WATERFORD, Conn. – Waterford Speedbowl hosted its final Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday racing program of 2012 and fans in attendance were treated to extra distance races to conclude the season.
In addition, special racing events were held giving mechanics from the pits and track officials the chance to get on the shoreline oval and compete at season’s end.
Chris Thomas of East Hampton used the last race of the year to pick up his first-career victory in the X-Car division, Mike Maskell of Quaker Hill returned to the winner’s circle in the Super X-Cars, while Dave Garbo Jr. of Stonington won another Legend Cars race and Jacob Perry of Pawcatuck found Victory Lane in the Bandoleros. The mechanic’s races were won by Tom Johnston of Westerly, RI and Dan Yagmin of Tolland.
In the annual Speedbowl Officials race, Chris Williams of Waterford beat out Patrick Williams of Middletown by inches in a very spirited battle.
A cleanly competed 25-lap X-Car event settled the division’s 2012 track championship. While many watched as Glen Thomas Jr. of Groton and Scott Limkemann of East Lyme battled for the title, out front Chris Thomas Jr., Pete Zaikarite, and Mike Trask were locked in a tight battle for the race lead.
Thomas showed the way while both Zaikarite, of Niantic, and Trask, of Plainfield, raced side-by-side for second position for several laps just behind the leader. The championship chase took a turn when Glen Thomas Jr.’s car began to develop mechanical woes under the hood as Limkemann, who trailed Thomas by 16 points entering the race, sliced through the field.
The race’s only caution flag waved when the leaders approached lapped cars on lap-21 while racing within inches. Zaikarite bumped a slower car out of the way, creating a restart attempt with four laps remaining. Thomas got back in front of Trask and powered ahead to his first win in the division. Trask claimed second position while Melissa Clavette of Bozrah placed her best-ever finish in third. Limkemann finished in fourth position, unofficially catapulting him ahead of Glen Thomas Jr. for the championship, as Thomas retired from the race during the lap-21 caution period with engine troubles.
A battle among several drivers for the Super X-Car championship took precedent in their Wednesday season closer. Frank Alessio of Colchester led each of the championship hopefuls in the 25-lap feature on the track as great racing was displayed by the drivers in the division. Maskell used a lap-13 restart to line up alongside of Alessio, then stayed to his outside over the next several laps of green flag racing.
The two drivers swapped the lead over a succession of laps in an exciting battle of clean racing. That ended when Alessio spun exiting turn four on lap-21 trying to stay in contention on the inside of Maskell. Alessio kept going after his spin to keep the race from interruption. That enabled Maskell to get away for the victory, beating Ed Ryan of Preston to the checkered flag.
Waterford’s Dan Butler finished the race in third. In the hunt for the track championship, the contenders remained together on the track throughout the top-five positions for much of the event with East Windsor’s Jim Boyle taking the title.
The Legend Cars division title had already been clinched by Garbo a week ago, but he backed up his title with another victory on the track during the night’s 25-lap feature. The race had trouble getting underway, and Garbo actually took a detour deep into the infield to avoid an opening lap incident.
He was able to restart among the top group and took the lead from Nick Sowa of Middletown on a lap-five restart. From there, Garbo flexed his muscle and went on to the win virtually unchallenged, surviving a green-white-checkered finish. Sowa held back all challengers to finish in second position with Joey Ternullo of Middletown finishing third.
The 25-lap Bandolero feature showcased intense racing by the track’s youngest stars. Five caution flags slowed the race as a result of the hard racing at the front of the field, in addition to multiple lead changes during the event. Alan Eastman Jr. of Fishers Island showed the way early before he dropped to the back after contact with Ken Morin Jr. of Old Saybrook. Corey Comeroski of Lebanon took a turn leading the pack, holding the top spot through lap-12 when Anthony Marvin of Colchester took the top spot with an inside move.
Marvin led through a restart following a lap-18 caution period, when Perry made a bold three-wide maneuver to take command. Perry held on the rest of the way despite being pressured over the final seven laps, including one last restart with two laps remaining. Perry won his third race of the year, beating back Comeroski and Morin. Unofficially, Rachel Forte of Douglas, MA claimed the division championship and finished sixth in the race.