WATERFORD — Bo Norman of Clinton says he can’t be disappointed with his 2018 Sportsman season at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
“The car has been great every week.” Norman said. “I’m just trying to keep my nose clean to the best of my ability. If the car isn’t on the podium, it’s because I’m wrecked or the car is broken down.”
The plan has worked so far. In six races, Norman has three podium finishes. He is sixth in the point standing. He needs to make one more step, however, to have a truly remarkable season — a step into victory lane.
“Every single week in practice and in the heat races, I’m on the Top 3 on the speed charts,” Norman said. “I’m a force to be reckoned with ever single week. I just need some luck to go my way.”
Norman will get that opportunity when the Sportsman division get ready for an important feature Saturday as part of a busy night of racing at the Speedbowl. In addition to the Sportsman feature, a pair of Mini Stock features will be on the card — a make-up 25-lapper from June 2 and the regularly scheduled 25-lapper. Kyle James will be seeking his fourth win of the year when the SK Modifieds go 40 laps. The Late Model drivers will compete in a 30-lap showdown, while the guest divisions will include the Ct. Pro 4 Modifieds and the Open Vintage Modifieds.
Qualifying racing begins at 5 p.m. with features to follow.
One of the reasons Norman’s season is on the upswing is because of the new car he purchased during the winter from Ralph Constantine.
“It’s the old No. 8 car that was driven in the past by Josh Galvin,” Norman said. “We resfreshed the motor and we gave the car plenty of TLC. We spent a lot of time taking care of the things on the car that needed to be taken care of.
“The car has been pretty good. We’re there on the speed chart every week and I hope this week and can be up near the front from beginning to end.”
Norman got his first taste of Sportsman competition at the Speedbowl when he and his dad helped out Nate Appell. Then he, his dad and Nate decided to build an X-Car.
“That’s what my mom wanted,” Norman said. “But we decided to build a Mini Stock instead. We kept it away from my mom and had to ask for her forgiveness later She still wanted an X-Car.”
Norman’s Mini Stock career started in 2005.
“Then I got out from behind the wheel for a while and Phil Evans started driving for me,” Norman said. “And then we got a Sportsman car in 2011.”
When Evans wanted to slow down his racing so he could help his son, PJ, get started in Kart racing, there was a vacancy behind the wheel in the Sportsman car. He decided that the best man to take over the ride was the one he looked at every day in the mirror.
“I wasn’t going to beg anyone to drive my own car,” Norman said. “My crew rallied around me — they all said that I could do it. As long as my crew is behind me, I’ll do anything. They are a great bunch of guys. They’re the same group that was there when Phil Evans and I started in 2011.”
Norman’s sponsorship includes Lou’s Collision and Custom Paints, Labriola Landscaping, Atwater Paving, Ken’s Auto, Sound Pools and Spas, the Aniskovich Family, GCR Specialties, Hocon Industrial Gas, NAPA of Old Saybrook and Guilford and Security Financial Mortgage Corporation.
His mom, dad, wife and daughter are key members of his crew, along with his brother, Brian Norman, and P.J., Ricky, Bruce, Al Stone and his crew, Charles Canfield and his crew, and Kyle James and his crew.
He’s hoping the crew can join him soon in a Victory Lane celebration. He’s coming off a rough week, however — he was sidelined by a fuel pick-up problem. The malady has been fixed, however, and Norman is ready to go.
“My plan is to have a good heat race, start out front and ride for a few laps,” Norman said. “I drive differently than a lot of guys. I’m not going to smash my way to get to the front. I know Al Stone will have the car dialed in for me and I’ll have a good ride.
“After a few laps, it will be time to start pushing it. I’ll give it all I’ve got, and hopefully by the end of the race, they’ll be chasing me.”
After all, he’s been on the podium this season. Now he just wants to take that final step to be on the top rung of the ladder.
James win in the SK Modified Blast-Off 80-lap feature last week, combined with a disqualification to Dylan Izzo, lifted James to the top of the point standings. He leads by six points over Rob Janovic Jr. … Jason Palmer, seeking his second Late Model title, has a six-point lead in the standings over Ryan Morgan. Shawn Gaedeke will go into this week’s Sportsman feature with a seven-point lead over Jon Porter. Doug Curry, who wasn’t planning to race the full season, has a nine-point edge over Nick Pappacoda. The SK Lite Modifieds, Speedbowl Trucks and Saturday Night Legends will be idle this weekend.
Contingency sponsors are still being sought out for Wednesday’s major 35-lap X-Car race as part of Wild ‘n’ Wacky Wednesday program. Anyone who would like to be part of the event by becoming a contingency partner should contact Mike Serluca atMikeS@speedbowlct.com. All money raised will be distributed to the drivers.
Perhaps the most consistent Speedbowl competitor has been Gaedeke in the Sportsman. He has two wins, one second, one third and two fourths in six races.
Charles Canfield has the hot hand in the Mini Stocks with back-to-back victories. He is seventh in the points, 34 behind Curry, due to back-to-back 16th and 18th place finishes.