Waterford, CT – Exciting motorsports action returned to the Connecticut shoreline Saturday evening as Waterford Speedbowl hosted its Four Cylinder Fury NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program. Four cylinder racecars were the highlight of the night, however Craig Lutz of Miller Place, NY stole the spotlight with his first-ever victory in thrilling fashion during the night’s SK Modified® race. Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series wins went to Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon, who was back in the winner’s circle during an extra-distance Mini Stock feature and Jason Palmer of Berlin recorded his first Valenti Auto Mall Late Model win of the season. The Northeast Mini Stock Tour race was won by Toby Wells of Dublin, NH and Robin Berghman of East Providence, RI picked up the victory in the visiting New England Pro Four Modified race. Hometown driver Jordan Hadley won the X-Car feature.
Lutz needed a gritty performance over much of the 35-lap SK Modified® feature to record an exciting first career victory that put the fans on their feet for the finish. He spent the opening half of the race trying to find a way around Diego Monahan of Quaker Hill. Lutz fell to third place for a lap when Plainville’s Ted Christopher inched ahead of him, however slight contact between Monahan and Christopher on lap-16 sent Monahan spinning out of turn two, drawing the yellow flag. Christopher was placed to the rear of the field during the caution period, handing the lead to Lutz.
The toughest part of the race for Lutz was holding back Keith Rocco the rest of the way. Lutz held on during an initial assault by Rocco, then got a brief breather before Rocco raced to his outside over the final four laps. The two raced inches apart and even shared some contact during the final laps. Lutz put forth a determined effort to keep Rocco’s final charge at bay, able to pull ahead out of the final corner to claim the checkered flag. Rocco was forced to settle for second and Ledyard’s Tyler Chadwick ran among the front runners all race to finish third.
The spotlight was on the Mini Stock division as part of the night’s special program. The division went for 50-laps, double their normal distance, and Cassidy was superb. Following a caution on lap-6 that involved two drivers battling for second position ahead of him, Cassidy restarted within striking distance. He quickly came through the top-five, overtaking Groton’s Doug Curry for the lead on lap-10 with an inside pass. The final 36 laps of the race were run without a caution flag and Cassidy easily pulled away. Hope Valley, RI teenager Garrett Denton came on strong to finish in second and Charles Canfield of New Haven made a rare appearance in 2014 to finish in third place. It was Cassidy’s third win in the past five races. He finished in second position the previous two weeks.
In the night’s 50-lap Northeast Mini Stock Tour race, Wells padded his point lead with the win. He took the lead from Justin Trombley on lap-11 and never looked back. Wells had to survive a host of restarts during the race, which was plagued with incidents, including two in the final two laps. Shawn Swallow of Stark, NH finished second and Emerson Cayer of Contoocook, NH was third. Wells has won two of the three events in the Thirty Marketing Triple Crown for the division. If Wells wins the final event of the three race promotion in the series at Thompson Speedway’s World Series, he will receive a custom firesuit courtesy of Thirty Marketing.
Palmer prevailed for the first time of the season in the night’s 30-lap Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. The second and final caution flag of the race waved when leaders Anthony Ryan and Vin Esposito tangled battling for the top spot on lap-16. Ryan, of Danbury, had led from the start of the race but was under heavy pressure from Esposito, the latter seeking a second consecutive win. Exiting turn two Ryan went spinning and officials placed Esposito to the rear of the field for his involvement. Palmer led the rest of the way and finished ahead of point leader Keith Rocco, who was driving a borrowed ride for the event. Esposito, from Seymour, recovered to finish in third.
Hadley sliced through the field during a non-stop 25-lap X-Car feature. He took command on lap-9 from Rich Nye of Stonington and became the third leader of the race. Once in the lead, Hadley remained smooth through lapped traffic to maintain a three car length advantage and closed out his second win of the season. Nye finished in second and New London’s Zac Thomas was third.
Berghman led throughout the 25-lap New England Pro Four Modified feature. Berghman, last year’s division champion, outperformed Norm Wrenn III on the track to claim her first ever victory at the Speedbowl. Wrenn finished in second and veteran racer Dan Meservey Sr. of West Chatham, MA was third.
Laps for Lupus hits the track next Saturday at the Speedbowl. A track walk will take place following practice and before the night’s racing. The event raises awareness and charitable donations for the Connecticut Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America. Those interested to walk or make a pledge may contact the track office by email at [email protected] for more details. A six-division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program for the SK Modifieds®, Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and SK Light Modifieds, plus INEX Legend Cars is on the card.
Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 5/31 Four Cylinder Fury Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 2. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 3. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 4. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 5. Shawn Thibeault, Plainville; 6. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 7. Paul Kusheba IV, Monroe; 8. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 9. Joe Gada, Salem; 10. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 11. Ed Puleo, Branford; 12. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 13. Brent Sweet, Monroe; 14. Al Stone III, Durham; 15. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 16. Tom Pinson, Colchester; 17. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 18. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 19. Glenn Griswold, Vernon; 20. John Bergenty, Plainville
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 2. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 3. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 4. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 5. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA; 6. Anthony Ryan, Danbury; 7. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 8. Joe Gada, Salem; 9. Nick Sowa, Middletown; 10. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 11. Ken Morin Jr., Old Saybrook
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (50-laps): 1. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 2. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 3. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 4. Joe Liskiewicz, Preston; 5. Doug Curry, Groton; 6. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 7. Ed Field, Deep River; 8. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 9. Chris Ivory, Oakdale; 10. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; 11. Dave Trudeau, Mansfield; 12. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 13. John Bowes, Willington; 14. Pete Zaikarite, Niantic; 15. David Arute, Tolland; 16. Jeff Lee, Uncasville; 17. Ray Christian III, Groton
Northeast Mini Stock Tour (50-laps): 1. Toby Wells, Dublin, NH; 2. Shawn Swallow, Stark, NH; 3. Emerson Cayer, Contoocook, NH; 4. Dave Trudeau, Mansfield; 5. Nicholas Anderson, Oxford, MA; 6. Justin King, Derry, NH; 7. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 8. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 9. Michael Viens, Seekonk, MA; 10. Joe Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 11. Pete Zaikarite, Niantic; 12. Mark Panaroni, Ivoryton; 13. Nik Coates, Turner, ME; 14. Ricky Labrecque, Antrim, NH; 15. Justin Larsen, Peru, ME; 16. Darren Jacobs, Springfield, MA; 17. Loren Smith, Allenstown, NH; 18. Matt Sonnhalter, East Thetford, VT; 19. Alicia Thatcher, Blackstone, MA; 20. Richard Walski, hometown unavailable; 21. Chuck McDonald, Groton; 22. John Bowes, Willington; 23. Mitch Bombard, Willimantic; 24. Justin Trombley, Winter Harbor, ME; 25. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 26. Jamie Swallow, Stark, NH; 27. Louis Maher, North Brookfield, MA; 28. Aaron Poulin, hometown unavailable; 29. Jacob Rheaume, Rochester, NH
Pro Four Modifieds of New England (25-laps): 1. Robin Berghman, East Providence, RI; 2. Norm Wrenn III, Amherst, NH; 3. Dan Meservey Sr., West Chatham, MA; 4. Phil Lausier, Hudson, NH; 5. Dan Fresh, Holliston, MA; 6. Randy Clark Jr., West Yarmouth, MA; 7. Casey Ouellette, East Granby; 8. Tom Royer, Swanzey, NH; 9. Mark Charette, Wolcott; 10. Bill Lucchesi Jr., Danbury; 11. Derek Robbie, Bellingham, MA
Wild ‘n Wacky X-Cars (25-laps): 1. Jordan Hadley, Quaker Hill; 2. Richard Nye, Stonington; 3. Zac Thomas, New London; 4. Randy Johnston, Westerly, RI; 5. Jeff Dombrowski, Oakdale; 6. Mitch Bombard, Willimantic; 7. Eddie Loomis, Plainfield; 8. Eric Finkbein Jr., East Hartford; 9. Matt Westover, Gales Ferry; 10. Chris Lee, Uncasville; 11. Chuck McDonald, Groton; 12. Michael Olsen, Deep River; 13. C.P. Burdick, Deep River; 14. Ray Herman, Gales Ferry; 15. Josh Barrie, Voluntown; 16. Richard Mollo, Seymour; 17. Mike Shaw, Oakdale; 18. Kim Bickford, Griswold; 19. Tom Sheehan, Baltic; 20. Garrett Kuhn, Waterford; DNS – Kyle McPherson, Waterford