Waterford, CT – Waterford Speedbowl hosted the seventh annual Wings & Wheels event Saturday evening in front of a jam packed grandstand. Fans were treated to some of the fastest and most sophisticated short track racecars in the country as the International Supermodified Association made their only visit of the season and was joined by the popular Valenti Modified Racing Series, Northeastern Midget Association and NEMA Lites, plus the home track NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® and SK Light Modifieds. Ted Christopher of Plainville ended a long Speedbowl drought dating back to 2004 with his win in the night’s Valenti Modified Racing Series feature. Mark Sammut of London, Ontario, Canada checkered the 50-lap ISMA Supermodified race. A first time winner visited Victory Lane in the SK Modified® in surprise fashion after an exciting conclusion, with Agawam, MA driver Jeff Gallup recording the win. Randy Churchill of Oakdale took his third SK Light Modified win of the year. In NEMA action, John Zych Jr. of Mendon, MA won the Midget feature and Dan Cugini of Marshfield, MA won the companion NEMA Lite race.
Christopher scored his third career Valenti Modified Racing Series victory in the night’s 100-lap feature. He started the race in the outside pole position and tucked behind early leader Stephen. Masse led through a lap-42 caution flag following a quick opening sprint before Carl Medieros Jr. hit the front stretch wall off turn four to draw the yellow. Christopher had a great restart and powered ahead of Masse on the top of the track through turns one and two, leading every lap until the finish. He led comfortably over the middle of the race which stayed clean through a single car spin on lap-78 for Dylan Kopec, which briefly drew a yellow flag. Christopher restarted cleanly over series point leader Justin Bonsignore and resumed.
Christopher’s biggest test may have been a red flag with three laps remaining for a huge wreck that collected no less than ten cars and caused a lengthy delay to clean up the mess. Anthony Nocella wrecked in turn four on lap-96, setting up the massive melee on the restart. Tommy Barrett Jr. and Woody Pitkat raced side-by-side for third behind the lead two, with the field tightly bunched behind. The cars came together in turn four coming to lap-97 and went head on into the front stretch wall, collecting several cars directly behind including Rowan Pennink, Richard Savary, Norm Wrenn, Keith Rocco, Geoff Gernhard among others, with all involved receiving substantial damage.
Christopher got away from Bonsignore one final time to close out the win, his first at the Speedbowl since July of 2004 when he took his last SK Modified® victory at the track. Bonsignore was second and Masse ended up third. Chris Pasteryak overcame a rough qualifying effort, using a provisional starting spot and finished fourth and Tom Abele Jr. was fifth.
Gallup’s first career SK Modified® victory came following a wild finish through the final corners coming to the checkered flag. Gallup battled Shawn Monahan for most of the 35-lap feature, riding the outside of the track to stay in contention for the win. Monahan seemed to have control throughout, leading from his pole starting position. Heavy hitters Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco worked their way from the back half of th top ten to move into contention in the second half of the race. They trailed behind the developing Monahan-Gallup duel in third and fourth position from lap-18.
Rocco finally got by Christopher with four laps remaining as Monahan and Gallup were still side-by-side. As they began the final lap, Monahan cleared Gallup from his outside with Rocco following suit, diving inside Gallup. As the lead pack entered turn three coming to the checkered flag, Rocco made contact with Monahan’s rear bumper, sending his car up the track. Monahan feverishly tried to keep his car from spinning but could not. Rocco crossed the finish line first, but was immediately penalized for overaggressive driving giving Gallup, who was behind Rocco at the finish, the victory. Woody Pitkat steered through the crazy conclusion and finished second while Christopher wound up third.
Sammut recorded the first Speedbowl triumph in his long ISMA career in the night’s 50-lap race. The turning point for Sammut came on lap-37 when leader Ryan Coniam was black flagged. His car began smoking two laps prior, and as he pulled off the speedway on lap-38 his car erupted in flame. The red flag was quickly display and Coniam escaped unscathed. Sammut, who had been in second behind Coniam since lap-5, took over the lead and was never seriously challenged the remainder of the way. Former SK Modified® track champion Rob Summers, a hometown favorite, stayed with Sammut throughout and finished second. Series point leader Jon McKennedy was third. Sammut clocked a fast lap of 107mph in the race.
Churchill was back in the winner’s circle following the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature, coming out on top of a mid-race battle with Corey Barry. Churchill took the lead at the green flag, then held on as Barry moved to his rear bumper and challenged him several laps into the race. Barry actually took the lead briefly following the only caution flag in the race on lap-17, running outside Churchill to lead by a nose. Churchill rallied the following lap to reclaim the lead then powered on to the win. Barry, the division point leader, finished second and Paul Buzel was third.
Zych rocketed his way to victory in the 25-lap winged NEMA Midget feature, which was a tribute to Gene and Marilyn Angelillo, the late long-time car owners and officers in the club. Zych took the lead after a lap-7 caution flag and romped to the win from there, holding off Randy Cabral the rest of the way. Zych’s quick time was a blistering 106mph lap. He was presented the winning trophies by the Angelillo’s granddaughters.
Cugini won the 25-lap NEMA Lite feature, with Logan Rayvals making a long journey worthwhile, finishing runner-up. P.J. Stergios of was third. Three caution flags slowed the race.
Next Saturday a six-division program returns to the Speedbowl with NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing by the SK Modifieds, Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks. They will be joined by an appearance by the New England Truck Series as well as the track’s INEX Legend Cars.
Saturday 8/9 Wings & Wheels Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 2. Woody Pitkat, Stafford; 3. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 4. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 5. Joe Gada, Salem; 6. Jeff Rocco, Southington; 7. Paul Kusheba IV, Monroe; 8. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 9. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 10. Ed Puleo, Branford; 11. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 12. Al Stone III, Durham; 13. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 14. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 15. Shawn Monahan, Waterford; 16. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 17. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 18. Nichole Morgillo, Southington; 19. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; DNS – Kyle James, Ashaway, RI
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Light Modifieds® (25-laps): 1. Randy Churchill, Oakdale; 2. Corey Barry, Plainfield; 3. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 4. Glenn Griswold, Vernon; 5. Larry Goss, North Windham; 6. Calvin Therrien, Vernon; 7. Victoria Bergenty, Plainville; 8. Jeff Fialkovich, Shelton; 9. Crystal Serydynski, Johnston, RI; 10. Carlos Gray, East Hartford; 11. Alan Tirrell, North Stonington
Valenti Modified Racing Series (100-laps): 1. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 2. Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY; 3. Steve Masse, Bellingham, MA; 4. Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon; 5. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 6. Mike Willis Jr., Grantham, MA; 7. Max Zachem, Preston; 8. Eric Goodale, Wading River, NY; 9. Norm Wrenn, Nashua, NH; 10. Jonny Kay, Deerfield Beach, FL; 11. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 12. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 13. Donnie Lashua, Canaan, NH; 14. Dylan Kopec, Palmer, MA; 15. Tommy Barrett Jr., Millis, MA; 16. Woody Pitkat, Stafford; 17. Geoff Gernhard, Salem; 18. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, PA; 19. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA; 20. Jeff Pearl, Salem; 21. Dave Etheridge, Portland; 22. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 23. Carl Medieros Jr., Westport, MA; DQ – Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield
International Supermodified Association (50-laps): 1. Mark Sammut, London, ON, CA; 2. Rob Summers, Vernon; 3. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA; 4. Jeff Locke, Raymond, NH; 5. Ben Seitz, Bourne, MA; 6. Justin Belfiore, Haverhill, MA; 7. Eddie Witkum, Westford, MA; 8. John Gambuti, Point Pleasant, NJ; 9. Mike Netishen, hometown unavailable; 10. Dave Duggan, Milford, NH; 11. Jamie Timmons, North Andover, MA; 12. Bobby Chartier, Dracut, MA; 13. Eric Lewis, Solvay, NY; 14. Dan Bowes, Byfield, MA; 15. Ryan Coniam, Denver, CO; 16. Chris Perley, Rowley, MA; 17. Dave Sanborn, Tilton, NH; 18. Tim Ice, Seville, OH; 19. Craig Rayvals, Brockville, ON, CA
Northeastern Midget Association (25-laps): 1. John Zych Jr., Mendon, MA; 2. Randy Cabral, Kingston, MA; 3. Seth Carlson, Brimfield; 4. Avery Stoehr, Lakeville, MA; 5. Todd Bertrand, Suffield; 6. Bethany Stoehr, Bridgewater, MA; 7. Paul Bigelow, Kensington 8. Paul Scally, Raynham, MA; 9. Doug Cleveland, Sudbury, MA; 10. Jim Santamaria, Burlington, MA; 11. Jim Chambers, Atkinson, NH; 12. Pete Pernesiglio, Ronkonkoma, NY; 13. Russ Stoehr, Lakeville, MA; 14. Ian Cumens, Lydell, PA; 15. Kenny Johnson, Bethany; 16. Ryan Bigelow, East Hampton
NEMA Lites (25-laps): 1. Dan Cugini, Marshfield, MA; 2. Logan Rayvals, Brockville, ON, CA; 3. P.J. Stergios, Candia, NH; 4. Richie Morrocco, Plainville, MA; 5. Scott Bigelow, East Hampton; 6. Andy Barrows, New Ipswich, NH; 7. Anthony Payne, Fairlawn, NJ; 8. Joey Mucciacciaro, Wolcott; 9. Calvin Carroll, hometown unavailable; 10. Megan Cugini, Marshfield, MA; 11. Tony Colandro, hometown unavailable; 12. Dennis O’Brien, Deerfield, NH; 13. Brandon Igo, hometown unavailable; 14. R.J. Tufano, West Haven; 15. Ryan Bigelow, Kensington; 16. Juris Kupris, Williamsburg, NY; 17. Ryan Krachun, Mechanic Station, NJ
-Waterford Speedbowl Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com