WATERFORD, Conn. - Action returned to the shoreline as Waterford Speedbowl hosted another round of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing Saturday evening.
The competition rolled into August keeping things hot on the race track during a wild night of motorsports. Scoring a popular win included Diego Monahan in the headline SK Modified division while Keith Rocco tallied a double, taking top honors in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models as well as the visiting Pro Four Modifieds of New England.
Bill Leonard claimed a Mini Stock feature that went down to the wire and Corey Barry came from behind to win the SK Light Modified race. Josh Galvin of Franklin picked up his second Street Stock win of the season.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature was a test of patience and perseverance as several incidents marred the divisions 35-lap feature. Monahan was in the safest place throughout the lead as he showed the way through nine caution flags which involved most of the field at some juncture, including several top runners.
In total Monahan survived 13 restart attempts, including some which were called back by race officials, and held back all challengers. Championship point leaders Keith Rocco and Tyler Chadwick both found themselves among the lead pack only to meet misfortune during the wild event.
The race began with a false start from front row starters Monahan and Ed Puleo. Monahan moved to the lead on the second attempt to begin the race, bringing Jeff Gallup into second and Rob Janovic to third before Puleo was able to settle into line fourth. The first caution waved when Wendell Dailey lost an engine at the end of the back chute on lap five, spinning in his fluid to bring out the caution flag. The red flag was needed for a lengthy track cleanup that ensued.
When the track was cleared, a good stretch of racing with lots of action among the top ten cars brought the race to the next caution on lap 12 when Rocco encountered his first issue, spinning off turn four amidst a tight battle for position just outside the top-five. Rocco pitted and returned at the rear of the field for the restart.
Monahan got away from Gallup when the race went back to green. Gallup tucked in line behind but got crossed up in turn three on lap 13. As Gallup broke sideways he collected third place Craig Lutz and Puleo to bring out the next caution flag, jostling the running order behind Monahan. Ceravolo was the next to challenge Monahan, bringing some heavy hitters to the front behind him as Chadwick and Ted Christopher joined the frey.
Ceravolo got caught in the outside lane, watching Chadwick then Christopher get by him as they completed lap-16. Christopher went for a spin in turn three on lap 17, dropping him from the top three as the caution flag returned.
Chadwick had his chance at Monahan for the restart however Monahan was again up to the task. Ceravolo took second back from Chadwick on lap 19, who was left to fight off a surging Rocco back up to fourth position. As Ceravolo glued himself to Monahans back bumper, Chadwick and Rocco were gridlocked in a side-by-side race for third.
That came to a grinding halt on lap 21 when contact in the back chute saw the two wreck into turn three. Rocco emerged with a flat left rear tire while Chadwicks car needed more severe attention in the pit area after Tom Abele Jr. was collected in the incident and made contact with Chadwick.
Monahan beat Ceravolo and Frank Mucciacciaro over the next two restarts after more incidents outside the top-five kept the racing from to a minimum. Chadwick was eventually eliminated on lap 26 after getting caught up in another wreck, this time on the front chute. Rocco and Puleo were both involved again, sending Rocco back to the pit area one more time.
Two final hurdles were thrown at Monahan over the conclusion on lap 28 Ceravolo and Kyle James looked to make it three-wide on the back chute as they tried to unseat him simultaneously, in addition to a final restart on lap 33 that set up a green-white-checkered finish. Monahan survived both to go on to his first win in the division since 2007.
Rocco fired his way back into contention for the win and had the last shot at Monahan on the final restart with two laps remaining. He lined up outside of Monahan but couldnt find any traction in the top groove of the track to take the win away. Rocco finished in second after his up and down evening while Ceravolo was able to finish third. Christopher battled back to finish in fourth and Joe Gada rounded out the top-five.