WATERFORD, Conn. – Waterford Speedbowl hosted its opening Wild n’ Wacky series racing card of the year Wednesday evening.
There were no opening night jitters for Mike Christopher Jr., who used a thrilling final lap move to checker the INEX Legend Cars feature. Hometown driver Dan Butler came out on top in the Super X-Car feature, Rich Nye won his first-ever race in the nights X-Car feature and Marc Shafer won the Wacky Toll Booth Race. The INEX Bandolero feature was won by Jonathon Puleo.
Christopher showed patience over the first half of the 25-lap INEX Legend Cars feature then came on strong in the closing stages. Veteran driver and former champion George Whitney was the second leader of the race, taking command on lap three from Michael Blaskey. Whitney benefitted by an intense battle for second position over the middle of the race between Blaskey and Christopher.
The pair traded the spot as Christopher tried numerous times to unseat Blaskeys hold of the runner-up position. Christopher took advantage of a bobble by Blaskey on lap 19 to grab the spot and immediately went on the attack. He quickly ran down Whitney’s slight advantage, tailing him for the next five laps pressing for the lead in a classic battle to the finish.
Christopher used a timely tap to Whitneys rear bumper in in turns three and four on the final lap to dart to his inside, setting up a sprint off the final turn to the checkered flag. Christopher won his second race of the year by just a half car length in exciting fashion with his charge, besting Whitney. Last years division champion Joey Ternullo finished third.
Nye was another who used late race heroics during the 25-lap X-Car feature. He rallied past Zac Thomas over the final lap and a half to come away with his first ever victory. Thomas passed Nye for the race lead on lap 15 with a move to his inside as they maneuvered lapped traffic. Nye stayed glued to Thomas for the next eight laps and as the pair raced to the white flag, slower cars again played part in their battle for the win.
Nye found room to Thomass inside through turns three and four, the two made contact in turn one on the final lap, and Nye came away with the lead. Thomas tried an inside move down the back chute that Nye defended, running out of racing room as they entered turn three. Nye closed out the win while Thomas settled for second. Randy Johnston ended up third.
Butler held back two hard charging drivers over the final laps of the 25-lap Super X-Car race. Butler enjoyed a comfortable lead over the first half of the race before a yellow flag erased his lead. Accomplished drivers Jon Porter and Dave Yardley were hot on Butlers tail battling side-by-side for second for much of the second half of the race, all while chasing Butler.
The three cars raced three wide for the lead for a brief moment on lap 22. The battle for second may have been Butler’s biggest ally in holding on to his lead. In the end Butler held on for a thrilling finish with all three cars finishing under the proverbial blanket. Porter claimed second ahead of Yardley at the checkered flag.
Puleo led Anthony Marvin throughout the 15-lap INEX Bandolero feature. Marvin looked to get a run on Puleo on multiple occasions, but was unable to power alongside to seriously challenge for the lead. The two youth drivers put on a great display of close and clean racing in the non-stop race.
Shafer bested the field in the nights Wacky Race, a Super X-Car Toll Booth race. Shafer was the first to finish the five lap dash and deposit the most toll booth tokens in the collection bin.