2014 Waterford Blastoff winner
Thompson, Conn: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park opened the season in grand style with Keith
Rocco of Berlin, Conn. earning two NASCAR Whelen All American Series wins in one day in both the Sunoco
Modified and Late Model divisions. Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y. took the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
win over Woody Pitkat. Shawn Monahan of Waterford, Conn. earned his second in as many days in the Xtra Mart
Limited Sportsman division while Steve Dickey, Jr. of Londonderry, N.H. checkered the Monster Mini Stocks. Mike O’
Sullivan of Springfield, Mass. won the Granite State Pro Stock Series 50-lap affair and Vintage Outlaw checkers
flew for Joe Baxter of Pascoag, R.I.
Bonsignore win in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was his fourth career victory and his second at
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Bonsignore took the lead from Pitkat for the second and final time at lap
Pitkat led the early laps of the race, but lost the lead to Bonsignore on a lap 18 restart. On lap 21, Pitkat
challenged Bonsignore for the lead and went high in turn one only to lose the lead to Rowan Pennink in turn four.
Pennink, Pitkat and Bonsignore settled in line nose-to-tail for several laps, but Pennink and Pitkat broke away by a
commanding ten-car length advantage.
After a long green flag run, the caution flew and tightened up the field. A few cars opted to pit, but Pennink,
Pitkat and Bonsignore were among the majority that stayed out. Pennink wasted no time in jumping right back out
to the lead on the restart, but he would have to do it all over again after a car spun on the front stretch at lap 63.
Pennink jumped to the front again, but Pitkat was on his bumper and applying the pressure. On lap 79,
Pitkat got a run on Pennink and was able to take over the lead. Pitkat put two-car lengths breathing room over him
and the duo pulled ahead to a commanding two-second lead over Timmy Solomito, Bonsignore, and Ron Yuhas.
On lap 96, Pennink’s day took a turn for the worse when he came around turn three and his No. 93 machine came
around on him and spun into the wall full speed.
A majority of the field pitted after the conclusion of the red flag. Donny Lia inherited the lead followed by
Matt Hirschman and Keith Rocco. Green flag racing resumed at lap 105 with Lia leading the way. Coming up quick,
however, was Pitkat and Bonsignore now fifth and sixth respectively. Bonsignore muscled his way by Pitkat en
route to the third position and challenged for second by lap 114. Bonsignore was still on the move and about to
make a run on Lia for the lead when the caution came out and relegated him back to third.
Lia drove to the lead on the lap 118 restart as Pitkat got by Bonsignore for third. Pitkat and Bonsignore
both got by Hirschman to take over second and third. Coming around on lap 123, Pitkat drove to the inside lane in
a challenge on Lia for the lead when Lia went high into the turn two wall.
Pitkat, Bonsignore, Hirschman, and Yuhas made up the top-four for the restart on lap 129. After a side-by-
side battle, Pitkat gets the top spot with Bonsignore still on his bumper. On lap 133, Pennink dove to the bottom
groove and got alongside Pitkat in a tight battle for the lead. Bonsignore had a slight advantage coming out of turn
two on the following circuit before caution came out and returned the lead to Pitkat.
Pitkat held off Bonsignore for the lead on a lap 139 restart, but on lap 142, Bonsignore went under Pitkat
for the lead off of turn four. Once out front, Bonsignore pulled out to a ten-car length advantage over Pitkat and
soared to the checkered flag unchallenged.
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR FEATURE FINISH: 1. Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY; 2. Woody
Pitkat, Stafford, Conn.; 3. Doug Coby, Milford, Conn.; 4. Timmy Solomito, Islip, NY; 5. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY;
6. Ron Yuhas, Jr., Groton, CT; 7. Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT; 8. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 9. Ryan Preece, Berlin,
CT; 10. Jimmy Zacharias, Candor, NY; 11. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 12. Ken Heagy, Calverton, NY; 13.
Rob Fuller, Boylston, MA; 14. Jamie Tomaino, Howell, NJ; 15. Glen Reen, Wilbraham, MA; 16. Wade Cole,
Hartland, CT; 17. Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, NY; 18. Bobby Santos, Franklin, MA; 19. Melissa Fifield,
Wakefield, NH; 20. Keith Rocco, Wallingford, CT; 21. Donny Lia, Jericho, NY; 22. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon
Valley, PA; 23. Thomas Barrett, Jr., Millis, MA; 24. Mike Stefanik, Coventry, RI; 25. TJ Zacharias, Candor, NY.
Waterford Speedbowl Blastoff Weekend Results
Waterford, CT (April 13, 2014) – Waterford Speedbowl’s Blastoff Weekend
continued Sunday with the final six races of the event card being
completed. Keith Rocco of Berlin dominated the day, turning in a
memorable performance as he took a victory in all three events he entered.
He reached the winner’s circle in the Valenti Modified Racing Series
season opening race, joining his triumphs in the Speedbowl’s NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series SK Modified® and Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model
divisions to tie a 54-year old track record for number of victories in a
single day. Other race wins on Sunday went to Josh Galvin of Franklin in
the Street Stock race and Ian Brew of Wood River Junction in the Mini
Stocks, while Avery Stoehr of Lakeville, MA continued a family tradition
of winning in the Northeastern Midget Association feature.
Rocco from green to checkered flags in the 100-lap Valenti Modified Racing
Series feature, the popular New England based open-wheel touring division.
Rocco was pushed over the first half of the race by rival Ted
Christopher. Christopher, from Plainville, moved to second place on
lap-22 and pressed Rocco into a fast pace until he lost an engine in his
car on lap-42. That put oil down on the speedway and triggered a big
wreck behind Rocco, collecting many of the top-ten cars behind.
Former Speedbowl driver Chris Pasteryak was able to steer clear of the
wreckage and keep pace with Rocco over the second half of the race,
however was unable to mount a serious challenge. Rocco navigated lapped
traffic over the final twenty laps and survived a final restart on lap-84
to take the win. Pasteryak finished the race with a solid second place
effort while Todd Szegedy rebounded from getting caught up in the lap-42
melee to finish third. Keith’s brother Jeff Rocco finished fourth and Max
Zachem was fifth. All but Szegedy began their racing careers at the
A special 64-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature
commemorating the track’s number of years in operation actually began
Rocco’s big day, landing him the first of his three wins. He began the
race in the fourth starting position with his brother Jeff Rocco leading
the field to green. Jeff Rocco led the opening laps but the action heated
up quickly among the top-three cars when Todd Ceravolo had a hard time
keeping the handles on his second place car. Tim Jordan got caught up in
the aftermath and went spinning from traffic just outside the top-five on
lap-3, drawing the first caution flag of the race.
Jeff Gallup moved into the lead on the outside of Jeff Rocco after the
race restarted, with Keith Rocco moving to second on lap-9. The next
caution flag came before the field could complete another lap when Rob
Janovic Jr. went for a slide in turn three, collecting Diego Monahan,
whose day was ended with suspension damage.
Keith Rocco lined up outside Gallup and powered ahead to lead lap-10.
Craig Lutz advanced to second position and trailed Rocco the remainder of
the way but was never able to muster a bid for the win, including over
another five restart attempts as caution flags mounted. A serious
incident occurred on lap-29 after Joe Gada slowed on the track. The
caution flag waved when Gada’s car was stalled at the exit road off the
track front chute. Jeff Rocco got out of shape exiting turn four just
after the yellow came out, slamming the rear of Gada’s machine. The cars
sustained heavy damage, however both drivers walked away from the wreck.
Kyle James proved to be the race’s hard charger, coming from a 25th place
starting position with a strong showing. He marched towards the front,
taking third from Ted Christopher on lap-34. He pressed Lutz on several
occasions for second but Lutz fended off the challenges. James settled
for third at the finish, with Christopher and Shawn Thibeault completing
Rocco checkered the 50-lap Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature adding to
his standout day. Bruce Thomas Jr. led the opening six laps before the
first of two caution flags slowed the race on lap-6. Rocco had already
moved to second and was able to overtake Thomas following the restart. He
led handily through a long stretch before the next yellow flag on lap-45.
Rocco mastered the final duel with Thomas to pick up his second
consecutive Valenti Late Model victory on the season.
Rocco’s three wins in a day tied the feat accomplished in the 1960 season
by legendary Speedbowl racer Don Collins.
Brew was the benefactor of a final corner incident that collected the two
lead cars in the 30-lap Mini Stock feature. Brew was in third behind Ken
Cassidy Jr. and Garrett Denton for the last lap but Cassidy spun causing
Denton to slow and drop to the apron of the track to avoid serious
contact. Brew kept his momentum and drove around the outside of both to
take the checkered flag in a finish that had fans on their feet. Cassidy
and Denton had battled for the race lead throughout much of the feature
and appeared headed for a one-two finish with Brew third. Dave Trudeau
and Doug Curry each drove through the final corner to finish on the podium
in second and third respectively.
Galvin rebounded from a late race incident in last week’s Street Stock
feature to dominate Sunday’s 30-lap race. He was never seriously
threatened, able to pull ahead to several car lengths on each stretch of
green flag racing. Travis Jurcik came away with second position after
many competitors had a shot at the runner-up position. Monte Gibbs
finished third. A week ago Galvin was leading when he tangled with Al
Stone of Durham in the closing laps.
Stoehr needed to fend off a mid-race challenge by Ian Cumens before
romping to victory in the 25-lap NEMA Midget race, the season opener for
the series. Stoehr was in command during lengthy green flag runs in the
feature and went on to the win. Cumens wound up finishing second after
battling John Zych Jr., a previous Blastoff winner in NEMA, for second
over much of the race. Zych was third.
Waterford Speedbowl Budweiser Blastoff Sunday 4/13 Results:
Valenti Modified Racing Series (100-laps): 1. Keith Rocco, Berlin; 2.
Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon; 3. Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield; 4. Jeff Rocco,
Wallingford; 5. Max Zachem, Preston; 6. Mike Holdridge, Madison; 7.
Eric Goodale, Wading River, NY; 8. Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA; 9. Todd
Annarummo, Swansea, MA; 10. Mike Willis Jr., Grantham, NH; 11. Jeff
Pearl, Salem; 12. Tom Abele Jr., Norwich; 13. Charlie Pasteryak, Lisbon;
14. Todd Owen, Somers; 15. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, PA; 16.
Dylan Kopec, Palmer, MA; 17. Brad Van Houten, Wading River, NY; 18. Dave
Etheridge, Portland; 19. Justin Bonsignore, Islip, NY; 20. Ted
Christopher, Plainville; 21. Steve Masse, Bellingham, MA; 22. Norm
Wrenn, Nashua, NH; 23. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 24. Shawn Solomito,
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® (64-laps): 1. Keith
Rocco, Berlin; 2. Craig Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 3. Kyle James, Ashaway,
RI; 4. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 5. Shawn Thibeault, Plainville; 6.
Shawn Monahan, Waterford; 7. Ed Puleo, Branford; 8. Tim Jordan,
Plainfield; 9. Cam McDermott, Scituate, RI; 10. Tyler Chadwick, Ledyard;
11. Justin Gaydosh, Newtown; 12. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford; 13. Jim
Larsen, East Hartland; 14. Jeff Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 15. Nichole
Morgillo, Southington; 16. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry; 17. Adam Gada,
Bozrah; 18. Corey Coates, Ledyard; 19. Todd Annarummo, Swansea, MA; 20.
Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 21. Joe Gada, Salem; 22. Jeff Gallup, Agawam,
MA; 23. Diego Monahan, Quaker Hill; 24. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Milford;
25. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry
Canaan, NH. – Sitting at a desk Tuesday afternoon looking over notes saved in case he needed to refer to them one day, Kirk Alexander, the Valenti Modified Racing Series all-
time winner at 31 victories, was trying to find the right set-up, the magic that worked for him so many times in the past, the magic he hopes he can create again when he climbs into
the John Corliss owned, Trader John Guns sponsored, # 88 modified, on Saturday night, April 19, at Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, New Hampshire.
Alexander, of W. Swanzey, NH., will be filling the seat of long-time archrival Jim Boniface who is battling a courageous fight with cancer. It’s a situation Alexander knows all to well. He
lost a brother to the disease in 2008.
“Jim and I were fierce rivals. He wanted to win. I wanted to win. We came from the same area. We raced the same tracks. It’s sad to see what he’s going through. It brings me back. I’
d love to win for him Saturday night. Jim hopes to be at the track if at all possible.”
Alexander, who is an avid fisherman and enters tournaments all over New England, says he got a surprise phone call last week. “It wasn’t hard to make a decision,” said the three-
time series champion. My fishing and racing. We’ll make it work.”
“That car is just like mine and it’s got a great motor, disclosed Alexander. “I told the owner I’d be happy to run it for them. I was toying with putting my own back together for the July
show. This is perfect. We’ll run the Monadnock shows for sure and we’ll look at others.”
Alexander won the series first race in April 2004, and went on to win 15 more at the New Hampshire quarter-mile. His last series win was July 3, 2010.
Reigning Champion Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, PA, a two-time winner at Monadnock is entered for Saturday’s race.
Former series champions Dwight Jarvis, of Ascutney, VT., entering his 41st season, and Chris Pasteryak, of Lisbon, CT, a two-time champion, are also set to compete.
Todd Szegedy, of Ridgefield, CT, Justin Bonsignore, Islip, NY, Max Zachem, Preston, CT., Anthony Nocella, Woburn, MA., and Dan Meservey Jr. of Brewster, MA., have entered.
The race, presented by Bond Auto Parts, is the annual “Spring Dash 100, a green flag event. The season opening program at Monadnock gets underway at 5:00 PM.