STAFFORD – In an event where fierceness proved the theme through the field, Michael Bennett used aggressiveness to go to the front and then fended off aggressiveness on the final lap to win.
Bennett held off the spirited charges of Andrew Molleur off turn four on the final lap to win the 30-lap Late Model feature Friday at Stafford.
It was the division leading fifth victory of the season for Bennett, of Willington.
“Our car wasn’t 100 percent,” Bennett said. “We got caught up in a heat race wreck. And the guys thrashed on this thing.”
Molleur, of Shelton, was second and Adam Gray of Belchertown, Mass. third.
On lap 18 Bennett gave then race leader Wayne Coury a tap through turns three and four. The bump got Coury heading sideways through the corner. Coury was able to wrangle in his car, but not before Bennett went to the lead and Molleur moved to second.
Molleur closed the gap on Bennett over the final five laps. On the final lap Molleur closed on Bennett’s bumper off of turn two and looked for a lane low under him through turn three. Coming off of turn four Molleur leaned on the side of Bennett, nearly turning the lead coming onto the frontstretch. Bennett was able to fight off the force by Molleur and beat him to the checkered flag.
“I need to apologize to Michael Bennett,” Molleur said. “I didn’t want to get into him but I’m trying to race for the win, that’s all. I’m trying to win races, that’s what I’m here for. Hat’s off to him, he had a fast car. We had a really good car at the end there. I was trying to make our move going into [turn] three there and just didn’t have enough time to get to the line and win the race.”
Andrew no need to apologize , Bennet would have hit you way harder than that and thought he did nothing wrong
From my vantage point, that was a little excessive on Bennet’s part with Coury. But another exciting race in the Late Models. This is a deep division, where anyone of 6 or 7 cars can win, and the 12 is not included. Great racing
I agree with Elect and Ken. Bennett should’ve been sent to the rear for hitting Coury. We all know if it was Durand who did that..or anyone else actually..they would’ve been blackflagged. Molleur knew that he didn’t want to race Bennett the way Bennett races him, even though he deserves it. He has shown more respect in one race than Bennett has ever shown. The track has a favorite and they are giving the championship away. Really hoping Gray does something about the “morons” because I’d much rather see one of the good guys win the championship, not another cheater
That entire 19 car team should be embarrassed every week. Usually the fastest car at the track and he feels the need to hit every single car he goes by one way or another. EVERY SINGLE CAR. I mean he wrecks guys in the heat race for Petes sake. But I guess he’ll continue to do it until someone puts him on the double hooks. Seems like no one else in the field has the cajones to do what he does so it’ll continue.
Bennett just about hooked Al Saunders in turn 4 on the second lap and got nothing for it. How does he get away with wrecking so many people every week? Why does Tapley look the other way on him hitting everyone?
So Gray’s take on the podium is the Wray and Bennett are “morons” the way they drive. Specifically using him to help them get around the corners efficiently. If you say so but it seems like there’s a lot of banging in the division among a lot of really good, experienced drivers. In part it’s why the division has ascended to a a truly second division this year. Complaining in victory lane especially from one of the best drivers in the division never a good look no matter how on point it is.
Bennett love him or hate him is the man this year. He may be a hammer looking for a nail but he’s got one of the fastest hammers as well with no memory of past indiscretions. . What-a-you-gonna do?
Moeller probably had to say what he did but from a racing standpoint he did exactly what most owners would want him to do. Race for the win but if it’s not happening back out, take the second and don’t wreck anyone. That wasn’t an error it was great racing judgment in my view.
So how good is the Late Model division just look at Tom Fearn. A few years ago he made the division and opportunity to hit the rest room and get refreshments. Stuart Fearn the patriarch of Fearn Motorsports crowing about taking winners shares and bonuses which he could do because they were so excellent but in the process made the division boring. Fast forward to now and the team didn’t get bad the division and competitors got stronger. Now it’s thriving as a can’t miss feature and many of us that hated seeing Tom Fearn driving away from the field are not rooting for him.
Rough race. Buy calls on late model body panels. Sales are going up. Honestly I am surprised the car count has stayed healthy considering all the wreckage this year. They are getting about as many late models as SKs on a weekly basis. The late models have certainly improved dramatically over the past couple seasons. The race is not forgone conclusion when they come out now, there are 5 or 6 cars capable of winning.. I am still not sure they need 2 divisions of similar looking late model divisions but even the limited car counts has gotten better where their races can be entertaining. Stafford stayed the course and have been rewarded with some good competitive racing in their full fendered divisions
Putting the offender (in this case repeat offender) at the back of the pack is hardly effective. Put him a lap down and the proper message will be sent. ..Agree with the earlier posts that his fellow competitors need to step up and send him a message as well..