WATERFORD CT: The 3rd and final opener of the CT racing scene this past weekend was at The New-London Waterford Speedbowl. We arrived on Wednesday with the camper in tow and set up the Mod Squad Racing Media Camp compound. We were glad to see so many friends and fans throughout the weekend and got to spend time with them until Monday AM.
On Friday a group of us jumped in a truck and made the trip up to Stafford for their first regular night of racing. With the possibility of poor weather the crowd could have been stronger but you know us, the threat of a little rain doesn't keep us away from a race. In the Street stocks the girls dominated the field with rookie Meghan Fuller taking the win followed by Nicole Chambrello and George Bassette, JR taking third. The limited late models would end the feature with Jeremy Lavoie on the podium followed by Alexandra Fearn and Ryan Fearn. The SK light division had the second largest field of the night at 22 cars. Bryan Narducci, a rookie in the division, would put on a show as he worked towards the front. If they had a few more laps or one more restart we believe he would have been able to park it P1 but as the feature ended it would be George Nocera Jr with the win followed by Bryan Narducci and then Chris Viens. The Late Model field would unfortunately be a bit light with only 11 cars taking the green. On Friday at the completion of their 30 lap feature Micheal Wray was able to pull out the win followed by Paul Arute and Tom Fearn. To finish off the night the SK mods would take the stage for their 40 lap feature. The 24 car field would fight hard to the end where Keith Rocco would come up with his second win on the season and fourth consecutive win at Stafford. Following Rocco was Ronnie Wiliams, Mike Christopher Jr, Todd Owen and Rowan Pennink to finish out the top five finishers.
After the races at Stafford we all ran back to Waterford to camp out in preparation for all of the Wednesday and Saturday night divisions that would be in action for the two day show. Along with all the regular divisions the NEMA, NEMA Light, TQ Midgets, and the Valenti Modified Racing Series were all in town for the event as it made for a crazy card of racing for the track crew, and teams with the 15 divisions on hand. A great crowd both in the stands and a packed pit area open to the public where kids are welcome was great to see. All this with the most affordable prices around, $30 two day grandstand pass and $40 two day pass for the pits. It showed a welcoming fan friendly atmosphere to those that were there to watch some great racing.
The Saturday show was headlined by not only beautiful weather but the VMRS. A strong 27 cars were on the grounds, and it was Eric Goodale, Rowan Pennink, and Dave Etheridge winning their respective heat races. As the race got going, it was clear Rowan Pennink would have a strong car after a couple laps, but Goodale would not give up easy as he had a strong car to start as well. Eleven cautions would slow the event including a big wreck in turn 1 on lap 10 where Woody Pitkat in a very fast #52 from the front rows would spin after a flat tire and collect Pennink, and many others on a restart. A long run would ensue to allow guys who were in that wreck to start their march to the front, one of which being Mike Willis who had to pit to look over the car after being pushed into the wreck. Willis would drive from 24th to 7th along with Pennink leading the way until lap 67 where John Montesanto in the Jason Sechrist owned number 23CT and Rob Richardi would tangle in turns 3 and 4. At this point race control was not happy with the drivers’ use of the bumper, even giving some drivers their last warning...tempers were running high at the shoreline oval.
The race would stretch out to lap 81 until the top 5 cars would battle and Mike Holdridge with a very competitive #0 would go around on the front stretch. Nocella and Pennink would drive alongside one another sharing displeasure under caution. The next lap and a half would go clean until Ron Silk in the Stuart #85 would slide up to the wall and stop to avoid contact. This would lead to a string of cautions and more notably Ryan Doucette who ended up in the turn 2 wall, but was able to walk away. As the last 13 laps would go green, it would be Rowan Pennink who despite being involved in two altercations would bring the 25 to victory lane. Anthony Flannery #25CT, a Speedbowl Late Model regular, put on an impressive show as he turned many heads with his strong running all night in only a handful of times ever in a modified. Anthony Nocella would round the top 3. Woody Pitkat and Mike Willis Jr. would round out the top 5. “We tried some crazy stuff that I would have never thought would work, but it did.” Car owner Gary Casella told Mod Squad after the race. “A half a turn away and some luck we could have had something for the leaders..” said an excited Mike Willis in technical inspection. The next race for the VMRS will be at Stafford in two weeks time.
The NEMA and NEMA Light races were generally clean, but fast per the usual. The NEMA Midgets showed Paul “Dangerous” Scally finally putting that 30 car in victory lane over rival Randy Cabral. The NEMA Lights showed a true clinic by a big family name in the NEMA history books. Avery Stoehr would take down the win over the brother-sister combination of Danny and Megan Cugini. The TQ Midgets highlighted by NASCAR Whelen Tour driver, Matt Swanson the TQ's showed a familiar face to victory lane; Buddy Sload. Matt Janisch and Ryan Tidman who is so good at the Speedbowl just couldn’t get the drive off he needed, but would round out the podium on Saturday.
The Pro-4 race was all green, as Brett Meservey, and PJ Peters in a GRE6 house built car would dominate the Pro, and Light divisions. The Super X, and X Car divisions would also run after the VMRS, but they would not disappoint after a great VMRS race, as it would be veteran Ray Reed taking down the Super-X race over Dave Yardley and Marc Shafer. In the X-Car race it would be the 2016 graduate of Chariho High School, Corey Caddick taking the win over the Neon Cowboy, Eddie Loomis and Dylan Decoster.
The Sunday Portion would start with a packed pit party on track for fans and driver to talk, sign autographs, interact and even some lucky kids big and small got to sit in a race car. The Bandolero Feature, besides a violent flip into turn 1, was clean and green. It would show the 3rd generation driver, Tyler Barry take the win over Tyler Alkas and Ethan Simmons.The coach, Mike Blaskey would show the kids how it was done, as he would take the win on Sunday over Scott Limkemann, and Tyler Chapman in the legends.
The truck race was a dominant showing of a home track hero, Jim Boyle. Boyle would lead flag to flag on Sunday. “About 2 weeks ago, my brother passed away. This one is for Charlie.” Said a choked up Boyle in victory lane. Our best wishes to the entire Boyle family. P2 would go to Duane Noll and Todd Taylor for 3rd.
The Mini Stock feature showed a fast driver finally notching win #1. Nathan Taylor was victorious on Sunday over the veterans Charles Canfield and Ken Cassidy to finally got the monkey off his back.
With weather in the area, there was no thunder, but just lightning in the SK Lights feature as it was Johnny-P-Lightning, Jon Puleo would take down his first EVER SK light win in one of his first outings in a modified in his RaceChoice #57, over Brett Gonyaw who is wheeling the beautiful #88 Gatorade car of Larry Goss. Darrel Waltrip "DW" would Tweet about the sharp looking #88 mod that is a throwback look to his iconic Gatorade Cup car "Bertha." 3rd over the line would be Bert Ouellette in the the Burdick owned iconic 151. This was a great race and looks to be a great division to watch this year. After tech infractions the official top 3 would be Jon Puleo, Christopher Correll, and Wayne Burroughs.
The Limited Sportsman would be red flagged due to rain and the reaming 21 laps will be run on top of this weeks regular schedule. Late Models will run double features in a couple weeks as they did not get to race Sunday as well. This Saturdays SK race will be replaced by the blast off SK 80 make up and the normal SK 40 will be doubled head on a Saturday in the near future.
The headline division and big show of this past Sunday before the rain was the 80 lap SK mod feature that is paying big money. It would be postponed to this Saturday night as well and will be the SK race for the night. Last weekends winners prize started at $2,600 when it was announced last Thursday and was up to over $3,600 by Sunday with much more in contingency money. A disappointing 11 SK's showed up and group qualified. With the looming weather, other tracks opening day and others running along with the short notice of the big pay out with multiple teams noting cars and engines not being ready had an effect on this low car count. Every cloud has a silver lining, Since new money keeps being added to the winners purse each day along with lap leaders, and special paying awards throughout the race. New SK mods will be allowed to show up and be added to the field, just as purse money is being allowed to be added every day.
In this big event Saturday. The added cars will have to group qualify for positions behind the original 11 that qualified this past weekend. As of noon Wednesday it is over $4,000 to win, $2,050 2nd, $1,350 to 3rd and all positions are also doubled from the weekly purse. With almost $3,500 in bonus money spread through the race as well with a total payout so far over $17,200. This is one you do not want to miss as a driver or a fan. Teams and fans have been talking about wanting bigger purses all over and the Speedbowl, along with businesses and fans, have stepped up and got this movement going. Come on out and support the track as a team and fan. Show them they made the right move listening and stepping up to help address a common issue and complaint of local short track racing everywhere. Lets keep the energy and momentum going! Share this, lets get the word out to fans and teams everywhere. Here is the money, who is going to brave the Bowl and put on a show proving they want it the most!!
We want to give a huge shout out to RaceChoice.com who after Mod Squad Racing Media reached out we are happy to announced they offered to add $1,300 to the race payout. Please support those who are helping make short track racing the best it can be. We also have contributed money as well and if you or your business would like to add to it and get recognized and promoted contact us here or Mike Serluca from the Waterford Speedbowl. See you there Saturday. Here is a Link to the pay break down as of Wednesday AM but we expect it to keep growing HERE. Keep watching the Speedbowl Facebook page as well as the Mod Squad Racing Meida Facebook page for updates. #ModOn BowlStrong #ShortTrackNation Stay tuned to our Facebook page for our Full album from this past weekend that will be out in a week or so.