LONDON-WATERFORD SPEEDBOWL -
BEMER'S SUPER BOWL
track auto racing returned to the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl Sunday with the inaugural
running of the Bemers Super Bowl, closing short
track auto racing in New England for the year.
Highlighting racing action was the final Tri-Track
Modified Series race of the year. Woody Pitkat
claimed the division’s main event, earning a hefty
paycheck for his efforts on the day. The 19th annual
SK Modified® Nationals race put big money on the
line and Keith Rocco won that division’s biggest
payday of the season in a wild race. Rocco also won
the Late Model feature, his second victory of the
day, Nick Salva checkered the SK Light Modified race
and Dylan Izzo claimed a special event for the INEX
Pitkat unofficially earned nearly $8,000 following
the day’s Tri-Track Modified Series events He
finished second in his 35-lap semi main event race,
then came out on top of the division’s 65-lap main
event. Pitkat began the main event in ninth and was
in contention by lap-13 when he climbed into third
position. Following a lap-18 caution flag, Pitkat
outmuscled early race leader Steve Masse to take
Masse used his pole starting position to lead Todd
Annarummo to lap-1. Before the field could complete
lap-2, caution waved for Richard Savary who was
stopped at the top of the track in turn three. Masse
led Annarummo through lap-8 when contact with David
Schneider left Brendon Bock’s car halted on the back
chute, bringing the race back under the yellow flag.
Pitkat used the next green flag sprint to get among
the leaders in advance of a lap-18 caution for a six
car melee that collected Ted Christopher and ended
the race for Anthony Nocella, Eric Berndt and Norm
Wrenn among others.
Pitkat wrestled the lead from Masse when racing
resumed, pulling ahead as Les Hinckley climbed into
the top-three with a strong run. Jon McKennedy was
black flagged from fourth position to bring the race
to its final caution on lap-26, and Keith Rocco
retired from a run among the top group of cars with
mechanical troubles on his machine while the race
Pitkat jumped back out front on the restart and
distanced himself as Hinckley got around Masse for
second. Hinckley was keeping Pitkat in his sights as
the field began what turned out to be a 39 lap
stretch run through the checkered flag. As the top
two positions had settled down, attention was on Ron
Silk rising through the top-five looking for a sweep
of the Speedbowl Tri-Track Modified Series races in
2015. Silk was third on lap-49 with an outside move
As the laps counted down, Pitkat stayed in attack
mode. He cushioned his lead further as Hinckley
began to fall into the sights of Silk. With no
further caution periods to reset the field, Pitkat
was able to drive to an impressive victory. Hinckley
finished second with a strong showing and Silk ran
out of time to advance his position, ending a
successful day with his team in third. Christopher
bounced back to finish fourth, and Ryan Preece was
steady all race to wind up fifth. Pitkat’s margin of
victory was over two seconds ahead Hinckley and four
cautions slowed the race.
Earlier in the day, Eric Berndt and Silk shared
honors winning the two Tri-Track Modified Series
35-lap semi main events, netting $3,000 payouts
apiece. Berndt won the first by leading all 35 laps,
holding on through five yellow flags. Just two
cautions slowed Silk’s run in the second semi main
event, taking the lead from Christopher on lap-23
and pulling away for the win.
Rocco took home his third consecutive SK Modified®
Nationals race, capturing the 75-lap feature with an
impressive drive to the front to claim over $5,000
in prize money. Rocco, who captured his fifth
division championship in 2015, set forth on a
determined march to the front during a green flag
run that brought the race to lap-28. He battled hard
with Ted Christopher during the middle of the race,
then fought off all challenges over a series of late
caution flags to close out the win over a banner
field of competitors chasing the prestigious
The race began with Craig Lutz taking the early lead
from his pole starting position. Christopher quickly
made his way to second position following a lap-7
restart when the first caution of the race came out.
Christopher overtook Lutz in the Speedbowl’s very
capable outside groove to nose ahead on lap-13, then
pull away in the lead on lap-14.
Rocco was on the move during that span, picking off
competitors one at a time to close to Christopher’s
bumper on lap-19. He dogged Christopher for the next
several laps, draping Christopher’s rear bumper in
both the high and low racing grooves to no avail.
Christopher deftly defended each attempt until the
third caution flag came on lap-28 to momentarily
cool the action at the front.
Rocco got a good restart in the outside lane when
the green flag returned, able to lead lap-29 by a
bumper over Christopher. On lap-30 Rocco had cleared
Christopher, only to see Christopher take the top
spot back in turn one on lap-35 with a bold inside
maneuver. A lap later, Rocco was back inside of
Christopher through turns three and four, leaving
Christopher to try and counter. While all eyes were
out front, Matt Hirschman quietly worked his way
into the top-five looking poised to make a run over
the second half of the race.
Hirschman restarted third after a lap-42 yellow flag
and pit stops for some teams reset the running order
behind Rocco and Christopher. From there, Hirschman
remained a factor the rest of the way. Rocco would
never officially relinquish his lead, however six
additional yellow flags over the remaining laps
enabled both Christopher and Hirschman to fire shots
Rocco’s way in attempt to derail his efforts at a
third consecutive Modified Nationals victory.
After trading blows with Christopher to finally take
second, Hirschman’s best shot at Rocco came on a
lap-65 restart. Contact between the two coming to
the green flag had Hirschman making a nice recovery
to hold second while Rocco squirted away in the
lead. Rocco needed to master one final restart on
lap-72, doing so to pull ahead to a three car length
victory. Hirschman’s race ended with a runner-up
finish at the checkered flag, and Christopher was in
contention until the conclusion to take third. Eric
Berndt overcame a lap-10 incident to finish a strong
showing in fourth, and Ryan Preece rallied from a
rough first half of the race to take home a
well-earned fifth place.
Izzo returned to his Speedbowl roots and drove to an
impressive win in a 35-lap INEX Legend Cars main
event billed as Battle of the Sound. Izzo, a current
SK Modified® competitor at the track, took the lead
early on and cruised to the win relatively
unchallenged. Jeff Rocco of Wallingford made a rare
start in the class and claimed second, while former
division champion Dana Dimatteo of Farmington was
third. The race pitted drivers from the Speedbowl
against top competitors from other area tracks,
including Seekonk Speedway and Riverhead Raceway and
attracted nearly 50 competitors. Izzo took a $2,000
prize for his efforts.
Rocco checkered the 30-lap Late Model feature race
in convincing fashion. He outdueled Ernie LaRose in
the opening laps and then waltzed to a caution-free
victory. LaRose led lap-1 before Rocco got away
through turns three and four on lap-2. Rocco pulled
ahead of a battle for second position for much of
the race between Seekonk Speedway competitors
Charlie Rose and Gerry DeGasparre Jr. Neither could
close the gap to Rocco and settled into their race
for second position. DeGasparre, the multi-time
Seekonk champion, was awarded second place following
inspection and Walt Sutcliffe was third.
Salva took his first ever Speedbowl victory with a
win in the SK Light Modified race. He began the race
on the front row and dueled throughout the 25-lapper
with rival competitor Tony Membrino. While Salva was
able to ride out front most of the race, Membrino
had to rally from a couple close calls to stay in
the hunt of first his Speedbowl checkered flag.
Salva went on to the win by several car lengths at
the finish, joining his uncle Bo Gunning with a win
in the open-wheel ranks at the track. Membrino was
second and Joey Ferrigno finished third.
Next Sunday the auto racing season closes at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl with Smacktoberfest, the
track’s annual holiday-themed family fun thrill
show. A demolition derby, unpredictable trailer
race, enduro races and spectator racing are just
some of the on-track thrills and spills, while a
“trunk-or-treat” highlights the fan activities.
Grandstands open at 12:30. More information on the
event is available online at Speedbowl.com.
London-Waterford Speedbowl Sunday 10/25 Super Bowl
Tri-Track Modifieds (100-laps): 1. Woody
Pitkat, Stafford; 2. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks; 3.
Ron Silk, Norwalk; 4. Ted Christopher, Plainville;
5. Ryan Preece, Berlin; 6. Steve Masse, Bellingham,
MA; 7. Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, MA; 8. Chris
Pasteryak, Lisbon; 9. Matt Hirschman, Northampton,
PA; 10. Chase Dowling, Roxbury; 11. Andy Jankowiak,
Tonowanda, NY; 12. Todd Annarummo, Swansea, MA; 13.
Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck; 14. Mike Holdrige, Madison;
15. Kirk Alexander, West Swanzey, NH; 16. Max
Zachem, Preston; 17. Zane Zeiner, Bath, PA; 18. Dan
Meservey Jr., Brewster, MA; 19. Joe Doucette,
Framingham, MA; 20. Brendon Bock, Franklin Square,
NY; 21. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA; 22. Keith
Rocco, Berlin; 23. Eric Berndt, Cromwell; 24. Norm
Wrenn, Nashua, NH; 25. David Schneider, East
Northport, NY; 26. Richard Savary, Canton, MA
19th annual SK Modified® Nationals (75-laps):
1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2. Matt Hirschman,
Northampton, PA; 3 Ted Christopher, Plainville; 4.
Eric Berndt, Cromwell; 5. Ryan Preece, Berlin; 6.
Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard; 7. Jimmy Zacharias, Candor,
NY; 8. Anthony Ryan Jr., Danbury; 9. Diego Monahan,
Quaker Hill; 10. Andrew Dzenkowski, East Marion, NY;
11. John Montesanto, North Branford; 12. Jeff
Fialkovich, Shelton; 13. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford;
14. Joey Gada, Salem; 15. Jim Larsen, East Hartland;
16. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck; 17. Paul Kusheba,
Monroe; 18. Jeff Gallup, Agawam, MA; 19. Ryan
Morgan, Mystic; 20. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY;
21. Tim Jordan, Plainfield; 22. Paul Buzel,
Trumbull; 23. Zach Sylvester, Lebanon; 24. Ronnie
Williams, Tolland; 25. Dylan Izzo, Westport; 26.
Frank Mucciacciaro, Milford; 27. Tyler Jackson, Port
St. Lucie, FL; 28. Kyle Trainor, Malborough, MA; 29.
Tommy Membrino Jr., Prospect; DNS - Matt Galko,
Meriden; DNS - Michael Benevides, Westerly, RI
Late Models (30-laps): 1. Keith Rocco,
Berlin; 2. Gerry DeGasparre Jr., Pawtucket, RI; 3.
Walt Sutcliffe, East Haven; 4. Ernie LaRose,
Plainfield; 5. Ken Morin Jr., Old Saybrook; 6. Mark
Hudson, Norton, MA; 7. Lloyd Anderson Jr., Wauregan;
DQ - Charlie Rose, Tiverton, RI
SK Light Modifieds (25-laps): 1. Nick Salva,
Prospect; 2. Tony Membrino, Plantsville; 3. Joe
Ferrigno, East Hartford; 4. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 5.
Randy Churchill Jr., Oakdale; 6. Brett Gonyaw,
Vernon; 7. Al Stone III, Durham; 8. David Arute,
Tolland; 9. Paul French, Andover; 10. Calvin
Therrien, Vernon; 11. Payton Henry, Willington; 12.
Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 13. Rick Williams, Haddam;
14. Michael Taschereau, Gales Ferry; 15. Chris
Gombos, Naugatuck; 16. Carlos Gray, East Hartford;
17. Peter Lupoch, West Redding; 18. Larry Goss,
North Windham; 19 D.J. Burnham, East Hartford; 20.
Nick Riso, Wallingford; 21. Victoria Bergenty,
Plainville; 22. Vin Esposito, Seymour; DNS – Mark
INEX Legend Cars (35-laps): 1. Dylan Izzo,
Westport; 2. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 3. Dana
Dimatteo, Farmington; 4. Connor Pyle, Scotsdale, AZ;
5. Michael Christopher Jr., Wolcott; 6. Jordan
Lamothe, Woodstock; 7. Brandon Martinez, North
Kingstown, RI; 8. Alex McCollum, Phillipsburg, NJ;
9. Kyle Ellwood, Calverton, NY; 10. Jesse Jakubajtys,
Brockton, MA; 11. Scott Limkemann, East Lyme; 12.
Taylor Martin, Windham, NH; 13. Ryan Kuhn, East
Bridgewater, MA; 14. Bryan Kelly, Riverhead, NY; 15.
Glenn Korner, Canton; 16. Cassandra Cole, Westbrook;
17. Eric Hersey, Commack, NY; 18. Connor Holderbach,
Wolcott; 19. Jake Johnson, Rehoboth, MA; 20. Tim
DePizzol, North Franklin; 21. Michael Rutkowski,
Mattituck, NY; 22. John O’Sullivan III, Salem; 23.
Cory Dimatteo, Farmington; 24. Chase Dowling,
Roxbury; 25. Mikey Flynn, Hampden, MA; 26. Joey
Ternullo, Middletown; 27. Devin O’Connell, Madison;
28. Teddy Hodgdon, Danbury; 29. Brad VanHouten,
Riverhead, NY; 30. Scott Joy, Lewisville, NC; 31.
Noah Korner, Canton; 32. Drew Bottge
Mike Serluca /
October 25, 2015