Waterford Speedbowl fought Mother Nature with a six division racing card on Saturday night. Josh Galvin of Franklin took top honors as he scored the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stock Showdown race, an extra-distance event for the division shortened by rain. Keith Rocco of Berlin continued his hot streak in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, winning for the fourth time in as many events on the season. Rocco won his first SK Modified® race of the year following a brief rain delay, picking up the victory after an exciting late race battle. Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon was back in Victory Lane following the Mini Stock race and Randy Churchill of Oakdale checkered the SK Light Modified feature. Quaker Hill’s Jordan Hadley won his first career race in the X-Car division.
The 35-lap SK Modified® feature was another down to the wire involving Rocco. He battled Tim Jordan for the final fifteen laps before taking the lead with a power move to Jordan’s inside on lap-32. The last time the division raced two weeks ago, Rocco settled for second after a spirited duel with Tyler Chadwick over the second half of the race. Against Jordan he didn’t settle.
The race was brought to the green flag with Nichole Morgillo and Joe Gada on the front row. Gada took the lead outside of Morgillo to lead lap-1 and held the top spot until the first caution flag waved on lap-4 when Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. spun off the front chute into a soggy infield.
Jordan lined up second and used a good restart to take the lead from Gada, using the top of the track to wrestle away the lead for good on lap-6 after running two laps side-by-side. Gada moved in behind Jordan and rallied, trying to make a comeback on the top of the track. He got outside of Jordan but as the pair exited turn two on lap-8, something in Gada’s car went amiss and triggered a chain reaction behind him that sent the field scattering into turn three. Several cars made contact and Kyle James got spun around to return the race to caution.
Gada remained on the track and lined up to Jordan’s outside for the ensuing restart. Jordan powered ahead to resume his lead as Diego Monahan and Morgillo each moved past Gada’s inside into the top-three. Ted Christopher was next to get by Gada and the top group of cars raced nose to tail in single file formation. Christopher pulled out of line to pressure Morgillo for third, resulting in both spinning into turn one on lap-16 to end the green flag run. A tight pack of cars battling behind the two saw Ed Puleo and a charging Chadwick get collected into the turn one wall.
The running order behind Jordan and Monahan was shuffled for the restart. Rocco began to make his presence felt for the first time in the event after halfway, pulling into the top three after starting deep in the pack. The next green flag run featured some exciting racing by the top three cars. Rocco darted inside Monahan on lap-20 to snatch away second, then spent the next three laps pestering Jordan for the lead. Monahan stayed with the two and made an inside bid to reclaim second that Rocco fended off. Rocco continued to press Jordan looking in both the high and low grooves while James had recovered from his earlier spin to march back into contention, getting past Monahan for third on lap-26.
James joined the battle at the front over the final seven laps. While Rocco continued looking outside Jordan, James got underneath Rocco and the top three raced in tight quarters for three laps. James took second position from Rocco on lap-29 just ahead of the final yellow flag on lap-30 for a three car incident in turn one, setting the stage for a final five lap shootout by the top three.
Jordan got a good start over James and Rocco was able to get inside of James to reclaim second. That set up his pivotal move on Jordan for the race lead on lap-32. With the laps winding down Rocco slid inside Jordan in turn one and came away with the lead off turn two. Jordan reached Rocco’s rear bumper over the next two laps but Rocco hung on. Jordan finished second while James ended up placing third. Craig Lutz finished fourth and Monahan rounded out the top-five.
Galvin won a rain-shortened Street Stock feature after 44 of the originally scheduled 50 laps were completed. A passing shower ended the race putting Galvin in the winner’s circle. Lloyd Anderson Jr. led from the drop of the green flag through lap-13 when Al Stone took over command. Galvin worked through the top five cars until he took second on lap-22 ahead of a caution flag. That enabled Galvin to line up outside Stone for the restart where he fought hard in the outside lane to lead lap-23 by a nose. Caution returned with Galvin scored as the leader, giving him the inside over Stone for the next restart. Galvin pulled ahead and never trailed from there as late race caution flags mounted. The final came on lap-44 when the rain began to fall. The race was red-checkered and cars taken off the track before track drying efforts began. Ryan Waterman finished in second and Joe Arena was third.
Rocco’s run in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature tied a 43-year old record. It marked his fourth straight win in the division to begin the season, equaling the benchmark set by Mike Daigneault in 1971. Rocco trailed an early battle for the lead between Jason Palmer and Jeff Smith. Those two cars came together which sent both spinning between turns three and four on lap-8. Rocco got tagged from behind in the incident, which drew the yellow flag, but was able to drive through the spinning cars into the race lead. Once out front Rocco was never seriously challenged. Bruce Thomas Jr. finished second and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Tommy Barrett Jr. was third in his first start in the division.
Churchill endured a spirited battle with Glenn Griswold over the second half of the 25-lap SK Light Modified race on the way to his victory. He took the lead early in the race and was ahead of a grinding wreck on lap-6 that sidelined three competitors vying for position in the top-five. Griswold narrowly avoided the melee and went on to pressure Churchill heavily over the final 10 circuits. Churchill held back the advances with Griswold placing second. Corey Barry finished third.
Cassidy took the lead on lap-18 in an exciting Mini Stock feature. Pete Zaikarite led from the opening lap with much of the field battling side-by-side behind him. Zaikarite swapped the lead with Ray Christian four times over the first ten laps, however Christian got into the wall on the front stretch on lap-11 bringing out a caution flag behind him. Cassidy moved through the top-five following the restart, riding the outside lane into the lead past Zaikarite. Garrett Denton tailed Cassidy through the checkered flag but was unable to make a move for the win. Denton finished second and Wayne Burroughs Jr. was third.
Hadley won easily, distancing himself over the competition in the 20-lap X-Car feature. His career-first victory came in a race that was completed without a caution flag. Rich Nye was second and Zac Thomas finished third.
The Speedbowl hosts three events in the coming week. Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday, its popular midweek race series, kicks off its season on Wednesday, May 7 while spectator drag races and a car cruise highlight Friday nights beginning on May 9. Next Saturday, May 10 another six division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program is on the event card. Detailed information for all upcoming events is available online at Speedbowl.com.
Unofficial Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 5/3 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 3. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 4. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 5. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 6. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 7. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 8. Nichole Morgillo, Southington; 9. Jim Larsen, East Hartland; 10. Shawn Thibeault, Plainville; 11. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 12. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 13. Ed Puleo, Branford; 14. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 15. Bert Marvin, Colchester; 16. Joe Gada, Salem; 17. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 18. Paul Kusheba, Monroe; 19. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; DNS – Corey Coates, Ledyard
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 3. Tommy Barrett Jr., Millis, MA; 4. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 5. Anthony Ryan, Danbury; 6. Joe Gada, Salem; 7. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 8. Chris Garside, Waterford; 9. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 10. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill; 11. Nicholas Sowa, Middletown; 12. Robert O’Connell Jr., Wrentham, MA; 13. Jason Palmer, Berlin
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (44-laps - shortened to rain): 1. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 2. Ryan Waterman, Danielson; 3. Joe Arena, Bristol; 4. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 5. Corey Hutchings, Salem; 6. Greg Moran Jr., Preston; 7. Travis Jurcik, Chaplin; 8. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 9. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 10. Randy Waterman, Danielson; 11. William Hahnel, Uncasville; 12. Steve Barrett, Preston; 13. Lloyd Anderson Jr., Wauregan; 14. Nate Appell, Westbrook; 15. Al Stone III, Durham; 16. Monte Gibbs, Higganum; 17. Scott Sundeen, Sutton, MA; DNS – Ed Puleo, Branford; DNS – Paul Gaedeke, Southington; DNS – Jake Berchem, West Greenwich, RI
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 2. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 3. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 4. Dave Trudeau, Mansfield; 5. Chris Ivory, Oakdale; 6. Pete Zaikarite, Niantic; 7. Joe Liskiewicz, Preston; 8. Jeff Moffat, Smithfield, RI; 9. Doug Curry, Groton; 10. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 11. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 12. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 13. John Bowes, Willington; 14. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; 15. Ray Christian III, Groton; 16. Jeff Lee, Uncasville; 17. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Light Modifieds (25-laps): 1. Randy Churchill Jr., Oakdale; 2. Glenn Griswold, Vernon; 3. Corey Barry, Plainfield; 4. Larry Goss, North Windham; 5. Paul French, Andover; 6. Chris Ignazio, Colchester; 7. Crystal Serydynski, Johnston, RI; 8. Alan Tirrell, North Stonington; 9. Jeff Fialkovich, Shelton; 10. Rick Williams, Haddam; 11. Victoria Bergenty, Plainville; 12. Calvin Therrien, Vernon; DQ – Chris Correll, Uncasville; DNS – Joe Fraulino Jr., East Hampton
Saturday Showdown Series X-Cars (20-laps): 1. Jordan Hadley, Quaker Hill; 2. Rich Nye, Stonington; 3. Zach Thomas, New London; 4. Jeff Dombrowski, Oakdale; 5. Onie Pierce, Norwich; 6. C.P. Burdick, Deep River; 7. Ray Herman, Gales Ferry; 8. Kim Bickford, Griswold; 9. Mitch Bombard, Willimantic; 10. Mike Shaw, Oakdale; 11. Garrett Kuhn, Waterford; 12. Michael Olsen, Deep River; 13. Christopher Lee, Uncasville