Waterford, CT – Waterford Speedbowl provided heated action on the race track to contend with the spring chill in the air Saturday evening, completing a six division program in quick order. In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, Keith Rocco of Meriden returned to Victory Lane for the third time in five events in SK Modified® action while Dillon Moltz of Waterford made it two wins on the year in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature. Walt Hovey of Chaplin returned to the winner’s circle in the Street Stocks for the first time since 2010 and Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon won the night’s Mini Stock feature, his fourth on the season. Duane Noll of Monroe was a first time winner in the New England Truck Series while Scott Limkemann of East Lyme won his second straight Saturday Showdown Series event for the X-Cars.
Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. brought the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature to the green flag, however the field was unable to complete a clean lap as Tyler Chadwick and Diego Monahan came to rest against the turn one wall after tangling. Mucciacciaro took the lead over Al Stone upon the race start with Joe Gada and Ed Puleo behind. Gada cleared Stone for second who then dropped back into an early battle for the top five positions. Rocco was stout in the opening circuits, advancing from his eighth place starting position into the top three over the opening four laps before a second caution flag slowed his charge.
On the restart, Rocco vaulted past Joe Gada into second then quickly sized up early race leader Frank Mucciacciaro, making an inside pass to bolt into the lead on lap-5. Behind Rocco, Mucciacciaro settled into second position ahead of Jeff Pearl, who advanced to third past Gada. Caution was back out before lap-9 was completed for Monahan, who spun at the entrance of turn one while trying to make his way back into the top-ten.
Rocco got the jump ahead of Mucciacciaro on the restart, who then had to contend with Pearl who raced to his inside for second. Pearl took the spot and Tom Abele Jr. was next to challenge Mucciacciaro, getting to his inside on lap-10. Jeffrey Gallup and Rob Janovic Jr. teamed up behind Abele to get by Mucciacciaro’s inside and joined the new top-five running order. Janovic was not content with fifth, getting around Gallup on lap-12 to advance to fourth.
Out front Rocco couldn’t shake Pearl, who remained within four lengths of the leader. Abele stayed with Pearl but before he could mount any threat for second, Janovic had caught the lead pack on lap-17 and gave Abele pressure for third. The chess match behind Rocco was slowed by the fourth caution on lap-23 when division newcomers Puleo and Rich Brooks got together in turn one. Puleo pitted for repairs, while Brooks’ night concluded on the business end of the wrecker.
Rocco powered ahead of Pearl on the restart. Pearl held back Abele to settle back into second position. Janovic used the outside position on Abele to snatch away third on lap-24. A lap later, Monahan’s bad night continued when he got hitched with Gallup while battling for seventh spot, sending his car into the turn three wall on lap-25 for caution.
Rocco was out front ahead of Pearl by turn one when the green flag returned. Janovic filled the gap to Pearl’s inside and by lap-26, Janovic was the new face in Rocco’s rearview mirror. The final 10 laps were run without further delay and although Janovic gave chase, Rocco proved too much. Rocco won by five lengths over Janovic at the checkered flag. Pearl, Abele and Mucciacciaro completed the top-five.
Defending track champion Jeff Smith and Anthony Flannery battled at the front in the early laps of the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race before Flannery took control. Moltz ran in third behind the early battle for the lead, then got by Smith on lap-7 to close in behind Flannery. Keith Rocco raced by Smith to trail Moltz in his pursuit of the lead.
Moltz made the move on Flannery’s on lap-11, using the inside line to take over. With Moltz seeking his second win on the season, Rocco got around Flannery for second keeping things interesting up front. Behind them, Bruce Thomas Jr. was on the move as the race approached halfway. He advanced to third behind lead two as the race stayed clean and green with great racing by the top-ten.
Moltz rolled out to a comfortable lead as the running order stayed the same through lap-21. Thomas found a way by Rocco’s inside to take over second on lap-22, then slowly cut into Moltz’s lead. Time was about to run out on Thomas when, as they began the white flag lap, Rich Duranti spun in turn two just ahead of the leaders to quickly bring out the only caution flag of the race. The result was a green-white-checkered finish pitting Moltz against three-time champion Bruce Thomas Jr.
Moltz had a good restart and had the lead back into turn one. Rocco briefly challenged for second position, however Thomas was able to pull away on the final lap to hold the spot. Rocco finished third, with Flannery and Jason Palmer rounding out the top-five.
Hovey took the lead using a pole starting position for the 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stock feature. Behind Hovey, Ted Dupre and Joe Arena put on a side-by-side battle for second position which endured for several laps. As Arena edged ahead of Dupre on the inside of the track, Bill McNeil, Phil Evans and Josh Galvin were locked in a battle for fourth position. Their three-wide battle ended in a wild wreck for Galvin, who’s car flipped onto its roof down the back chute on lap-9. The car continued sliding down the track before it turned onto its driver’s side door, coming to rest in turn three. The caution and red flags were immediately displayed and Galvin quickly exited his machine. He was ok following the incident.
Following the cleanup, Hovey raced back out front of Arena. The field singled out and ran the rest of the way without further incident. Hovey’s lead was solid over the second half of the race with the division veteran looking poised to handle any challengers. He raced to his 18th division win, but first since 2010, by three car lengths ahead of Arena, who finished second for consecutive weeks. Dupre, Ray Downing Jr. and Ronnie Oldham Jr. finished third through fifth.
The Mini Stocks had trouble starting their 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature as pole-sitter Chris Garside looped his car in turn two in front of the field, triggering a multi-car incident before lap-1 was complete. Once the race restarted, Dale Sherman led Joseph Fogarasi and Christina Kellerman. Sherman showed the way through lap-7 when caution came back out as Fogarasi and Kellerman spun together exiting turn four, collecting Wayne Burroughs and Chris Ivory. Cassidy narrowly missed heavy impact, sliding across the track to avoid.
Sherman continued to lead after the restart. Behind him a host of competitors were all in the mix seeking a podium finish. Doug Curry went inside Sherman down the backstretch into the top spot on lap-15, however Jeff Cembruch took over on lap-16. Cassidy was a man on the move, rocketing his way through the top-five. On lap-19 he was outside of Curry
taking second position.
Cassidy was three lengths behind Cembruch when he began closing the gap to the leader. With two laps remaining, Cassidy was on his rear decklid. Cassidy made a move outside as the pair raced to the white flag, pulling even with Cembruch through turns one and two down the back chute. The Mini Stocks raced side-by-side for the win for the third consecutive week with Cassidy edging Cembruch to the checkered flag by .058 seconds, the nose of his car. Cembruch had to settle for second. Ray Christian recovered from mid-race trouble to finish in third, with Curry and Brew completing the top-five.
The visiting New England Truck Series put on a 25-lap feature which featured great side-by-side action for the top spots throughout. Duane Noll battled Chris Turbush over the second half of the race for the win. While they battled for the lead, early leader Corey Coates and Gee Perry were locked in a battle for third position. In the end Noll out-dueled Turbush to come out on top, scoring his first series victory. Chris Turbush was second while Perry and Coates tangled, aiding Jason Lafayette a podium finish.
Limkemann streaked past Pete Zaikarite to become the second leader of the 20-lap X-Car feature. The division’s race was part of the Saturday Showdown Series and was a final tune-up prior to the start of the Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday race season which begins May 2. Limkemann scored his second straight victory of the year in the Saturday series.
Waterford Speedbowl puts the Street Stock division on center stage next Saturday, May 5. They will compete in a special 50-lap feature and join the SK Modifieds®, SK Light Modifieds, Mini Stocks, Legends Cars and Super X-Cars. The Speedbowl returns to action next on Wednesday evening, with the season opener for the popular mid-week Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday series. More details can be found on Speedbowl.com.