Waterford Speedbowl’s mid-season championship Overdrive Radio 300 event hit the asphalt Saturday night with extra distance racing by the track’s core six divisions. The big winner was Keith Rocco of Berlin, scoring top honors in the night’s 100-lap SK Modified® main event. Bruce Thomas Jr. of Groton won an entertaining 50-lap Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race, while Old Lyme’s Jeff Smith was a first-time winner in the SK Light Modifieds after an impressive performance. Franklin’s Josh Galvin was back in Victory Lane in the 50-lap Street Stock race and Garrett Denton of Hope Valley, RI won his second consecutive race in the night’s 50-lap Mini Stock event. Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott won his third straight INEX Legend Cars race.
Rocco impressed again in the SK Modified® ranks, steadily rising through the top ten until he landed in the lead on lap-34. He was in control the rest of the way to pick up his seventh win of the year in the division. Rocco’s twin brother Jeff led the field to green and led over Kyle James at the start. The lead pack quickly singled out to log some early laps and saw Keith Rocco in seventh position after setting the fast time, and redrawing to invert the top eight cars for the start.
The single file racing came to an end when Ted Christopher jumped to the outside lane looking to advance his position among the top-five. He was in the outside lane when he made contact with fourth place Tim Jordan, triggering the first caution flag as Jordan spun in turn one collecting Christopher, Shawn Thibeault and Diego Monahan on lap-12.
Jeff Rocco got a good restart to retain his lead while Keith restarted in fifth and was on the attack. He got past Rob Janovic Jr. and Craig Lutz to move to third on lap-15, ahead of a serious incident on lap-19 that drew the caution and then red flag. Exiting turn four Adam Gada’s car shot out of the pack and took a punishing hit into the turn four wall. Emergency crews momentarily tended to Gada before he exited the car and was evaluated and released.
The Rocco’s teamed up in the inside lane on the restart trying to shuffle James back to third, however James fought off Keith’s inside bid to settle back into second on lap-20. James ran behind Jeff Rocco but before long Keith Rocco was testing his outside, sending his car deep into the corner to pull alongside on lap-26. Rocco cleared James a lap later to join his brother at the head of the field.
Keith didn’t delay in surging to the front, looking for racing room outside of Jeff. On lap-33 he pulled even for the lead in the outside lane, powering ahead. He waltzed out to a comfortable lead during a green flag run that brought the race to lap-55. Jeff Rocco continued second, James third and Janovic fourth while the car on the move belonged to Tyler Chadwick. Chadwick pitted and resumed from the rear of the field earlier in the race, then passed the brunt of the field on the top of the track to arrive among the top-five cars when John Montesanto spun off turn four just ahead of the lead pack of cars.
The Rocco’s resumed their stranglehold on the field after the green flag returned but Janovic and Chadwick each advanced a spot, dropping James to fifth. A caution for a spin by Lutz on lap-67 enabled Janovic to get the inside lane on Jeff Rocco, taking second. He chased Keith Rocco through a lap-89 yellow, the final of the race. Chadwick’s ascent to the front stalled in fourth position and he was trying to keep James at bay behind him.
The final restart saw Keith Rocco best Janovic. He marched to the twin checkered flags and Janovic put forth a strong effort to wind up runner-up. Jeff Rocco had a solid outing to run among the top-three all race and finish third with limited appearances in the division in 2014. Chadwick and James completed the top-five.
Thomas came out on top of a duel with Keith Rocco to record his third victory of the year in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Models. Just one caution flag slowed their pace before the halfway mark, however the two kept the action on the track red hot both before and after the yellow flag. Thomas used a stellar three-wide maneuver to take command from Marc Curtis on lap-7 as Rocco raced the top of the track in pursuit of the top spot. Rocco stalked Thomas until the lap-23 caution flag, then took command outside of Thomas following the restart. Thomas stayed with Rocco after, mounting a comeback over the final 10 laps. He got inside Rocco on lap-44, stayed there for two laps before finally pulling ahead on lap-44. Rocco tried to counter but came up short. Rocco settled for second and Curtis was third.
Smith was smooth in his first ever open-wheeled modified start, riding all the way to the winner’s circle in the night’s 25-lap SK Light Modified feature. He started in second position, settled in behind leader Corey Barry over the opening laps and then made his move. Smith, a past champion and regular Valenti Auto Mall Late Model competitor at the track, found room inside of Barry on the fifth lap to assume control. He paced the field the rest of the way, showing off his experience to power ahead over each of four restarts. Joey Ferrigno slipped by Barry for second in the final laps.
Galvin piloted his machine to another Street Stock victory, his seventh of the year. He took the lead in the 50-lap race outside of two-time division champion Al Stone on the opening lap and didn’t look back. Galvin endured a slew of mid-race caution flags that kept things to a crawl. He stayed ahead of Stone the duration, surviving a final effort by Stone following the final restart of the race after a yellow flag with three laps remaining. The two made contact but Galvin hung on and pulled away for the win. Stone finished second and Corey Coates made his first ever start in the division and finished third.
Denton was on point in the night’s Mini Stock event. He took the lead from Pete Zaikarite eight laps into the 50-lap race and pulled ahead, looking dominant at times through stretches of the race. He got a challenge from Charles Canfield late, holding back his charges to take his second consecutive checkered flag in the division, and third of the year. Canfield finished second and Ray Christian III was third.
Christopher came out on top of an entertaining three-way battle to take the 25-lap INEX Legend Cars feature. He battled two champions, Dylan Izzo and Brendon Bock, over the final 20 laps of the race. Each took a turn out front in the lead, swapping positions over the middle stages. A caution on lap-18 set up Christopher’s path to the lead. Izzo led but Christopher got past Bock’s inside for second on lap-19. He went inside of Izzo in turn one on with twenty laps complete, and the two raced even for a lap and a half before Christopher took control at lap-22. A final caution set up a green-white-checkered flag finish and Christopher needed to hold back Bock to his outside and a shot to his rear bumper by Izzo before claiming a hard earned win, his fifth of the year in the division’s Saturday series. Izzo, last year’s division champion, nipped Bock, a past Riverhead Raceway titlist, at the finish line for second.
Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 7/5 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (100-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 3. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 4. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 5. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 6. Nichole Morgillo, Southington; 7. Joe Gada, Salem; 8. Paul Kusheba IV, Monroe; 9. Ed Puleo, Branford; 10. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 11. Keith McDermott, Scituate, RI; 12. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 13. John Montesanto, North Branford; 14. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 15. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 16. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 17. Shawn Thibeault, Plainville; 18. Adam Gada, Bozrah; 19. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 20. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; DNS – Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (50-laps): 1. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 2. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 3. Marc Curtis, Spencer, MA; 4. Rich Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 5. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 6. Nick Sowa, Middletown; 7. Anthony Ryan Jr., Danbury; 8. Chris Garside, Waterford; 9. Joe Gada, Salem; 10. Derryck Anderson Jr., Warwick, RI; 11. John Lowinski-Loh, Milford, MA; 12. Ken Morin Jr., Old Saybrook; 13. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 14. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; DNS – Jason Palmer, Berlin
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (50-laps): 1. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 2. Al Stone III, Durham; 3. Corey Coates, Ledyard; 4. Ed Gertsch Jr., East Haven; 5. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 6. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 7. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 8. Ryan Waterman, Danielson; 9. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 10. Travis Jurcik, Chaplin; 11. Brandon Fisher, Plainfield; 12. Kaitlyn Brice, Manchester; 13. Darrell Carlson, Chester; 14. Lloyd Anderson Jr., Wauregan; 15. Tim Morse, Southbury; 16. Matt Lowinksi-Loh, Milford, MA; 17. Steve Barrett, Preston; 18. Scott Sundeen, Sutton, MA; 19. Jake Bercham, West Greenwich, RI; 20. Monte Gibbs, Higganum; 21. Bill Hahnel, Uncasville; 22. Nate Appell, Westbrook;
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (50-laps): 1. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 2. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 3. Ray Christian III, Groton; 4. Nick Anderson, Oxford, MA; 5. Ed Field, Deep River; 6. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 7. Nate Taylor, Wauregan; 8. Eric Burgeois, East Haddam; 9. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 10. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; 11. Larry Loomis Jr., Moosup; 12. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 13. Jeff Lee, Uncasville; 14. Doug Curry, Groton; 15. Dave Trudeau, Manfield; 16. Jeff Moffat, Smithfield, RI; 17. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 18. Chris Ivory, Oakdale; 19. Pete Zaikarite, Niantic; 20. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 21. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 22. Joe Liskiewicz, Preston
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Light Modifieds (25-laps): 1. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 2. Joey Ferrigno, East Hartford; 3. Corey Barry, Plainfield; 4. Glenn Griswold, Vernon; 5. Randy Churchill Jr., Oakdale; 6. Larry Goss, North Windham; 7. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 8. Rick Williams, Haddam; 9. Crystal Serydynski, Johnston, RI; 10. Carlos Gray, East Hartford; 11. Jeff Fialkovich, Shelton; 12. Joe Fraulino Jr., East Hampton; 13. Cal Therrien, Vernon; 14. Victoria Bergenty, Plainville; 15. Paul French, Andover
INEX Legend Cars (25-laps): 1. Mike Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 2. Dylan Izzo, Westport; 3. Brendon Bock, Franklin Square, NY; 4. Dana Dimatteo, Farmington; 5. Joey Ternullo, Middletown; 6. Kyle Rogers, Waterbury; 7. Connor Holderbach, Wolcott; 8. Caterina LaBella, Plainville; 9. Cory Dimatteo, Farmington; 10. Peter DePizzol, North Franklin; 11. Noah Korner, Canton; 12. Cornelius Flynn, Hampden, MA; DNS – Scott McKnickle, Ledyard
– Waterford Speedbowl Release
Photo Credit: Race Dog Photography