrano and Christopher were still side by side for the lead.  Rufrano got clear of Christopher on lap seven while Dowling took third from Gervais and Owen followed him by to drop Gervais back to fifth in line.

With 20 laps complete, Rufrano was still in command of the race with Christopher, Dowling, Owen, Gervais, Williams, Noah Korner, Zachem, Teddy Hodgdon, and Molleur making up the top-10. With 35 laps complete the top-five cars remained the same but the bottom half of the top-10 had shuffled with Korner now sixth followed by Zachem, Williams, Hodgdon, and Jeff Malave. The caution came out with 40 laps complete for a spin in turn two by Woody Pitkat.

Rufrano took the lead back under green while Dowling moved into second place. Owen took third from Christopher one lap after the restart on lap 42 and Korner was up to fifth.  Gervais was sixth in line followed by Zachem, Williams, Vassar, and Hodgdon.

With 35 laps to go Rufrano was still leading Dowling, Owen, and Christopher.  Korner was by himself in fifth place with Williams, Gervais, Zachem, Vassar, Hodgdon, Rocco, and Tony Membrino, Jr. following behind in a tight pack.

With 20 laps to go, Dowling was right on the back bumper of Rufrano as the leaders were busy navigating their way through lapped traffic.  Owen was several car lengths behind Dowling in third with Christopher another several car lengths behind Owen in fourth.  Dowling made a move to the inside of Rufrano to take over the lead on lap-84.  Owen went by Rufrano to take second place on lap 85.

Once he took the lead, Dowling slowly stretched out his advantage over Owen and he took the checkered flag to join Ronnie Williams as the only 2-time winners of the NAPA SK 5k.  Christopher finished third with Williams and Rufrano rounding out the top five.

In other weekly feature action, Adam Gray came up a winner for the second consecutive week in the late model feature and Steven Chapman scored his first victory in the SK Light feature.