WATERFORD — The last thing the management of the New London Waterford Speedbowl wanted was a race-free weekend.
So when Saturday’s scheduled nine-division race program was sabotaged by inclement weather, the management quickly shifted gears and started making arrangements for a rare Sunday race program. The drivers were on board, resulting in an exciting nine-feature program that featured many breath-taking moments.
What could have been an empty weekend was turned into a Sunday spectacular.
Fans were treated to warm, sunny conditions and some thrilling moments.
Rob Janovic Jr. waltzed to his first 40-lap SK Modified feature win, but point-leader Kyle James rallied to win the second 40-lap feature.
Anthony Flannery was in control of the 30-lap Late Model feature, nailing down his first win of the year.
Twin Sportsman features were held. Al Stone moved into the lead early to capture his first win of the year while Jason Chicolas held off Stone to win the second feature.
Point-leader Peter Bennett captured the Legends win and Dylan DeCoster held off Corey Caddick to win a wild X-Car feature.
Brett Meservey captured his third Ct. Pro 4 win at the Speedbowl and Shawn Monahan was a winner in the Outlaw Sportsman race.
Janovic set the tone for the afternoon when he blasted out to an imposing lead in the first SK feature. Kyle James was second, but couldn’t get close enough to Janovic to make a threat.
It was Janovic’s 32nd career Speedbowl win and his 25th SK Modified victory.
“The car wasn’t very good in practice, but Ed Puleo and J.P. Puleo made some adjustments and the car was unbelievable,” Janovic said. “This was a lot of fun.”
The second feature was dominated by an unexpected competitor, Justin Albernaz, who is in his first full season at the Speedbowl.
He led for the first 30 laps of the race, but was hounded by Janovic and James. When a caution came out with 10 laps to go, Janovic had an opportunity to surge past Albernaz on a restart. Three laps later, however, Janovic was squeezed into the wall and James moved into second.
With five laps to go, James twisted his car underneath Albernaz to take over the lead for the first time. He held on for his fifth win of the year to maintain his grip on the point lead.
“It was all car,” James said. “I had a great car and I was able to track down Albernaz. He was blocking me a few times at the end, but he was doing everything he could to win the race. I don’t think it will take too long for him to get his first win.”
Albernaz was second and Janovic third.
Flannery estimates he has passed more cars than any driver in the Late Model division this year. He only needed to pass two cars to jump into the lead in Sunday’s race and then opened up a 20-car-length lead as he cruised to a win.
“It took me a little while to get in front, but once I did, the car was great,” Flannery said. “I have been waiting for a race like this all season long.”
Stone was in the same situation. He had struggled all season, but put together 30-laps of domination to win his first Sportsman win of the season and the 51st in his career.
“We have had a rough season, but we finally got our car back to where it was at the start of the year,” Stone said. “It’s nice to be back in the winner’s circle because this is the first time my daughter has seen me win a race.”
Chicolas dominated the second feature, but caution with three laps to go set up a final three-lap showdown between Stone and him. Chicolas got the jump on the restart, however, and held of Stone to grab his second win of the season.
“I just got on the gas as hard as I could,” said Chicolas, explaining his restart strategy. “When Al Stone is on your bumper, you have to go as hard as you can or you’re not going to win.”
Bennett was going as fast as he could in the 25-lap Legends race, but he developed a late problem — no brakes.
“We lost the brakes about halfway through the race, so the last think I wanted to see was a caution,” Bennett said.
“So when a caution came out late in the race, it was a moment of stress for Bennett. But he overcame Scott Limkemann on the restart en route to his fourth straight Legends win.
The oval turned into an octagon during the final two laps of the non-points X-Car feature as DeCoster and Caddick took part in a two-lap, no-holds barred sparring session that had the crowd on its feet.
There was banging, hammering, and parts littered all over the track. There also was a clutch finishing kick by DeCoster at the finish line who led by breadcrumb over Caddick, who crossed the line sideways.
DeCoster already had one win during the regular season.
Monahan wasn’t planning on racing in the Outlaw race — he was at Star Speedway Saturday competing in an Open 375 feature.
When the Outlaw race was rescheduled for Saturday, however, Monahan was a late arrival. He wasn’t tardy on the track, however. He blasted into the lead early and gashed open a huge lead over Jack Aquilina and Jon Porter.
The Ct. Pro 4 Modified race developed into an early confrontation between two cousins, Brett Meservey and Doug Merservey. When Doug Merservey dropped out with car trouble, however, Brett had a yellow-brick road to victory lane. It was his third win in four Pro 4 races.
“When I saw Doug drop out, I started to get excited because I thought I was on my way to a win,” Brett Meservey said.
Racing continues Saturday with the 11th annual “Wings and Wheels.” The SK Modified and SK Lites will be joined by the ISMA Super Modifieds, the Valenti Racing Series, the NEMA Midgets, NEMA Lites and the American Three-Quarter Midgets Racing Association.
40-lap SK Modified No. 1: 1. Rob Janovic, Waterford; 2. Kyle James, Sshaway, R.I.; 3. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 4. Todd Owen, Somers; 5. Justin Albernaz, Rehobeth, Mass.; 6. Matt Gallo, Berlin; 7. Matt Galko, Meriden; 8. Joey Ternullo, Middletown; 9. Rob Goulet, Southington; 10. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry.
40-lap SK Modified No. 2: Kyle James, Ashaway RI; 2. Justin Albernaz, Rehobeth, Mass.; 3..Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 4. Todd Owen, Somers; 5. Matt Gallo, Berlin; 6. Matt Galko, Meriden; 7. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 8. Joey Ternullo, Middletown; 9. Geoff Nooney, Southwick, Mass, 10. Wendell Daily, Gales Ferry.
30-lap Late Model: 1. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 2. Ryan Morgan, Pawcatuck; 3. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 4. Keith Scalia, North Branford; 5. Tony Macrino, Waterford; 6. Brian Norman, Clinton; 7. Mike Benevides, Westerly RI; 8. Dylan Cabral, Richmond, RI; 9. Vin Esposito, Waterbury; 10. Jason Larivee Jr., West Greenwich RI.
30 lap Sportsman No. 1: 1. Al Stone, Durham; 2, Shawn Gaedeke, Groton; 3. Phil Evans, Incasville; 4. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, Mass.; 5. Adrien Paradis, Plaonville; 6. Bo Norman, Clinton; 7. Rit Shawn, Westerly, RI; 8. Brandon Houghton, Thompson; 9. Jack Auilina, Oakdale; 10. Ronnie Oldham, Waterford.
30-lap Sportsman feature No. 2: 1, Jason Chicolas, Sutton, Mass,; 2, Al Stone, Durham; 3. Shawn Gaedeke, Groton; 4. Adrien Paradis, Plainfield; 5. Bo Norman, Clinton; 6. Jon Porter, East Lyme; 7. Jordan Hadley, Quaker Hill; 8. Jack Aquilina, Oakdale; 9. Ian Poland, Douglas, Mass.; 10. Brandon Houghton, Douglas, Mass,
25-lap Legends Feature: 1. Peter Bennett, Cromwell; 2. Scott Limkemann, Lebanon; 3. Anthony Bello, 4. Colin Haley, Ashford; 5. Nikki Vicarioli, Shelton; 6. Brian Zimowski, Enfield; 7. Corey Caddick, Richmond, RI.
25-lap X-Car feature: 1. Dylan DeCoster, Waterford; 2. Corey Caddick, Richmond, RI; 3. Bill Rheaume, Uncasville; 4. Will Rheaume, North Franklin; 5. Christopher Strickland, Uncasville; 6. Josh Piper, Clinton; 7. Raymond Herman Sr., Groton; 8. Chuck McDonald, Groton; 9. Matt Westover, Charlestown, R.I.
30-lap Outlaw Street Stocks: 1. Shawn Monahan, Waterford; 2. Jack Aquilina, Oakdale; 3. Jon Porter, East Lyme; 4. Vincent Pangelinan, Warwick RI; 5. Ed Flanagan Jr., Warwixk, RI; 6, Mike Olsen, Essex; 7. Brandon Lindhahl, Waterford; 8. Donald Perry, Warwick, RI; 9. Doug Rioux, Whitman, Mass.