Rob Janovic Jr. is always mentioned in the same company with Dennis Gada, Jeff Pearl, Tom Fox and Ed Reed Jr. – all home-grown Waterford Speedbowl products. Now, Janovic has what they all have – a Speedbowl championship.
Beating back a challenge from Gada, Janovic put the 2007 SK-Modified crown safely away with a third in the 100-lap SK segment of the Finale. Gada won the race, the points battle going down to the checkered.
Getting off to a quick start – five straight top fives including a pair of wins – Vojan Racing (Janovic and co-owner John Volpe) settled into a pattern of consistency. Janovic was third or better in the final four races.
VoJan, which also includes crew chief/spotter Greg Hammer and Greg Teraccianno (who has been with Janovic from the beginning) does battle in a 12-year old Chassis Dynamics car. It is actually the first-ever chassis built after Mike Paquette assumed control of CD in 1995.
Damon Schoendorf and Jimmy Gumbert are also part of VoJan.
The championship caps a 20-year run that began in 1987 when Janovic, his brother Gary and Teraccianno came with a one-time C.J. Frye Late Model purchased from Artie Moran. The Speedbowl had only two divisions (Modified and Late Model) at the time.
The operation lasted three seasons, Janovic becoming a college student and a “now and then” racer until the formation of VoJan as a Late Model entry in 1995. The team’s first win came on opening day of 1996.
An established force in the Late Models, convincing Volpe to “Go Modified” was no easy chore Janovic recalls. Still, at that point in his career, Janovic didn’t want to leave racing without an SK win. He believed a CD chassis was needed to put the team on an even keel with everybody else.
A brief try at driving in both divisions was abandoned (the last Late Model win came in 2001) and VoJan settled into the SK scene. It has scored at least one win every year since ’02 and over than span finished no worst than fifth in points, reaching third twice. Janovic is tied for eight on the Speedbowl SK career win list with 16.
He insists winning or “running competitively at the very least” remains VoJan’s first priority. “I’ve always put the most emphasis on winning,” he says pointing out the thrill of winning his first LM and SK races remains a vivid memory. “The championship ranks with them but for a different reason,” he says. “This is sort of cumulative thing.”
This was his first venture in a points battle. He was almost reluctant to get into it then found it the “most fun challenge” he’s ever had. VoJan will be back in the same chassis, a year older but ready to.
Sources: Dave Dykes/Waterford Speedbowl PR