WATERFORD, Conn. – Joe Gada mastered the SK Modified field Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl, claiming his first win of the year.
Gada was stellar in the nights 35-lap SK Modified feature. He started the race from the pole position and left Nichole Morgillo behind exiting turn two. Excitement picked up on the opening lap when several cars made contact down the back chute, sending Shawn Thibeault through the infield but continuing on without a caution flag.
Gada was out to a blistering pace while Ed Puleo quickly moved to second position. Ted Christopher was already up to third and Keith Rocco was charging through the top 10 and was hot on Christophers tail in fourth just four laps in. Rocco was not content and immediately looked for racing room on Christopher, making an inside move to jump to third on lap five.
Ahead, Gada stretched his lead on Puleo as Rocco closed in. The battle for second picked up on lap-10 with Rocco all over Puleo. After several laps trying, Rocco could not unseat Puleo for the spot. Christopher was all alone in fourth with Tim Jordan rounding out the top five as the race reached halfway all under the green flag.
Over the second half of the race, Puleo began to slowly reel in Gada as Rocco started to fade in third. Christopher was closing the gap back to Rocco and Jordan continued in fifth. By lap-25 Puleo was two car lengths back of Gada and three laps later he was on his rear bumper looking hungry for his second win of the season. Puleo looked to the inside of Gada more than once, but Gada was quick off the corners. Puleo tested Gadas rear bumper on a couple occasions, including lap-32 when both cars briefly got sideways entering turn one.
Gada withstood Puleos efforts to win by a car length at the checkered flag in a clean but well contested event. The win marked Gadas second in the division. His first victory came in 2013. Gada’s father Dennis is one of the all-time best open-wheeled drivers in track history, claiming seven division titles. The caution free race took 9 minutes and 33 seconds from start to finish. Puleo rebounded from a hard wreck last Saturday to finish second and Rocco held back Ted Christopher for third.
Joining Gada as new faces in victory lane for 2014 were Bruce Thomas Jr., picking up the checkered flag in Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race, and Ray Christian III, winner in the Mini Stocks. Josh Galvin won his third Street Stock feature in a row and Corey Barry won his second SK Light Modified race on the year. Mike Christopher Jr. claimed another INEX Legend Cars feature to round out the nights winners.