WATERFORD — The pressure has been lifted off the shoulders of Wayne Burroughs and Ken Cassidy Jr. The two drivers wrapped up 2020 New London-Waterford Speedbowl championships Saturday, one week ahead of the season Finale.
Burroughs finished fifth in the 25-lap SK Lite feature to put a padlock on his first SK Lite title. He leads Charlie McDougall by 41 points with one race to go. Cassidy won his fourth Speedbowl truck feature of the season Saturday and has an insurmountable 63-point lead over Tyler Chapman with one race remaining. He has six Speedbowl titles — five in the Mini Stocks and one in the Trucks.
While Burroughs and Cassidy can start celebrating, the drivers in the other six Speedbowl divisions weren’t as fortunate. SK Modified point leader Tim Jordan was involved in an early altercation during the 35-lap feature and was knocked out of the event. He finished 16th and his 28-point lead was cut to 16 points over Joey Gada.
The race was dominated by Eric Berndt, who took the lead early and dictated the pace for most of the 35 laps. Despite his problems Saturday, Jordan can lock up the title by finishing 10th or better in Sunday’s 75-lap feature, regardless of what Gada does.
Late Model driver Jason Palmer had a photo finish go in his favor Saturday when he squeezed past Charlie Rose at the finish line by 0.019. Palmer was able to increase his lead to 11 points over Ryan Morgan, who finished third. In the previous race on Oct. 3, Palmer lost a photo finish by 0.003 to Morgan.
Palmer also prevailed in the 35-lap Fall Classic Legends feature, earning a $2,500 pay day. Point leader Jordan Churchill was involved in a serious wreck between turns 1 and 2 and only completed one lap, finishing 24th. Connor Holderbach finished 13th and took a 7 point lead over Churchill with one race remaining Saturday.
Red-hot Charles Canfield won the 25-lap Mini Stock feature to pull to within 8 points of point-leader Doug Curry, who finished fourth.
Jason Chicolas won his first 25-lap Sportsman race of the year while Shawn Monahan finished 10th. Monahan’s lead was cut to 18 points over four-time champion Al Stone.
Berndt has only raced at the Speedbowl three times this year and has won twice. With Jordan out of commission in the SK feature early, the only challenges for Berndt came from Cory DiMatteo and Todd Owen. They moved into second and third respectively, but could not mount a serious threat to Berndt, who has a cozy lead for most of the race.
The opposite was true in the Late Model race. Despite getting the jump on Rose on every late restart, Palmer could not shake off Rose, who almost nipped past Palmer on the inside. Palmer got a good bite off turn 4 on the final lap to eke out the slender win, his fourth of the season.
Palmer was not finished.
Despite starting 11th in the 24-car Legends Fall Classic field, Palmer surged into the lead at the halfway mark. Palmer’s main opponent was the caution flag. There were several cautions in the race that prevented Palmer from getting into a rhythm. He managed to hold off Brandon Martinez and DiMatteo to get the win. Palmer, who had not chalked up a Speedbowl Legends win since 2011, has 53 career victories in the division, 20 more than Dana DiMatteo.
McDougall racked up his first Speedbowl win in the SK Lites in convincing fashion, taking the lead on the first lap of the 25-lap feature and never relinquishing it. Jason Chapman made a late move against Sami Anderson to grab second.
The 25-lap Mini Stock race turned out to be a scrap between two-time champ Canfield and Mark Panaroni, who was undefeated in four Mini-Stock races this season. Canfield had a solid lead, but Panaroni generated a frantic finishing kick at the end. The winning margin was just 0.376.
The 25-lap Sportsman feature was filled with a lot of chaos early, but none of it affected Chicolas, who moved in front with 10 laps to go and avoided all the incidents that took place behind him. Josh Galvin, in just his second start, finished second followed by Stone in third.
It took a while for Cassidy to get moving in the 25-lap Truck feature as Jeff Karns led for the first 5 laps. Cassidy, however, blistered his way past Karns and cruised to a win, his fourth this season and the 70th of his career.
Adam Petty won his second straight Open Street Stock race and trails point pace setter Joe Kohler by 24 points with one race remaining. Petty climbed from third to first on the third lap and was able to run and hide from second-place finisher Vin Pangelinan, who finished a distant second by about two furlongs.
Racing resumes this weekend with the 14-feature Finale. Nine features will take place Saturday Oct. 24 including a 100-lap Granite State Pro Stock race and features for the Northeast Midget Association (NEMA), the NEMA Lites, the American TQ Midget Association, The Pro Four Modifieds, the Sport Trucks, the Speedbowl Trucks, the Legends and the Open Street Stocks.
The feature attraction Sunday is the 75-lap SK Modified feature. Also in action will be the Late Models, Mini Stocks, Sportsmen and SK Lites.
Feature Results (Top 10)
35-lap SK Modifieds: 1. Eric Berndt, Cromwell; 2. Corey DiMatteo, Farmington; 3. Todd Owen, Somers; 4. Joe Gada, Salem; 5. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 6. Mike Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 7. Andy Jankowiak, Buffalo, NY; 8. Jonathan Puleo, Branford; 9. Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass.; 10. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford.
25-lap SK Lites: 1. Charlie McDougall, Naugatuck; 2. Jason Chapman, Ellington; 3. Sami Anderson, Wolcott; 4. Robert Bloxsom III, Stratford; 5. Wayne Burroughs Jr, Oakdale; 6. Paul Charette, Woodstock’ 7. Bert Oullette, Ellington; 8. Victoria Bergenty, Plainville; 9. Amanda West, Colchester; 10. Nichole Thibeault, Southington.
30-lap Late Modes : 1 Jason Palmer, Berlin; 2. Charlie Rose, Tiverton RI; 3. Ryan Morgan, North Franklin; 4. Charles Bailey III. Lisbon; 5. Chase Curtis, Rutland Mass.; 6. Ryan Lineham, Hope Walley RI; 7. Glenn Boss, Danielson; 8. Tyler Tomassi, West Greenwich RI; 9. Jaret Curtis, Rutland, Mass.; 10. Gerry Degasparre Jr, Pawtucket RI.
25-lap Sportsmen: 1. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, Mass.; 2. Josh Galvin, Oakdale; 3. Al Stone III, Durham; 4. Brandon Plemons, Uncasville; 5. Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin; 6. Corey Coates, Griswold; 7. Ritt Shawn, Weesterly RI; 8. Jon Porter, East Lyme; 9. Nate Taylor, Preston; 10. Shawn Monahan, Waterford.
Mini Stock 1. Charles Canfield, East Haven; 2. Mark Panaroni, Ivorytown; 3. Tommy Silva, Gales Ferry; 4. Doug Curry, Groton; 5. Garrett Denton, Hopington, RI; 6. Evan Bourgeois, East Haddem; 7. Jared Roy, Sterling; 8. John Bavolacco, Stratford; 9. Dale Sherman, Charlestown RI; 10. Eric Bourgeois, East Haddem.
Trucks 1. Kenny Cassidy, Lisbon; 2. Jeff Karns, Quaker Hill; 3. Rick Ashlaw, Manchester; 4. Mike Maskell, East Lyme; 5. Kendall Metcalf, North Stonington; 6. Lou Ciccarelli, Brooklyn; 7. Cameron Varrichio, Berlin; 8. Brian Zimowski, Enfield.
25-lap Open Street Stocks: 1. Adam Petty, Assonetti, Mass.; 2. Vincent Pangelinan, Warwick RI; 3. Corey Fanning, Mapleville RI; 4. Chad Baxter, Pascoag RI; 5. Austin Erickson, Ashland, Mass.; 6. Joe Kohler, Cranston RI; 7. Chris Gomes, Rehoboth, Mass.; 8. Albert Clements, Oak Bluffs Mass.; 9. George Rego, North Dartmouth Mass,; 10. Andrew Gillis, Ashland, Mass.
35-lap Legends: Legend Car: 1. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 2. Brandon Martinez, North Kingston RI; 3. Corey DiMatteo, Farmington; 4. Parker Varney, Windham Me.; 5. Corey Fanning, Mappleville RI; 6. Corey Caddick, Richmond RI; 7. Isaiah Newcomb, Plymouth RI; 8. Peter Bennett, Cromwell; 9. John O’Sullivan, Salem; 10. Jessica O’Leary, Warwwick RI