This past Sunday marked the final day of short track racing in the State of Connecticut for the 2015 season with the state’s most popular type of race car, the Tour-Type Modifieds, staging the biggest race of the day. Bemer’s Super Bowl of Racing, a two-day event at New London-Waterford Speedbowl, was headlined by a special open event staged by the promoters of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series.
The event also featured a unique experimental format for the Tri-Track Series with the 44 entries being split by officials into two 35-lap mini features to help set the lineup for a 65-lap main event.
It was a rough start to the day’s action with rain delaying the start of track activities by over two hours, but eventually the track would dry out and the Modifieds would pound the pavement.
In the first 35-Lap feature Eric Berndt lead wire to wire from the pole holding off a hard charging Woody Pitkat to claim a $3000 prize to start the afternoon.
The second 35-Lap preliminary would take a different tone as Ron Silk, driving the same Bob Horn-owned No. 50 that he won with at the Speedbowl in September, charged forward from 13th and took the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 24. Silk would go on to claim the second $3000 check, finishing ahead of Richard Savary and “TC.”
The top 11 drivers from each of the two 35-lap qualifiers transferred to the 65-lap main, with the lineup being determined by a redraw. While Berndt and Silk would start deep in the main event, Steve Masse led the field to the green flag. Many drivers who were fast in the daytime, struggled to move forward with the track now covered in cold darkness.
Woody Pitkat was able to make the transition to a more night time friendly setup, slicing to the top-five by the first yellow on Lap 8, jumping to third on the restart and passing Chase Dowling for second on Lap 15.
Another caution on Lap 18 put Pitkat to the outside of Masse for the restart, with Pitkat claiming the lead off turn two. With the exception of a few other cautions, Pitkat spent the remainder of the laps looking back in the rearview mirror as he pulled away to pocket over $5,000 for the win.
“We had a really good car as it showed in the heat race, we started 17th and finished second. Put us ninth in the race and just tried to pick them off one at a time, see which lane was going to go. Got up there, when it was time to go we went,” Pitkat told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I was riding behind Masse there for a while and we got a caution. I saw he wasn’t really warming up his tires and I knew it was pretty cool, so I kept as much heat in my tires as I could. Banged out the restart and just set my own pace.”
Despite Pitkat and the No. 42 Peter Kulessa-owned team still being fresh off their first ever Modified Racing Series championship, the team had not celebrated an outright win since June 26at Stafford Speedway in MRS competition. With a bunch of close calls in between, Pitkat was determined to turn the number around Sunday afternoon with no points on the line.
“Like I said in the heat race, I think that was our fourth second in a row going back to Stafford and I wanted to one up that, and I can’t thank these guys enough.”
Two-time Valenti Modified Racing Series winner in 2015 Les Hinckley was runner up, with former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk, Modified legend Ted Christopher and 2015 NWMT runner-up Ryan Preece rounding out the top five.
The last event of the Super Bowl weekend and the racing season at the Speedbowl was the 75-Lap SK Modified Nationals, which was taken down by Speedbowl dominator Keith Rocco. Matt Hirschman and early leader Ted Christopher came home second and third, respectively.
Highlights of this weekend’s action from the Speedbowl will be available later on this week on the Speed51 Network.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com