Waterford, CT — Waterford Speedbowl returned to action Saturday evening, hosting Nostalgia Night which included four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events plus NEMA Midgets, NEMA Lites and vintage racing by the New England Antique Racers, Senior Tour Auto Racers and Vintage Midget Racing clubs, providing fans a taste of racing from previous generations.
Scoring wins on the evening included Keith Rocco of Wallingford, who continued his recent domination of the SK Modified® division by picking up his ninth win on the season, Jeff Smith of Old Lyme claimed his second win of the year in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, Al Stone III of New Haven scored his fourth win of the year in the Street Stocks and Chris Williams of Waterford found victory lane following a late race incident in the Mini Stocks. Keith Botehlo of North Attleboro, MA was the NEMA Midget winner in a special Shane Hammond Memorial event, while Andy Barrows of New Ipswich, NH took the counterpart NEMA Lite feature win.
Glenn Pressel took the early lead in the evening’s 35-lap SK Modified® race from his pole starting position. The action was intense from the drop of the green flag and by lap-3 contact was made in turn three among several cars, resulting in Joe Perry getting crossed up into the infield and Nichole Morgillo to become disabled on the backchute of lap-4 with suspension damage to her machine, drawing the first caution flag.
Tyler Chadwick raced around the outside of Pressel on the restart, bringing Rocco ahead in the outside lane up to second position. Caution was back out on lap-5 after Randy Churchill and Perry both got together on the frontstretch ending with Perry disabled in turn one. Tight racing between Chadwick, Rocco and third place Rob Janovic ensued on the next stretch of green flag racing through lap-11. During that time, Rocco dogged Chadwick who defended against each attempt. Rocco made a stellar move entering turn three on lap-11 to challenge the inside of Chadwick and powered ahead off turn four to lead the lap. Matt Gallo spun off the backstretch as the field raced lap-12 to return the race under caution with Rocco scored as the new leader.
Janovic’s top run ended on lap-13 when a flat right rear tire sent him spinning in turn two, creating another yellow situation. Rocco restarted well to get out front for an extended run of green flag racing. He distanced himself ahead of a battle for second between Chadwick, Tom Abele Jr. and Kyle James. Chadwick ultimately claimed the spot in the final ten laps, and had enough to keep with but not challenge Rocco. They went that way to the finish with Rocco taking his fifth consecutive win by a car length over Chadwick. Abele held off Mark Bakaj over the closing laps to take third, while Bakaj had to make a great save exiting the final corner to claim fourth. James was fifth.
The 30-lap Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature had rookie Anthony Flannery out to a sizeable lead over the first portion of the race. He stretched his lead to a nearly a straightaway ahead of a battle for second position among Joe Curioso, Smith, and Rich Staskowski that Smith ended up on top of. From there, Smith tracked down Flannery whose rapid pace was beginning to ease up. By the time caution finally waved on lap-16 for a Jeff Paul spin, Smith had moved within a car length of the leader.
On the restart Smith was able to race around Flannery in the outside lane, finally clearing the leader fully on lap-19. Bruce Thomas Jr. had been making his way through the field and was in the picture by lap-20, clearing Flannery into second position. Caution on lap-22 reset the field again after a multi-car incident collected Flannery, Curioso, Staskowski and others in turn three. That put Thomas alongside Smith for the restart.
Smith got the advantage into turn one with Vin Esposito up to third, momentarily challenging Thomas; inside. Thomas eventually left Esposito behind, but not before Smith’s lead was back up to a solid distance. Smith survived a final restart on lap-28 to clear debris on the backstretch, going on to win over Thomas, Esposito, Dennis Botticello and Mike Sweeney.
Past track champion Brandon Plemons was the leader at the start of the 25-lap Street Stock feature but he gave way to Stone on lap-5. Stone used the inside lane to fast track his way by Plemons, then slowly stretched his lead to a half straightaway advantage. Ed Puleo was outside of Plemons challenging for second position, and Josh Galvin was giving Chris Meyer pressure for fourth position. With 10 laps complete the battle for fourth position escalated, resulting in the race’s only caution flag when Meyer spun in turn three.
Following the restart Stone again moved out front. Puleo was able to get by Plemons, but Stone again was able to open up a three car advantage by lap-15. Galvin and Mike Caprio both got around Plemons as well, who fell back to fifth position. The top four positions remained unchanged through the checkered flag, with Meyer rallying back for fifth position late in the race. Stone’s win was his fourth on the season, vaulting him to the top of the division’s all time win list with 27 career victories.
The crowd was treated to a memorable conclusion to the 25-lap Mini Stock feature. Christina Kellerman took the race lead on lap-3 underneath rookie competitor Garrett Denton. Once in command, Kellerman looked strong leading the field behind her which shuffled the running order over the first half of the race. Williams had advanced to second position and began to apply pressure to Kellerman’s bumper over the middle stages of the race.
Ray Christian powered his way outside of Williams to take second by lap-17. Once clear of Williams, Christian then began to turn up the heat on Kellerman contending for the win over the final five laps. Christian looked both high and low, testing each groove for any potential bid on Kellerman, in pursuit of her first career win. With two laps remaining, Christian dove low through turns one and two. Kellerman tried to fight off the inside bid, to no avail. Contact between the two sent them both sideways, eventually collecting others and drawing the only caution flag in the race. The incident bumped both leaders to the rear of the field for the restart.
The new front row saw Williams inherit the lead with multi-time champion Ken Cassidy Jr. lined up to his outside. Points leader Glenn Colvin restarted in third setting up a two-lap dash for the checkered flag. Williams had his hands full over the closing laps, fighting off Colvin in the low groove and Cassidy up high. Cassidy was outside Williams the final lap, falling a half car length short. Williams took the victory with Cassidy and Colvin both in close pursuit at the checkered flag. Charles Canfield and Phil Evans rounded out the top-five.
Waterford Speedbowl 7/30 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Wallingford; 2. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 3. Tom Abele, Norwich; 4. Mark Bakaj, Lebanon; 5. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 6. Frank Mucciacciaro, Milford; 7. Jeff Pearl, Salem; 8. Glenn Pressel III, Gales Ferry; 9. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 10. Joe Perry, Ashaway, RI; 11. Adam Gada, Bozrah; 12. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 13. Joe Gada, Salem; 14. Randy Churchill, Oakdale; 15. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 16. Nichole Morgillo, Wallingford; 17. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford
Standings after fourteen events: 1. Rocco, 627; 2. Pearl, 592; 3. Chadwick, 556; 4. James, 552; 5. Janovic, 546; 6. Abele, 522; 7. Pressel, 475; 8. Morgillo, 466; 9. Perry, 424; 10. Tucker Reynolds Jr., 392
NASCAR Whelen All-American Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 2. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 3. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 4. Dennis Botticello, Suffield; 5. Mike Sweeney, Meriden; 6. Rich Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 7. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 8. Jeffrey Paul, Groton; 9. Mark Cooper, Northford; 10. Brian Andronaco Jr., Wilton; 11. Joseph Curioso, Pawcatuck; 12. Ed Gertsch Jr., East Haven; 13. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 14. Jason Palmer, Berlin
Standings after thirteen events: 1. Thomas, 618; 2. Smith, 602; 3. Staskowski, 579; 4. Curioso, 518; 5. Esposito, 514; 6. Flannery, 497; 7. Andronaco, 487; 8. Palmer, 483; 9. Sweeney, 410; 10. Duranti, 338
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Al Stone III, New Haven; 2. Ed Puleo, Branford; 3. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 4. Michael Caprio, New Haven; 5. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 6. Brandon Plemons, Uncasville; 7. Nate Appell, Westbrook; 8. Allen Coates, Ledyard; 9. Charles Beal, Ledyard; 10. Paul Gaedeke, Southington; 11. Ritt Shawn, Westerly, RI; 12. Steven Barrett, Preston
Standings after fourteen events: 1. Puleo, 683; 2. Stone, 656; 3. Galvin, 620; 4. Meyer, 605; 5. Plemons, 556; 6. Barrett, 522; 7. Appell, 446; 8. Caprio, 405; 9. Beal, 400; 10. Norm Root Jr., 353
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Chris Williams, Waterford; 2. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 3. Glenn Colvin, Clinton; 4. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 5. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 6. Nick Pappacoda, Branford; 7. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 8. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 9. Jeffrey Cembruch, Wallingford; 10. Ray Christian III, Groton; 11. Doug Curry, Groton; 12. Christina Kellerman, Stratford; 13. Daniel McGouran, Westerly, RI; 14. Jeffrey Lee, Uncasville; 15. Jeff Mehlenbacher, Plainfield; 16. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI
Standings after fourteen events: 1. Colvin, 644; 2. Cassidy, 595; 3. Williams, 571; 4. Cembruch, 539; 5. Evans, 531; 6. Christian, 518; 7. Brew, 514; 8. Canfield, 486; 9. Kellerman, 458; 10. Pappacoda, 429
NEMA Midgets (27-laps): 1. Keith Botelho, North Attleboro, MA; 2. Russ Stoehr, Lakeville, MA; 3. Randy Cabral, Plymouth, MA; 4. Todd Bertrand, Suffield; 5. Jeremy Frankowski, Huntersville, NC; 6. B.J. MacDonald, Pippersville, PA; 7. Greg Stoehr, Bridgewater, MA; 8. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA; 9. Chris Leonard, Pelham, NH; 10. Lee Bundy, Kennebunkport, ME; 11. Matt O’Brien, Wilmington, MA; 12. Paul Scally, Raynham, MA; 13. Mike Horn; 14. Erica Santos, Franklin, MA
NEMA Lites (27-laps): 1. Andy Barrows, New Ipswich, NH; 2. Joey Mucciacciaro, Wolcott; 3. Buggy Marvuglio, East Bridgewater, MA; 4. Paul Bigelow, Berlin; 5. David Moniz, Fairhaven, MA; 6. Christian Briggs; 7. Jim Santamaria, Burlington; 8. Bethany Stoehr, Bridgewater, MA; 9. Randy Cabral, Plymouth, MA; 10. Paul Luggelle, Holbrook, MA; 11. Ryan Bigelow, East Hampton; 12. Kenney Johnson, Bethany; 13. Kevin Park, Foxboro, MA: 14. Kelly Ferrell; 15. Lanson Fornoro
Sources: Waterford Speedbowl PR