Cashing In: Ron Silk, Ryan Preece Score Spring Sizzler Qualifying Duels Victories At Stafford

Ron Silk (left) and Ryan Preece (right) celebrate victories in the Spring Sizzler Duels qualifying events Saturday at Stafford Speedway (Photos: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – The 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler is set to roll on Sunday at Stafford Speedway with some big money on the line for the historic event.

Saturday at Stafford setting the table for Sunday’s big race proved a lucrative endeavor for Ron Silk and Ryan Preece

The 2022 Spring Sizzler brings with it an all new format that included twin 40-lap Qualifying Duel events on Saturday.

Silk and Preece won their respective qualifying events, with each pocketing a $3,500 purse payday for victory in addition to a $500 bonus.

By winning the first duel Silk, of Norwalk, earned the pole for Sunday’s 100-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler.

“It’s really nice to cash in,” Silk said. “I think that’s more of a benefit than starting on the pole with such a long race. Just have had a great car since we unloaded here. I can’t thank my guys enough. It’s cool to be to victory lane at the Sizzler. Hopefully we’ll be back standing here tomorrow.”

Silk went by Matt Swanson for the lead on lap five, but it was Swanson fighting back to regain the top spot a lap later.

On lap 22 Silk came back on Swanson again, using the low lane off of turn four to retake the top spot. From there Silk rolled unchallenged the rest of the way to the checkered.

Swanson, of Acton, Mass., held on for second and Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass was third.

In the second duel it was Preece, of Berlin, going by Pitkat for the lead on lap four and then sailing away to an easy victory.

“It was pretty badass,” Preece said of his Boelher Racing Enterprises Ole Blue ride. “I’m really excited. I didn’t really know what we were going to have after practice. We threw a lot of stuff at it. Obviously the speed is there, the car is there and we got it done.”

Pitkat, of Stafford, ended up second and Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. was third.

The top-10 finishers in each qualifying duel event (full results below) locked in starting spots in the Spring Sizzler main event on Sunday. The rest of the competitors transfer to twin 15-lap consolation events Sunday with five drivers qualifying from each event. Two provisional will fill out the 32-car starting field for the Spring Sizzler.

40-lap Open Modified Duel One: 1. Ron Silk, Norwalk; 2. Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass.; 3. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass.; 4. Chuck Hossfeld, Ransomville, N.Y.; 5. Mike Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 6. Stephen Kopcik, Newtown; 7. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J.; 8. Bobby Labonte, High Point, N.C; 9. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 10. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 11. Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y.; 12. Jack Ely, Wall, N.J.; 13. Bobby Santos III, Franklin, Mass.; 14. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass.; 15. Dave Etheridge, Portland; 16. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y.; 17. Mike Flynn, Hampden, Mass.; 18. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y.; 19. Robert Bloxsom III, Branford; 20. Artie Pedersen III, Center Moriches, N.Y.; 21. Mark Bakaj, Lebanon.

40-lap Open Modified Duel Two: 1. Ryan Preece, Berlin; 2. Woody Pitkat, Stafford; 3. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, Pa.; 4. Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury; 5. Matt Galko, Meriden; 6. Ronnie Williams, Ellington; 7. Doug Coby, Milford; 8. Chase Dowling, Roxbury; 9. Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon; 10. Marcello Rufrano, North Haven; 11. Brian Robie, Sunapee, N.H.; 12. Buddy Charette, Woodstock; 13. David Arute, Tolland; 14. Anthony Bello, Newtown; 15. Noah Korner, Canton; 16. Todd Owen, Somers; 17. Tommy Barrett Jr., Millis, Mass.; 18. Cory DiMatteo, Farmington; 19. Jeffrey Gallup, Agawam, Mass.; 20. Keith Rocco, Wallingford.


  1. Wow, Bobby Labonte finishes 8th securing a starting spot ahead of some very heavy hitters in his dual. Pretty impressive for his first visit to Stafford in a modified!

  2. Rafter fan says

    I thought Stafford promoted the Duals as $4,000 to win (not $3,500)??


    Doug….9ct, 7ny, 60,57,16….10….31&34…Home Team…Pitkat…Pettit
    Jake…..60, 9ct, 3, 10, 79…..7ny…44ma&57..Invaders….Preece…Bob Bruneau
    Eddie…16, 79, 7ny, 60, 10…44ma..25nc&25nh..Invaders..Pitkat…Bob Bruneau
    CSG….9ct, 60, 10, 7ny, 57…44ma…57&81..Invaders…Blewett…Billy the Kid
    wmass..58, 7ny,10, 3, 82…..16….25nc&02….Invaders…Pitkat….RYR

    Duel 1…..16,25,79,1ny,7ny,179,02,25nc,25ct,35
    Duel 2…..3,88,60,55,6,50,10,9ct,75,48

    At the end of the first day Suitcase Jake is starting to look like a genius with two strong cars for the LCQ races. The 44ma deserved to qualify were it not for the spin but that’s racing. On paper I thought wmass’s picks of 25nc & 02 were great but turns out those cars outperformed and off the board now for LCQ Pick Two scoring.
    Fast Eddie must be smiling his choices looking pretty good based on the Duel’s. The 16 practiced in a private session on Wednesday and it showed. McKennedy strong and Hirschman flirting with the single lap track record looks ready to contend as well.
    Three of us didn’t think the 3 could be in the top 5. A choice not looking so good now after Ole Blue piloted by Preece had more then a few fans misting up with a commanding win in the second Duel.
    Dowling looking a little erratic so we that put our money on him not feeling so confident at this stage.
    If you picked the Invaders and Bob Bruneau you must like those choices as the day begins but don’t put the bonus points in your column just yet there’s a race to run by gum.
    Four points for the LCQ Pick Two up for grabs and it looks like the traveling man is holding two trump cards. Oh and look he picked the 3 as well in the top 5. How’d he do that?
    Good luck to all.
    Onto the Sizzler!!

  4. Rafter, Website clearly say $3500 to win!!

  5. Good to see Silk and Preece on top. World order has returned.

    Several big names got into trouble in Duel One, otherwise Labonte would be running in a LCQ. He was given a gift. 🎁

    Considering the jangles that happened, the results are rather expected, no surprises or disappointments. The Duels did what they are supposed to do…

    The LCQs should be uneventful and hopefully Santos, Emerling, Goodale and Lutz make it to the big show.

  6. Correct me if I’m being too enthusiastic. Looked like if when the Arute’s sat down and designed the Duel format they had a best case scenario and to my way of thinking what happened probably exceeded those expectations did it not?
    So many rich stories in those two events. The ever popular Preece winning but not just in any car winning in Ole Blue bringing back strong memories of the 3’s glory days. Ron Silk wins the first one and who doesn’t respect Ron Silk? Cars like the 25, 79, 7ny, 60, 50, 10 all cars you expect to perform well. Then there are the surprises pleasant and maybe not so much.
    Dowling out, then in, then out then in again kind of surprising. Hodgdon’s New Smyrna performance no fluke the 55 is a contender. Now really, how many of you expected Labonte to come up here and qualify on Saturday. Not just making the top 10 but looking really good in the process. Two SK regulars Moeller and Rufrano skinny in qualifying 10th in each Duel. Big time modified names Hossfeld and Blewett in and look fairly comfortable doing it. Coby not comfortable was on the outside and had to earn his spot and did with guile and determination. No one knew how the new Pitkat/Dunleavy team would perform and now we know. Very well thank you. Flannery a major surprise. Kopcik, Galko and Pasteryak not surprises so much as guys it’s nice to see do well.
    Heartbreak Hotel residents include Santos who was in til the spin. Lutz looked good until he didn’t, Goodale disappointed, Emerling almost overcame some bad luck but just missed. Rocco arguably the biggest bust in the Duels but maybe not, his failure to launch not the first time in recent history.
    It’s all adding up to a couple LCQ races with a lot on the line for some very good teams.

  7. This field resembles an all star race. Allot of names and talent, along with some new shining stars. Wonder what the strategy for today’s 100 laps will bed. If you put for tires, your most likely to restart out back, and it could be tough to get back to the front. Have to wait and see.

  8. Rafter fan says

    I have a SMS screen shot which shows $4,000 to win, but don’t know how to share it here. Web site now shows $3,500 in at least one place. It looks like there was a late change to $3,500??

  9. Rafter,
    The purse was $3,500 to win and then the family of Bobby Turner added a $1,000 bonus to be split evenly between the two Duels winners.

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