Stafford Notes: Michael Wray, George Nocera Jr. And Jeremy Lavoie All Rebound From Rough Openers

Michael Wray celebrates victory in the Late Model feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

STAFFORD – Bouncing back from rough starts proved the theme of the night in victory lane Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Michael Wray, George Nocera Jr. and Jeremy Lavoie each put a disappointing NAPA Spring Sizzler weekend in their rear views with victories on opening Friday night at Stafford.

Wray, of Northford, went to backup car after a wreck Sunday to lead every lap and win the 30-lap Late Model feature.

“I’m speechless right now,” Wray said. “Last we were junk, we were in the wall. This car is 18 years old. We pulled it out of the weeds to run it. … Everyone worked so hard on this car. Forty hours this week, we did a whole off season worth of work in one week to get here and I just was hoping to finish this week.”

Paul Arute of Tolland was second and Tom Fearn of East Longmeadow, Mass. third.

Nocera struggled to a 15th place finish last Sunday at Stafford and returned to the track not expecting much Friday.

“It’s honestly unbelievable,” Nocera said. “I even came in today with not good hopes. We had half a throttle for the practice and heat race. The tire stagger was out to lunch. My guys are arguing here and there on how much fuel to put it in. Honestly I was going out there to hold on because I thought I was getting freight-trained right back. But we figured out all our pounds before feature time and we had a decent piece to contend with everybody.”

It was the second career SK Light Modified victory for Nocera, of Plainville.

“Mike O’Sullivan, he’s the biggest help,” Nocera pointed to as the key to bouncing back. “If it wasn’t for him I’d be going backwards. He’s a really smart guy. Thank god I was able to keep this car and he was able to stay on board as my crew chief.”

Bryan Narducci of Colchester was second and Christopher Viens of Putnam third.

Lavoie, who won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature Friday, didn’t even get a chance to race in the opening feature of the season last Saturday for the division. He was scheduled to start on the pole for the feature, but electrical issues just before the feature parked him in the infield for the race.

“It feels completely satisfying,” Lavoie said of Friday’s win. “Last week with the electrical gremlins it was such a bummer to watch from the infield. The car was fast, we knew it was fast last week. That was rolling, off the pole for the Spring Sizzler, that would be the one to win if you wanted to win one. I know the trophies the are bigger at the Sizzler and the Fall Final. But to come back the next week and have everything figured out and lead all 20 laps is a huge accomplishment.”

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Comments

  1. Great stories on the challenges George faced last week and an unexpected win that he and everyone around him loved. But the story is Narducci. He’s crazy fast. I can recall maybe 5 years or so caring about the Lights and I’ve never seen a car come through traffic so fast. Momentum division my foot as far as he is concerned. And the sad part judging from Georges victory lane comments he has everyone else beat mentally.

  2. It was just sad. 16 Late Models for the Sizzler and great action and then this 11 car debacle of follow the leader. And the LLM. Oh God, 11 cars and a green to checker winner. Highlighted by a brilliant run by the chick, Alexandra coming from the rear.Opening night at Stafford and no one cares apparently. This is indeed a NWMT and petty squabble site only apparently.

  3. Commentor says:

    Effective immediately Stafford Speedway will drop their entry prices, correct? I mean there was 5 divisions: 2 features and 3 heat races. That’s what I saw on Friday. Not a promising look for race #2.

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