WATERFORD, Conn. – Craig Lutz stole the spotlight Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl with his first victory in thrilling fashion during the SK Modified race.
Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series wins went to Ken Cassidy Jr., who was back in the winners circle during an extra-distance Mini Stock feature and Jason Palmer recorded his first Valenti Auto Mall Late Model win of the season. The Northeast Mini Stock Tour race was won by Toby Wells and Robin Berghman picked up the victory in the visiting New England Pro Four Modified race. Jordan Hadley won the X-Car feature.
Lutz needed a gritty performance over much of the 35-lap SK Modified feature to record an exciting first career victory that put the fans on their feet for the finish. He spent the opening half of the race trying to find a way around Diego Monahan. It was Monahan that led the 35-lap SK Modified feature to the green flag with Jeff Gallup flanking his outside.
Two attempts to start the race were pulled back by officials before Monahan prevailed on a clean try. Lutz, who started in third, got past Gallups inside on the opening lap and immediately began to look for racing room on Monahan.
Lutz tested the outside of Monahan to no avail, as Ted Christopher was draped on Gallups rear bumper in a battle for third. The early laps showcased several battles among a tight pack of cars racing in the top 10. Christopher finally found room to Gallups inside in turn one on lap 12, taking third with Tyler Chadwick following suit into fourth. The action came to a halt on lap-13 when Ed Puleo got off course in turn four to bring out the first of a string of caution flags.
After a quick spin on the restart at the rear of the field, Monahan got a good restart but only recorded one more lap out front before a big pileup in turn three on lap 14 collected several cars contending for a position among the top-five. When the dust settled, Gallup and Kyle James were done for the evening and Paul Kusheba, Rob Janovic Jr., Shawn Thibeault, Glenn Griswold and others were also involved.