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Stefanik Gives Home State Fans Reason To Cheer
PROVIDENCE, RI . . .  Mike Stefanik gave Rhode Island race fans bragging rights on Saturday night as the 51-year-old from Coventry, R.I., claimed the 40-lap TQ-Midget Coffee Cup main event at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Stefanik, 51, a seven-time NASCAR Modified Tour champion and two-time Camping World East champion, was the only Ocean State entry in the field of more than 40 cars that tackled the indoor concrete oval.

“This is incredible,” Stefanik said. “This win is so sweet. When I looked over the entry list and saw guys like Billy Pauch, Lou Cicconi Jr., Davey Hamilton, Ted Christopher, Frank Fischer entered to race, it got me all pumped up.”

Stefanik never raced a TQ-Midget indoors until last March, when the indoor series debuted at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

“Seeing those fans cheer for me over the final laps meant a lot,” Stefanik said. “They were my home state fans, and it means a lot to me keep this Dunkin’ Donuts trophy in Rhode Island.”

Mike Lichty of Innerkip, Ont, who won Friday night’s 30-lap main event, finished second, while Frank Fischer of Flemington, N.J., was third, Matt Janisch of Nazareth, Pa. was fourth and Paul Lotier Jr. of Lebanon, Pa. was fifth.

It appeared early in the main event that Stefanik wouldn’t be around at the end of the 40-lap race. He started eighth but was involved in a multi-car crash on lap seven.

Stefanik returned from the incident and was up to ninth when a second incident on lap 20 sent him to the rear of the field.

Then, Stefanik found the outside groove to his liking.

Over the next few circuits, Stefanik used the outside line, a groove used by no other driver, and stayed out of trouble as he inched his way forward and took the lead on lap 27 from Lichty.

“I was hoping to go 2-for-2,” Lichty said. “However, I popped a brake line and couldn’t keep the car locked on the bottom.”

Jeff Kot was sixth, followed by Mike Tidaback, Glenn Heverin, Steve Craig and Ryan Smith. Indy 500 veteran Davey Hamilton finished 12th in the rundown.

Heat races went to Billy Pauch, Lou Cicconi Jr., Ian Cumens and Tim Buckwalter. Paul Lotier Jr. and Davey Hamilton won the consolation races.

Ryan Kendall of East Greenbush, N.Y., passed Justin Bonsignore with a lap left in the 25-lap Champ Kart main to score the victory.

Bonsignore, who ran out of gas, finished second, while Bryan Shields, Eric Zeh and Chris Daley completed the top five positions.

Bonsignore, Daley and Nick Hadden won the heats, while Tammy Smith and Michael Pares Jr. won the consolation races.

TQ Midget Feature Finish, 40 Laps: 1. Mike Stefanik; 2. Mike Lichty; 3. Frank Fischer; 4. Matt Janisch; 5. Paul Lotier Jr; 6. Jeff Kot; 7. Mike Tidaback; 8. Glenn Heverin; 9. Steve Craig; 10. Ryan Smith; 11. Dan Dunigan Jr; 12. Davey Hamilton; 13. Joey Payne; 14. Billy Pauch; 15. Mike Iles; 16. Timex Morgan; 17. Tim Buckwalter; 18. Christopher Allen; 19. Chris DeRitis; 20. Ian Cumens; 21. Frank Polimeda; 22. Lou Cicconi Jr.; 23. Ted Christopher; 24. James Michael Friesen.

Champ Kart Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Ryan Kendall; 2. Justin Bonsignore; 3. Bryan Shields; 4. Eric Zeh; 5. Chris Daley; 6. Gavin Soraghan; 7. Tammy Smith; 8. Michael Pares Jr; 9. Evan Beaulieu; 10. Randy Brundage; 11. Adam Dion; 12. Clinton Mills; 13. Jay Dimond; 14. Todd Root; 15. Nick Hadden; 16. John Hillman; 17. Glen Brehio; 18. Ron Midford Jr.; 19. Greg Simmons; 20. Rob Murray; 21. Andrew Swisher; 22. Chris Martel; 23. Adam Gage; 24. George Bark Jr.  By Jerry Reigle
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