Waterford, CT (October 25, 2015) – Short track auto racing returned to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Sunday with the inaugural running of the Bemers Super Bowl, closing short track auto racing in New England for the year. Highlighting racing action was the final Tri-Track Modified Series race of the year. Woody Pitkat claimed the division’s main event, earning a hefty paycheck for his efforts on the day. The 19th annual SK Modified® Nationals race put big money on the line and Keith Rocco won that division’s biggest payday of the season in a wild race. Rocco also won the Late Model feature, his second victory of the day, Nick Salva checkered the SK Light Modified race and Dylan Izzo claimed a special event for the INEX Legend Cars.
Pitkat unofficially earned nearly $8,000 following the day’s Tri-Track Modified Series events. He finished second in his 35-lap semi main event race, then came out on top of the division’s 65-lap main event. Pitkat began the main event in ninth and was in contention by lap-13 when he climbed into third position. Following a lap-18 caution flag, Pitkat outmuscled early race leader Steve Masse to take command.
Masse used his pole starting position to lead Todd Annarummo to lap-1. Before the field could complete lap-2, caution waved for Richard Savary who was stopped at the top of the track in turn three. Masse led Annarummo through lap-8 when contact with David Schneider left Brendon Bock’s car halted on the back chute, bringing the race back under the yellow flag. Pitkat used the next green flag sprint to get among the leaders in advance of a lap-18 caution for a six car melee that collected Ted Christopher and ended the race for Anthony Nocella, Eric Berndt and Norm Wrenn among others.
Pitkat wrestled the lead from Masse when racing resumed, pulling ahead as Les Hinckley climbed into the top-three with a strong run. Jon McKennedy was black flagged from fourth position to bring the race to its final caution on lap-26, and Keith Rocco retired from a run among the top group of cars with mechanical troubles on his machine while the race was slowed.
Pitkat jumped back out front on the restart and distanced himself as Hinckley got around Masse for second. Hinckley was keeping Pitkat in his sights as the field began what turned out to be a 39 lap stretch run through the checkered flag. As the top two positions had settled down, attention was on Ron Silk rising through the top-five looking for a sweep of the Speedbowl Tri-Track Modified Series races in 2015. Silk was third on lap-49 with an outside move on Masse.
As the laps counted down, Pitkat stayed in attack mode. He cushioned his lead further as Hinckley began to fall into the sights of Silk. With no further caution periods to reset the field, Pitkat was able to drive to an impressive victory. Hinckley finished second with a strong showing and Silk ran out of time to advance his position, ending a successful day with his team in third. Christopher bounced back to finish fourth, and Ryan Preece was steady all race to wind up fifth. Pitkat’s margin of victory was over two seconds ahead Hinckley and four cautions slowed the race.
Earlier in the day, Eric Berndt and Silk shared honors winning the two Tri-Track Modified Series 35-lap semi main events, netting $3,000 payouts apiece. Berndt won the first by leading all 35 laps, holding on through five yellow flags. Just two cautions slowed Silk’s run in the second semi main event, taking the lead from Christopher on lap-23 and pulling away for the win.
Rocco took home his third consecutive SK Modified® Nationals race, capturing the 75-lap feature with an impressive drive to the front to claim over $5,000 in prize money. Rocco, who captured his fifth division championship in 2015, set forth on a determined march to the front during a green flag run that brought the race to lap-28. He battled hard with Ted Christopher during the middle of the race, then fought off all challenges over a series of late caution flags to close out the win over a banner field of competitors chasing the prestigious victory.
The race began with Craig Lutz taking the early lead from his pole starting position. Christopher quickly made his way to second position following a lap-7 restart when the first caution of the race came out. Christopher overtook Lutz in the Speedbowl’s very capable outside groove to nose ahead on lap-13, then pull away in the lead on lap-14.
Rocco was on the move during that span, picking off competitors one at a time to close to Christopher’s bumper on lap-19. He dogged Christopher for the next several laps, draping Christopher’s rear bumper in both the high and low racing grooves to no avail. Christopher deftly defended each attempt until the third caution flag came on lap-28 to momentarily cool the action at the front.
Rocco got a good restart in the outside lane when the green flag returned, able to lead lap-29 by a bumper over Christopher. On lap-30 Rocco had cleared Christopher, only to see Christopher take the top spot back in turn one on lap-35 with a bold inside maneuver. A lap later, Rocco was back inside of Christopher through turns three and four, leaving Christopher to try and counter. While all eyes were out front, Matt Hirschman quietly worked his way into the top-five looking poised to make a run over the second half of the race.
Hirschman restarted third after a lap-42 yellow flag and pit stops for some teams reset the running order behind Rocco and Christopher. From there, Hirschman remained a factor the rest of the way. Rocco would never officially relinquish his lead, however six additional yellow flags over the remaining laps enabled both Christopher and Hirschman to fire shots Rocco’s way in attempt to derail his efforts at a third consecutive Modified Nationals victory.
After trading blows with Christopher to finally take second, Hirschman’s best shot at Rocco came on a lap-65 restart. Contact between the two coming to the green flag had Hirschman making a nice recovery to hold second while Rocco squirted away in the lead. Rocco needed to master one final restart on lap-72, doing so to pull ahead to a three car length victory. Hirschman’s race ended with a runner-up finish at the checkered flag, and Christopher was in contention until the conclusion to take third. Eric Berndt overcame a lap-10 incident to finish a strong showing in fourth, and Ryan Preece rallied from a rough first half of the race to take home a well-earned fifth place.
Izzo returned to his Speedbowl roots and drove to an impressive win in a 35-lap INEX Legend Cars main event billed as Battle of the Sound. Izzo, a current SK Modified® competitor at the track, took the lead early on and cruised to the win relatively unchallenged. Jeff Rocco of Wallingford made a rare start in the class and claimed second, while former division champion Dana Dimatteo of Farmington was third. The race pitted drivers from the Speedbowl against top competitors from other area tracks, including Seekonk Speedway and Riverhead Raceway and attracted nearly 50 competitors. Izzo took a $2,000 prize for his efforts.
Rocco checkered the 30-lap Late Model feature race in convincing fashion. He outdueled Ernie LaRose in the opening laps and then waltzed to a caution-free victory. LaRose led lap-1 before Rocco got away through turns three and four on lap-2. Rocco pulled ahead of a battle for second position for much of the race between Seekonk Speedway competitors Charlie Rose and Gerry DeGasparre Jr. Neither could close the gap to Rocco and settled into their race for second position. DeGasparre, the multi-time Seekonk champion, was awarded second place following inspection and Walt Sutcliffe was third.
Salva took his first ever Speedbowl victory with a win in the SK Light Modified race. He began the race on the front row and dueled throughout the 25-lapper with rival competitor Tony Membrino. While Salva was able to ride out front most of the race, Membrino had to rally from a couple close calls to stay in the hunt of first his Speedbowl checkered flag. Salva went on to the win by several car lengths at the finish, joining his uncle Bo Gunning with a win in the open-wheel ranks at the track. Membrino was second and Joey Ferrigno finished third.
Next Sunday the auto racing season closes at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl with Smacktoberfest, the track’s annual holiday-themed family fun thrill show. A demolition derby, unpredictable trailer race, enduro races and spectator racing are just some of the on-track thrills and spills, while a “trunk-or-treat” highlights the fan activities. Grandstands open at 12:30. More information on the event is available online at Speedbowl.com.
Unofficial New London-Waterford Speedbowl Sunday 10/25 Super Bowl Results:
Tri-Track Modifieds (65-laps): 1. Woody Pitkat, Stafford; 2. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks; 3. Ron Silk, Norwalk; 4. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 5. Ryan Preece, Berlin; 6. Steve Masse, Bellingham, MA; 7. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA; 8. Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon; 9. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 10. Chase Dowling, Roxbury; 11. Andy Jankowiak, Tonowanda, NY; 12. Todd Annarummo, Swansea, MA; 13. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck; 14. Mike Holdrige, Madison; 15. Kirk Alexander, West Swanzey, NH; 16. Max Zachem, Preston; 17. Zane Zeiner, Bath, PA; 18. Dan Meservey Jr., Brewster, MA; 19. Joe Doucette, Framingham, MA; 20. Brendon Bock, Franklin Square, NY; 21. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA; 22. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 23. Eric Berndt, Cromwell; 24. Norm Wrenn, Nashua, NH; 25. David Schneider, East Northport, NY; 26. Richard Savary, Canton, MA
19th annual SK Modified® Nationals (75-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 3. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 4. Eric Berndt, Cromwell; 5. Ryan Preece, Berlin; 6. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 7. Jimmy Zacharias, Candor, NY; 8. Anthony Ryan Jr., Danbury; 9. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 10. Andrew Dzenkowski, East Marion, NY; 11. John Montesanto, North Branford; 12. Jeff Fialkovich, Shelton; 13. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 14. Joey Gada, Salem; 15. Jim Larsen, East Hartland; 16. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck; 17. Paul Kusheba, Monroe; 18. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 19. Ryan Morgan, Mystic; 20. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 21. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 22. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 23. Zach Sylvester, Lebanon; 24. Ronnie Williams, Tolland; 25. Dylan Izzo, Westport; 26. Frank Mucciacciaro, Milford; 27. Tyler Jackson, Port St. Lucie, FL; 28. Kyle Trainor, Malborough, MA; 29. Tommy Membrino Jr., Prospect; DNS – Matt Galko, Meriden; DNS – Michael Benevides, Westerly, RI
Late Models (30-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Gerry DeGasparre Jr., Pawtucket, RI; 3. Walt Sutcliffe, East Haven; 4. Ernie LaRose, Plainfield; 5. Ken Morin Jr., Old Saybrook; 6. Mark Hudson, Norton, MA; 7. Lloyd Anderson Jr., Wauregan; DQ – Charlie Rose, Tiverton, RI
SK Light Modifieds (25-laps): 1. Nick Salva, Prospect; 2. Tony Membrino, Plantsville; 3. Joe Ferrigno, East Hartford; 4. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 5. Randy Churchill Jr., Oakdale; 6. Brett Gonyaw, Vernon; 7. Al Stone III, Durham; 8. David Arute, Tolland; 9. Paul French, Andover; 10. Calvin Therrien, Vernon; 11. Payton Henry, Willington; 12. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 13. Rick Williams, Haddam; 14. Michael Taschereau, Gales Ferry; 15. Chris Gombos, Naugatuck; 16. Carlos Gray, East Hartford; 17. Peter Lupoch, West Redding; 18. Larry Goss, North Windham; 19. D.J. Burnham, East Hartford; 20. Nick Riso, Wallingford; 21. Victoria Bergenty, Plainville; 22. Vin Esposito, Seymour; DNS – Mark Alkas, Berlin
INEX Legend Cars (35-laps): 1. Dylan Izzo, Westport; 2. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 3. Dana Dimatteo, Farmington; 4. Connor Pyle, Scotsdale, AZ; 5. Michael Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 6. Jordan Lamothe, Woodstock; 7. Brandon Martinez, North Kingstown, RI; 8. Alex McCollum, Phillipsburg, NJ; 9. Kyle Ellwood, Calverton, NY; 10. Jesse Jakubajtys, Brockton, MA; 11. Scott Limkemann, East Lyme; 12. Taylor Martin, Windham, NH; 13. Ryan Kuhn, East Bridgewater, MA; 14. Bryan Kelly, Riverhead, NY; 15. Glenn Korner, Canton; 16. Cassandra Cole, Westbrook; 17. Eric Hersey, Commack, NY; 18. Connor Holderbach, Wolcott; 19. Jake Johnson, Rehoboth, MA; 20. Tim DePizzol, North Franklin; 21. Michael Rutkowski, Mattituck, NY; 22. John O’Sullivan III, Salem; 23. Cory Dimatteo, Farmington; 24. Chase Dowling, Roxbury; 25. Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA; 26. Joey Ternullo, Middletown; 27. Devin O’Connell, Madison; 28. Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury; 29. Brad VanHouten, Riverhead, NY; 30. Scott Joy, Lewisville, NC; 31. Noah Korner, Canton; 32. Drew Bottge