Waterford, CT — Waterford Speedbowl beat the evening’s heavy downpours from Mother Nature to complete Nostalgia Night featuring exhibition racing from vintage racing groups, the Shane Hammond Memorial event for the NEMA Midgets plus four-divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing. Salem’s Jeff Pearl returned to the winner’s circle to claim his 33rd career SK Modified® win. Tim Jordan of Plainfield and Dan Field of Deep River used wins in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model and Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock feature races to stay out front in their respective division point battles. Andover’s Norm Sears won his second Street Stock race in dominant fashion, while Massachusetts drivers Russ Stoehr and Randy Cabral split the NEMA Midget and NEMA Lite Shane Hammond Memorial races.
The 35-lap SK Modified® race thundered out onto the track with Diego Monahan and Joe Perry leading the field to the green flag. Monahan took the race lead and with just one lap complete Doug Coby came to rest in turn four with a flat left rear tire, bringing out the first caution flag. Monahan would take back over and held his lead through two additional early incidents.
When racing settled in, Monahan was out front by two lengths over Perry. Joe Gada was third with Tom Abele holding down fourth. Ron Yuhas Jr. and Pearl put down the best battle on the track for fifth on lap 10. Pearl came to life in the outside lane, moving back by Yuhas on lap 11 after spending several laps to his outside and then pulled outside Abele for fourth. Abele bobbled on lap 14 between turns one and two causing his car to snap back up the track to create a more serious altercation that collected Jeff Paul, Rob Janovic Jr., Adam Gada and Glen Pressell III. All but Paul were done for the night after their contact.
Hard racing inside the top-ten positions took place following the lap 14 restart. Pearl raced into third around the outside of Gada with defending champion Ron Yuhas Jr., Todd Ceravolo and point leader Keith Rocco all racing hard for fifth. Tucker Reynolds Jr. and Tyler Chadwick were locked in a hard battle for eighth. Trouble on lap 17 saw Yuhas break traction racing into turn one with Ceravolo looking under his left rear. Caution waved for a spinning Yuhas, dropping him from the top five.
Monahan had serious company at the front when racing went back to green. Pearl advanced to second with Ceravolo behind in third. Pearl looked both high and low on Monahan with Ceravolo countering Pearl’s move trying to find any lane he could for second. The top three raced an exciting two laps with Ceravolo ultimately making the impressive moves on lap 21. An aggressive move under Pearl entering turn one grabbed Ceravolo second, and he wasted no time darting outside Monahan off turn two intent on taking over the race lead. He made that move stick to be the new leader on lap 22.
Ceravolo stretched out his lead over the next several laps. Pearl stalked Monahan for second, eventually making an inside move entering turn three on lap 29. Just as Pearl was clearing Monahan, Ceravolo’s machine suffered electrical failure and he dropped off the pace exiting turn four, continuing his season of utter misfortune. Pearl’s maneuver on Monahan handed him the lead. With four laps remaining Chadwick and Perry made contact battling for third sending Chadwick around in turn one for a caution. On the restart Perry and Joe Gada made contact with both cars crashing in turn one and dropping them out of the top five.
Over the final four laps Pearl went unchallenged to his second win of the year. Monahan crossed the stripe in second, but failed post-race inspection moving Yuhas up to an impressive runner-up finish after his spin mid-way through the race. Coby rebounded from his early troubles for his first podium finish of the year in third, with Reynolds Jr. and Paul completing the top-five finishers.
The 30-lap Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race saw Rich Staskowski take the early lead with Jordan and Ernie Bertrand battling for second over the opening laps. Bertrand eventually overtook Jordan for the spot and focused on Staskowski out front. After an extraordinary five lap battle Bertrand was able to take the race lead on lap 10. One lap later a multi-car accident in turn three eliminated Dennis Botticello and Brian Andronaco Jr. Jason Palmer was also involved.
Bertrand resumed at the front following the restart. He would be challenged by point leader Tim Jordan as the race reached halfway, as Jordan tried to find racing room to the bottom of Bertrand before climbing the track and pulling alongside his outside on lap 16. He nudged ahead in the outside lane, and was in sole command of the lead by lap 18. Jeff Smith took the top groove and also moved past Bertrand into second, with Bertrand holding third over Joe Curioso. Bruce Thomas had entered the top five behind them on lap 20.
Up front Jordan held a one car advantage over Smith. Further back Thomas was pressuring Curioso for fourth, which escalated into both cars making contact coming to the stripe on lap 23, getting into the frontstretch wall to bring out caution. Both drove to the pits for repair, but were done for the night.
Jordan nailed the final restart versus Smith and went on to his third victory of the season to pad his lead in the championship standings over Smith. Smith finished a car back in second, with Staskowski, Bertrand and Vin Esposito rounding out the top five.
Norm Sears took command of the 25-lap Street Stock race on lap 2, passing by pole sitter Chris Meyer. Caution waved seven laps in after Nate Appell spun through the wet infield into turn one. When racing resumed two more laps were completed when Ed Puleo, winner of two straight races headed into the event, caught the backstretch wall and slowed to bring out caution flag with damage to the right side of his machine.
Sears continued to lead following the restart, stretching out to a seven car advantage as the race reached halfway. Josh Galvin moved to second with point leader Walt Hovey Jr. up to third. Greg Moran Jr. and Al Stone III rounded out the top five through lap 15. Sears’ commanding advantage was erased when caution showed on lap 18 as two cars got out of shape into the infield.
Sears was strong out front on the restart, but Galvin and Hovey’s electric season continued as their battle for the second position intensified. After two laps of slugging it out, that battle ended with both cars making hard contact with the wall exiting turn four bringing out caution, sending both to the pits for repair.
Sears bested Moran on the final restart to cruise to his second victory of the year. Stone got by Moran for second at the stripe, with Moran finishing third. Ronnie Oldham Jr. was fourth with Appell rebounding for fifth.
Charles Canfield started the 25-lap Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race in the lead but Chris Williams eventually took over on lap 2, putting distance between himself and Canfield who was holding back the challenges of Field who was already up to the third position. Field took over second from Canfield on lap 4 and set high sights on Williams out front.
Field benefitted by way of the caution flag, as he was able to line up alongside Williams for a restart. With the green flag back in the air, he was able to drive his way past Williams to become the third leader of the event on lap 8. Ken Cassidy Jr., the point leader heading into the event, was on the move and he took over second place on lap 9. Cassidy closed in on Field with 13 laps complete, with Field able to fend him off to hold his lead. Mark Panaroni steadily progressed through the field up to third position by lap 16 and joined the battle for the win.
Over the final nine laps of the race the top three put on a spirited battle for the checkered flag. They ran in tight quarters with Field holding the bottom groove, Cassidy peeking to his outside looking for momentum to take over at the front, and Panaroni waiting behind the two.
Cassidy couldn’t find enough grip on the top side of the track to make the move stick and fell victim to Panaroni who filled the gap to his inside. At the stripe Field had his fifth win of the year and was able to reclaim the points lead. Panaroni nipped Cassidy for second, with Williams and Louis Bellisle rounding out the top-five finishers.
Saturday 7/24 Results and standings:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Jeff Pearl, Salem; 2. Ron Yuhas Jr., Groton; 3. Doug Coby, Milford; 4. Tucker Reynolds Jr., Westbrook; 5. Jeff Paul, Ledyard; 6. Keith Rocco, Wallingford; 7. Justin Gaydosh, Newington; 8. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 9. Joe Gada, Salem; 10. Jimmy Smith, Woodstock; 11. Joe Perry, Ashaway, RI; 12. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry; 13. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 14. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 15. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 16. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 17. Adam Gada, Bozrah; 18. Glen Pressell III, Gales Ferry; 19. Mike Sweeney, Middletown; 20. Rick Ceravolo, Groton; 21. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 22. Matt Gallo, Kensington; DQ – Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill
Standings after fourteen events (top-ten): 1. Rocco, 651; 2. Yuhas, 637; 3. Chadwick, 545; 4. Janovic, 544; 5. Paul, 539; 6. Pearl, 460; 7. J. Gada, 412; 8. (tie) Monahan, Abele, 406; 10. Perry, 382
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 2. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 3. Richard Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 4. Ernie Bertrand, North Branford; 5.Vin Esposito, Seymour; 6. Marc Curtis, Worcester, MA; 7. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 8. Brian Andronaco Jr., Wilton; 9. Jeffrey Paul, Ledyard; 10. Joe Curioso, Mystic; 11. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 12. Larry Goss, North Windham; 13. Dennis Botticello, Suffield
Standings after eight events (top-ten): 1. Jordan, 381; 2. Smith, 361; 3. Esposito, 337; 4. Staskowski, 324; 5. (tie) Palmer, Bertrand, 318; 7. Thomas, 316; 8. Botticello, 310; Andronaco, 293; 10. Paul, 286
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Norm Sears, Andover; 2. Al Stone III, New Haven; 3. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 4. Ronnie Oldham Jr., Old Saybrook; 5. Nate Appell, Westbrook; 6. Brandon Plemons, Uncasville; 7. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 8. Scott Young, Willimantic; 9. Chris Kvaka, Stratford; 10. Paul Gaedeke, ; 11. Walt Hovey Jr., Chaplin; 12. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 13. Ed Puleo, Branford; 14. Josh Galvin, Franklin
Standings after fourteen events (top-ten): 1. Hovey, 631; 2. Stone, 598; 3. Puleo, 586; 4. Sears, 552; 5. Plemons, 549; 6. Galvin, 522; 7. Steve Barrett, 496; 8. Meyer, 483; 9. Oldham, 469; 10. Moran, 418
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Norwich Bulletin Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Danny Field, Deep River; 2. Mark Panaroni, Ivoryton; 3. Kenneth Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 4. Chris Williams, Waterford; 5. Louie Bellisle III, Griswold 6. Ian Brew, Wood River Jct, RI; 7. Sean Caron; East Hampton; 8. Greg Moran Sr., Preston; 9. Ben Bargnesi, Norwich; 10. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 11. Ray Christian III, Noank; 12. Bill Leonard, Wood River Jct, RI 13. John Kelly, New London; 14. Jeffrey Cembruch, Wallingford; 15. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 16. Steve Violette, Canterbury; 17. Alan Hall Jr., North Haven; 18. Christina Kellerman, Stratford; 19. Eric Bourgeois, East Haddam
Standings after fourteen events (top-ten): 1. D. Field, 647; 2. Cassidy, 642; 3. Caron, 597; 4. Bellisle, 516; 5. Brew, 489; 6. Williams, 479; 7. Moran, 464; 8. Canfield, 442; 9. Violette, 400; 10. Christian, 350
NEMA Midgets Shane Hammond Memorial (27-laps): 1. Russ Stoehr, Lakeville, MA; 2. Greg Stoehr, Bridgewater, MA; 3. Randy Cabral, Plymouth, MA; 4. Chris Deritis, Philadelphia, PA; 5. John Zych, Liverpool, NY; 6. Jeff Horn; 7. Anthony Nocella Marlboro, MA; 8. Erica Santos, Franklin, MA; 9. Mike Horn; 10. Pete Pernesiglio, Ronkonkoma, NY; 11. Paul Scally, Raynham, MA; 12. Adam Cantor, Dix Hills, NY; 13. Matt O’Brien; 14. Barry Kittredge; 15. Lee Bundy; 16. Jim Miller, Weymouth, MA
NEMA Lite Midgets (25-laps): 1. Randy Cabral, Plymouth, MA; 2. Chris Haskell; 3. Todd Bertrand, Suffield, MA; 4. Ed LeClerc, ; 5. Jim SantaMaria, Burlington; 6. Joey Mucciacciaro, Wolcott; 7. Andy Barrows; 8. Bethany Viets; 9. Carl Medeiros Jr.; 10. Ryan Bigelow; 11. Kevin Parks; 12. Paul Bigelow, Manchester; 13. Lanson Fonoro; 14. Jay Dimond, Plymouth, MA; 15. Paul Luggelle, Holbrook, MA; 16. Tom Fox, Plainfield; 17. David Moniz, Fairhaven, MA
Sources: Waterford Speedbowl PR