(Jimmy Blewett #79 and Adam Gada #17 at Thompson Thursday after a pile up involving 10 cars)
WATERFORD CT- On Wednesday the ground pounders made an unusual appearance at the New-London Waterford Speedbowl, however, they did not disappoint putting on another great show as the open-wheel SK Modifieds always do at the Bowl and it was the first race of the year as they have been plagued by rain... Ultimately, it was Kyle James taking down the win. However, that wasn’t the whole story... A late race restart, showed Izzo lined up behind Owen after Todd Owen #81 used the chrome and his nerfs to horn on Dillon Izzo #13 multiple times just prior to getting by him for the lead. Going into turn 1, the two made brief contact but enough to send Todd Owen up the track, into an innocent Andrew Molleur who was along for the ride, ending Andrew, and Owens night. Izzo would be sent to the rear ultimately. This put Cory DiMatteo in the lead, but not for long as the 21 of James was too strong up top after coming from the back after going a lap down. James #21 received the lucky dog. It was his first win of the season for the SK Modifieds.
Mod Squad talked with Izzo about the controversy, “I am not a dirty driver, I did not mean to junk anyone. I planned on running him up the same way he did me in turn two...Not hit him on the restart going into one. He let up on the restart and moved up in between lanes, I was going forward and had the whole field behind me moving forward as like any restart. I feel bad and bad for Andrew all I can say it was not intentional that's not how I drive” He would say Wednesday night. “We hit in such a weird spot, one of those things. We talked, and it’s settled Todd and I are good we have a lot of respect for each other.” Dillon Izzo told our own Brandon Wilkinson Saturday before the SK feature... Cory DiMatteo and Dillon Izzo would rebound from the late race penalty to get on the podium. Ternullo in his first ever SK race was 4th, and a huge shout-out to an old veteran, Wendell Dailey, who finished 5th on Wednesday.
The SK Modifieds are used to getting the fans off their seats, but they were challenged for the most exciting race by the X-Car division. The Neon Cowboy, Eddie Loomis, who used to be a professional wrestler before starting his racing career, and Corey Caddick, a graduate of the Speedbowl Legends division had the closest finish of the night. It was Loomis taking down the win by one one hundredth of a second, Caddick, and Bill Rheaume in third.
The Super X-Cars feature was a right place, right time race. Dave Yardley used some mid-race excitement to his advantage to take the lead and win the feature followed by Donald Berge, and DennyLee Hoffman in third.
The Legends Division showed the true veteran, the “Coach” Michael Blaskey showing up young shoe Peter Bennett who would settle for 2nd, and Johnny O’Sullivan who would round out the podium. The Bandoleros showed the young generation showing up, but a familiar last name to the Speedbowl, Monahan. This time it was Brody Monahan, son of Shawn taking down his first win of his young bright career. Son of Phil Evans, PJ Evans would end up 2nd, and Theodore Welch would round out the podium.
Thompson CT- On Thursday night the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park brought back the familiar Thursday night card, giving fans a blast of the past from 4 years ago. Thursday night racing, what could be better? As usual, the TSMP crew ran a great show getting every feature in, and in great time even with the carnage. To start, the SK Modifieds put on another great show but also did wreck some race cars. Not only wreck but junked many cars, it was a rough one for some. But it was Keith Rocco taking the win aggressively over Woody Pitkat, working him over, and not being shy about using the armor on his car known as nerf bars and bumpers. This was after Rocco and Ryan Preece would take each other out coming out of 4 for the lead earlier. It was great racing by two true New England legends and champions Pitkat and Preece. Steve Masse would round out the podium in the Alvereze #07, finding quick success coming back to SK Modified competition.
Marcello Rufrano, Stafford SK Light standout would snag his best SK Modified finish in 4th and Troy Talman 5th. Only 9 cars ran all 30 laps, mostly a result of the lap 11 wreck where Timmy Jordan would spin in front of most the pack on a restart, ending the night for Jimmy Blewett, Matt Gallo, Todd Owen, Timmy Jordan, Adam Gada and others. Where Gallo would go airborne in a brand new car and ride the wall out of four and get ran into multiple times. Preece would later get his night ripped from him and go home with a destroyed car after being a victim of circumstances in turn one. A very expensive night for the mods and we hope they will be able to get back for this Wednesday's race at Thompson headlined by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. It will be very interesting to see how things play out with Pitkat, Preece, and Rocco after Thursday's race.
The Late Models showed that even when you put fenders on the cars, the racing can still create sparks and tempers. It would look like with under 10 to go that a very fast Ernie Larose would have the win in the bag until an accident. After contact Larose would have a very hard hit into turn 3 and the car would suffer heavy damage, Larose was ok. This handing the lead to Ryan Morgan, who would run with it, and take down the win. Rick Gentes in the #70 would finish 2nd and young standout, Nick Johnson would round the podium. Buddy Charette and Chad Baxter with his 2nd start in a Late Model at Thompson would end up rounding the top 5 out. After the checkers flew a very upset Pitkat would chase down Careys #5 on the backstretch to have some words and help show him the wall. Pitkat was running up in the top before a turn one incident that would force him up and lead him to lose spots. The Mini Stocks showed an old veteran outlasting another veteran. “Bonehead” Eric Bourgeois would take down the 15 lap feature over Dave Trudeau, and Jared Roy. Ashaway Performance Engines has been a big name in the Mini Stock Division for motors in the past 10 years and Bourgeois is never afraid to make that known and lets his success do the talking.
The Limited Sportsman Division would run their “Xtra Distance” event Thursday, and it would be a brawl per usual, but an amazing show regardless. Newcomer Kyle Gero in his #19 lead a good part early one with a fast car. But it would prove Ryan Waterman was the man to beat all day and proved it in the 30 lap feature taking down the win over Shawn Monahan, and Leadfoot Larry Barnett. Meyer and Brent Gleason would round out the top 5.
STAFFORD CT- On Friday Night at Stafford Speedway, the Twisted Tea Inaugural Open 80 event was held. It was a familiar face in victory lane, but scoring a huge win regardless. Tommy Barrett would end up being victorious on Friday night, but it was not easy. “When we hit the 13 in 3 I thought we were done. The left front was all out of whack, and the toe was out, but we stuck to our game plan and it worked.” said a pleased Barrett. At lap 30, Barrett would take rear tires and blister up to the 7th spot before a yellow at lap 40. The leaders would pit, putting Barrett in the 3rd spot. It was time for Barrett to decide to save his stuff hard, or get out front. The answer to that question was answered very quickly as at lap 42, Barrett would snag the lead and pull away, but putting the bait out there enough to save and make everyone behind him use their stuff up. “We wanted to set a good pace, but didn’t want to let it rip just yet. The car was on rails.” said Barrett.
A restart with 18 to go would prove key, as Rowan Pennink would throw the Casella owned 25 into 3 forcing his way under Barrett, and the next lap Tommy would pay that favor right back, retaking the top spot as this was great hard racing with contact between two drivers who can handle it. Barrett would run his solid pace, until 3 to go when a fast Chase Dowling really turned on the jets in the Paige #00. “I started to get nervous, but I just focused up and wheeled it.” Barrett would hold on as the checkers would fly, Barrett would show he was back in full force. “This is a big win, man. All these guys work so hard and it is so awesome to win here.” 80 Twisted Teas were given to the winner, and Tommy was not at all selfish in spreading the wealth on Friday Night. It was a big win, for a driver who can really lay it down with the best of them. Chase Dowling, and Dave Etheridge rounding out the podium. Barret is one of the best active modified drivers hands down, we all wish we could see more of this talented driver running more frequently as he puts on a show and always is a contender.
Jack Arute’s place, Stafford Motor Speedway is known for Open Wheel Racing, and the SK Lights did not disappoint on Friday. It would be the kid, Bryan Narducci beating the vet, Mark Bakaj in the 20 lap feature on Friday night, Bakaj did not let Narducci get away, but Bryan did just enough. It is clear Bryan has a huge future in the sport. Glen Griswald P3 and a very strong show for rookie Teddy Hodgdon in P4, It is only a matter of time before he gets his “W”. Nocera would round out the top 5.
The SK Modifieds was a battle to survive, up front between the likes of Wesson who looked to be getting the hang of the SK and Kopcik for the first 8 laps or so and then a fast Cipriano would join. Patience would prove to be the key, as neither of them would win as they were caught up racing so hard. Ronnie Williams and Ciperono would battle side by side for 6 laps. A yellow would fly and many more would follow as is often the case. After the multiple yellows and front runners involved the challenge for the #50 of Williams would now come from Reen who gained multiple spots by all the yellows, Reen would try but it would be Williams who would get the much-deserved win. Two of the Horsepower Hill SK Modifieds would be on the podium with Avery in the catbird. It would end with Williams, Reen, and Dan Avery making his return to a podium on Friday followed by Gervais, Jr. fourth and Matt Galko fifth in the best race of the year yet from Stafford SK Mods.
The fender divisions showed Alexandra Fearn's bad luck continues as she would get punted from the lead about halfway, but would rebound to finish 2nd to guess who? Ryan Fearn, her brother in the 92. “I think we had it in the bag if it wasn’t for what happened!” said A. Fearn. It is heartbreaking to watch, but the driver has a ton of talent. It would be pops, Tom Fearn taking the win in the Late Models, continuing his hot streak, and the Fearn Fender dominance at Stafford. Kevin Gambacorta, and Paul Arute would round out the podium. The Street Stocks showed the old crafty veteran, Brandon Michael taking down the win over the youngsters, “Mad Pup” George Bessette Jr., and Meghan Fuller who notched another top 3 in her rookie season.
Waterford CT-The Shoreline Oval was back in action Saturday and the car count was a breath of fresh air as was the nice weather for once. In front of a great crowd in the stands and packed pit area, the Late Models showed 3 graduates of the legends in full fender cars, Jason Palmer, Anthony Flannery, and Ryan Morgan would battle side by side all race putting on a clinic how to race hard but clean.
Many would say it was the best Late model race they have seen anywhere in a long time rivaling the great Late Model show last week at Seekonk only to prove what many true fans already know, you do not need 20 cars to make for a great race. Palmer would win from the outside, Flannery would make a move into 3 to try and make it 3 wide, and would ruin the run for Morgan for the win, Flannery would improve to 2nd, and Morgan the top 3.
The SK Lights showed Johnny “P Lightning” Puleo taking down his 2nd win in his 2nd SK Light race at the Bowl. In his RaceChoice sponsored #57 2 for 2, the kid worked through traffic, clean, and smooth. “I can’t thank my dad and Keith Rocco enough for giving me such a fast car. This one tops the first one, we had to come through so much to win tonight.” John O’Sullivan was oh, so close, in 2nd, and Keith Caruso the top 3. Chris Gombos and Brett Gonyaw would close the top 5 out. Alan Gombos would take a head-on airborne hard hit into turn one. This was one of the hardest hits we have seen in a long time, he was taken out by ambulance. We are told he had leg and knee injuries. We wish him a speedy recovery.
The SK Modified Division showed the Godfather showing some serious speed, Rob Janovic would lead all but a handful of laps until Kyle James would take the lead from the outside, as James started last. James would have a rocket-ship and make all the passes from the outside as this true 2 groove track provides the opportunity to do so. James would put on a show. The extra 5 laps for the SK Modifieds this season showed we are in for a good season, we have been saying it for years they needed more laps, heck we say give them even more. James would take the lead late in the going and continue to be undefeated. Janovic and Izzo would round out the podium. Owen and DiMatteo would be 4th and 5th.
The Limited Sportsman showed a kid living his dream, and there was nothing not to smile about. Shawn Gaedake took down win #1 of his CAREER in the Sportsman on Saturday along with a great burnout... “This is unreal, I can’t thank Chris Meyer who has come on board working on this thing all the time getting it super fast.” This kid had been putting on some shows so far and we look forward to seeing what he can do this season in his #9, Jon Porter, and Bo Norman would round out the podium. The Trucks showed some old-fashioned racing and some upset drivers. It looked as so Josh Stringer had the win locked up until Duane Noll would use the bumper with 4 to go, spinning Stringer around. Noll would restart 1st, and never looked back as Boyle and Karnes would race for 2nd behind him. Boyle who blew a rear end said 2nd was a total win on Saturday. “I would have never guessed we would have been on the podium, let alone one spot short. I thought we were done.” Karnes would look strong, but the old veteran would get him on the restart, making him settle for third.
The Mini Stock 50 lapper was flipping insane! Literally, as Chris Ivory ended up upside down, but okay. The top-notch Waterford wrecker crew would gingerly bring the car back upright like the pros they are. it would be the champ, Charles Canfield taking down the 50 lap event. Doug Curry and Ken Cassidy would end up the podium. Doug Curry, Nick Pappacoda, Ian Brew, Nate Taylor and Andrew Krzeminski would be the official results after tech. Taylor would drive the #31 of Tom Silva in the feature. In a stand-up move, Silva would give up his ride to point leader Taylor after and an incident between the two in heats would wreck Taylor's own car for the night. It was a long week for the Northeast Racing Scene. Lots of action and good racing was had all over. Hopefully, these crews can scramble and get the cars back out for this week. With lots of carnage this past week hopefully it is out of their system, it just goes to prove no one track has a monopoly on carnage and craziness, but that is racing, the action and unpredictability always on the edge is what keeps us all coming back for more. We are ready for another week here at the Mod Squad. We can not wait for the Whelen Tour Wednesday at Thompson. We will have more on that Tomorrow. BW