Getting off the mark in strong fashion is especially important in weekly auto racing. Dennis Charette plans on doing just that in the season-opening SK-150 at Waterford Speedbowl.
The $5,000-to win SK-150 is the centerpiece of the 12th annual, 11-division Budweiser Modified Nationals April 12-13. The first of extra-distance, extra-money SK events, it remains one of the division’s premier races.
Charette joins 2007 winner Jeff Pearl, defending champion Rob Janovic Jr. and six-time champ Dennis Gada on the list of “regulars” hoping to keep the money and prestige at home. Likely invaders, all of whom have filed entries, include Ted Christopher, Jeff Malave, Kenny Horton, 2006 winner Frank Ruocco, Doug Coby and Rob Summers.
“The Speedbowl is such a competitive place,” continues Charette, a 12-year veteran with seven career SK wins including the 2004 “Finale” 100 lapper. “Starting with a strong finish in the 150 is important because it is just so tough to struggle back from a poor finish.”
Charette was one of 10 different SK winners last year.
A second-generation racer, Charette insists “first and foremost we want to bring back the fun.” Still, he adds, “we want to show we can run consistently and intelligently and if we do that, we have a shot at the championship.” That puts him in a fraternity that also includes youngsters Tyler Chadwick and Jeffrey Paul.
Charette joins the chorus agreeing a strong time trial is important. “If you can start up front and hang around up there it saves your tires, your entire car,” he explains. “So, it’s important to have a good time trial but it is not necessarily the fastest but the most consistent car that will prevail.”
What is needed, Charette says, “is a balanced racecar.”
Ill fortune plagued the #35 team much of last year, although it did finish strong. “The car was pretty fresh at the end of the year. We spent the off season shoring things up, really working on the important things.”
The NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model, Sportsman, Mini Stock championship seasons also begins with extra-distance races at the “Nats” as does the Legends campaign. Also on the agenda are the NEMA Midgets and the NEMA Lites, the Pro4 Modifieds, AllStar Track Trucks and Allison Legacy Cars.
Saturday (April 12) competition begins with SK time trials followed by heats for the remaining divisions. Features for the Legends, Pro4s, NEMA Lites, Race Trucks and Allison Legacies will follow.
Sources: Dave Dykes/Waterford Speedbowl PR