WATERFORD, Conn. – Waterford Speedbowl returned to the race track on Wednesday evening after rain caused the track to cancel its Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday race program a week ago. The next-to-last Wednesday series race event of 2012 was as competitive as ever, treating the fans in attendance to a great night of motorsports action.
Taking wins included Dave Garbo Jr. in the Legend Cars race and Rachel Forte in the Bandolero division. Joining those two in victory lane were Kevin Moon and John Bowes, each first-time winners of the year in the respective Super X-Car and X-Car divisions. In addition, the first track champions of 2012 were unofficially named following Wednesday’s event as both Forte and Garbo’s victories propelled each to their respective division titles.
The 20-lap Legend Cars feature saw an opening lap incident among several drivers keep the race at bay before the competition settled in. Nicholas Sowa led the early going before giving way to Garbo following a restart on lap-6. Garbo raced the outside of Sowa to take command on lap-7. Once in the lead, Garbo withstood a final restart attempt over Matt Pappa on lap-12 to claim the win.
Over the final eight laps Garbo held at least a one car length lead over Pappa to never seriously be threatened in his quest for victory. He raced to the checkered flag ahead of his rival Pappa, while Dylan Izzo finished in third.
Garbo’s win, coupled by a 13th place finish by his closest challenger Dana Dimatteo, netted him his first Speedbowl championship in his third year in the division. Garbo, the nation’s Legend Cars Semi-Pro division point leader, is fifteen years old.
Forte battled Ken Morin Jr. over the opening circuit of the 20-lap Bandolero feature on route to a thrilling victory. Forte had to hold back a charging Corey Comeroski over much of the race. Comeroski applied heavy pressure to Forte lap-after-lap, including the final one, but could not shake her momentum. Forte won her fifth race of the year while Comeroski took his best finish with second. Morin was in contention with the leaders all race to wind up placing third.
The Bandolero division point standings were adjusted prior to Wednesday’s race event following a ruling from INEX, the sanctioning body governing the class. The race team of Derek Debbis was penalized its points and finishes from two feature races during the August 8 Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday program for a rules infraction on their racecar.
Forte, the defending division champion, leaped into the points lead prior to her victory on Wednesday. Unofficially, her win provided enough of a cushion over Jacob Perry of Pawcatuck to claim her second consecutive division title. Forte is fourteen years old and becomes the third consecutive female champion in the division, joining Taylor Martin who won the title in 2010.
The 20-lap Super X-Car race became a war of attrition as several incidents interrupted the racing. Two red-flag conditions for wild wrecks slowed the race as both Ken Downing III and Eric Finkbein were involved in separate incidents.
Downing emerged from his car, which ended up on its side in his accident, while Finkbein was removed from his car by track safety personnel and transported to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital for observation. Finkbein was alert following his accident as safety personnel tended to him.
In race action, John Yagmin inherited the top spot after leaders Frank Alessio and Downing tangled on the track on lap-8. Yagmin led through a final restart on lap-18, when he was overtaken by Moon on the outside. Moon raced away to claim his first-career win in the division while Yagmin settled for second, ahead of Jim Boyle. With one event remaining, Boyle unofficially leads the standings over Yagmin and Dan Butler in a tight championship battle.
The 20-lap X-Car race wrapped up the night’s racing with Bowes winning his first race of the year in dramatic fashion over Wayne Shifflett. Shifflett took the lead early from Pete Zaikarite, then watched as Bowes moved in to shadow him over the middle portion of the event. Bowes stalked Shifflett before making his move to the inside of the track on lap-17, taking the lead down the back chute.
Bowes held on for the final three laps while Shifflett placed second over Brad Voglesong. With one event remaining, Glen Thomas Jr. continues to lead the standings over Scott Limkemann, despite a last place finish on Wednesday. Voglesong is still alive in the hunt for the title, third in the standings.