Waterford, CT — Waterford Speedbowl returned to action Saturday evening, beating Mother Nature to place six winners in Victory Lane and provide some great racing action. The Speedbowl’s very capable outside groove was in effect, playing a part in more than one winner’s path to the win. Tyler Chadwick of Ledyard used the top lane to take a popular victory in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature. Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature winners included Bruce Thomas Jr. of Groton, checkering an exciting Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, Ray Downing Jr. of Westbrook, who was impressive in taking the Street Stock race and Ian Brew of Wood River Junction, RI, who bested a highly competitive Mini Stock field for his first win of the year. In INEX racing, Matt Pappa of Nassau, NY won the 20-lap Legends Cars race and Joey Ternullo of Middletown took over halfway through the 20-lap Bandolero feature to come out on top.
Nichole Morgillo and Joe Gada led the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® field to green for their 35-lap feature event. The pair raced even over the opening circuit before Morgillo edged ahead into the lead on lap-2. Joe Perry raced to Gada’s inside for second, taking that spot on lap-4. Chadwick filled the hole to Gada’s inside next, moving to third position a lap later. Diego Monahan followed suit behind the top-three as Gada was kicked back to fifth position on lap-5. Behind Gada, Jeff Rocco and Rob Janovic Jr. led a pack of cars looking to advance into the upper echelon of the top-ten.
Chadwick and Monahan teamed up in the inside lane to get past Perry, taking over second and third positions. Morgillo continued her lead with the new tandem behind her closing in. Trouble broke out behind the lead trio as the field worked lap-10. Exiting turn four, contact saw Perry spinning around from fourth in front of the field. Several competitors vying for positions inside the top-ten scrambled with many becoming collected. Gada, Janovic, Ed Puleo, Keith Rocco, Frank Mucciacciaro and Perry each had damage when the dust settled. Janovic and Gada drove to the pit area for repairs however were unable to return, while Rocco was towed to the pits and done for the night.
After the cleanup, Chadwick lined up outside Morgillo for the restart. He stayed even into turn one, then blasted out of turn two into the race lead on lap-10. Kyle James pulled outside Morgillo for second with Monahan looking for racing room behind the battle for second. Monahan made it a three-car battle for the position going three-wide into turn one the next lap, diving inside Morgillo while James raced to her outside. The three came out of turn two with Monahan and James side-by-side for the spot as Morgillo backed out. Jeff Pearl closed to Morgillo’s bumper in fifth place. The excitement behind Chadwick allowed him to roll out to a several car length lead.
The lead grew to more than a half straightaway advantage over Monahan who eventually wrestled second from James. Pearl got by Morgillo for fourth position and closed in on James. The running order remained the same just past halfway when the second and final caution flag waved on lap-18 for Jeffrey Gallup who spun off the frontstretch.
Chadwick got the jump on the restart, leaving Monahan to battle with James for second. Monahan held the spot as James dropped back in third while Pearl held fourth. Tom Abele Jr. made a bid for fifth as he raced to Morgillo’s outside on lap-20. Morgillo held tight and Abele was forced to tuck back in line outside the top-five.
Chadwick led Monahan by a car length and the two distanced themselves from James in third, who was receiving heavy pressure from Pearl. Pearl looked prime to make a move for third, looking low on James on multiple occasions. While their battle intensified, Morgillo crept back into the picture in fifth.
By lap-30 Chadwick once again moved out to a comfortable lead over Monahan, cruising over the final laps to take his first win on the year. Monahan took second easily, while Pearl hounded James over the final laps but could not muster a challenge for third. Pearl finished fourth, holding back a final charge by Morgillo to his outside. Abele got by Morgillo’s inside on the final lap to finish fifth.
The 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature began with Jason Palmer and Anthony Flannery side-by-side for control of the race. They battled over the first five laps before Flannery eased ahead into the lead in the outside lane. Thomas was among the top-three early, and once Flannery got out front Thomas went to work on Palmer’s outside. Thomas moved to second on lap-8, leaving Palmer to duel with Dillon Moltz for third.
Thomas was in hot pursuit of Flannery, who brushed the frontstretch wall on lap-12. Thomas carried momentum low into turn one, racing inside Flannery to come out with the lead off turn two on lap-13. Palmer looked to use the hole created by Thomas to challenge Flannery for second, however caution waved for the first time in the race when Ed Gertsch Jr. spun in turn two.
Thomas resumed his newly acquired position at the front when racing went back to green. Palmer had got around Flannery for second but only one lap could be completed before Rich Duranti spun in turn four to bring out the second caution.
The top three held position over the next restart, bringing the race to lap-19 when Brian Andronaco Jr. tried an inside move on Moltz for fourth position. Caution was back out when Andronaco spun in turn four with everyone missing his machine.
Following the lap-19 restart, Palmer hung tough to Thomas’ outside. Palmer dug deep, racing hard to the outside in attempt to take over at the front. The two spent the next four laps battling in a dead heat for the lead, setting up the opportunity for a thrilling conclusion. Thomas was barely ahead as they completed lap-23, proving to be a pivotal moment as Duranti spun again to bring out caution, this time in turn two.
Thomas had the inside for the race’s final restart then got a great jump over Palmer, who spun his tires when the race went back to green. Palmer was left chasing back down Thomas, who went on to his first win of the year and 52nd of his career at the track. Palmer finished a strong run in second with Flannery third. Rich Staskowski and defending champion Jeff Smith completed the top-five.
The 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stock feature began with Downing showing the way from lap-1. Behind Downing, Joe Arena and Phil Evans raced side-by-side for second place in a battle that lasted nearly the entire race distance. Ted Dupre took fourth position over from Walt Hovey in a battle that endured for the opening five laps. Josh Galvin, Corey Hutchings and Chris Meyer were putting on hard racing just outside the top-five as great action could be found all over the speedway.
Downing’s lead stretched to nearly a straightaway ahead of the Arena and Evans duo that continued to race hard for control of second position through lap-10. Dupre was able to lay claim to fourth spot but Meyer was the one on the move as he picked cars off one at a time to challenge for a top-five position.
Although Downing was well out front, Arena and Evans didn’t let up their battle for second until caution finally waved on lap-22 when fluid from Bill McNeil’s car spilled onto the race surface in turn two. McNeil spun in his own water and went to the pits, while cleanup occurred on the track.
Evans lined up to Downing’s outside for the restart however the field was only able to make it a half lap before Galvin and Hutchings got hooked together in turn two, sending Hutchings hard into the turn two wall, ending his evening. Galvin’s night ended under caution in the infield after he was penalized.
The next restart proved to be the final. Evans hung outside Downing for a lap, but Downing scooted away coming to the white flag. He held on over the final lap to complete an impressive performance for the win. Arena was able to pull inside Evans on the final lap to win out the race-long battle for second. Evans ran a great race to finish third. Meyer got up to fourth spot at the checkered flag while Hovey finished fifth.
Christina Kellerman showed the way at the start of the 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stock feature. She led the first five laps before Ray Christian raced inside her in turn three on lap-7. The first caution waved before the field completed the next lap when Sean Caron spun while racing hard for position on the inside of the track in turn four.
Christian led on the restart over Kellerman, who dropped back several positions in the outside lane. Following Christian on the inside included Brew in addition to young drivers Garrett Denton and Jeffrey Cembruch. Kellerman dropped back in line in fifth position behind the new top four running order. Kellerman had to hold off the division’s hottest driver in 2012, Ken Cassidy Jr., who was moving through the top-ten. Just one lap was completed before the second caution waved on lap-8 as Dale Sherman and Joe Liskiewicz spun in tandem between turns one and two.
Brew lined up outside Christian for the next restart, racing ahead and into the lead outside the leader on lap-11. Cassidy was up to fourth position, past Kellerman and by the inside of Cembruch. The top two continued in close quarters when Cassidy got inside Denton for third at halfway on lap-13. Cassidy closed a three car gap to the leaders down by lap-17. Christian was making a move back underneath Brew, pulling back alongside on lap-18 looking to reclaim the lead he once held.
The three leaders put on a great battle for the win the final seven circuits. With Christian to Brew’s inside, Cassidy briefly looked three-wide down the back chute on lap-20 before thinking better of it and tucking back in line behind them. The top two were still even when Joseph Fogarasi spun off the frontstretch on lap-23. Christian had just edged ahead by inches to be scored the leader before the caution flag waved.
Brew was comfortable on the outside for the restart, staying strong and keeping his momentum back under the green flag. He was able to stay outside Christian and hold the lead by the slimmest of margins. Cassidy was waiting from third position for an opportunity that never came. The final two laps were run with the three cars under the proverbial blanket, with Brew impressively able to use the outside groove to edge out Christian and Cassidy for the checkered flag. Cembruch and Denton finished in fourth and fifth.
The Speedbowl returns to action next Saturday night, April 28 for another six-division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event.
Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 4/21 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 2. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 3. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 4. Jeff Pearl, Salem; 5. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 6. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 7. Nichole Morgillo, Wallingford; 8. Ed Puleo, Branford; 9. Al Stone III, New Haven; 10. Jeffrey Gallup, Feeding Hills, MA; 11. Pete Pavone, Southington; 12. Rich Brooks, Groton; 13. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 14. Joe Perry, Ashaway, RI; 15. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 16. Joe Gada, Salem; 17. Keith Rocco, Meriden; 18. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 19. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 20. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; DNS – Gregg Hurley, Beverly, MA
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 2. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 3. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 4. Richard Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 5. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 6. Dillon Moltz, Waterford; 7. Keith Rocco, Meriden; 8. Joe Curioso, Pawcatuck; 9. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 10. Brian Andronaco Jr., Wilton; 11. Ed Gertsch Jr., East Haven; 12. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 13. Anthony Ryan Jr., Danbury
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ray Downing Jr., Westbrook; 2. Joe Arena, Bristol; 3. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 4. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 5. Walt Hovey Jr., Chaplin; 6. Ted Dupre, Westbrook; 7. Mike Caprio, New Haven; 8. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 9. Dan Darnstaedt, Durham; 10. Ronnie Oldham Jr., Old Saybrook; 11. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 12. Scott Young, Wilimantic; 13. John Blake, North Haven; 14. Corey Hutchings, Salem; 15. Bill McNeil, Preston; 16. Paul Gaedeke, Southington; DQ – Josh Galvin, Franklin
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 2. Ray Christian III, Groton; 3. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 4. Jeffrey Cembruch, Wallingford; 5. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 6. Christina Kellerman, Stratford; 7. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 8. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 9. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 10. Jeffrey Lee, Uncasville; 11. Doug Curry, Groton; 12. Joseph Fogarasi, Columbia; 13. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; 14. Floyd Chesbro, Griswold; 15. Christopher Ivory, 16. Joe Liskiewicz, Preston; 17. Chris Garside, Waterford; 18. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 19. Bill Leonard, Charlestown, RI
Sources: Waterford Speedbowl PR