Waterford, CT — Racing returned to Waterford Speedbowl Saturday night with a special 60th anniversary event for the Northeastern Midget Association plus NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing. The Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) is one of the nation’s oldest racing series, with roots at Waterford going back to its beginning. Greg Stoehr of Bridgewater, MA took home the prestigious win in the night’s NEMA Midget feature while Brandon Igo of Bondsville, MA won the companion NEMA Lite race. In Saturday night NASCAR action, Ledyard native Tyler Chadwick took the checkered flag in the SK Modified® feature, his second on the year, while defending Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model champion Jeff Smith of Old Lyme returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 2012. Chris Meyer of North Franklin became the first repeat winner of the season in the Street Stocks and Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon won again in the Mini Stocks, giving him six on the year.
Joe Perry raced into the lead when the green flag was shown to the SK Modified® field for their 35-lap feature. He led over Joe Gada, Al Stone and Ed Puleo over the opening circuits. Hard racing further back among Chadwick, Jeff Rocco, Rob Janovic Jr., Kyle James and others showcased plenty of side-by-side action. Just behind them, trouble broke out on lap-4 off turn four to bring out the caution flag. Several cars made contact sending Diego Monahan’s car into the frontstretch wall. Frank Mucciacciaro and Rich Brooks also got a piece of the wall, and James and Craig Lutz went spinning into the infield. When the dust settled Mucciacciaro and Monahan’s nights were done.
Perry picked up where he left off when racing went back to green, leading Gada. Stone secured third and Nichole Morgillo was up to fourth, just ahead of Chadwick. Ed Puleo and Jeff Pearl slid back in the outside lane to the back of the top ten as Janovic, Justin Gaydosh and Tom Abele Jr. raced forward.
Once the field singled out, racing stayed clean throughout the field as several laps clicked off the scoreboard. Gada glued himself to Perry’s back bumper searching for an opening on the leader. Chadwick picked up pursuit of fourth position, beginning to look outside of Morgillo for the spot. He made his move to the outside of Morgillo on lap-13, completing the pass a lap later. Just one lap after that on lap-15, Chadwick was by Stone into third. He sliced the gap to Perry and Gada, arriving at Gada’s back bumper by lap-17.
Gada turned up the heat on Perry, still looking for an opening on the low side. Meanwhile, Chadwick saw opportunity to get to Gada’s outside and jumped on it. By lap-19 he had swapped positions with Gada, who was back to third. Before the field made it around to complete lap-20, Abele spun in turn two collecting Pearl and Puleo to bring out the second and final caution flag of the race. Puleo was done for the night, while Pearl pitted for repairs and rejoined at the tail of the field.
Perry had to contend with Chadwick for the restart. Although Perry got a good jump down the front chute, Chadwick sailed into turn one on the outside, flexed his muscle in the outside lane and snatched the lead away down the backstretch to lead lap-20. Once clear of Perry, Chadwick steamed ahead to a strong lead. Morgillo picked up a spot on the restart as well, clearing Gada to move to third. The field ran the laps in rapid fire the rest of the way with Chadwick picking up the win going away. Morgillo eventually grabbed second from Perry on lap-29 to score her best career finish. James rallied from his early race spin to drive back up to an impressive third place at the checkered flag. Perry faded to fourth, while Gada ran with the leaders all night and took fifth.
Smith had to battle back in the 30-lap Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature to come out with the win. He began the race strong, taking the race lead and holding on comfortably over an opening 20-lap run without caution. Following a lap-20 restart, Smith lost the lead to Rich Staskowski who stayed with Smith in the outside lane after the race resumed. Staskowski powered ahead on lap-22, leading through the next caution on lap-23. Smith went back ahead in the outside lane after that restart, however had to fend off a late race charge by Dillon Moltz. Moltz also used the top lane around the Speedbowl to briefly lead the race including coming to the white flag. Smith dug deep on the final lap, muscling his way past Moltz through the final turn to take the victory in a finish that had fans on their feet.
Meyer took the lead from Norm Root on lap-11 of the 25-lap Street Stock feature, going on to an easy win. Meyer’s run ended a streak of six different winners to begin the season in the division. Meyer also won on April 14.
Cassidy took the lead on lap-14 of the Mini Stock feature, surging ahead of early race leader Charles Canfield. Cassidy held on over several late race restarts to claim his sixth win in seven events on the season.
In the night’s NEMA Midget action, Stoehr took home the Marvin Rifchin Trophy in the 30-lap feature race. It was Stoehr’s 11th career victory in the series, which celebrated its 60th anniversary season at the Speedbowl.
Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 5/12 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 2. Nichole Morgillo, Wallingford; 3. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 4. Joe Perry, Ashaway, RI; 5. Joe Gada, Salem; 6. Justin Gaydosh, Newtown; 7. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 8. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 9. Al Stone III, New Haven; 10. Jeff Pearl, Salem; 11. William Schneider, Northport, NY; 12. Adam Gada, Bozrah; 13. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 14. Justin Strumpf, Selden, NY; 15. Peter Pavone, Southbury; 16. Rich Brooks, Groton; 17. Paul French, Andover; 18. Ed Puleo, Branford; 19. Jeff Gallup, Feeding Hills, MA; 20. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 21. Diego Monahan, Waterford; 22. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 23. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 24. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; DNS � Gregg Hurley, Beverly, MA; DNS � Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 2. Dillon Moltz, Waterford; 3. Rich Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 4. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 5. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 6. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 7. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 8. Brian Andronaco Jr., Wilton; 9. Ed Gertsch Jr., East Haven; 10. Anthony Ryan Jr., Danbury; 11. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 12. Jason Palmer, Berlin
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 2. Dan Darnstaedt, Westbrook; 3. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 4. Corey Hutchings, Salem; 5. Bill McNeil, Preston; 6. Joe Arena, Bristol; 7. Ted Dupre, Westbrook; 8. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 9. Walt Hovey Jr., Chaplin; 10. John Blake, North Haven; 11. Ray Downing Jr., Westbrook; 12. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 13. Scott Young, Willimantic; 14. Alan Hall Jr., North Haven; 15. Tim Morse, Southbury; 16. Jesse Smith, Moodus; 17. Paul Gaedeke, Southington; 18. Mike Caprio Jr., New Haven; 19. Greg Moran Jr., Preston
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 2. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 3. Jeff Cembruch, Wallingford; 4. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 5. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 6. Bill Leonard, Charlestown, RI; 7. Joe Liskiewicz, Preston; 8. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 9. Joseph Fogarasi, Columbia; 10. Chris Ivory, Oakdale; 11. Joey DeGregorio, New Haven; 12. Doug Curry, Groton; 13. Chris Garside, Waterford; 14. Ray Christian III, Norwich; 15. Jeffrey Lee, Uncasville; 16. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 17. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; DNS � Floyd Chesbro, Griswold
NEMA Midgets 60th Anniversary special (30-laps): 1. Greg Stoehr, Bridgewater, MA; 2. Randy Cabral, Plymouth, MA; 3. John Zych Jr., Liverpool, NY; 4. Russ Stoehr, Lakeville, MA; 5. Todd Bertrand, Suffield; 6. Jeff Horn, Ashland, MA; 7. Mike Horn, Ashland, MA; 8. Jim Miller, Weymouth, MA; 9. Matt O’Brien, Wilmington, MA; 10. Doug Cleveland, Sudbury, MA; 11. Joey Payne, Fairlawn, NJ; 12. Lee Bundy, Kennebunkport, ME; 13. Seth Carlson, Brimfield, MA; 14. Anthony Marvuglio, East Bridgewater, MA; 15. Paul Scally, Raynham, MA; 16. Jim Santamaria, Burlington, VT; 17. Adam Cantor, Dix Hills, NY
NEMA Lites 60th Anniversary special (30-laps): 1. Brandon Igo, Bondsville, MA; 2. Ian Cummens; 3. Joey Mucciacciaro, Wolcott; 4. Ryan Bigelow, East Hampton; 5. Randy Cabral, Plymouth, MA; 6. Carl Medeiros Jr., Westport, MA; 7. Joey Payne, Fairlawn, NJ; 8. Avery Stoehr, Lakeville, MA; 9. Jake Smith, Stroudsbourg, PA; 10. Alan Chambers, Atkinson, NH; 11. Paul Bigelow, Berlin; 12. Danny Cugini, Marshfield, MA; 13. R.J. Turfano; 14. Kevin Park, Foxboro, MA; 15. Christian Briggs, Mattapoisett, MA; 16. Kenney Johnson, Bethany; 17. Andy Barrows, New Ipswich, MA; 18. Jim Santamaria, Burlington, VT; 19. Bethany Stoehr, Bridgewater, MA
Sources: Waterford Speedbowl PR