Waterford, CT — Chris Perley, AKA “The Rowley Rocket” of Rowley, MA. put on a stellar performance in winning the 50-lap International SuperModified Association season-opener at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday evening. In doing so, he recorded the fastest average lap-ever (over 108 mph), in the 57-year history of the facility.
Other feature winners were Jeff Pearl (SK Modified), Ron Yuhas Jr. (Late Model), Mark Cooper (Sportsman), and Ben Bargnesi (Mini Stock).
Former Speedbowl SK champion Rob Summers set the early pace before overtaken by Jeff Holbrook on lap twenty-one. Perley rocketed by Holbrook six circuits later, quickly distancing himself from the field. The race was red-flagged on lap thirty-six when Mike Lichty exploded a motor and slammed the wall, also eliminating the cars of Jamie Timmons, Scott Martell and Mike Ordway. On the restart, Perley resumed a commanding lead, finishing several lengths ahead of Holbrook and Summers. Following was Ray Graham Jr., Bobby Bond and Dave McKnight Jr. It was the second-consecutive Speedbowl victory for Perley who won the 2007 event.
“I thought tonight was just a really wild, fun race,” said Perley, the defending ISMA champion. “I knew I was going to have to get a wheel under Holebrook to show him that I was there, but couldn’t get it done on the inside. Finally, I went really wide, not knowing if it was going to stick. Luckily, it bit. The car was a rocket after we got going in the feature even though it was only so-so in practice and the heat. At the end, it was just a matter of hitting my marks and negotiating the lapped guys.”
Upon being informed of his history-making lap times, Perley seemed a bit surprised.
“Really, the fastest time-ever here? That really surprises me because I didn’t think we were that good, especially from the times recorded earlier in the day,” he said. This is a nice, tight little track for the Supers. It’s fun to drive with just enough room to really mix-it-up. We always look forward to coming to the Speedbowl.”
1998 champion Jeff Pearl won his first of the season, fending-off a late race charge by Rob Janovic Jr. in the 35-lap SK main event. Jay Miller, running perhaps his best race of the season led the early laps before Pearl took over with twenty-seven remaining. Janovic slipped by Miller in the closing circuits. Rounding-out the top-5 were Jeff Paul and Ron Yuhas Jr.
“The outside was really fast tonight,” stated Pearl in a post-race interview. “I knew we had a really good car coming into the feature, and that if I could get a run off the outside I’d be able to get to the front. Rob was tough in those closing-laps, so I really had to stay focused. I’m almost not sure what to say, as it seems like it’s been so long since I’ve been in victory lane.”
Thus far, the former champion has experienced a bit of an up & down season.
“Our performance has not been off, it’s just been a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Pearl. The wrecks can set you back, esp. when you’re for the most part, financing your entire effort. We’ve been fast all year, so I knew we’d get here soon if we could get a break. Tonight it just fell-together. It was the right combination of getting to the front cleanly and then running my own race.”
Second-place finisher Janovic took it all in stride, seemingly satisfied with the night’s events.
“Hey, this is all what racing is supposed to be about,” said the defending champ from victory lane. There’s nothing better than being able to run side-by-side, then get out of the car and shake hands after the finish. It was just a ton of fun tonight.”
In 30-lap Late Model feature action it was Ron Yuhas Jr. taking his second of the year over Tim Jordan. Tom Metcalf set the early pace with Jordan taking the point on the sixteenth circuit. With twelve remaining Yuhas pulled aside Jordon, the two staging a torrid side-by-side battle during the latter stages. Yuhas prevailed by a narrow margin in one of the closest Late Model finishes of the year. Ed Reed Jr. took the third spot followed by Vin Esposito, and defending champion Bruce Thomas Jr. The victory propelled Yuhas into the point lead.
“I absolutely owe this win to my crew,” stated Yuhas in victory lane. “These guys work so hard to give me a car that’s capable of winning. I’ve got the easy part in driving it. Jordan raced me clean as usual. Hats-off to Tim for running me cleanly, and I’m sure it made a great show for the fans.”
“Ronnie was tough on the outside tonight, he pretty much had it covered,” said Jordan of the close battle. “He simply had the better car, and I realized that. I raced him with respect because he deserved it.”
Mark Cooper became a first-time winner, defeating veteran Jack Aquilina by several car lengths in the 20-lap Sportsman main. Cooper drove to the front during the early stages, and was never challenged. Aquilina, Ronnie Oldman Jr., Al Stone III, and Josh Galvin rounded-out the top-5.
After charging to an early lead, Ben Bargnesi went on to win the caution-free 20-lap Mini Stock feature in dominating fashion Finishing second was Ken Cassidy Jr. followed by Randy Churchill Jr., Bill Leonard, and Lou Bellisle. It was Bargnesi’s second victory of the season.
Action continues this week with Wild n Wacky Wednesday, and on Saturday the Pro4 Modifieds compliment a full state of action for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. Please visit www.speedbowl.com for more information.
INTERNATIONAL SUPERMODIFIED ASSOCIATION (50); 1. Chris Perley, 2. Jeff Holbrook, 3. Rob Summers, 4. Ray Graham Jr., 5. Bobby Bond, 6. Dave McKnight Jr., 7. Vern Romanoski, 8. Russ Wood, 9. Dave Sanborn, 10. Mark Sammut, 11. Bobby Haynes Jr., 12. Mike Lichty, 13. Jamie Timmons, 14. Mike Ordway Jr., 15. J. Scott Martell, 16. Dave Trytek, 17. Art Rousseau, 18. Dave Iosue, 19. larry Lenhert, 20. Eric Emhoff, 21. Michael Barnes.
SK MODIFIED (35); 1. Jeff Pearl, 2. Rob Janovic Jr., 3. Jay Miller, 4. Jeff Paul, 5. Ron Yuhas Jr., 6. Keith Rocco, 7. Tyler Chadwick, 8. Dennis Gada, 9. Justin Gaydosh, 10. Doug Coby, 11. Frank Ruocco, 12. Ed Reed Jr., 13. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., 14. Jeff Malave, 15. Wendell Dailey, 16. Glenn Pressel III, 17. Steve Voelker, 18. Mike Sweeney, 19. Rich Hammann, 20. Todd Ceravolo, 21. Bill Benoit.
LATE MODEL (30); 1. Ron Yuhas Jr., 2. Tim Jordan, 3. Ed Reed Jr., 4. Vin Esposito, 5. Bruce Thomas Jr., 6. Joseph Curioso III, 7. Tom Metcalf, 8. Larry Goss, 9. Mike Lindquist, 10. Robert LeBlanc Jr., 11. Dan Holben, 12. Rich Staskowski, 13. Rich Duranti.
SPORTSMAN (20); 1. Mark Cooper, 2. Jack Aquilina, 3. Ronnie Oldham Jr., 4. Al Stone III, 5. Josh Galvin, 6.Walt Hovey Jr., 7. John Puglisi, 8. Ed Lamb Jr., 9. Nate Appell, 10. “Grampa Jim” Procaccini, 11. Joe Nogiec, 12. Kevin Burr, 13. Darrell Carlson, 14. Brandon Plemons, 15. Randy Jurcik, 16. Chris Meyer, 17. Kevin Williams.
MINI STOCK (20); 1. Ben Bargnesi, 2. Ken Cassidy Jr., 3. Randy Churchill Jr., 4. Bill Leonard, 5. Lou Bellisle, 6. Dennis Perry, 7. Mark Panaroni, 8. Kyle James, 9. Sean Caron, 10. Jack Aquilina, 11. Christina Cunliffe, 12. Jeff “Soup” Civardi, 13. Ian Brew, 14. Nick Pappacoda, 15. Chris Williams, 16. Jackie Wolfram, 17. Charles Canfield, 18. Raymond Christian III, 19. Ryan Cipows.
CURRENT POINT STANDINGS (TOP-10):
SK MODIFIED; Dennis Gada 286, Keith Rocco 280, Rob Janovic Jr. 264, Tyler Chadwick 258, Ron Yuhas Jr. 254, Justin Gaydosh 248, Jeff Paul 228, Jeff Pearl 228, Jay Miller 226, Jeff Malave 176.
LATE MODEL; Ron Yuhas Jr. 332, Bruce Thomas Jr. 330, Ed Reed Jr. 304, Tim Jordan 302, Vin Esposito 282, Rich Staskowski 256, Robert LeBlanc Jr. 230, Tom Metcalf 182, Marc Curtis Jr. 174, Larry Goss 170.
SPORTSMAN; Al Stone III 312, Ronnie Oldham Jr. 280, Walt Hovey Jr. 268, Jim Procaccini 258, Jack Aquilina 252, Mark Cooper 228, Chris Douton 228, Nate Appell 226, Ed Lamb Jr. 212, Chuck Rogers 198.
MINI STOCK; Ken Cassidy Jr. 330, Randy Churchill Jr. 320, Lou Bellisle 282, Kyle James 246, Raymond Christian III 234, Jack Aquilina 232, Chris Williams 226, Mark Panaroni 224, Ben Bargnesi 220, Jeff “Soup” Civardi 218
Sources: David Dykes/Waterford Speedbowl PR