Waterford, CT – NASCAR racing was back at Waterford Speedbowl under perfect weather conditions Saturday evening. A hearty crowd turned out for a six-division program and the speedway’s annual Laps for Lupus night. In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, Keith Rocco of Berlin padded his point lead with another SK Modified® victory while Jason Palmer, also from Berlin, won his second straight Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Danielson’s Ryan Waterman was top dog following an action packed Street Stock race and Dave Trudeau of Mansfield picked up his first Speedbowl Mini Stock checkered flag in several seasons. Plainfield’s Corey Barry won his second consecutive SK Light Modified race after the division was idle for two weeks and in INEX racing, Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott won for the third time in the Legend Cars division’s Saturday series. Before the night’s races, a track walk benefitting Lupus Foundation of America’s Connecticut Chapter netted nearly $6,000 for the charity.
Rocco was on point during the night’s 35-lap SK Modified® race. He picked cars off one at a time to move into contention in the early stages and closed out the second half of the race strong. The feature was led to the green flag by Diego Monahan, who led the opening laps while being challenged by Kyle James. James quickly moved into second position and used a valiant effort to Monahan’s outside to finally overtake him on lap-8.
Behind, Rocco came through the top ten cars in early race traffic before jumping to the outside lane to attack the top four cars racing single file ahead. On lap-10, he was outside Craig Lutz for third and a lap later, used the same move on Monahan to power into second. James was out front by several car lengths and Rocco began to run him down when caution waved on lap-13 for a spinning Ted Christopher in turn two.
James hung tough following the restart, looking good as he held back Rocco’s outside charge through a lap-18 caution flag for a spin by Rob Janovic Jr. Rocco timed the ensuing restart perfectly to gain the edge over James, pulling ahead for good on lap-19. Rocco was perfect on two additional restarts to get away from James the rest of the way to close out the win. James ran strong to finish second and Lutz followed up his victory last Saturday with another podium run, finishing third. Tyler Chadwick was up front all race and finished fourth and Shawn Thibeault was fifth.
Palmer took down his second consecutive victory in the 30-lap Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature. First year driver Nicholas Sowa battled side by side outside of pole position starter Anthony Ryan Jr. before taking the lead on lap-4. He opened up a big lead as Ryan battled with Bruce Thomas Jr. Palmer was locked in a three-way fight for fourth position with Vin Esposito and Keith Rocco. Clean and hard racing dominated the race with Sowa looking prime to score an upset victory until the final five laps.
Sowa’s race went sour on lap-25 as something caused his lead car to get out of the racing groove in turn one, riding the top of the track through turns one and two. His lead evaporated by the time the field caught him exiting turn four, resulting in Sowa coming together with Ryan. Both cars crashed on the front chute to bring out the only caution flag of the race. Thomas also made contact but masterfully avoided becoming collected any further and inherited the lead. Palmer lined up second for the restart and proved too much on the outside lane, outmuscling Thomas in the final sprint to the finish. Thomas finished second and Rocco, the division point leader, was third.
Waterman came out on top of a wild 25-lap Street Stock race. He led just one lap, the final one, passing Josh Galvin through turns three and four coming to the checkered flag. Five yellow flags slowed the race, which featured full contact racing at times. Galvin took the lead on lap-20 from Lloyd Anderson, who had led from the start. Anderson was sliding back through the field when he wrecked hard on lap-20 exiting turn four. Galvin had to fight off former division champion Chris “Moose” Douton after the restart, then took the white flag leading Waterman. As they raced into turn three, Waterman used a timely bump to Galvin’s rear bumper to charge by his inside. His final lap victory snapped Galvin’s four-race win streak in the division. Galvin took second and Douton made his first start of the year and finished third.
Barry was impressive on his way to back-to-back wins in SK Light Modified action. He survived a host of restarts after taking the lead from a former division champion, Paul French. Barry moved out front on lap-13 with an inside move through turns one and two and while French kept things interesting over several restarts, he was unable to get back around Barry. Veteran racer Larry Goss finished third behind Barry and French. The win was Barry’s third of the season.
Trudeau took the lead late in the night’s 25-lap Mini Stock race. Jeff Lee was out front from the beginning, staying ahead of a tightly packed group of cars jockeying for position. Lee eventually succumbed to Ray Christian on lap-22. Trudeau passed Christian on a lap-23 restart after several cars were involved in a front stretch skirmish, then went on to take his first victory at the track since 2002. Garrett Denton rebounded from a mid-race crash to take home second and Doug Curry bounced back from two spins in the first ten laps to finish third.
Christopher was a returning face to the winner’s circle after another INEX Legend Cars victory. He battled hard with last year’s division champion Dylan Izzo over the second half of the race. Izzo was leading when the two cars came together off turn four racing to lap-20, sending Izzo into a complete 360 degree spin. He recovered without a caution flag and resumed in third position as Christopher and Dana Dimatteo raced away. Two late caution flags gave Dimatteo and Izzo a final chance to unseat Christopher, including a charge to the outside by Izzo that was defended by Christopher. Dimatteo and Izzo finished a close second and third, respectively, in an exciting finish.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour makes its annual stop to the shoreline oval in two weeks on Saturday, June 21 for the Mr. Rooter 161. An action packed night of open-wheel Modified racing will be on display. The previous two events came down to green-white-checkered finishes. A full NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing card supports the event. Advance tickets sales are open online by visiting Speedbowl.com or contacting the track office.
Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 6/7 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 3. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 4. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 5. Shawn Thibeault, Plainville; 6. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 7. Joe Gada, Salem; 8. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 9. Matt Galko, Meriden; 10. Ed Puleo, Branford; 11. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 12. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 13. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 14. Brent Sweet, Monroe; 15. Paul Kusheba, Monroe; 16. Tom Pinson, Colchester; 17. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 18. Victoria Bergenty, Plainville; DNS – Dominic Capuano Jr., East Haven; DNS – Tim Jordan, Plainfield
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 2. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 3. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 4. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 5. Chris Garside, Waterford; 6. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 7. Joe Gada, Salem; 8. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 9. Anthony Ryan Jr., Danbury; 10. Nicholas Sowa, Middletown; 11. Ken Morin Jr., Old Saybrook; DNS – Paul Desnoyers, Chepatchet, RI
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ryan Waterman, Danielson; 2. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 3. Chris Douton, Waterford; 4. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 5. Al Stone III, Durham; 6. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 7. William Hahnel, Uncasville; 8. Monte Gibbs, Higganum; 9. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 10. Tom Shea, New London; 11. Kaitlyn Brice, Manchester; 12. Steve Barrett, Preston; 13. Nate Appell, Westbrook; 14. Lloyd Anderson Jr., Wauregan; 15. Jake Bercham, West Greenwich, RI; 16. Travis Jurcik, Chaplin; 17. Scott Sundeen, Sutton, MA; 18. Brandon Fisher, Plainfield; 19. Corey Hutchings, Salem; DQ – Chris Meyer, North Franklin
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Dave Trudeau, Mansfield; 2. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 3. Doug Curry, Groton; 4. Ray Christian III, Groton; 5. Chris Ivory, Oakdale; 6. John Bowes, Willington; 7. Pete Zaikarite, Niantic; 8. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 9. David Arute, Tolland; 10. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 11. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 12. Jeffrey Lee, Uncasville; 13. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 14. Joe Liskiewicz, Preston; 15. Jeff Moffat, Smithfield, RI; 16. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Light Modifieds (25-laps): 1. Corey Barry, Plainfield; 2. Paul French, Andover; 3. Larry Goss, North Windham; 4. Randy Churchill Jr., Oakdale; 5. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 6. Glenn Griswold, Vernon; 7. Jeff Fialkovich, Shelton; 8. Victoria Bergenty, Plainville; 9. Rick Williams, Haddam; 10. Crystal Serydynski, Johnston, RI; 11. Chris Ignazio, Colchester; 12. Alan Benincaso, Trumbull; 13. Alan Tirrell, North Stonington; 14. Joe Fraulino Jr., East Hampton; 15. Calvin Terrien, Vernon
INEX Legend Cars (25-laps): 1. Mike Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 2. Dana Dimatteo, Farmington; 3. Dylan Izzo, Westport; 4. Kyle Rogers, Waterbury; 5. Timothy DePizzol, North Franklin; 6. Jordan Lamothe, Woodstock; 7. Cornelius Flynn, Hampden, MA; 8. Caterina LaBella, Plainville; 9. Noah Korner, Canton; 10. John O’Sullivan, Salem; 11. Cory Dimatteo, Farmington; 12. Peter DePizzol, North Franklin; 13. Jordan Churchill, Lisbon; 14. Ryan Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 15. Scott Limkemann, East Lyme; DNS – Scott McKnickle, Ledyard