Tyler Chadwick said before the race that patience would be a virtue for anyone to have a shot at winning the Budweiser Nationals “Thunder on the Sound 150” at the Waterford Speedbowl. Well, by virtue of his patience Saturday night at the southern Connecticut racetrack, Chadwick won the big $5,000 prize.
The 2012 track champion made perhaps one of the easiest passes of his career to get the win. All he had to do was avoid Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher as they crashed a few car lengths ahead of him while battling for the lead in turn four with 30 laps to go.
Rocco drove deep into turn three to get underneath Christopher. The two drivers made contact and Christopher went around after leading most of the race up to that point. Chadwick drove underneath the the tangling pair to take over the lead. Christopher and Rocco restarted in eighth and ninth respectively.
“It was a little hectic there for a second because I had to cut down real low to not hit them,” said Chadwick. “It was intense, but I’ll take it that way.”
Chadwick got a great restart and led the rest of the way to the end. He started to pull away from the field and at one point he had a full straightaway lead over second place.
Rocco just needed a few more laps to get back to Chadwick as he was rocketing his way through the field after the incident. He was picking cars off one by one on the outside lane and was back up to second with 15 laps to go. But Rocco wasn’t able to get close enough to Chadwick to do anything as he finished about five car lengths behind.
“We were fast,” said Rocco. “It’s a shame that we had that happen with me and Ted because we had the car to win.”
Rocco said that he felt he had the position on Christopher when he got up to the driver’s side door of Christopher’s black and blue no. 13. Christopher, who was never able to muster the charge that Rocco did after the incident, finished seventh.
“He ran me right down to the apron,” said Rocco. “I got into him and we both went around.”
(EDITOR NOTE: 51 was not able to interview Christopher regarding the incident after tending to its duties in victory lane).)
Chadwick said this win is by far the biggest of his career. He said it feels better to win this race than it did winning his championship.
“I’ve been coming here my whole life,” said Chadwick. “For the SK Modifieds, the biggest race to win is right here. So as a little kid I’ve always wanted to win this race. I’ve come close a couple times. It means a lot to me to win this race.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor (Long Island, NJ, CT) – Twitter: @RobBlount. Photo credit: Speed51.com
1. Tyler Chadwick
2. Keith Rocco
3. Ed Puleo
4. Rob Janovic Jr.
5. Matt Galko
6. Craig Lutz
7. Ted Christopher
8. Dennis Perry
9. Joe Gada
10. James Monahan
11. Woody Pitkat
12. Timmy Jordan
13. Nick Salva
14. Wendell Dailey
15. Jeffrey Gallup
16. Jeff Fialkovich
17. Paul Kusheba IV
18. Tom Pinson
19. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr.