Puleo ‘Blasts Off’ with First SK Modified® win; Jason Palmer Holds off Strong Late Model CompetitionMitch Bombard
WATERFORD – Jon Puleo has limited starts in the SK Modified® ranks at the Speedbowl, but you would never know it the way he raced in
the 35 lap Blast Off season opener. Puleo rocketed off to an early lead when Anthony Flannery didn’t get off to a good start. Joey Gada looked strong at the start giving Puleo a challenge before dropping back in the field, letting Tim Jordan dive into second. With ten laps in the books, Jordan would nail the restart and inch ahead of Puleo forcing a lead change. The two would trade positions throughout the course of the race with defending champion Todd Owen throwing his hat in the ring against Jordan. With 9 laps to go an incident on the front straight shuffled
up the field, but that didn’t affect Puleo at all as he managed to hold off the 2018 champion. The win marked Puleo’s first in the headline division.
Early indications show that the duel in the Late Models now has a third player. 2021 champion Jason Palmer had to fight off the defending champion Ray Christian III and Cory DiMatteo for the entire race. The three drivers pulled away leaving the rest of the field in their dust but putting on a show of their own. Palmer commanded the high line as DiMatteo held off numerous charges by Christian. DiMatteo solidified his 2nd place finish when lapped traffic came into play. The battle for 4th was tight too, with Derryck Anderson holding off advances by Mike Benevedis. Palmer led every lap to add to his impressive win total at the facility.
Like the Late Models, the Street Stocks were dominated by three fierce competitors. Brian Norman led every lap from start to finish while Al Stone III and Tony Macrino laid the pressure on thick behind him. With 6 laps left on the board, Macrino employed a crossover move to make an attempt on the lead that was ultimately thwarted by Norman. A green, white checkered finish gave Macrino one more shot at the top spot, but Norman was just too strong and left with the hardware.
The day was flowing fairly smooth until the SK Lights hit the field, where chaos would play a huge factor in the event. Evan Bourgeois took off on the start until a caution after lap 1 bunched the modifieds back up. They clicked off another lap until another caution flew. Bourgeois got shuffled back on the next one lap stint giving Nickolas Hovey the lead. Johnny O’Sullivan reeled in and kept the pressure on Hovey when an incident on the back straight drove defending champion Tom Abele Jr. off the ground, skidding to a stop in turn 3. O’Sullivan set the pace, but when Isaiah Newcomb couldn’t stick a gung-ho move with 6 laps left, that left a big hole in the front of the running order. O’Sullivan looked to have the race won when his car had mechanical issues on the final lap, allowing early leader Nickolas Hovey to win at Blast Off.
Brody Monahan led the Truck field to green and was able to lead some laps, until Kyle Gero took over and ran. 2022 runner up Tyler Chapman had a strong piece all day and put the pressure on Gero around halfway. Monahan, now running a solid third place, displayed a veteran move in his young career using lapped traffic to work into 2nd. Chapman continued to set the pace for the remainder of the event taking home win number 1.
In the Mini Stocks, John Bavolacco shot out of the gate white hot. A caution bunching up the field put defending champion Charles Canfield at his door. Bavolacco was strong enough to pull ahead and take charge. Chris Garside was running a solid 2nd, but Bill Sylvia used lapped traffic to capitalize and make his way by Canfield to round out the podium.
Kicking off the day, Jase Mongeon not only won his first ever INEX Legend Car race at the Speedbowl, but also his first oval race. He got our front early and would set the pace with a hard charging Zack Martinez on his bumper.
The season is now in full swing! Coming up next for Speedbowl Saturday Nights on May 13th are the SK Modifieds®, Late Models, Street Stocks, Trucks, Mini Stocks, and the first of three Compact Enduros. For complete details, visit www.speedbowlct.com, keep up with us on Facebook at The New London-Waterford Speedbowl, or on Instagram and Twitter @SpeedbowlCT.
SK Modifieds® (35 Laps): 1. 7-Jonathan Puleo; 2. 47-Timmy Jordan; 3. 81-Todd Owen; 4. 25-Anthony Flannery; 5. 11CT-Eric Berndt; 6. 6-Joe Gada; 7. 94-Bill Anderson; 8. 51-Rob Janovic Jr; 9. 72-Adam Gada; 10. 9-Paul Buzel; 11. 11-Ed Flemke Jr; 12. 22-Isaiah Newcomb; 13. 09-Mike Beebe Jr; 14. 2-Troy Talman; 15. 22RI-Carl Kivisto; 16. 4-Jeff Malave; 17. 49-John Bercham; 18. 94SA-Sami Anderson
Late Models (30 Laps): 1. 17-Jason Palmer; 2. 6-Cory DiMatteo; 3. 93CT-Ray Christian III; 4. 2-Derryck Anderson Jr; 5. 50RI-Michael Benevides; 6. 67-John C Silva III; 7. 78-Emma Monahan; 8. 94CT-Charles Bailey III; 9. 0-Joey LeMay
SK Lights (25 Laps): 1. 16-Nickolas Hovey; 2. 21-Sami Anderson; 3. 78-Evan Bourgeois; 4. 16CT-Ethan Durocher; 5. 41CT-Tyler Chapman; 6. 51-John O’Sullivan III; 7. 36RI-Michael Cooper; 8. 42-Stephen Kelogiannis; 9. M7-Wade Gagner; 10. 44-Alan Tirrell; 11. 22-Isaiah Newcomb; 12. 47-Zachery Sangermano; 13. 98-Norm Sears; 14. 07-Tom Abele Jr; 15. 91-Jake Hines; 16. 21BA-Bill Anderson; 17. (DNS) 34-Daltin McCarthy
Street Stocks (25 Laps): 1. 12-Brian Norman; 2. 13-Tony Macrino; 3. 52-Al Stone III; 4. 9-Shawn Gaedeke; 5. 67-Aaron Plemons; 6. 1-Nate Taylor; 7. 83-Ed Gertsch Jr; 8. 74-Joseph Arena; 9. 30-Jaysin Beal; 10. 14-Steve Barrett; 11. 16MA-Zach Meade; 12. 58-David Ciastko; 13. 56CT-Sean Riley; 14. 56-Ike Chima; 15. 2-Douglas Curry; 16. 22T-Timothy Poulin; 17. 38-Jon Porter; 18. 14CT-Devin Tate; 19. 28-Austin Flanagan; 20. (DNS) 21-Tom Musante; 21. (DNS) 13RI-Clay Petschke
Trucks (25 Laps): 1. 81-Tyler Chapman; 2. 31-Brody Monahan; 3. 19CT-Kyle Gero; 4. 12-Ed Ryan Jr; 5. 84JR-Brad Strickland; 6. 41-Toby Leonard; 7. 94-Anthony Naglieri; 8. 90-Allen Coates Jr; 9. 52CT-Sean Caron; 10. 30-Charles Beal; 11. 6X-Zach Meade; 12. 52-Mercedes Caron; 13. 54-Cameron Varricchio; 14. 25-David Venice
Mini Stocks (25 Laps): 1. 42-John Bavolacco; 2. 83-Christopher Garside; 3. 88-Bill Sylvia; 4. 1CT-Jared Roy; 5. 31-Tommy Silva; 6. 25-Charles Canfield; 7. 6-Nicholas Pappacoda; 8. 22CT-Brad Caddick; 9. 9-Rick LaFlesh; 10. 19-David Dorr; 11. 16-Tim Dorr; 12. 72-David Lee; 13. 28-Erica Canfield; 14. 91-Raymond Herman Sr; 15. 81-Stacey Zentek; 16. 12-Aiden Sullivan; 17. 22-Hailey Beal
INEX Legend Cars (25 Laps): 1. 19MA-Jase Mongeon; 2. 14Z-Zachary Martinez; 3. 05-Dylan Freeman; 4. 22-Isaiah Newcomb; 5. 91-Riley Paul; 6. 27N-Nicholaus Bulkeley; 7. 89-Dylan Cote; 8. 77-Dennis Pantani; 9. 76-Edward Gomarlo; 10. 86-Scott Limkemann; 11. 7X-Patrick Smith; 12. 15-Scott Kinsman; 13. 26-Sydney Cook; 14. 9-Bill Andreozzi; 15. 2-Jordan Rosado; 16. (DNS) 87-Jeffrey Paul