WATERFORD, Conn. – Waterford Speedbowl hosted Thunder on the Sound Saturday, a seven division motorsports program highlighted by the 18th annual Budweiser Modified Nationals SK Modified 150.
The biggest race of the year for the track’s headline NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division was won by Tyler Chadwick. Other winners on the night included Keith Rocco of Berlin in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, while a pair of drivers picked up their third victories of the year, Ryan Waterman in the Street Stocks Ray Christian III in the Mini Stocks. Paul Buzel of Trumbull was a first time winner in SK Light Modified action, Mike Christopher Jr. won in the INEX Legend Cars and Paul LaPlante won the Vintage Outlaw Modified race.
Chadwick’s biggest ally in the 18th annual Budweiser Modified Nationals may have been his patience. The 2012 division champion started the race tenth and slowly moved into contention just before the halfway point of the 150-lap grind. Ted Christopher was out front, showing the way after he passed early leader Ed Puleo on lap 11. Minor incidents for single car spins dotted the opening half of the race. Chadwick was in second by lap 70 as Christopher comfortably led until a caution flag came on lap 96.
Following the restart, Chadwick tried to unseat Christopher using the outside lane on multiple occasions, finally tucking in behind Christopher in second position. The intensity was definitely on the rise among the lead pack as the race moved to its final stages. Keith Rocco, who spent the first one hundred laps pacing himself outside the top-five, asserted himself in the final fifty circuits.
Rocco got to third and then pressed Chadwick until he gave up the outside lane, allowing Rocco to move to second on lap 117. Rocco then stalked Christopher for the lead until he made a diving maneuver to the inside on lap-130 down the back chute. The two cars came together between turns three and four, spinning both and bringing out a caution.
Chadwick’s patience and gut instinct paid off as he “had a feeling” something may happen between Christopher and Rocco, staying within striking distance. It did, and Chadwick inherited the lead while Rocco and Christopher each resumed from the tail of the field. He took off from Rob Janovic Jr. on the restart, distancing himself from the competition over the final dash to the finish as Rocco fired his way back through the field.
Rocco’s furious rally landed him in second, but he could not catch Chadwick and finished in the runner-up spot. Chadwick netted the $5,000 winner’s pay day with his first victory in the big money race. Behind Rocco, Puleo finished third, Janovic fourth and Matt Galko was fifth.