WATERFORD — Two drivers were able to end their seven-year itch during competition Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl and were able to scratch the surface of victory lane.
Joe Gada dominated the 35-lap SK Modified feature and posted his first win since 2016.
The same script was true in the 25-lap SK Lite feature, Nicole Thibeault controlled the race to grab her second career victory and her first since 2013.
Other winners were Doug Curry in the Ministocks, Shawn Monahan in the Sportsman, Jason Palmer in the Late Models, Giovanni Ruggiero in the Legends and Colby Lambert in the Open Street Stocks.
Gada started third in the SK feature, but quickly moved into the lead when the two drivers in the front row, Paul Buzel and Rob Janovic Jr. drifted up high, opening up the entire inside of the track for Gada to stomp to the front.
Janovic quickly moved into second place and was perched on the back bumper of Gada, but as the race went on, Gada expanded his lead.
Kyle James moved into third, but couldn’t generate a serious challenge to Janovic in second place.
Corey DiMatteo picked up the most positions, starting eighth and finishing fourth.
Thibeault, meanwhile, grabbed the SK Lite lead early and held off a fast-closing Wayne Burroughs junior to post her first SK Lite win and her second career win. Thibeault said in victory lane that she was happy to win a race in front of her twin 3-year olds, Logan and Lianna.
They had a lot to cheer for as Thibeault took off early and never lost her grip on the lead. Burroughs finished second and Charlie McDougall finished third.
Th winner on Aug. 15, Travis Hydar, was slowed down by a vibration early in the race. After making a pit stop, Hydar rolled through the field to finish fourth.
The turning point of the 30-lap Late Model feature took place on the second lap. Palmer was able to avoid some mayhem when Charles Baileu and Tyler Tomassi got together in the first turn.
Palmer moved up into the lead and he held off Ryan Morgan the rest of the way to grab his second win of the season. Tomassi finished third.
Monahan was a runaway winner in the Sportsman race and gave a warning to the rest of the field.
“We’re back for the rest of the season,” said Monahan following his second win of the season. “And we’re going to pick you off one at a time.”
Al Stone was second and Morgan was third for the second straight week.
Curry came from the seventh position, barreled past Bill Sylvia early in the race and held on for his second win of the season.
“The car was tight all day, but we still had plenty of speed,” Curry said.
Sylvia, who didn’t finish a race in 2018, enjoyed the first podium of his career.
Ruggiero was in the right place at the right time in the 25-lap legends feature. He was running third when front-runners Jordan Churchill and Conner Holderbach got together late in the race. That left the door to the winners’ circle open for Ruggiero, who captured his first career Legends victory.
Lambert finished the Aug. 15 25-lap Open Street Stock race at the rear of the field. He made a 180-degree turnaround Saturday, surging into the lead early and dictating the pace the rest of the way to chalk up his first career Open win.
Joe Koehler ran second and Adam Petty was third.
Racing continues Saturday with an eight-division program. Joining the SK Modifieds, Late Models, Mini-Stocks, Sportsman and SK Lites will be NEMA, the NEMA Lights and the American Three-Quarter Midgets Racing Association
35-lap SK Modifieds: 1. Joe Gada, Salem; 2. Ron Janovic Jr., Waterford; 3. Kyle James, Ashway, RI; 4. Cory DiMatteo, Farmington; 5. Timmy Jordan, Plainfield; 6. Joey Ternullo, Middletown; 7. Jeff Rocco, Wallingford; 8. Bryan Narducci, Colchester; 9. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 10, Jonathan Puleo, Branford.
30-lap Late Models: 1. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 2. Ryan Morgan, North Franklin; 3. Tyler Tomassi, West Greenwich, RI; 4, Jason Larivee, West Greenwich RI; 5. Glenn Boss, Danielson; 6. Ryan Lineham, Hope Valley RI; 7. Tommy Adams, East Providence RI; 8. Bobby Tripp, Westport, Mass.; 9. Bobby Cole Jr., Middletown, Mass.; 10. Charles Bailey, Lisbon.
25-lap SK Lites: 1. Nichole Thibeault, Southington; 2. Wayne Burroughs, Oakdale; 3. Charlie McDougall, Naugatuck; 4, Travis Hydar, Woodbury; 5. Jason Chapman, Ellington; 6. Bert Ouelette, Ellington; 7. Anthony Bello, Newtown; 5. Todd Taylor, Stonington; 9. Anthony Marvin, Colchester; 10. Tyler Barry, Griswold.
25-lap Sportsman: 1. Shawn Monahan, Waterford; 2. Al Stone, Durham; 3. Ryan Morgan, North Franklin; 4. Joe Arena, Bristol; 5. Jon Porter, East Lyme; 6. Shawn Gaedeke, Groton; 7. Chris Douton, Waterford; 8. Kyle Gero, Uncasville; 9. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, Mass.; 10. Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin.
25-lap Ministocks: 1. Doug Curry; 2. Charles Canfield; 3. Bill Sylvia; 4. Ray Christian; 5. Dave Trudeau; 6, Tommy Silva; 7. John Bavolacco; 6. Nick Pappacoda; 9. Dave Trudeau Jr.; 10. Evan Bourgois, East Haddam.
25-lap Legends: 1. Giovanni Ruggiero, Seekonk, Mass.; 2. Corey Fanning, Mapleville, RI; 3. Connor Holderbach, Wolcott; 4. Jacob Burns, Bristol RI; 5. Corey Caddick, Richmond, RI; 6. Jordan Churchill, Lisbon; 7. RJ Marcotte, Millville, Mass.; 8. Scott Limkemann, Lebanon; 9. Brendon Hammon, Smithfield, RI.
25-lap Open Street Stocks: 1. Colby Lambert, Westport, Mass.; 2. Joe Kohler, Cranston RI; 3. Adam Petty, Assoneti. Mass.; ; 4. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI; ; 5. Corey Fanning, Mapleville RI; 6. Shawn Monahan, Waterford; 7. Ed Perry, Rehobeth, Mass.; 8. Jon Porter, East Lyme; 9. Paul Williams, Stoughton, Mass.; 10. Mike Teague, Middleboro, Mass.