Waterford, CT — Six-time track champion Dennis Gada won the second Budweiser Modified Nationals of his career Sunday at the Waterford Speedbowl. Defeating a stellar field of SK Modifieds in the 150-lap event, it was his 58th career SK victory. Within eight laps, Gada had bolted into the lead from his eighth-place starting spot. “I knew I had to get to the front quick, as after the tires get old it’s just a point of hanging-on rather than racing. That’s the nature of long events,” said Gada. Kenny Horton ran in second for the majority of the race before spinning. Following Gada across the line was Frank Ruocco, pole-sitter Doug Coby, Jimmy Blewett, and 2007 Modified Nationals winner Jeff Pearl.
In Late Model action, it was defending champion Bruce Thomas picking up right where he left off in 2007, winning the 50-lap feature. Thomas passed early leader Ron Yuhas Jr. with 29-laps remaining and seemed to be cruising to an easy victory until SK Modified regular Keith Rocco closed. His first time-ever behind the wheel of a Late Model, Rocco dogged Thomas to the finish, executing a last-ditch effort at the stripe to overtake the winner. When asked if he was aware of where Rocco during the closing stages, Thomas revealed that wasn’t sure just who was there. “I’d lost radio contact with my crew almost at the start, and I don’t run a mirror so I was on my own. I honestly didn’t know how close Rocco was.” Rounding-out the top-5 was Ron Yuhas Jr., Marc Curtis, and Ed Reed Jr.
Al Stone III held off defending Sportsman champion Dwayne Dorr for the win in the 30-lap Sportsman feature. A close finish, Dorr was right on the winner’s bumper during the final circuits. “I’m not sure how I kept Dorr back there, as he had a better car than us,” said Stone. “We came back this year looking for a run at the championship, so there’s no better way to start the season than with a win.” Dave Trudeau, Chris Douton, and Joe Curioso completed the top-5.
Defending champion Ken Cassidy Jr. led the majority of the 30-lap Mini Stock feature, only to be passed by Randy Churchill with three circuits remaining. A restart closed the field for the final time on lap twenty-seven. Churchill nipped Cassidy at the finish by less than a fender. “I knew it was going to be close, and sometimes being patient is hard,” said Churchill of the tight finish. “Kenny is a clean driver, so I was sure it was going to be a good restart. He ran me like he always does.” Chris Williams finished a close third followed by Phil Evans and Lou Bellisle.
In the 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association feature, Randy Cabral got out in the lead early and cruised to a commanding victory over Joey Payne, Greg Stoehr, Adam Cantor, and, Erica Santos.
SK MODIFIED (150); 1. Dennis Gada, 2. Frank Ruocco, 3. Doug Coby, 4. Jimmy Blewett, 5. Jeff Pearl, 6. Keith Rocco, 7. Jay Lozyniak, 8. Woddy Pitkat, 9. Diego Monahan, 10. Matt Hirschman, 11. Justin Gaydosh, 12. Jeff Malave, 13. Jay Miller, 14. Tyler Chadwick, 15. Eric Goodale, 16. Glenn Pressel III, 17. Kenny Horton, 18. Mike Sweeney, 19. Jeff Paul, 20. Ron Yuhas Jr., 21. Don Fowler, 22. Rob Janovic Jr., 23. Tommy Farrell III, 24. Dennis Charette, 25. Glenn Griswold, 26. Shawn Monahan, 27. Todd Ceravolo, 28, Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., 29. Ed Reed Jr., 30. Robert Grigas, 31. John Agor, 32. Wade Mattesen, 33. Rich Hammann, 34. Michael Sabia Jr.
LATE MODEL (50); 1. Bruce Thomas Jr., 2. Keith Rocco, 3. Ron Yuhas Jr., 4. Marc Curtis Jr., 5. Ed Reed Jr., 6. Tim Jordan, 7. Larry Goss, 8. Richard Staskowski, 9. Jeff Smith, 10. Robert LeBlanc Jr., 11. Michael Maskell II, 12. Robert Andreozzi, 13. Vin Esposito, 14. Terrance O’Brien, 15. Ernie Bertrand, 16. Chris Bottge, 17. Rick Nelson.
SPORTSMAN (30); 1. Al Stone III, 2. Dwayne Dorr, 3. Dave Trudeau, 4. Chris Douton, 5. Joseph Curioso III, 6. Brandon Plemons, 7. Joshua Galvin, 8. Ronnie Oldham Jr., 9. Jonathon Avery 10. Kevin Burr, 11. Edward Lamb Jr., 12. Jim Procaccini, 13. Joe Coates, 14. John Puglisi, 15. Jack Aquilina, 16. Nate Appell, 17. Chuck Rogers.
MINI STOCK (30); 1. Randy Churchill Jr., 2. Ken Cassidy Jr., 3. Chris Williams, 4. Phil Evans, 5. Lou Bellisle, 6. Mark Panaroni, 7. Ian Brew, 8. Jack Aquilina, 9. Raymond Christian III, 10. Jeff Mehlenbacher, 11. Christina Cunliffe, 12. Kyle James, 13. Bill Leonard, 14. Sean Caron, 15. Ben Bargnesi, 16. Mark Caise, 17. Jeff Miller, 18. Jeff “Soup” Civardi.
NORTHEASTERN MIDGET ASSOCIATION (25); 1. Randy Cabral, 2. Joey Payne, 3. Greg Stoehr, 4. Adam Cantor, 5. Erica Santos, 6. William Wall, 7. Bobby Santos III, 8. Paul Scally, 9. Doug Cleveland, 10. Chris Leonard, 11. Andy Shalatz, 12. Paul Luggelle, 13. Lee Bundy, 14. John Zych Jr., 15. Nokie Fornoro, 16. Shawn Torrey, 17. Jeremy Frankoski, 18. Aaron Wall, 19. Brian Cleveland, 20. Mark Irving.