Waterford, CT – Waterford Speedbowl overcame a slow start Saturday due to early rain, but rebounded for another night of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. The racing was highlighted by an extra-distance feature for the SK Modified® division, which was claimed by Keith Rocco of Berlin, who turned in a record setting performance. A pair of drivers picked up their ninth wins of the year, Rocco again in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division and Franklin’s Josh Galvin in the Street Stocks. Joining them in the winner’s circle were Corey Barry of Plainfield and Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon, each winning for the fifth time of the season in the respective SK Light Modified and Mini Stock divisions. Dan Meservey Jr. of Brewster, MA won the Pro 4 Modifieds of New England feature.
Rocco’s SK Modified® win was the 63rd of his career. More significantly, that makes him the division’s all-time wins leader in the track’s 64-year history. Rocco dodged early incidents which plagued the 40-lap feature, eliminating multiple cars from competition. The race began with Jeff Gallup and Craig Lutz on the front row but only one lap was completed before Shawn Monahan was collected in bumper tag throughout the field, bringing out the yellow flag.
Gallup briefly led before Lutz got around him on lap-3. Tim Jordan moved into second position and Ed Puleo third before Ted Christopher got caught up in a skirmish on the backstretch to bring out the caution flag on lap-8. A major incident occurred after the restart among cars battling for a spot among the top five. Several cars wrecked in turn one on lap-9 including Nichole Morgillo, Kyle James, Rob Janovic Jr., Jeff Rocco and Jeff Goodale, who were each done for the evening with considerable damage. Keith Rocco also received damage in the wreck, however he stayed on the race track.
Jordan got by the outside of Lutz on the next restart, leading lap-10. Lutz and Puleo made contact entering turn one on lap-12 battling for second sending Lutz around, dropping both from the lead cars as caution waved again. Rocco jumped up to third for the ensuing restart, then moved to second on lap-13 inside Paul Kusheba. He stayed on Jordan’s rear bumper until he found room to his inside on lap-15, pulling into the lead. The remainder of the race ran without another yellow flag and the field fired off the final stretch of laps under the green flag. Jordan finished runner-up and Tyler Chadwick was third. Kusheba and Diego Monahan completed the top five.
With the win, Rocco moved ahead of Dennis Gada to ascend to the top of the SK Modified® division’s win list. Gada, the only seven time champion in track history, dominated the division in the late 1990’s through recent years prior to his retirement as a driver. The SK Modifieds® have been the weekly headline at the track since 1985.
Rocco also checkered the 30-lap Valenti Auto Mall Late model feature, his third in a row in the division. He had to find a way around Jason Palmer, who had led since lap-5. Rocco moved to second position that lap but didn’t have enough car to make an outside move. He patiently waited for an opportunity to get inside of Palmer, which came on lap-13. He spent two laps on the bottom of the track with Palmer racing hard to his outside, before finally taking the lead on lap-15. Palmer chased Rocco the rest of the way but was unable to make a comeback. He finished in second, and Vin Esposito was third. Bruce Thomas, second in the standings to Rocco entering the race, took a vicious hit into the turn two wall on the second lap of the race. Thomas was evaluated and released by track safety crews after his wreck, which drew the red flag.
Barry was victorious for the fifth time of the season to pad his lead in the championship standings in the SK Light Modified feature. He was the benefactor of a rough and tumble 25-lap event, riding in third when leaders Paul Buzel and Randy Churchill encountered trouble midway through the race. Buzel and Churchill were locked in a great battle for the lead, racing side-by-side when a slower car interfered. Churchill and Buzel came together exiting turn four trying to navigate the car, and Churchill slammed the front stretch wall. Under the yellow flag, Buzel had a tire go flat from the contact and had to pit for repair, giving Barry the lead. He cruised to the win from there. First year driver Calvin Therrien recorded his best ever finish in second and Rick Williams was third.
Galvin rolled to his ninth win with an impressive drive to the front in the opening half of the 25-lap Street Stock race. His pit crew was pushed following a broken transmission after their qualifying race, repairing it just in time before the start of the feature. Galvin came from the twelfth starting spot to become a contender ten laps in, rising to the top three when a caution flag waved on lap-10. A lap later, he was in second when another yellow flag came out, enabling him to restart outside of leader Ryan Waterman. Galvin took the lead from Waterman to lead lap-12, but Waterman briefly took it back on lap-15 with a power move to the inside. In the end Galvin prevailed, taking command for good on lap-16. Waterman wound up second and Ed Gertsch ran a strong race to finish third.
Cassidy captured his fifth Mini Stock triumph of the year in the division’s 25-lap race, but not before a tough battle with Larry Loomis. Loomis, a first year competitor, looked strong leading the first twenty circuits. Cassidy used an outside maneuver to inch his way into the lead, however a caution flag on lap-22 kept the two cars side-by-side through the finish. Loomis nearly rallied after the restart, but his efforts came up a half car length short. He registered his best finish coming in runner-up, and Garrett Denton was third.
Meservey Jr. returned to the Speedbowl to race for the first time since 1988 and walked away a winner in the 25-lap Pro 4 Modified feature. He was fast from the start but had to come through the pack. He tracked down leader Norm Wrenn III and overtook him on lap-16 to claim the win.
Next Saturday Wings & Wheels hits the asphalt at the Speedbowl, combining the fastest divisions to visit the shoreline oval all summer. The Valenti Modified Racing Series races for 100-laps of green flag racing, joined by a 50-lap ISMA Supermodified race. The NEMA Midgets will compete in a 25-lap feature and the NASCAR Whelen All American Series SK Modifieds® and SK Light Modifieds round out the card. Pit gates open at 11:00 with practice beginning at noon. Grandstands open at 1:00pm and qualifying races are set to begin at 5:00pm. Advance tickets are available for purchase, along with a detailed event schedule, online at Speedbowl.com.
Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 8/2 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (40-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 3. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 4. Paul Kusheba IV, Monroe; 5. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 6. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 7. Joe Gada, Salem; 8. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 9. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 10. Ed Puleo, Branford; 11. John Montesanto, North Branford; 12. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 13. Brent Sweet, Monroe; 14. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 15. Nichole Morgillo, Southington; 16. Jeff Rocco, Southington; 17. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 18. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 19. Jeff Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 20. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 21. Shawn Monahan, Waterford
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 3. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 4. Anthony Ryan Jr., Danbury; 5. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 6. Nick Sowa, Middletown; 7. Rich Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 8. Joe Gada, Salem; 9. Ken Morin Jr., Old Saybrook; 10. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 11. Chris Garside, Waterford; 12. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 2. Ryan Waterman, Danielson; 3. Ed Gertsch Jr., East Haven; 4. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 5. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 6. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 7. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 8. Lloyd Anderson Jr., Wauregan; 9. Bill Dunn, Prospect; 10. Brandon Fisher, Plainfield; 11. Al Stone III, Durham; 12. Monte Gibbs, Higganum; 13. Walt Hovey Jr., Chaplin; 14. Scott Sundeen, Sutton, MA; 15. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 16. Bill Hahnel, Uncasville; 17. Gary Stone Jr., Killingworth; 18. Kaitlyn Brice, Manchester; 19. Bill McNeil, Preston; 20. Jack Aquilina, Oakdale; DNS – Darrell Carlson, Chester
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 2. Larry Loomis Jr., Moosup; 3. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 4. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 5. Ray Christian III, Groton; 6. Mark Panaroni, Ivoryton; 7. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 8. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 9. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 10. Chris Ivory, Oakdale; 11. Doug Curry, Groton; 12. Joe Liskiewicz, Preston; 13. David Sylvia, Preston
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Light Modifieds (25-laps): 1. Corey Barry, Plainfield; 2. Calvin Therrien, Vernon; 3. Rick Williams, East Haddam; 4. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 5. Jeff Fialkovich, Shelton; 6. Larry Goss, North Windham; 7. Victoria Bergenty, Plainville; 8. Paul French, Andover; 9. Carlos Grey, East Hartford; 10. Randy Churchill Jr., Oakdale; 11. Crystal Serydynski, Johnston, RI
New England Pro 4 Modifieds (25-laps): 1. Dan Meservey Jr., Brewster, MA; 2. Robin Berghman, East Providence, RI; 3. Norm Wrenn III, Amherst, NH; 4. Phil Lausier, Hudson, NH; 5. Tom Royer, Swanzey, NH; 6. Mark Charette, Wolcott; 7. Bill Lucchesi Jr., Danbury; 8. Dan Fresh, Holliston, MA; 9. Doug Meservey Jr., Harwich, MA; 10. Randy Clark Jr., Yarmouth, MA; 11. Ray Sherrick, hometown unavailable; 12. Dan Meservey Sr., Chatham, MA
– Waterford Speedbowl Press Release