Category Archives: New London Waterford Speedbowl

Wayne Burroughs is Ready to Defend His Mini-Stock Championship at The New London Waterford Speedbowl

WATERFORD — There’s an old cliché in motor sports — if your standing pat, you’re going backward.

Even though he won a Mini Stock championship at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in 2015, no one can accuse Wayne Burroughs of standing pat — or going backward.

When the green flag drops on the Mini Stock division Saturday at the season opening 10-division Blastoff, Burroughs will be in a brand new car.

“Our old car was a few years old,” Burroughs said. “We felt is we could build a new one, we could find a little more speed.

“Last year, we knew the other drivers were catching up to us. We won three races in the month of May and didn’t win again until August, so we knew if we wanted to stay ahead of the game, we had to try something new. Our old car had maxed out.”

Work started on the new car in October and it was finished on Saturday, just before the opening Speedbowl practice of the year.

“The car went a lot smoother than I had anticipated,” Burroughs said. “In our second round of practice, we were at the top of the speed chart, which was very satisfying.”

Burroughs has been a regular at the Speedbowl for four seasons and enjoyed his best year in 2015. He grabbed four victories and led the points from the opening race of the season.

This season Burroughs is out to prove that he’s not a one-hit wonder.

“We want to be a team that competes for a championship year after year, the way Ken Cassidy and some of the other contenders do,” Burrough said. “Our goal is to show people last year wasn’t a fluke. We think we can back it up with another great season.”

While Burroughs led the division in points, he didn’t lead the division in wins. That honor went to Ken Cassidy Jr. who won five times, giving him a division leading 64 wins.

Cassidy, however, has started 2016 with a major change.

“We have changed motor builders,” Cassidy said. “We went with what we could afford. Maybe the car isn’t as pretty as it usually is, but I think we have enough to give it everything we have. Maybe the driver can pick up a couple of tenths here and there.”

Cassidy says his goal for 2016 is the same as it always is.

“We’re always running for a title,” Cassidy said. “That’s not going to change. And the key to that is to be consistent. You have to finish races to finish first. That’s what pays the most.”

Cassidy is coming off back-to-back second-place seasons. In 2014, he blew three motors during the year and finished second to Garrett Denton. Last year he missed two races because of illness and finished second to Burroughs.

“That was a bummer,” Cassidy said. “And this year is going to be tougher than ever. The car counts I think are going to be up and I think a lot of good drivers are coming into the division. It’s going to be harder than ever to drive to the front.”

Brad Caddick, who finished third in the standings, also has a new ride. He is looking for a last hurrah — he has said 2016 will be his final season.

Doug Curry, who finished fifth in 2016, has a new look as well. He will be driving the Mini Stock owned by Jeff Civardi.

Larry Loomis is expected to return, along with Chris Ivory, Nick Pappacoda, Ian Brew, Dale Sherman, Charles Canfield, Sean Caron, Mark Panaroni and Jordan Hadley.

One of the youngest drivers will be 14-year-old Jacob Perry, who will be moving up from the Bandelero division.

The Mini Stocks is just one of the apples in the season-opening orchard. Also on the docket for Saturday’s blastoff are the following divisions: the SK Modifieds (35 laps), the Late Models (30 laps), the Limited Sportsmen (25 laps), the Magnus Pacing Products SK Lights (25 laps), the Joie of Seating Legend Cars (25 laps), the Micro Blue Bandoleros (20 laps), the X Cars (20 laps) and the Coastline Fire Protection Super X Cars (20 laps). It is expected to be one of the most competitive openers in Speedbowl history.

The guest division will be the Mr. Rooter Truck Series, which will compete in a 25-lap feature.

Qualifying gets under way Saturday at 2 p.m. and the features are scheduled to roll off at 5:30 p.m.

Admission is $22 for adults, $5 for youths 13-16. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

Al Stone Ready to Defend His Limited Sportsman Championship at The New London Waterford Speedbowl

WATERFORD — Al Stone showed everyone in New London-Waterford Speedbowl’s Limited Sportsman division the art of sealing the deal in 2015.

He won four of the last six races to put a padlock on the championship. Stone had six wins overall and has 43 career wins, the most in the Limited Sportsman division.

As the 2016 season approaches Saturday with the annual Blastoff, the No. 52 on Stone’s car has turned into a bull’s-eye. Everyone will be trying to shoot him down.

“We’re just going to do the same things we did last year,” Stone said.

Stone took part in the opening practice session and observers were saying the car looked just as impressive as it did a year ago.

That means the bar has been raised for two of the drivers who will be chasing him for the championship — Monte Gibbs, who finished second last year, and Jason Chicolas, who finished third.

Gibbs will start the season with a new chassis.

“The old chassis was beaten and banged up,” Gibbs said. “It never handled right. One week it would be good. Then the next week we didn’t change the setup, and the car would be so far off. “

Gibbs practiced with the new chassis Saturday at the Speedbowl and was pleased with the results.

“Things were much better,” Gibbs said. “We had a little problem getting off the turn, but we were able to figure it out. The car handled great.”

Thanks to the confidence that a new chassis can deliver, Gibbs has set his goals high for 2016.

“I think we can make a run for the championship,” Gibbs said. “I consider myself more of a points racers. We don’t go all out for the wins. Our goal is to finish races. Last year when we did, we grabbed a lot of podiums.”

Handling is also an issue for Chicolas, so he made some alterations to his car.

“We have an all new body, and new suspension parts,” Chicolas said. “We also freshened the engine and the transmission.”

Chicolas says the Saturday practice session netted some favorable results.

“We had a few problems early, but in the last practice session, we really looked good,” Chicolas said. “The car started to handle a little bit better. And that’s the only thing we were missing last year. Everything else was there.”

When it comes to good-handling cars, Chicolas says Stone is the Limited Sportsman role model.

“Al Stone’s car handles perfectly,” Chicolas said. “We have to get to that level. A perfect-handling car is what it’s going to take.”

Chicolas said he expects the competition to even be stiffer this year. Chris Meyer, who opened 2015 with three wins in the first five races, should also be a contender.

“I’ve won some races, but I haven’t finished the last few seasons,” Meyer said. “I’ve either had bad wrecks, or I’ve been suspended. I think if I can run the entire season this year, I should be in good shape.”

Allen Coates, who is fifth on the all-time Speedbowl win list with 85 victories, is scheduled to return, along with his son, Corey Coates, who racked up one win in 2015. Three former champs, Josh Galvin, Ed Gertsch and Norm Root Jr., are expected to return along with Jack Aqillina and rookie Shawn Gaedeke.

Saturday’s 25-lap Limited Sportsmen feature is just one nugget in a Blastoff gold mine — 10 features will be on the season-opening agenda. The SK Modifieds will be competing in a 35-lap feature. The Late Models are on tap for 30 laps and there will be 25-lap features for the Magnus Racing Products SK Lights, the Mini Stocks and the Joie of Seating Legend cars.

20-lap features will take place for the Micro Blue Bandoleros, the X-Cars and the Coastline Fire Protection Super X Cars.

The Mr. Rooter Race Trucks will be the guest division and will be competing in a 25-lap feature. Bert Ouellette won the opening event April 23 at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Tickets are family priced at $22 adults and $5 for youths 13-16. Children 12-and-under will be admitted free.

Rocco Chadwick & Christopher Ready for the 2016 New London Waterford Speedbowl Season

WATERFORD — His accomplishments at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl are mind-boggling. Keith Rocco has racked up 121 wins in his 13 seasons at the Bowl, 15 more than any other competitor. He’s the all-time win leader in the SK Modified division with 73 victories. He’s also nailed down eight track championships, including five in the SK Modifieds, and has won the last three SK crowns in a row.

Even with all those accomplishments in his resume, Rocco says his desire and determination remain at full speed. He’s just as hungry as he ever was.

“Nothing beats winning races,” Rocco said. “When you get older, it does get more difficult in the shop, especially when you and your crew do all the work on the car. And I have a lot more going on in my life, with two kids and a lawn to mow.

“But when you step on the track, it makes it all worth it.”

Rocco will be in action Saturday at the 2016 season opening Blastoff. Ten Divisions will be making the debuts Saturday, including the SK Modifieds.

That means Rocco will be out to defend his title.

“Nothing has changed from last year,” Rocco said. “We have the same car, same team. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off. Obviously, we’ll be shooting for victories. We always have, and we always will.”

Rocco won the final race of 2015, the Modified Nationals, as he fought off the challenges posed by Tyler Chadwick, Ted Christopher, Rob Janovic  and Diego Monahan.

“We missed the opening practice because we didn’t want to show all our cards,” Rocco said. “But we’ll be ready.”

So will Chadwick, who missed winning his second SK championship by just four points.

“That’s given me extra motivation to get ready for the season,” Chadwick said. “I have been on both sides of the championship picture — I’ve won one and I’ve lost one, and last year taught me I’m capable of winning another one. I’m much more focused.”

Chadwick has upgraded his game. His team has renovated his back-up car, Old Betty, and it has become his new ride for 2016.

“It’s not a new car, but it feels like one,” Chadwick said. “It’s the best piece I’ve had in a few years. We practiced last week, and we did everything we wanted to accomplish.”

Chadwick knows the Speedbowl’s SK competition level also has been upgraded.

“Nothing is better than beating the best in the business,” Chadwick said. “There are going to be a lot more good teams this year. And there’s also Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher. Last year they had everyone’s number. I definitely hope to stay with those guys this year.”

That’s why Chadwick and his team made sweeping changes to his car.

“We couldn’t come back with the same stuff we had last year and hope to run with those guys,” Chadwick said. “We knew we had to make some changes. We made those changes and now we’ll see what happens.”

Ted Christopher finished third in the SK standings in 2015, 13 points out of the lead. He led the division in wins, however, with eight. The same car-driver combination is back for another season.

“We practiced last week, and the car started to come around,” Christopher said. “I’m happy.”

He’s also healthy. Christopher underwent rotator-cuff surgery on his right shoulder during the off-season and now has 95 percent motion back in the arm.

“I kept it a secret last year, but I was driving on adrenaline,” Christopher said. “But now I’m 100 percent healthy.”

And that means he’s in perfect shape to renew his rivalry with Rocco, one of the best in Modified racing.

“It was a lot of fun last year,” Christopher said. “We seem to mirror each other. And we’ll probably be doing it again this year.”

Also expected to be part of the field are Speedbowl veterans such as Janovic Jr., Monahan, Joe Gada, Tim Jordan, Paul Kusheba, Frank Mucciacciaro, Dylan Izzo, Ryan Morgan, Kyle James and Tom Abele Jr. Bo Gunning, a three-time Stafford SK champ, will be joining the field , along with rookie Paul Buzel, the reigning SK Light champ.

The SK division is just one layer of Saturday’s blastoff. The race program will also feature the Late Models, Limited Sportsmen, Mini Stocks, the Magnus Racing Products SK Lights, the Joie of Seating Legend Cars, the Micro Blue Bandoleros, the Coastline Fire Protection Super X Cars, the X Cars and the Mr. Rooter Trucks.

Qualifying heats for all divisions will get under way at 2 p.m. The features will get under way at 5:30 p.m.

Admission is $22 for adults. Tickets for youths 13-16 are $5 and children 12 and under will be admitted free. For more information, go to speedbowlct.com

 

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