Saturday 4/5 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results
Waterford, CT (April 5, 2014) – Waterford Speedbowl opened its 64th consecutive season of racing Saturday evening with a seven division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program. Chilly weather greeted fans in attendance but the action on the track was hot as a first-time winner in the SK Modified® ranks delighted the fans. Ed Puleo held off all challengers including a late rally by defending division champion Keith Rocco. Puleo made it two wins on the night by also picking up the Street Stock victory. Rocco would not be outdone in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, scoring the win. Another first-timer found the winner’s circle in the Mini Stocks as Doug Curry took the victory. Jon Porter and Zach Thomas won the night’s Super X-Car and X-Car divisions respectively, and defending Legend Cars champion Dylan Izzo checkered that division’s opening race of the year.
The 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature was brought to the green flag by Puleo and Craig Lutz. The pair had some opening jitters with two false starts delaying the things before a clean third attempt. The opening two laps pitted the two in a side-by-side battle with Puleo able to seize command. Caution quickly flew on lap-2 when defending track champion Keith Rocco was in trouble, spinning down the front stretch from his mid-pack starting position. Everyone narrowly avoided missing Rocco with former Legend Cars standout and newcomer Paul Kusheba spinning to avoid Rocco, kicking up moisture onto the racing surface in turn one causing a clean-up.
Lutz got away from Puleo on the restart, using the outside lane as Puleo tip-toed through the speedi-dry left behind from the caution period. Great racing was on display throughout the field over the next four laps as competitors felt out their cars in the early going. Ted Christopher was trying to march to the front using the outside lane, however got into the back chute wall on lap-7. The contacted caused enough damage to send him spinning in turn four for the second caution flag of the race and sidelined Christopher for the night.
The ensuing restart saw several cars come together exiting turn four. When the dust settled Kyle James had the most severe damage with his car being towed from the speedway. Jeff Rocco, Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Nichole Morgillo and Joe Gada were among those involved but able to continue.
The action intensified when racing resumed. Puleo snatched the lead back from Lutz in the outside lane. Ryan Preece was making magic happen further back, rising through the top-five into third position as the race neared halfway after starting the race in seventeenth. Rocco rebounded from his early spin to move into fourth and those two teamed up to run down the distance Puleo and Lutz had opened up at the front.
Lutz kept the pressure up on Puleo looking for a racing groove to mount a challenge. That changed when Preece joined the frey, giving Lutz all he could handle to hold on to second as Puleo crept back out to a two car length advantage. Just as Preece looked to have figured out a way around Lutz, Jeff Rocco was stranded in the infield off the back stretch to return the race to caution on lap-18.
Puleo pulled away from Lutz on the restart, leaving Lutz, Preece and Rocco in a three-car battle for second. Preece dipped underneath Lutz, however the outside lane was the place to be and Lutz fought off the bid. As Lutz cleared Preece, Rocco followed suit, pinching Preece on the low side as he dropped to fourth by lap-21.
The top six cars singled out and ran nose to tail on the speedway setting up a run that would take the race through the checkered flag. The top three slowly pulled away and made for a three-car race for the win. Rocco turned up the heat and finally found a way to get to Lutz’s outside on lap-32, taking the spot a lap later and mount a final charge for the win.
Rocco got a run to Puleo’s inside exiting turn four coming to the white flag but couldn’t muster enough grip to make it stick. Puleo showed the way through turns one and two with one final surge by Rocco in turn three that was to no avail. Puleo was strong in his first career SK Modified® victory. Rocco rebounded from his early trouble nicely to finish runner-up and Lutz was at the front of the pack all night to round out the podium. Preece began to fade late in the race after his run to the front and finished fourth, while Rob Janovic Jr. ran a smooth race to claim fifth. Rocco turned the fastest lap of the race midway through during his march to the front.
Rocco picked up where he left off in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division one year ago. The defending division champion checkered the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature after starting the race in the 11th position, using the race’s only caution flag on lap-21 to catch leader Vin Esposito. Esposito assumed control on the opening lap, pulling ahead and holding the top spot until the lone yellow flag. Rocco had already climbed to second position and lined up to the outside of Esposito for the restart. Rocco used the outside of the track to power ahead of Esposito and lead lap-22 and didn’t look back. Esposito held of a charging Bruce Thomas Jr. on the final lap to finish second, with Thomas settling for third.
Puleo doubled up the competition by taking the 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stock feature. He benefited by a tangle between leaders Josh Galvin and Al Stone late in the race. The two came together in turn one on lap-20 battling for the race lead. Stone spun around to draw the caution flag and Galvin was sent to the rear of the field for the restart. Past track champion Norm Root Jr. was the new race leader, however he had his hands full holding back Puleo, who eventually flexed his muscle to take over. He closed out the win over the remaining laps, his second of the night. Monte Gibbs finished second and Phil Evans was third.
Curry looked strong in the opening 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stock feature of 2014. He was patient behind an early battle at the front among division stalwarts Ken Cassidy Jr., Sean Caron and Ray Christian. Curry rose to the occasion, surpassing each before steaming ahead of the competition to the first-ever victory. Charles Canfield finished in second position and Joe Liskiewicz ended up third.
Izzo was up to the task in the night’s 25-lap INEX Legend Cars feature. The defending division champion closed 2013 on a hot streak, one which carried over the winter months into the start of 2014. Izzo won his heat race earlier in the night and stretched his lead over the competition on numerous occasions during the event. Izzo was never seriously threatened en route to the win. Mike Christopher Jr. finished in the runner-up spot after a late race battle for the spot with past champion Dana Dimatteo, who completed the podium finishers.
The 20-lap X-Car race went down to the wire in a thrilling finish that saw Thomas hold back a stiff challenge from Rich Nye. The race ran without a caution flag following a false start at the initial green flag, with Thomas wrestling the lead away in the early going. Nye slowly closed a gap and was in striking distance over the closing laps. The pair deftly worked lapped traffic over the final circuit with Nye unable to find room to make a bid for the win in a close finish.
Porter dominated the 20-lap Super X-Car feature. Once he took the lead early on, last year’s Saturday Showdown series champion in the division pulled ahead and went on to the victory unchallenged. A spirited battle behind Porter saw Ray Reed take second position at the finish. Dave Yardley finished third.
The Speedbowl returns to action next weekend with the rescheduled Blastoff Weekend. 13-divisons will take over the shoreline oval in a three-day racing extravaganza. Friday’s open practice starts the weekend, followed by all qualifying and seven feature events on Saturday. A Pit Party kicks off Sunday’s festivities, highlighted by the season opener for the popular Valenti Modified Racing Series. The event is presented by Budweiser.
Unofficial Waterford Speedbowl Saturday 4/5 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Results:
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (35-laps): 1. Ed Puleo, Branford; 2. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 3. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 4. Ryan Preece, Berlin; 5. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 6. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 7. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 8. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 9. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 10. Joe Gada, Salem; 11. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 12. Shawn Thibeault, Plainville; 13. Jeff Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 14. Jim Larsen Jr., East Hartland; 15. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford; 16. Nichole Morgillo, Southington; 17. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 18. Brent Sweet, Monroe; 19. Paul Kusheba IV, Monroe; 20. Adam Gada, Bozrah; 21. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 22. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 23. Tom Pinson, Colchester
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Valenti Auto Mall Late Models (30-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Vin Esposito, Seymour; 3. Bruce Thomas Jr., Groton; 4. Ryan Morgan, Mystic; 5. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 6. Jeff Smith, Old Lyme; 7. Mike Sweeney Jr., Meriden; 8. Anthony Ryan Sr., Danbury; 9. Joe Gada, Salem; 10. Chris Garside, Waterford; 11. Rich Duranti, Quaker Hill
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stocks (25-laps): 1. Ed Puleo, Branford; 2. Monte Gibbs, Higganum; 3. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 4. Josh Galvin, Franklin; 5. Nate Appell, Westbrook; 6. Steve Barrett, Preston; 7. Al Stone III, Durham; 8. Chris Meyer, North Franklin; 9. Norm Root Jr., Old Saybrook; 10. Lloyd Anderson Jr., Wauregan; 11. Ryan Waterman, Danielson; 12. Scott Sundeen, Sutton, MA; 13. Paul Gaedeke, Southington; 14. Greg Moran Jr., Preston
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stocks (25-laps): 1. Doug Curry, Groton; 2. Charles Canfield, New Haven; 3. Joe Liskiewicz, Preston; 4. Christopher Ivory, Oakdale; 5. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Oakdale; 6. Ray Christian III, Groton; 7. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, RI; 8. Kyle James, Ashaway, RI; 9. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 10. Dave Trudeau, Mansfield; 11. Pete Zaikarite, Niantic; 12. Melissa Clavette, Bozrah; 13. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 14. Garrett Denton, Hope Valley, RI; 15. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 16. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, RI; 17. Jeffrey Lee, Uncasville
Saturday Showdown INEX Legend Cars (25-laps): 1. Dylan Izzo, Westport; 2. Mike Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 3. Dana DiMatteo, Farmington; 4. Kyle Elwood, Riverhead, NY; 5. Joey Ternullo, Middletown; 6. Kyle Rogers, Waterbury; 7. John O’Sullivan, Salem; 8. Ryan Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 9. Colin Haley, Ashford; 10. Scott Limkemann, East Lyme; 11. Cornelius Flynn, Hampden, MA; 12. Jordan Churchill, Lisbon; 13. Timothy DePizzol, North Franklin; 14. Peter DePizzol, North Franklin; DNS – David Lespinasse, Milford; DNS – Michael Comforti, Uxbridge, MA
Saturday Showdown Super X-Cars (20-laps): 1. Zac Thomas, New London; 2. Rich Nye, Stonington; 3. Onie Pierce, Norwich; 4. Ray Herman, Gales Ferry; 5. Matthew Westover, Gales Ferry; 6. Kim Bickford, Griswold; 7. Chuck McDonald, Groton; 8. Michael Olsen, Deep River; 9. C.P. Burdick, Deep River; 10. Garrett Kuhn, Waterford; 11. Mike Shaw, Oakdale; 12. Christopher Lee, Uncasville; DQ – Jordan Hadley, Quaker Hill
Saturday Showdown X-Cars (20-laps): 1. Jon Porter, Canterbury; 2. Ray Reed, Norwich; 3. Dave Yardley, Berlin; 4. Dan Butler, Waterford; 5. Rob McCormick, Calverton, NY; 6. Ken Downing III, Branford; 7. Matt Carlson, Griswold; 8. Marc Shafer, Groton; 9. Bill Reiman, Southington; 10. Ed Flanagan, Warwick, RI; 11. Patrick Broderick, Glastonbury