Waterford, CT — Waterford Speedbowl closed its Saturday night racing season with a 6-division program Saturday evening. Picking up victories on the night in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing included Keith Rocco of Wallingford, who won his 12th race of the year in the SK Modifieds®. With the win, Rocco unofficially wrapped up his second consecutive division title. Groton drivers Bruce Thomas Jr. claimed his fifth win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models and Ray Christian took his first of the year in the Mini Stocks. Al Stone III of New Haven won his second consecutive Street Stock feature, his seventh on the year.
Dave Garbo Jr. won another Legends Cars feature, while it was Farmington native Dana Dimatteo adding the Saturday series championship to his Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday series crown to unofficially sweep the division titles.
Ken Morin Jr. of Old Saybrook won the night’s Bandolero feature and Taylor Martin of Windham, NH wrapped up the division’s Saturday series championship. The remaining championships will be settled next weekend as the track hosts its Finale Weekend for racing October 7th – 9th.
[Photo Gallery] by Nicholas Teto
Glenn Pressel used his pole starting position to take the lead when the 35-lap SK Modified® feature got underway. Only one lap could be completed before Joe Perry slid through the infield down the front chute, bringing the race to caution.
When racing resumed Pressel again took off into the lead over Diego Monahan. Shawn Solomito moved to third, while Jeff Pearl took fourth position and Keith Rocco moved to fifth. Rocco became the aggressor early, jumping to Pearl’s outside on lap-5 for fourth. After two laps battling for the spot he moved ahead, racing up Solomito’s outside to challenge for third. Rocco secured that spot dropping Solomito back to fourth. Pearl followed suit to Solomito’s outside however before a pass could be completed caution waved on lap-9 after Joe Gada had not heeded the black flag.
Pressel powered to the lead when the green returned, with Rocco coming to second position by Monahan’s inside. Pearl took third from Monahan as he and Solomito slid back in the outside lane. Tyler Chadwick and Rob Janovic Jr. teamed up to move into contention inside the top-five as the race moved to lap-12. A battle between Monahan and Mark Bakaj ended when Monahan spun in turn two, collecting Randy Churchill to return the race under the yellow flag on lap-14.
Pressel had Rocco to his outside for the next restart but was up to the task, gaining the lead into turn one. Rocco had to fight off Pearl before tucking into second position. Pearl regrouped from third place, however had Chadwick hounding him for that spot before long. Chadwick looked strong as he powered outside Pearl for third, however couldn’t complete the move before caution on lap-19 had Bob Georgiades spun backwards off the apron of the track at the end of the front chute.
Pressel was again pitted against Rocco for a restart, getting a good one to hold the lead into turn one. Rocco tucked into second with Pearl third. Rocco spent three laps trailing Pressel before wrestling the lead away with an inside move in turn four on lap-22. Rocco pressed into the lead while Pearl filled the gap under Pressel to take second position. Janovic snatched third away as the field raced in tight formation, resulting with Frank Mucciacciaro spinning in turn three for the final caution on lap-24.
Rocco nailed the final restart over Pearl to take command. Pearl lost second to Janovic, then Chadwick moved to Pearl’s inside to claim third. Kyle James was fifth and the top-five singled out for the stretch run to the checkered flag. Janovic and Chadwick stayed in contention behind Rocco but were unable to find racing room for a bid to win. Rocco took his 12th win of the year, unofficially clinching his second consecutive championship. Chadwick valiantly tried to find the momentum over the final two laps to Janovic’s outside to claim second. That fell short and the top-five remained in order at the finish.
Thomas took the lead on lap-1 in the 30-lap Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, coming from the second starting position past pole-sitter Joe Curioso. Thomas had to survive an array of caution periods on the way to his fifth win of the year. Multiple cautions came out over the first 10-laps of the race, including one which eliminated points contender Rich Staskowski after he was involved in a wreck in turn four. The most serious incident occurred on a lap-10 restart when Mike Sweeney and John Materas went hard into the turn three wall, drawing the red flag.
Thomas was trying to cut into Jeff Smith’s point cushion, however had the point leader lined up behind him over the remainder of the race. While Smith was unable to challenge Thomas for the win, he was able to race unscathed in second position for the majority of the event.
The final caution came out as Anthony Flannery gave chase to Curioso for third, spinning in turns three and four to relinquish his top-five run. Keith Rocco and Jason Palmer then raced side-by-side for several laps battling for fourth, with Rocco able to take the spot away on lap-28. Up front Thomas, Smith and Curioso cruised to the podium finishing positions. Rocco was fourth, while Palmer dropped off the pace on the final lap, bumping Jeff Paul to fifth.
A very entertaining 25-lap Street Stock feature had Jack Aquilina pacing the field over the first half of the race. He moved out to the lead over Joe Arena, who eventually got stuck in the outside lane allowing Tom Silva to race into second on lap-6. Brandon Plemons found room to Arena’s inside to claim third on lap-8, with Stone and Ed Puleo rising to the top-five around Arena by lap-10. The yellow flag waved as Silva’s car was dragging parts necessitating the stoppage.
Aquilina continued his lead once racing resumed. Stone looked to Plemons’ inside for second while Ed Puleo and Dave Trudeau made up the top-five as the race reached halfway. Aquilina was under fire from both Stone and Plemons on lap-15. Plemons drove around Aquilina’s outside into the lead through turns one and two, while Stone looked to Aquilina’s inside off turn two as they raced back to lap-16. After Stone was clear into second, Puleo was to Aquilina’s inside to take over third.
Once in open track Stone was able to track down and pull to Plemons’ outside, taking the lead with a power move on lap-18. A lap later Bill McNeil spun across the track out of turn two to bring the race to caution for a final time.
The top three of Stone, Plemons and Puleo quickly singled out after the final restart. They held their position over the remaining laps to the checkered flag. Chris Meyer took fourth over the final run while Trudeau held down fifth.
The 25-lap Mini Stock feature ran without caution for the second consecutive week however there was no shortage of side-by-side action throughout their feature. Doug Curry took the lead at the drop of the green flag but as the field reached the back chute Jeffrey Cembruch raced his way under Curry to be scored as the leader of lap-1.
Christian was already moving up, positioning himself behind Cembruch to take second from Curry, then find room to Cembruch’s inside out of turn four as they raced to lap-2. Christian took the lead and moved out to a comfortable advantage, bringing Nick Pappacoda in his tracks to second place. Point leader Glenn Colvin was on the move early, racing through the top-five into third position as the race reached lap-5. Further back in the pack Ian Brew and Ken Cassidy Jr. were cutting through early traffic to emerge at the back half of the top-ten.
Up front the top three raced single file until Colvin caught and passed Pappacoda for second on lap-9. Colvin sat eight cars behind the leader when he took over second, spending the second half of the green-to-checkered flag run trying to reel in the leader. Cassidy continued a steady pace towards the front to keep hopes of defending his division championship from a year ago alive.
Although Colvin was able to cut the difference to Christian in half, it was Christian who went unchallenged to his first win of the year to end a season of heartache. Colvin padded his lead in the championship standings over Cassidy by finishing second. Chris Williams ran strong to claim third while Pappacoda and Phil Evans completed the top-five. Cassidy was sixth.
The Legends Cars main event was a tale of two halves; the first half of the race was relatively smooth under ideal track conditions. A melee on lap-11 put down a trail of fluid around the length of the three-eighths mile Speedbowl oval, creating a lengthy delay and cleanup. With a line of oil-dry lacing the primary groove after the delay, the second half of the race became a test of focus and fortitude for the field.
When the field lined up for the pivotal restart on lap-11, Dana Dimatteo had positioned himself in the race lead after taking over from Joey Mucciacciaro. Garbo lined up to Dimatteo’s outside in second for the restart, then benefitted by an outside groove with more grip to race into the lead through turns one and two when racing was back to green.
Caution again gave Dimatteo the opportunity to line back up outside of Garbo for a restart. Garbo was able to restart strong to be all alone in the lead as they reached turn one. He was able to adjust his line around the slick spots enough to keep control of the race lead. Mucciacciaro and Dimatteo stayed in contention through the checkered flag, but Garbo had enough to hang on. Mucciacciaro finished second with Dimatteo third, Paul Kusheba fourth, and early race leader Dylan Izzo fifth. Dimatteo’s finish provided him enough cushion to unofficially wrap up the Saturday division title with a week to go.
The 20-lap Bandolero feature saw a repeat winner reaching victory lane and crowned the Saturday Showdown Series champion with one event left on the schedule. Three cautions slowed the pace, including one which began when leaders Ken Morin Jr. and Taylor Martin tangled while battling for the top spot on lap-9. Morin slid sideways, saving his machine but caution waved when further back cars came together. Martin was penalized under yellow, sidelining her to the back of the field.
Martin and Morin remained contenders despite their trouble, racing back to the front to wage a spirited battle to the checkered flag. Morin captured the win, while Martin settled for second. Her finish was good enough to clinch the title. Joey Ternullo, Jordan Churchill and Derek Debbis completed the top-five.
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Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 10/1 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Wallingford; 2. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 3. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 4. Jeff Pearl, Salem; 5. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 6. Glenn Pressel III, Gales Ferry; . Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 8. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 9. Mark Bakaj, Lebanon; 10. William Schneider, Northport, NY; 11. Nichole Morgillo, Wallingford; 12. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 13. Joe Perry, Ashaway, RI; 14. Bob Georgiades, East Hampton; 15. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 16. Shawn Solomito, Islip, NY; 17. Randy Churchill Jr., Oakdale; 18. Jim Larsen, East Hartland; 19. Paul French, Andover; 20. Dave Gada, Bozrah; 21. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; DQ – Joe Gada, Salem
Standings after twenty-two events: 1. Rocco, 988; 2. Pearl, 920; 3. Janovic, 911; 4. Chadwick, 867; 5. James, 822; 6. Abele, 819; 7. Pressel, 728; 8. Morgillo, 710; 9. Perry, 682; 10. Churchill, 526
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 2. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 3. Joe Curioso, Pawcatuck; 4. Keith Rocco, Wallingford; 5. Jeff Paul, Ledyard; 6. Ryan Morgan, Mystic; 7. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 8. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 9. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 10. Robert Barcsansky Jr.; 11. John Materas, Voluntown; 12. Rich Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 13. Kevin Folan, Attleboro, MA; DQ – Mike Sweeney, Meriden; DNS – Joe Mullen, Clinton
Standings after nineteen events: 1. Smith, 873; 2. Thomas, 859; 3. Staskowski, 833; 4. Curioso, 756; 5. Flannery, 749; 6. Brian Andronaco Jr., 690; 7. Palmer, 683; 8. Vin Esposito, 624; 9. Sweeney, 570; 10. Duranti, 518
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Al Stone III, New Haven; 2. Brandon Plemons, Uncasville; 3. Ed Puleo, Branford; 4. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 5. Dave Trudeau, Mansfield; 6. Steve Barrett, Preston; 7. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 8. Joe Arena, Bristol; 9. Nate Appell, Westbrook; 10. Michael Caprio, New Haven; 11. Charles Beal, Ledyard; 12. John Blake, North Haven; 13. Bill McNeil, Niantic; 14. Jack Aquilina, Oakdale; 15. Ritt Shawn, Westerly, RI; 16. Thomas Stirk, West Haven; 17. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 18. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 19. Tommy Silva, Groton; DNS – Paul Gaedeke, Southington; DNS – Eric Bourgeois, Moodus
Standings after twenty-one events: 1. Puleo, 1004; 2. Stone, 979; 3. Meyer, 928; 4. Galvin, 922; 5. Plemons, 832; 6. Barrett, 766; 7. Appell, 656; 8. Caprio, 641; 9. Beal, 570; 10. Root, 423
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ray Christian III, Groton; 2. Glenn Colvin, Clinton; 3. Chris Williams, Waterford; 4. Nick Pappacoda, Branford; 5. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 6. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 7. Jeffrey Cembruch, Wallingford; 8. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 9. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 10. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 11. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; 12. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 13. Doug Curry, Groton; 14. Christina Kellerman, Stratford; 15. Joseph Fogarasi, Columbia; 16. David Sylvia, Preston; 17. D.J. McGouran, Westerly, RI; 18. Jeffrey Lee, Uncasville; 19. Travis Jurcik, Chaplin; 20. Ken Woodward Jr., New Haven; 21. London Minta, Clinton
Standings after twenty-one events: 1. Colvin, 960; 2. Cassidy, 920; 3. Williams, 862; 4. Evans, 844; 5. Brew, 798; 6. Cembruch, 779; 7. Christian, 713; 8. Pappacoda, 686; 9. Canfield, 681; 10. Kellerman, 658
Legends Cars (20-laps): 1. Dave Garbo Jr., Stonington; 2. Joe Mucciacciaro, Wolcott; 3. Dana Dimatteo, Farmington; 4. Paul Kusheba IV, Monroe; 5. Dylan Izzo, Westport; 6. Cory Dimatteo, Farmington; 7. Troy Talman, Oxford, MA; 8. Nicholas Lascuola, Brockton, MA; 9. Kyle Hardwick, Chaplin; 10. Joseph Parker, Weymouth, MA; 11. Richard Erlandson, Moodus; 12. David Johnson, Arlingham, MA; 13. Timothy Heath, Lebanon; 14. Taylor Martin, Windham, NH; 15. Nicholas owa, Middletown; 16. Kaz Grala, Westboro, MA; 17. Calvin Therrien, Vernon; DQ – Nick Ladyga, Voluntown
Standings after ten events: 1. DiMatteo, 511; 2. Kusheba, 442; 3. Garbo, 383; 4. Talman, 374; 5. Mucciacciaro, 346; 6. Izzo, 344; 7. Alessandro Vitelli, 320; 8. Kyle Rogers, 306; 9. Ed Field, 304; 10. Angelo Belsito, 286
Bandolero Saturday Showdown Series (20-laps): 1. Ken Morin Jr., Old Saybrook; 2. Taylor Martin, Windham, NH; 3. Joey Ternullo, Middletown; 4. Jordan Churchill, Lisbon; 5. Derek Debbis, Oakdale; 6. Jacob Urch, Suffied; 7. Cory Dimatteo, Farmington; 8. Corey Comeroski, Lebanon; 9. Jacob Perry, Pawcatuck; 10. Alan Eastman, Fishers Island, NY; 11. Nicholas Sowa, Middletown; 12. Rene Morgillo, Niantic
Saturday Showdown Series standings: 1. Martin, 69; 2. Churchill, 58; 3. C. Dimatteo, 54; 4. Ternullo, 48; 5. Morin, 45; 6. Urch, 33; 7. Morgillo, 23; 8. (tie) Robby Jones, 19; 9. Perry, 19; 10. Debbis, 14
Sources: Waterford Speedbowl PR