Ternullo makes major move from Legends to SK Modswaterford
After a Legends career that featured 19 wins, including eight this year, and a 2013 track championship, Joey “Walnuts” Ternullo of Middletown Connecticut has decided to take his racing career to the next level.
Ternullo announced he’ll be moving up to the New London Waterford Speedbowl’s premier division in 2018, the SK Modifieds,
Ternullo will be driving a car owned by John Bello,
It’s a major upgrade for Ternullo, who has never driven an open-wheel Modified before.
“I’ve been helping Cory and Dana DiMatteo with their Modifieds, so I’ve driven their cars around the pits, but never on the race track,” Ternullo, 19, said. “I’m going to approach this season the same way I approached things when I moved into the Legends.
“I’ll take it step by step and stay in the back for a while until I can build up some confidence. And stay out of trouble.
“I know I’m not going to go out and win my first race. This is going to take some time. But hopefully, I can make a name for myself.”
Ternullo said he has been looking to make a move for a couple seasons.
“This year I grabbed some wins, and that made selling my Legends car a lot easier,” Ternullo said. “I had to prove how good that car was and this year I accomplished that.”
Ternullo announced that he was leaving the division on Sept. 23, when he won his final Legends feature at the Speedbowl.
“It was Ted Christopher tribute night, and it was a good way for me to go out,” Ternullo said. “Then my head was spinning. I didn’t know if I would go to the SKs or the SK Lights, or maybe even be done for a while.”
Ternullo, however, started taking to Bello, whose son, Anthony, has competed in the Bandolero Division at the Speedbowl for the past two years.
“I knew of John Bello because he helps out Steve Kopcik’s Modified team and Steve is a good friend of mine,” Ternullo said. “We were talking at Steve’s trailer and John was looking for a Legends car for his son. I had just won two wins in July and three in August so we started talking. And he had a Modified.”
So Ternullo sold his Legends car to Bello, and Ternullo will be driving Bello’s SK at the Speedbowl. The deal became finalized in October.
“I am really exciting, this is all new to me,” said Ternullo, a Xavier High graduate who is in his sophomore season at Central Connecticut State University. “This is a 2009 CD car. I really don’t know much about who has driven it before me, but I’m just happy to get the opportunity.”
The Modified will be housed at Ternullo’s shop and all his sponsors have come aboard — Laticrete, Portland Transmission and Middletown Ceramic Tiles.
Ternullo said the biggest influence on his career has been his dad.
“I would like to thank him for all his help and dedication,” Ternullo said. “I’d like to thank George Whitney for all of his help. And my friend Nick Fraulino has given me a lot of help over the years. A lot of my friends have helped me out”
Ternullo has had some significant Legends achievements. He won his first race at 13 and won a Wednesday night title at 14. His 19 wins puts him in a tie with Chris Pasteryak for eighth on the all-time Speedbowl win list.
Now it’s time for a new chapter.
“I am ready to learn everything about the SK,” Ternullo said. “I think we’re going to have a good season.”
He doesn’t have the experience. He does, however, have the enthusiasm needed to take on the Speedbowl’s toughest division.