2013 Track Champions Celebrated
Keith Rocco claims 3rd SK Modified® Track Championship; Doubles as Late Model Titlist
Corey Hutchings, Ken Cassidy Jr. and Randy Churchill join Rocco as NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champions; Dylan Izzo, Anthony Marvin, Jon Porter and Brad Voglesong other Saturday division champs
Waterford, CT (January 11, 2014) – Over 400 guests attended Waterford Speedbowl’s 2013 Awards Ceremony Saturday evening at Groton Inn & Suites to celebrate the past season’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and other Saturday series track champions. Keith Rocco won his third championship in the track’s headline SK Modified® division. He also won the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division title to become the first driver in track history to claim both in the same season.
Joining Rocco as repeat champions were Corey Hutchings, who won a second Street Stock division title and Ken Cassidy Jr., champion in the Mini Stocks for a track record fifth time. Randy Churchill Jr. was a first time champion in the SK Light Modified division. Rounding out the 2013 Saturday Series champions included Dylan Izzo and Anthony Marvin who took honors in the INEX Legend Cars and Bandoleros respectively, as well as Jon Porter in Super X-Cars and Brad Voglesong in the X-Car division.
Nearly 70 race teams and drivers were acknowledged Saturday for their efforts during 2013 and special awards for the Top Rookie Driver, Sportsman of the Year, Most Improved Driver and Pit Crew of the Year were named in the SK Modifieds®, Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, SK Light Modifieds and Legends Cars.
Rocco, from Meriden, posted one of the most successful seasons in track history, led by 10 victories on his way to a third SK Modified® championship. He was also the division champion in 2010 and 2011. Rocco jumped on the competition early, winning the season opening event and three of the year’s first five races to set the tone. He trumped Todd Ceravolo of Gales Ferry in the final standings. With the title, Rocco earned his first championship owner’s trophy.
Not to be overshadowed, Rocco amassed 12 wins during the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division season to capture that crown. He teamed up with car owner Scott Fearn for the title run and won the class’s first two events in 2013, never looking back. In addition to becoming the first driver to win both division titles in the same season, Rocco’s 24 total victories at the track over the year set a new single season record, besting the previous mark of 23 set by legendary Speedbowl racer Don Collins in 1960. Rocco plans to defend both championships in 2014.
Salem’s Corey Hutchings competed in the Street Stock division for a full season for the first time in several years gunning for a championship. He met his goal, topping a stacked field that saw 7 of the division’s previous 8 champions in competition throughout the season. Hutchings earned his second Street Stock championship, joining his 1998 triumph. The span represents the longest between titles in division history. He won seven races to lead the division, besting rival Josh Galvin of Franklin for the title. Hutchings plans another season in the Street Stocks for 2014.
Cassidy accepted top honors in the Mini Stock division for the fifth time and second consecutive year. He successfully defended his title from a season ago, joining his previous championships in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. Cassidy, from Lisbon, overcame a hot start by teenager Garrett Denton of Hope Valley, RI before wearing his competition down with remarkable consistency. He racked up 9 victories on the year and passed 50 career victories in the division, tops in track history. Cassidy once again plans to test his skills against the Mini Stock division in 2014.
Churchill was the only first-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion in 2013. He came out on top in the SK Light Modifieds in his second season competing in the division. Churchill, from Oakdale, won four races and proved the most consistent of his peers, finishing each event among the top-ten while overcoming some devastating wrecks during his run.
The Saturday INEX Legend Cars series saw Izzo come away with the title, his first. A determined Izzo won six of 14 races on the year to lift him to the championship. The division continues to develop young racing talent, as Izzo became the 13th different champion in as many years the Speedbowl has hosted the class. Izzo is from Monroe.
The Bandolero, X-Car and Super X-Car divisions, attractions at the Speedbowl’s mid-week
Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday series, also made cameo appearances on Saturday events in a separate series. Colchester’s Anthony Marvin became the Speedbowl’s youngest track champion ever at just 9-years old after claiming the youth Bandolero class. Brad Voglesong of Middletown and Jon Porter of Canterbury won the respective X-Car and Super X-Car titles.
Picking up hardware for Top Rookies included third-generation racer Corey Coates of Ledyard in the SK Modifieds®, Chris Garside of Waterford in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models and Ryan Waterman of Danielson in the Street Stocks. Shelton’s Jeff Fialkovich won the honor for the SK Light Modifieds and Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott was the winner in the Legend Cars. There were no eligible rookie drivers for the Mini Stock class.
Sportsman of the Year Award recipients were Ed Puleo of Branford in the SK Modifieds®, Rich Duranti of Quaker Hill in the Late Models, Larry Goss of North Windham in the SK Light Modifieds and Paul Kusheba of Monroe for the Legend Cars. Waterman received the honor in the Street Stocks and Cassidy was the Mini Stock winner.
Taking home the Most Improved Driver honors included Craig Lutz of Miller Place, NY in the SK Modifieds® while Ray Christian III of Norwich and Phil Evans of Uncasville won the award in their respective Late Model and Street Stock classes. Chris Ivory of Oakdale was named for the Mini Stock division and Victoria Bergenty of Plainville in the SK Light Modifieds, the latter becoming the first female to win a NASCAR sanctioned event at the Speedbowl during 2013. Salem driver John O’Sullivan Jr. won it in the Legend Cars.
Pit Crew of the Year went to Kyle James’ Ashaway, RI based KJR Team in the SK Modifieds® while Jason Palmer’s J & J Racing Team was given the award in the Late Models. The teams of Josh Galvin in the Street Stocks and Garrett Denton in Mini Stocks took home the honors, while Churchill’s championship team was recognized in the SK Light Modifieds. Giovanni Giarratana’s team won it for Legend Cars.
The 2014 event schedule was revealed to the attendees and will soon be available online at Speedbowl.com or by contacting the track office.