WATERFORD, Conn. - Late Model Madness took over Saturday at Waterford Speedbowl, the highlight of a five division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program.
The Bob Valenti Auto Mall sponsored Late Model division took center stage with a special 50-lap race, dominated by Keith Rocco. In other races, Tyler Chadwick was back in Victory Lane for the fourth time on the year following the SK Modified feature, Chris Meyer took his second Street Stock win and Garrett Denton ended a skid with his fourth victory in the Mini Stocks. In INEX racing, Giovanni Giarratana repeated his win from a week ago in the Legend Cars.
Chadwick was served redemption after a win slipped away on the final lap one week ago in a photo finish with Keith Rocco. He fought his way to the front in the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature this time around, climbing through the top-five to become a contender over the second half of the race.
After a false start on the initial green flag, Tom Abele Jr. jumped into the lead by the time the field reached turn one on the second attempt. He pulled ahead while the competition sorted out the running order, settling in with Rob Janovic Jr. taking second position by lap three. Joe Gada ran third and Ted Christopher took fourth after contact between he and Ed Puleo left both cars with damage and a piece of sheet metal hooked to the rear bumper of his machine. The first yellow flag waved for Craig Lutz, who spun off turn two and was unable to re-fire. During the caution Christopher ducked to the pit area for service and did not return.
Abele raced back out front over Janovic after the restart but Todd Ceravolo was the one with the eyes on him as he got by Gada then dove under Janovic a lap later to snatch second position away by lap-12. Behind Janovic and Gada, Chadwick was asserting himself to arrive in the top-five. The next yellow flag was brought out on lap-14 when Jeffrey Gallup got turned around in turn four, collecting John Montesanto who also ended up in the infield.
Abele had a stiff challenge to his outside for the restart and Ceravolo was up to the task, claiming the lead over Abele on the top of the track as the two raced to lap-15. Chadwick picked up a position to rise to fourth, then pressured Janovic before going to the outside of the track to power into third on lap-19. Rocco followed suit to become a factor, keeping Janovic pinned down low while he raced into fourth position on lap-21. A lap later Gallup was in trouble in turn four again, coming to rest just off the racing surface after spinning to necessitate the third caution flag.
Ceravolo got a strong restart to retake the lead while Chadwick was able to sail in underneath Abele to race away with second position. Chadwick glued himself to Ceravolos rear bumper and went on to size up the leader for several laps. He used a well-timed and daring cross-over move into turn one to get underneath Ceravolo for the lead on lap-27. The two cars made contact racing hard for the lead before the move paid off for Chadwick, racing into the lead as the two came off turn two. Behind them Rocco got by Abele to move into third to set up for a compelling conclusion.
As Chadwick tried to pull away from Ceravolo, Rocco closed in on the leaders. Abele continued to hold fourth and Kyle James got by Janovic to move into fifth position as the laps quickly counted down. On lap-31, Nichole Morgillo got bounced into the infield, sliding to a halt on the apron in turn one to bring out the caution. After the restart, the field had trouble coming around to complete a lap as Gallup and Lutz tangled in a messy incident with Gallups car coming to rest atop of Lutz just shy of the start-finish line.
Chadwick got a good restart the next time on Ceravolo who continued to hold off Rocco for second. The race only progressed to lap-33 before Montesanto took a hard trip into the front chute wall, sliding to a stop just short of turn one to bring out the final caution flag and force Chadwick into a final restart against Ceravolo with just two laps remaining.
He again got the jump back into the lead, leaving Ceravolo in the grips of Rocco. Rocco was able to stay inside Ceravolo and ultimately take the spot racing to the white flag. Ahead, Chadwick closed out the win, his fourth of the year. Rocco could not make a final run to contend for the win as he did a week ago and finished second. Ceravolo ended the race third, with James fourth and Abele fifth.