WATERFORD — Todd Owen kept digging and digging Saturday night until he finally struck gold.
The Somers driver made several attempts to dive-bomb underneath Rob Janovic Jr. of Waterford during the first half of the 40-lap SK Modified feature at the New London Waterford Speedbowl.
With 18 laps remaining, however, Owen got a dazzling run off turn 4 and swooped underneath Janovic in turn 1 to move into the lead. He maintained it the rest of the way to grab his second feature of the season.
Owen wasn’t the only Speedbowl success story .on Saturday. Jake Christian nailed down his first ever 25-lap Mini Stock win in a race rescheduled from June 2, while Bo Norman led from start to finish to capture his first ever 30-lap Sportsman win.
Ryan Morgan held off both Anthony Flannery and Jason Palmer down the stretch for his second 30-lap Late Model win of the season.
Charles Canfield fixed a broken steering rack and went on to win the regularly scheduled 25-lap Mini Stock feature, while Brett Meservey dominated the 25-lap Ct. Pro 4 Modified race. The Open Vintage Modified race was won by Scott Dion.
The Owen-Janovic duel was the highlight of the SK feature. Janovic started third, but wasted no time to move into the lead, getting by Justin Albernaz on the inside.
Owen quickly scampered into second place and kept challenging on the inside until he finally blasted underneath Janovic.
“Rob Janovic had a fast car, we always race well together,” Owen said. “It wasn’t easy to get by.”
Owen was running the car he started the season with at Waterford that was wrecked in the season opener on June 6. When Owen won on June 23, he was using a car he had built for Thompson Speedway.
“It was nice to get this car back,” Owen said. “The team worked hard on it an everyone did a good job.”
“The faster car won tonight,” Janovic said. “We had a great car, but we were just missing a little bit. It’s tough. Kyle James was off tonight and we stayed ahead of him, but Todd had a great car and was better than we were.”
James, who had won three of the first four races, climbed into third place, but never really was a factor.
“I think I have engine problems and that really concerns me,” James said. “We may be running on only six or seven cylinders.”
James still maintains a two-point lead in the standings over Owen, with Janovic four-points behind.
For the second straight Late Model feature, Morgan, Flannery and Palmer hooked up in a 30-lap brawl.
Mike Benevides led the early laps of the race, however, and then Tyler Chapman took over the lead before Morgan zipped into the top spot on lap 10. He spent the rest of the holding off a hard-charging Flannery and Palmer.
“It’s great that the three of us are duking it out all the time,” Morgan said. “There was some beating and banging, but we also respect each other.”
Morgan also climbed into a tie for the point lead with Jason Palmer.
Norman thanked Sportsman competitor Al Stone for giving him the car to beat in the Sportsman feature. After Norman jumped on into the lead on lap 1, no one was able to flag him down.
“This car was on rails,” said Norman, who has been racing at the Speedbowl since 2004. “Al told me that this was going to be my week and he was right.”
Adrien Paradis was second and Ryan Waterman was third.
The first of two Mini-Stock races turned into a dream come true for Jake Christian, a second-year competitor. He started on the pole in a race that was postponed by rain on June 2 and led every lap. Charles Canfield carved his way into second late in this race, but could not derail the Christian express.
“This is awesome,” Christian said. “I’m so glad to be able to put my name on the list with all the Speedbowl winners.”
“Jake was running the same line that I wanted to run,” Christian said. “I couldn’t get by.”
Christian, however, suffered transmission damage during the race and couldn’t compete in the second race.
Canfield was able to jet stream his way around the field on the outside , taking the lead from Sean Caron late in the race.
“I love this car,” said Canfield, who has won three of the last four races. “We did break the rack in the first race, but we fixed it and the car was on rails.”
Doug Curry finished second, but maintained his point lead. He has a 15-point edge over Caron, who finished third for the first time this season.
Brett Meservey said he had troubles with his car in practice, but that wasn’t evident in the 25-lap Ct Pro 4 feature as he bounced into the lead early. He was challenged in the first half of the race by Randy Cabral, but then pulled away.
“The car was real good,” Meservey said. “After practice, we made some big changes and the car seemed to work,”
The Open Vintage Modified race came down to the wire with Scott Dion nipping Ben Levangie at the line.
The track will be dark on Saturday due to the New London Sailfest but action will return on July 21 with a seven-division program.
40-lap SK Modifieds: 1. Todd Owen, Somers; 2. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 3. Kyle James, Ashaway R.I.; 4. Matt Galko, Meriden; 5. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 6. Joey Ternullo, Middletown; 7. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 8. Al Stone III, Durham; 9. Dominic Capuano, East Haven; 10. Justin Albernaz, Rehobeth, Mass.
30-lap Late Models: 1. Ryan Morgan, Pawcatuck; 2. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 3. Jason Palmer. Berlin; 4. Dylan Cabral, Richmond, R.I.; 5. Michael Benevedes, Westerly, R.I.; 6. Brian Norman, Clinton; 7. Tyler Chapman, Mystic; 8. Keith Scalia, North Branford; 9. Jason Larivee Jr., West Greenwich, R.I.; 10. Vin Esposito, Waterford.
30-lap Sportsman: 1. Bo Norman, Clinton; 2. Adrien Paradis, Plainville; 3. Ryan Waterman, Danielson; 4. Shawn Gaedeke, Groton; 5, Jordan Hadley, Quaker Hill; 6. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, Mass.; 8. Phil Evans, Uncasville; 8. Jon Porter, East Lyme; 9. Rit Shawn, Westerly, R.I.; 10. Dave Paradis, Auburn, Mass.
25-lap Mini Stock feature (rescheduled from June 2) 1. Jake Christian, Norwich; 2. Charles Canfield, East Haven; 3. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 4. Nick Pappacoda, North Branford; 5. Doug Curry, Groton; 6. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 7. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, R.I.; 8. Tommy Silva, Gales Ferry; 9. Andrew Krzeminski, Hadden; 10. Dale Sherman, Charleston R.I.
25-lap Mini Stock feature: 1. Charles Canfield, East Haven; 2. Doug Curry, Groton; 3. Sean Caron, East Hampton; 4. Tommy Silva, Gales Ferry; 5. Andrew Krzeminski, Haddem; 6. Ken Cassidy Jr., Lisbon; 7. Ian Brew, Wood River Junction, R.I.; 8. Bill Sylvia, Preston; 9. Dale Sherman, Charlestown, R.I.; 10. Larry Loomis, Mossup.
CT Pro 4 Modifieds: (Full Division): 1. Brett Meservey, Chatham, Mass.; 2. Randy Cabral, Kingston, Mass.; 3. Doug Merservey Jr., Chatham Mass.; 4. Mark Charette, Wolcott; 5. JR Gorman, White River Junction, Vt.
(Lite Division): 1. PJ Peters, N/A; 2. Dana Willis, Hanson, Mass.; 3. Tom Royer, N/A; 4. Steve Dumas, Quincy, Mass.; 5. Greg Phillips, Oakham, Mass.; 6. Mark Ryder, Brewster, Mass.; 7. Bill Lucchesi, Ptterson, N.J.; 8. Dion Doyle, N/A; 9. Ben Ashford, White River Junction, Vt.
Open Vintage Modifieds: 1, Scott Dion; 2. Ben Lavangie; 3. Gary Byington.