Waterford, CT — Waterford Speedbowl provided heated action on the race track to contend with the spring chill in the air Saturday evening, completing a six division program in quick order. In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, Keith Rocco of Meriden returned to Victory Lane for the third time in five events in SK Modified® action while Dillon Moltz of Waterford made it two wins on the year in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature. Walt Hovey of Chaplin returned to the winner’s circle in the Street Stocks for the first time since 2010 and Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon won the night’s Mini Stock feature, his fourth on the season.
Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. brought the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature to the green flag, however the field was unable to complete a clean lap as Tyler Chadwick and Diego Monahan came to rest against the turn one wall after tangling.
Mucciacciaro took the lead over Al Stone upon the race start with Joe Gada and Ed Puleo behind. Gada cleared Stone for second who dropped back into an early battle for the top five positions. Rocco was looking stout in the opening circuits, advancing from his eighth place starting position into the top three over the opening four laps before a second caution flag slowed his charge.
On the restart, Rocco vaulted past Joe Gada into second then quickly sized up early race leader Frank Mucciacciaro, making an inside pass to bolt into the lead on lap-5. Behind Rocco, Mucciacciaro settled into second position ahead of Jeff Pearl, who advanced to third past Gada. Caution waved next before lap-9 was completed as Monahan spun at the entrance of turn one while trying to make his way back into the top-ten after his opening lap trouble.
Rocco got the jump ahead of Mucciacciaro on the restart, who then had to contend with Pearl who raced to his inside. Pearl moved up to second on lap-9. Tom Abele Jr. was next to challenge Mucciacciaro, getting to his inside a lap later. Jeffrey Gallup and Rob Janovic Jr. teamed up behind Abele to get by Mucciacciaro’s inside and became the new top-five. Janovic was not content with fifth, as he got by Gallup on lap-12 to advance to fourth.
Out front Rocco couldn’t shake Pearl, who remained within four lengths of the leader. Abele stayed with Pearl but before he could mount any threat for second, Janovic had caught the lead pack on lap-17 and gave Abele pressure for third. The chess match behind Rocco was slowed by the fourth caution on lap-23 when division newcomers Puleo and Rich Brooks got together in turn one. Puleo pitted for repairs, while Brooks’ night ended on the business end of the wrecker.
Rocco powered ahead of Pearl on the restart. Pearl held back Abele to settle back into second position. Janovic used the outside position on Abele to snatch away third on lap-24. Monahan’s bad night continued when he got hitched with Gallup while battling for seventh spot, sending his car into the turn three wall on lap-25 for caution.
Rocco was out front ahead of Pearl by turn one when the green flag returned. Pearl had Janovic fill the gap to his inside and by lap-26, Janovic was the new face in Rocco’s rearview mirror. The final 10 laps were run without further delay. Janovic gave chase however Rocco had too much. Rocco won by five lengths over Janovic at the checkered flag. Pearl, Abele and Mucciacciaro completed the top-five.
Defending track champion Jeff Smith and Anthony Flannery battled at the front in the early laps of the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race before Flannery took control. Moltz ran in third behind the battle for the lead, then got by Smith on lap-7 to close in behind Flannery. Keith Rocco raced by Smith to trail Moltz in his pursuit of the lead.
Moltz made the move on Flannery’s on lap-11, using the inside line to take over. With Moltz seeking his second win on the season, Rocco got around Flannery for second to keep things interesting up front. Behind them, Bruce Thomas Jr. was on the move as the race approached halfway. Thomas got by Smith, then Flannery to sit third behind lead two. The race stayed clean and green with great action from the field.
Moltz rolled out to a comfortable lead as the running order stayed the same through lap-21. Thomas found a way by Rocco’s inside to take over second. Thomas slowly cut into Moltz’s lead, however appeared out of time as they began the white flag lap. Just ahead of the leaders, Rich Duranti spun in turn two to quickly bring out the caution flag. The result was a green-white-checkered finish pitting Moltz against three-time champion Bruce Thomas Jr.
Moltz had a good restart and had the lead back into turn one. Thomas got away from Rocco who briefly challenged for second position. Rocco finished third, with Flannery and Jason Palmer rounding out the top-five.
Hovey took the lead using a pole starting position for the 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stock feature. Behind Hovey, Ted Dupre and Joe Arena put on a side-by-side battle for second position which endured for several laps. As Arena edged ahead of Dupre on the inside of the track, Bill McNeil, Phil Evans and Josh Galvin were locked in a battle for fourth position. Their three-wide battle ended in a wild wreck for Galvin, who’s car flipped onto its roof down the back chute on lap-9. The car continued sliding down the track before it turned onto its driver’s side door, coming to rest in turn three. The caution and red flags were immediately displayed and Galvin quickly exited his machine. He was ok following the incident.
Following the cleanup, Hovey raced back out front of Arena. The field singled out and ran the rest of the way without further incident. Hovey’s lead appeared solid over the second half of the race with the division veteran looking poised to handle any challengers. He raced to his 18th division win, but first since 2010, by three car lengths ahead of Arena, who finished second for consecutive weeks. Dupre, Ray Downing Jr. and Ronnie Oldham Jr. finished third through fifth.
The Mini Stocks had trouble starting their 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature as pole-sitter Chris Garside looped his car in turn two in front of the field triggering a multi-car incident before lap-1 was complete. Once the race restarted, Dale Sherman led Joseph Fogarasi and Christina Kellerman. Sherman showed the way through lap-7 when caution came back out as Fogarasi and Kellerman spun together exiting turn four, collecting Wayne Burroughs and Chris Ivory. Cassidy narrowly missed heavy impact, sliding across the track to avoid.
Sherman continued to lead after the restart. Behind him Doug Curry, Bill Leonard, Ian Brew and Jeffrey Cembruch were all in the mix seeking a podium finish. On lap-15 Cembruch, who had sliced his way through the pack, sat in third behind Sherman and Curry. Curry went inside Sherman down the backstretch into the top spot. Curry’s lead was shortlived however, as Cembruch went by his inside on lap-16 to take over.
Sherman began to fall back after his best run to date, however Cassidy was a man on the move rocketing his way through the top-five. He was outside Leonard for third position, taking the spot on lap-17. Two laps later he was outside of Curry taking second position. Cassidy was three lengths behind Cembruch when he began closing the gap. With two laps remaining, Cassidy was on Cembruch’s rear decklid. He made a move outside as the pair raced to the white flag, pulling even with Cembruch through turns one and two down the back chute.
The Mini Stocks raced side-by-side for the win for the third consecutive week with Cassidy edging Cembruch by .058 seconds, the nose of his car. Cembruch had to settle for second. Ray Christian recovered from mid-race trouble to finish in third, with Curry and Brew completing the top-five.
The visiting New England Truck Series put on a 25-lap feature which featured great side-by-side action for the top spots throughout. Duane Noll battled Chris Turbush over the second half of the race for the win. While they battled for the lead, early leader Corey Coates and Gee Perry were locked in a battle for third position. In the end Noll outdueled Turbush to come out on top, scoring his first series victory. Chris Turbush was second while Perry and Coates tangled, aiding Jason Lafayette a podium finish.
Limkemann streaked past Pete Zaikarite to become the second leader of the 20-lap X-Car feature. The division’s race was part of the Saturday Showdown Series and was a final tune-up prior to the start of the Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday race season which begins May 2. Limkemann scored his second straight victory of the year in the Saturday series.
Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 4/28 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Meriden; 2. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 3. Jeff Pearl, Salem; 4. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 5. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 6. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 7. Nichole Morgillo, Wallingford; 8. Joe Gada, Salem; 9. Ed Puleo, Branford; 10. Joe Perry, Ashaway, RI; 11. Al Stone III, New Haven; 12. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 13. Jeff Gallup, Feeding Hills, MA; 14. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 15. Rich Brooks, Groton; 16. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 17. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Dillon Moltz, Waterford; 2. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 3. Keith Rocco, Meriden; 4. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 5. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 6. Rich Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 7. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 8. Ed Gertsch Jr., East Haven; 9. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 10. Brian Andronaco Jr., Wilton; 11. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 12. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 13. Anthony Ryan Jr., Danbury
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Walt Hovey Jr., Chaplin; 2. Joe Arena, Bristol; 3. Ted Dupre, Westbrook; 4. Ray Downing Jr., Westbrook; 5. Ronnie Oldham Jr., Old Saybrook; 6. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 7. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 8. Bill McNeil, Preston; 9. Scott Young, Willimantic; 10. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 11. Paul Gaedeke, Southington; 12. Dan Darnstaedt, Durham; 13. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 14. Josh Galvin, Uncasville; 15. Alan Hall Jr., North Haven; 16. Mike Caprio, New Haven
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 2. Jeffrey Cembruch, Wallingford; 3. Ray Christian III, Groton; 4. Doug Curry, Groton; 5. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 6. Bill Leonard, Charlestown, RI; 7. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; 8. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 9. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 10. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 11. Christopher Ivory, Oakdale; 12. Joseph Fogarasi, Columbia; 13. Ken Lyke III, Orange; 14. Jeffrey Lee, Uncasville; 15. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 16. Joseph Liskiewicz, Preston; 17. Floyd Chesbro, Griswold; 18. Joey Degregorio, New Haven; 19. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 20. Christopher Garside, Waterford; DQ – Christina Kellerman, Stratford
New England Truck Series (25-laps): 1. Duane Noll, Monroe; 2. Chris Turbush, Riverhead, NY; 3. Jason Lafayette, Somers; 4. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 5. Corey Coates, Ledyard; 6. Gee Perry, Granby; 7. Roger Turbush, Riverhead, NY; 8. Tom Metcalfe, North Stonington; 9. Glen Noll, Naugatuck; 10. Bert Ouelette, Dayville; 11. Craig Cashman, Marlborough, NH
Saturday Showdown Series #3 – X-Cars (20-laps): 1. Scott Limkemann, East Lyme; 2. Pete Zaikarite, Niantic; 3. Wayne Shifflett, Preston; 4. Chris Garside, Waterford; 5. Troy Marvin, Amston; 6. Brad Voglesong, Middletown; 7. Shawn Stula, Colchester; 8. Onie Pierce, Norwich; 9. Melissa Clavette, Bozrah; 10. Kim Bickford, Griswold; 11. Kristie Hamel, Jewett City; 12. Ashlea McDonald, Groton; 13. Henry Lavallee, Uncasville; 14. Christopher Lee, Uncasville; 15. Chuck McDonald, Groton; DNS – Randy Johnston, Westerly, RI
Sources: Brian Darling/Waterford Speedbowl PR