Cha-Ching, Again: Ron Silk Wins NAPA Spring Sizzler For Second Consecutive Year At Stafford 

Ron Silk celebrates victory for the second consecutive year in the NAPA Spring Sizzler 100 at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – The NAPA Spring Sizzler has the moniker “The Greatest race in the history of spring” and for an event to earn that title is must come with some tradition. 

One of the tradition’s that goes along with the Spring Sizzler is the carafe of milk to the race winner in victory lane. 

Ron Silk readily admits that he’s not really a big fan of milk. 

What’s certain is that the Norwalk veteran is quite enjoyably getting used to sipping it at victory lane. 

For the second consecutive year Silk scored victory in the NAPA Spring Sizzler 100 at Stafford Speedway. 

“I don’t hate milk, but it sure tastes good when you’re standing in victory lane,” Silk said. “To put my name on that trophy twice in a row is awesome. It took me a long time to get the first one, so it feels good to get another one a year later.” 

The race was originally scheduled to be run on April 28 but was rained out. Silk won his heat race and 40-lap qualifying duel for the event on April 27. 

Silk led 83 of 100 laps 

“Great car,” Silk said. “It was spot on two weeks ago when we were here and it was just as good today. … It couldn’t drive better. [My team] is what makes this happen. Tyler Haydt, Joe Yannone my owners, all the guys that come. Pit crew had a great stop today, got us out first and it’s just a team effort. Pumped to go back to back in this race.” 

Silk earned a massive payday for the second consecutive year. He earned $20,000 for the victory and $3,500 for winning his Duel qualifying event on April 27. He also earned $11,250 in lap money, bringing the total take for the event to $34,750. Last year Silk earned just over $35,000 for the Sizzler win. 

Silk also earned $15,000 at Stafford for winning the 2022 NAPA Fall Final. All told, in the last three Sizzlers and two Fall Final’s, Silk has earned about $99,000 in prize money at Stafford. 

“I don’t know what the total came up to today with lap money, but this has been a great venue for us recently,” Silk said. “The Arute Family has done so much to raise the purses and everything.” 

Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass was second. 

“Overall a good run,” McKennedy said. “Brand new team, new car, our first Sizzler here as a new group. Second place. Good run. We had nothing for [Silk]. [Silk] was really strong. At times I’d get close to him and he’d just step on the gas and drive away again.” 

Woody Pitkat of Stafford was third. 

“This is a whole new deal here,” Pitkat said. “Same crew, new car owner. … Everybody asked over the winter, ‘What’s the deal? What happened to 88? What’s up with the 8?’ … There was some doubters. But we showed the doubters that we’re no joke. Rome wasn’t build in a day.” 

Matt Swanson of Acton, Mass. was fourth and Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa fifth. 

At the start it was pole-sitter Teddy Hodgdon getting the jump. Behind him it was Swanson moving to second past Silk with McKennedy following to third. 

On lap 3 Swanson got inside of Hodgdon to take over the top spot. A lap later it was Silk going by McKennedy to move to third. Silk got by Hodgdon for second place on lap six.

On lap eight it was Silk getting under Swanson into turn one and coming off of turn two with the lead. 

With Silk leading, Swanson in second and Hodgdon third, the first caution of the event flew on lap 17 for the spinning car of Noah Korner off of turn four. 

On the restart it was Silk getting the jump. Behind him McKennedy was able to get by Hodgdon for third. 

The caution was back out again on lap 18 for two incidents on the track involving Joey Mucciacciaro, Buddy Charette and Tommy Barrett Jr. 

On the restart it was Silk holding the top spot in and McKennedy getting by Swanson for second. But it was all for naught, with the stopped car of Nick Halkowicz in turn two bringing the caution out before the lap was completed.

On the lap 18 restart it was Swanson initially staying with Silk on the outside. But into turn three McKennedy was able to get under Swanson to take over second. 

Caution was back out on lap 24 for the stopped car of Halkowicz in turn three. 

It was Silk once again getting away from the field on lap 24 restart. On lap 28 it was George Bessette Jr. spinning in turn two to bring out the fifth caution of the event. 

On the lap 28 restart it was Silk checking out again, leaving McKennedy and Swanson to battle for second place behind him. With Swanson on the inside and McKennedy on the outside the two went side-by-side for lap 28 and most of lap 29 before Swanson cleared him for second coming off of turn four. 

Caution was out on lap 35 for the spinning cars of Bessette and Chris Pasteryak in turn three.

Silk got the jump once again on the ensuing restart. Behind him it was Doug Coby using the outside lane to get by McKennedy for third off of turn four. The action was short lived though as caution was back out for the stopped car of Korner in turn one on lap 36. 

On the lap 36 restart it was Silk holding with Coby getting by Swanson for second place. 

On lap 37 Bessette spun in turn three. With Bessette’s car stopped on the track Swanson and Coby spun together in turn two battling for second place. It was deemed that Swanson and Coby spun after the caution. Coby was forced to pit road for damage while Swanson moved back to second in the lineup. 

On the lap 37 restart it was McKennedy spinning out of fifth place in turn two bring the caution right back out.

Silk got the jump on the lap 37 restart, leaving Swanson to battle Woody Pitkat for second place. On lap 38 it was Pitkat getting under Swanson off of turn four to take over second.

On lap 48 Justin Bonsignore, who had been running eighth, slowed on the track and went to pit road under green. 

On lap 49 the cars of Cory DiMatteo and Matt Galko, battling for ninth place, made contact off of turn four. The contact continued down the frontstretch with both cars making extremely hard contact with the turn one wall, brining the red flag out immediately on lap 50 for the 10th caution period of the event. 

Under caution most of the leaders went to pit road. Silk won the race of pit road with Pitkat coming out second. Keith Rocco, who came into the pits in sixth place, came off pit road third. 

Jacob Perry, McKennedy, Charette and Barrett made up the top-four respectively with the group staying out on track. It put Silk in fifth, Pitkat in sixth and Rocco in seventh for the lap 50 restart.

On the restart it was McKennedy getting by Perry for the lead. Behind them it was Pitkat moving around Silk in the race among the cars that pitted. Coming to the completion of lap 50 Silk was forced to take evasive action to miss the slowing car of Charette. It dropped Silk back to ninth. 

“I probably wasn’t patient enough with [Charette],” Silk said. “I kind of got him sideways in front of me. It caused me to lose more positions. He had no choice to but to slow down. I know everyone is out there for strategies, I just don’t know what the point of staying out is at that point. But whatever, it didn’t cost us anything.”

By lap 55 Pitkat was by Perry for second place and Silk had clawed back to fifth place. 

Caution flew for the spinning car of Pasteryak on lap 56. The caution flew with McKennedy leading, Pitkat in second, Perry in third, Coby fourth and Silk fifth. 

On the lap 56 restart it was McKennedy holding the spot with Coby moving past Perry for third. Silk got by Perry for fourth and then cruised by Coby for third on lap 57. On lap 58 it was Silk making easy work of Pitkat for second place. 

On lap 60 Silk completed his furious march back to the front by overtaking McKennedy for the lead off of turn four. 

“I was really confident in the car,” Silk said. “I knew once we got straightened out in a line I’d be able to overcome it and it worked out.”

By lap 70 Silk had opened up a one second leader over second place McKennedy. 

With Silk checked out, McKennedy in second and Pitkat third, the 12th caution of the event flew for the stopped car of Halkowicz on lap 82. 

Silk had no challengers on the ensuing restart and opened nearly a second and a half lead over McKennedy within seven laps after the restart. 

By lap 97 Silk was on cruise control with a 2.7 second lead over McKennedy. 

NAPA Spring Sizzler 100 Results

1. Ron Silk, Norwalk; 2. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass; 3. Woody Pitkat, Stafford; 4. Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass.; 5. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, Pa.; 6. Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon; 7. Keith Rocco, Wallingford; 8. Stephen Kopcik, Newtown; 9. Todd Owen, Somers; 10. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y.; 11. Buddy Charrette, Woodstock; 12. Jacob Perry, Pawcatuck; 13. Noah Korner, Avon; 14. David Arute, Stafford; 15. Ronnie Williams, Tolland; 16. Doug Coby, Milford; 17. Tommy Barrett Jr., Millis, Mass.; 18. Nick Halkowicz, Shelton; 19. Mike Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 20. Matt Galko, Meriden; 21. Cory DiMatteo, Farmington; 22. Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y.; 23. George Bessette Jr., Danbury; 24. Teddy Hodgdon IV, Danbury; 25. Anthony Bello Newtown; 26. Austin Beers, Northampton, Pa.; 27. Joey Mucciacciaro, Wolcott; 28. Max Zachem, Preston; 29. Marcello Rufrano, North Haven; 30. Andy Jankowiak, Buffalo, N.Y. 

Comments

  1. snoozer up front.

  2. Hirschman was very lucky there was so much attrition or he would not have made the top 10.

    Way too much wrecking.

  3. and the Tour goes on and on .... says

    When the Premier car of the Premier Modified series shows up they put up a Premier result.

  4. If that was a weekly division, you have to think they would have been put in the penalty box. Happy for Silk, good to see the 79 running well. There are a few drivers that should stick to SKs, Bessette being one of them. How many cautions was he involved in?

  5. Congratulations to Ron Silk on his dominant performance.

    Where was big money? Cheap
    Seats, never a factor.

    McKennedy & Pitkat great showing for the first time out with a new team.

    A tip of the cap to Chris Pasteryak for his P6 finish. I think he may have passed more cars than anyone else. Don’t know how many times he came from the back towards the front.

    Attrition was excessive, chassis shops and crews will have a busy week.

  6. and the Tour goes on and on .... says

    JG I totally agree. I think the Kid’s racing with Dad’s checkbook does not help the situation.

  7. It’s really too bad the outside grove didn’t come in during the open race like it did in the SK race . Great racing in that race . Open was Ok but would have been a lot more exciting if the outside was there
    Bessette had serious brake problems and was smart enough to park it .

  8. and the Tour goes on and on .... says

    Ernie that outside groove has been missing since the repave in the mid ’90s IMO. Watch some videos from 1991, 1992 etc and you’ll see the difference.

  9. I don’t know Tour , I saw I lot of sustained side by side racing , lap after lap That doesn’t happen without an outside groove sure it might be fleeting week to week but it was there last night

  10. and the Tour goes on and on .... says

    Ernie I’ll admit there are times when I see a car stay on the outside for a bit but I also remember the 1991 Fall final on a late race restart watching Tom Baldwin on the outside pass 5 cars. He stayed out there for about 15 laps. Impossible to do today. Remembering too well is my problem LOL.

  11. JG – The Pup is just coming out of the SKl division.. Champion. Ran 3 open shows at stafford last year finished 2nd, 4th and 6th. He had issues with the car so he parked it. Didn’t you see the sk race last night? He put on a great show. Kid has awesome car control

  12. Clifford says

    No doubt Bessette has talent. He needs learn some respect and finesse. Championship or not, he was a wrecking ball in the Lights. He’s got some good finishes in the Open car and looked good in the SK last night, but he makes some real stupid decisions. Cleaned out Rameau trying to drive through him for the lead a the World Series last year and we all remember how that ended up. Last night after everybody else raced clean at the front, he tried to blast Dematteo out of the lead in turn 2 on the last lap. He’s not well liked by other drivers because he doesn’t show anyone respect and he cries when people drive him like he drives everybody else.

  13. I don’t think he tried to “blast” Cory as much as Cory gave him a well timed brake check in order to completely take away George’s move and momentum.

  14. Michael A. Lavin says

    “Ernie I’ll admit there are times when I see a car stay on the outside for a bit but I also remember the 1991 Fall final on a late race restart watching Tom Baldwin on the outside pass 5 cars. He stayed out there for about 15 laps. Impossible to do today. Remembering too well is my problem LOL.”

    In the 1991 Fall Final, Baldwin simply did not get up to speed on a late restart, spun out after The Reg had passed five cars, and was “given” (my opinion, I was there) the lead back. Controversy ensued for a while, as I recall. Tomaino, Reg, and others contended stridently.

    You can find the race on youtube on two different links.

    ESPN’s poor coverage of the 1996 Fall Final shows the highlight from when the decision was made. In the other, the camera holder in the first one puts the camera on the ground just before the decision is made, which is shown on the ESPN video.

    The race was amazing and included lots of passing. Despite the Reg’s pass on the outside, there was not as much passing on the outside. There was, however, more than there has been since the repave, in my opinion.

    I could be wrong, but I believe it was Jeff Fuller who stated that the key to Stafford was to diamond turns 1 and 2, implying more of a passing zone, as opposed to a more traditional groove through turns 3 and 4.

    For what it is worth.

  15. and the Tour goes on and on .... says

    Baldwin spun his tires leading the field to green on a restart and because the caution was thrown immediately a lap was not competed under green so they set they lineup back to the previous lap which was Baldwin as the leader. The Reg could not get by him and there was a huge pow-wow on pit road after the race. I was also there.

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