Waterford, CT — The Waterford Speedbowl celebrated Norwich Night on June 27, honoring the City of Norwich’s 350th birthday with great racing. Jeffrey Paul picked up his second consecutive SK Modified win, Bruce Thomas Jr. returned to Speedbowl victory Lane in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, while it was veteran competitor Allen Coates taking the checkered in the NEATV Truck Series. Kyle James and Ronnie Oldham Jr. rounded out the night’s winners capturing the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock and Street Stock events respectively. With threatening skies looming overhead during the evening, the full five-division event was completed by 9:15pm.
The 35-lap SK Modified main event was led to the green by Joe Perry and Frank Mucciacciaro. Perry would take the lead on lap one, but Salem drivers Jeff Pearl and Dennis Gada were both in hot pursuit from the drop of the green. Pearl made a daring inside maneuver on Perry in turn three on lap two to take command. Gada followed Pearl past Perry while Rob Janovic Jr., previous event winner Paul, and points leader Keith Rocco settled in to the top-five. The first caution waved on lap five for a tangle between Wayne Arute and Rich Hammann. When racing resumed, a melee on the restart ended with Pete Pavone taking a hard shot into the turn three wall. Dennis Charette was also involved.
Pearl moved out to a five car lead when racing action returned, with Paul moving to third and challenging Gada for second. Arute and Wendell Dailey spun in turn two on lap 12 for caution again, resetting the field a second time. Paul, from Ledyard, successfully moved to second and Janovic into third on the restart. He quickly moved to Pearl’s bumper and began to apply pressure. Paul looked outside Pearl and pulled alongside to move to the lead on lap 20. He stretched his advantage to a straightaway with the race staying green, while Pearl raced a half-straight ahead of a battle for third between Janovic, Rocco, and Gada. Rocco secured the position with just six laps remaining, but ran out of time to challenge for second. The race finished the final 23 laps under green and Paul went on to a commanding win, his second straight. Pearl, Rocco, Janovic and Gada completed the top-five.
With the back to back wins Paul takes momentum into next week’s SK 100, part of the Pepsi 300 festivities. He is the defending race winner, one of three extra-distance races of the year for the SK division.
Young Jeff Smith was the early leader of The Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model main event. Vin Esposito challenged him through the first several laps, while the field behind raced two and three wide. Caution waved for a three car incident in turn 1 which resulted in a lengthy cleanup for damp track conditions. As the race progressed, Groton resident Thomas was advancing through the field along with Tim Jordan. Thomas moved to the outside of Smith and secured sole possession of the lead at the event’s halfway mark. Jordan duplicated the move for second place when caution waved one lap later for a spin in turn one. Thomas held ground over Jordan during several more restarts to go on to the 30-lap victory, his fifth win of the year. Thomas stretched his points lead over Rich Staskowski to 48 points.
The NEATV Truck Series started the night off with a great 25-lap main event. Howard Payne and Bill Leonard led the field to green and raced side-by-side for the top spot over several laps. Scott Gregory was looking for room in third, with Gee Perry and Mike Anzalone also in hot pursuit. Coates, who set fast time in time trials earlier in the day, was making his way to the front from the last starting position. The race stayed green with Payne and Leonard still side-by-side at halfway, with teammates Gregory and Coates tucked in closely behind the lead duo. The first caution waved on lap 14 when Brad Caddick’s machine went up in smoke, putting down fluid in turns one and two.
When racing resumed the battle for the lead raged on. Payne finally seized control of the event from Leonard, while Coates moved past both Gregory and Leonard to hunt down Payne. Coates made his move to the outside stick and would drive on to his fourth consecutive NEATV Truck Series win of the year, and the 68 th of his Speedbowl career. Payne, Gregory, Leonard and Gee Perry rounded out the top-five finishers.
Speedbowl veteran Louis Bellisle III was the leader early in the 20-lap Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock event. The top ten cars raced under a blanket in the first half of the event, with drivers battling on the track to challenge for the top positions. Kyle James worked through the pack to challenge Bellisle and take the lead with an inside move. The competitive and intense battle for the top ten was halted for a spin in turn four on lap 11.
Cautions in the second half of the race took their toll on the field, including points leader Danny Field who wrecked in the backstretch. James continued to hold strong through the restarts and the Ashaway, RI driver would go on to his first win of the season and third of his Speedbowl career. He is the eighth different winner in nine Mini Stock events this season. James closed to within 18 points of Field.
Ted Dupre took command at the commence of the hotly contested 20-lap Street Stock race. Walt Hovey, Al Stone III and Ron Oldham raced hard and made their way to the top three positions as the race stayed green. The trio moved out to a straightaway advantage over the rest of the field which continued to sort itself out behind. The first caution of the event came with just three laps remaining when Jim Procaccini came to rest against the wall in turn 3.
On the restart the complexion of the race got interesting. The action in the lead pack intensified and contact crossed up several cars including that of Hovey, the race leader. Hovey went sideways into turn one but was able to save his car momentarily as Stone challenged him for the top spot. Brandon Plemons, Phil Evans and others spun off the apron of turn two, but Stone and Hovey also made contact spinning into turn three. Caution waved and the running order was completely reset. Oldham, from Old Saybrook, emerged from the turmoil unscathed and would go on to his second win of the year over Steve Barrett, Ted Dupre, Mark Cooper, and Jack Aquilina. Oldham stretched his points lead over Plemons and Stone in the process.
Next weekend is an Independence Day celebration at the ‘Bowl. Saturday, July 4th marks the 12th annual Pepsi 300, the second of the Speedbowl ‘Triple Crown’ events. One hundred lap features for the SK Modifieds and Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models headline the action, along with 50 laps for the Street Stocks and Norwich Bulletin Mini Stocks. Time trials will set the field. The main events get underway at 7:00pm, with qualifying preceding. Adult grandstands admission is $23, while youth age 6-14 is just $5. Kids 5 and under will be admitted free.
On Sunday July 5th, a ‘Night of Destruction’ is on tap when anything and everything in sight will be obliterated. Demo derbies, trailer race, ski race, and more Speedbowl surprises are all in store. The earth-shattering action gets underway at 7:00pm and is just $14 for adult admission, $5 youth age 6-14, and kids 5 and under admitted free.
Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday returns for another edition on Wednesday July 1st. Event time is 7:00pm and adult price is just $7 with all youth 14 & under admitted free.
For more information on these and all upcoming events, visit www.speedbowl.com or contact the track office at 860.442.1585.
Speedbowl 6/27 finishers, hometown:
NEATV Truck Series (25-laps): 1. Allen Coates, Ledyard; 2. Howard Payne, Shelton; 3. Scott Gregory, Westbrook; 4. Bill Leonard, Wood River Jct., RI; 5. Gee Perry, Granby; 6. Mike Anzalone, Griswold; 7. James Wray; 8. Jonathon Zoller, Ayer, MA; 9. Brandon Michael, Granville, MA; 10. Brad Caddick, Norwich; 11. Gregory Butler Jr., E. Hampton
Time Trial Results (top five): 1. Coates, 16.628; 2. Payne, 16.700; 3. Leonard, 16.717; 4. Butler, 16.799; 5. Gregory, 16.998
Norwich Bulletin Mini Stocks (20-laps): 1. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 2. Louis Bellisle, Lisbon; 3. Greg Moran Sr., Preston; 4. Nick Pappacoda, N. Branford; 5. Jeff Mehlenbacher, Groton; 6. Christina Cunliffe, Stratford; 7. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 8. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 9. Chris Correll, Old Lyme; 10. Ryan Cipows, Seymour; 11. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; 12. Danny Field, Deep River; 13. Ian Brew, Wood River Jct., RI; 14. Mark Panaroni, Ivoryton; 15. Sean Caron, Hartford; 16. Mark Caise, Gales Ferry
Street Stocks (20-laps): 1. Ronnie Oldham Jr., Old Saybrook; 2. Steven Barrett, Preston; 3. Ted Dupre, Westbrook; 4. Mark Cooper, Northford; 5. Jack Aquilina, Oakdale; 6. Ed Puleo, Branford; 7. Walt Hovey Jr., Chaplin; 8. Brandon Plemons, Uncasville; 9. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 10. Al Stone III, New Haven; 11. Nate Appell, Westbrook; 12. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 13. Chris Meyer, N. Franklin; 14. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 15. Kevin Talbot, Moosup; 16. Ed Lamb, Shelton; 17. Chuck Rogers, Quaker Hill; 18. Jim Procaccini, Trumbull
Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 2. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 3. Larry Goss, N. Windham; 4. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 5. Dennis Stampfl, Norwood, MA; 6. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 7. Mark Hudson, Norton, MA; 8. Brian Andronaco Jr., Wilton; 9. Rich Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 10. Tom Metcalf, N. Stonington; 11. Ernie Bertrand, N. Branford
SK Modifieds (35-laps): 1. Jeffrey Paul, Ledyard; 2. Jeff Pearl, Salem; 3. Keith Rocco, Wallingford; 4. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 5. Dennis Gada, Salem; 6. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 7. Ron Yuhas Jr., Groton; 8. Corey Hutchings, Salem; 9. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 10. Mike Sweeney, Middletown; 11. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 12. Wayne Arute, Berlin; 13. Joe Gada, Salem; 14. Joe Perry, Ashaway, RI; 15. Justin Gaydosh, Newtown; 16. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 17. Dennis Charette, Southington; 18. Pete Pavone, Southbury; 19. Rich Hammann, Tolland
Sources: Waterford Speedbowl PR