Waterford, CT — Jeff Paul bid farewell to a season-long string of bad luck Saturday night, handily capturing the 35-lap SK-Modified feature at Waterford Speedbowl. The sophomore SK driver survived a host of restarts as well as a late-race charge from Rob Janovic Jr. to win his first main event since August of 2006.
Bruce Thomas Jr. collected his seventh victory of the year in the 30-lap Late Model race.
Other feature winners were Jack Aquilina (Sportsman), Phil Evans (Mini Stock), and, Mark Bakaj (Legends).
“Tonight we came with a car that you could drive anywhere you wanted, inside or outside. We just really hit the set-up right, and that wasn’t happening a lot earlier this season,” said Paul.
Well-aware of who was on his bumper in the closing circuits, Paul’s game-plan of “protecting the bottom” worked to perfection.
“Rob (Janovic), is in the points race, and I knew he’d not do anything crazy,” commented the winner. “It was a matter of hitting my marks. If he was going to pass me, it would have to be on the outside, and that lane wasn’t really there tonight. Plus, he’s the type of driver that you can race with without worrying too much”.
Rookie and recent Berlin High School graduate Matt Gallo was third followed by Dennis Charette and Jeff Pearl.
Shawn Monahan came into the event the point-leader, but was forced pitside after a wreck that also involved Dennis Gada and Zach Sylvester. Janovic now sits atop the standings.
In Late Model action, it was Bruce Thomas Jr. taking the win. Grabbing the top spot on lap-13 as steering failure knocked leader Ron Yuhas Jr. out of the race, he finished the event a car-length in front of Tim Jordan.
“It’s all about the spotters,” stated Thomas on his late-race duel with Jordan. “My brother Nate kept me informed on where Jordan was. I was trying to save some of my car for restarts. You have to trust what your spotter is saying no matter how close you are to the other guy. People just don’t realize how important they are”.
Finishing third was Larry Goss followed by Ernie Bertrand and Dave Zemke.
Jack Aquilina scored a commanding victory in the 20-Lap Sportsman race, coming in several paces ahead of a torrid three-way battle that included Dwayne Dorr, Mark Lajoie, and Al Stone III.
The battle for second eventually went to Stone, with Lajoie, Dorr, and Jim Procaccini rounding-out the top-5.
It was Aqulina’s third feature win of the season.
An eight-year veteran of the division, Phil Evans celebrated his 15th career Mini Stock feature win.
Battling to the outside of Randy Churchill for most of the event, Evans used a bit of strategy in taking the lead.
“I just kept taking him deeper & deeper into the corners figuring it’d wear his right-rear tire out and I guess it worked,” said Evans. With Churchill eventually fading, his next challenge came from point-leader Ken Cassidy Jr.
“I was concerned about Cassidy, but also knew that he’d run me clean,” said Evans. The kid is like that, he’s one of the best guys here to race with.”
Following Cassidy was Joe Godbout III, Danny Field, and Churchill.
In the Legends 20-lap feature, Mark Bakaj scored his third Saturday night win of the season over Brian Ouimette, Jason Palmer, Michael Gervais Jr., and Chris Bakaj.
SK MODIFIED (35); 1. Jeff Paul, 2. Rob Janovic Jr., 3. Matt Gallo, 4. Dennis Charette, 5. Jeff Pearl, 6. Diego Monahan, 7. Dennis Gada, 8. Wendell Dailey, 9. Tyler Chadwick, 10. Mike Sweeney, 11. Glen Pressel III, 12. Shelly Perry, 13. Frank Mucciacciaro, Jr., 14. Zach Sylvester, 15. Shawn Monahan, 16. Don Fowler, 17. Kevin Shea, 18. Clifford Fitzgerald, 19. Tom Fox.
LATE MODEL (30); 1. Bruce Thomas Jr., 2. Tim Jordan, 3. Larry Goss, 4. Ernie Bertrand, 5. Dave Zemke, 6. Vin Esposito, 7. Richard Staskowski, 8. Jeff Pearl, 9. Robert LeBlanc Jr., 10. Terrance M. O’Brien, 11. Ed Reed Jr., 12. Ron Yuhas Jr.
SPORTSMAN (20); 1. Jack Aquilina, 2. Albert Stone III, 3. Mark Lajoie, 4. Dwayne Dorr, 5. Jim Procaccini, 6. Josh Galvin, 7. Dan Emery, 8. Ed Giles, 9. John Puglisi, 10. Ed Clark, 11. Gerald LaPlante, 12. Chuck Rogers.
MINI STOCK (20); 1. Phil Evans, 2. Ken Cassidy Jr., 3. Joeseph Godbout III, 4. Danny Field, 5. Randolph Churchill Jr., 6. Lou Bellisle, 7. Ben Bargnesi, 8. Chuck Rogers, 9. Kyle James, 10. Jeff “Soup” Civardi, 11. Nate Appell, 12. Nick Pappacoda, 13. Jack Aquilina, 14. Ian Brew, 15. Cristina Cunliffe, 16. Christopher Lee, 17. Richard Brooks.
LEGENDS (20); 1. Mark Bakaj, 2. Brian Ouimette, 3. Jason Palmer, 4. Michael Gervais Jr., 5. Christopher Bakaj, 6. Max P. Zachem, 7. Ryan V. Morgan, 8. Ed Field, 9. Justin Rau, 10. Adam Gada, 11. Arthur Moran Jr., 12. Ben Erlandson, 13. Ricky White, 14. Joe Gada, 15. Dan Bisignano, 16. Carl Blandina, 17. Art Moran III, 18. David “Smitty” Smith.
Source: Dave Dykes/Waterford Speedbowl PR