Gargaro Jr. racks up extra-distance X-Car win- Bennett, Shafer squeeze out photo finish victories- Monahan captures impressive Bandolero winwaterford
WATERFORD — Dave Gargaro hasn’t raced regularly at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in more than a year.
The two-time X-car champion, however, hasn’t forgotten the fast way around the track.
Gargaro took the lead from T.J. Racicot on lap No. 18 and still had enough voltage left to survive a two-lap, green-white-checker showdown with Racicot and Eddie Loomis. He held on for a win in the 35-lap X-Car Extra Distance Showdown Wednesday as part of the Speedbowl’s Wild & Wacky presentation.
In other action, Marc Shafer won a nail-biter over Dave Yardley and Ed Ryan Jr. in the 25-lap Super X-Car feature and Peter Bennett blurred past Colin Haley on the final lap to pull out a slender win in the 25-lap Legend feature. Emma Monahan led from start to finish to win her second Bandolero feature of the season.
Gargaro’s win, however, didn’t come easily. He started 12th in the 24-car field and took his time getting to the front, waiting until lap No. 18 to springboard past leader T.J. Racicot.
“The goal was to be patient, get out in front and avoid the wrecks,” Gargaro said. “And we had an excellent race.”
Gargaro had the night’s fastest lap times as he was able to scald his way to the front.
“The car handled so good tonight,” Gargaro said. “My dad and I made some adjustments on it in midweek to get it to where it was tonight.”
Gargaro needed two laps of firepower at the end when a caution came out on lap 33. He was able to get the jump on the restart on both Loomis and Racicot to pull away over the final two laps and get the win. Gargaro was the X-Car champ in 2015 and 2016.
One of the most impressive runs of the night was from Loomis. He was involved in a fourth-lap skirmish and had to make a pit stop for repairs. After re-starting from the rear of the field, Loomis rallied to finish second. He also was able take a three-point lead over Corey Caddick for the division’s point lead.
The joy ride turned into a pressure cooker late in the Legends race for Bennett, the point leader, who rallied for his third win of the year.
“I was just cruising out there and then I saw Colin Haley creeping up on me during that long green flag run,” Bennett said. “He’s been fast the last couple of weeks and I give him credit for that.”
He was fast enough to take the lead over Bennett with three laps to go. Bennett, however, was able to rumble by Haley for good coming out of turn 4 on the final lap.
“I tried to keep Colin on the outside so he couldn’t cross me over,” Bennett said. “But the finish was a little closer than I like.”
Haley said there was a reason he wound up being on the wrong side of the photo finish.
“Peter had a faster car than I did coming off the corner,” Haley said. “But I drove the wheels off my car.”
John O’Sullivan finished third.
Shafer grabbed the lead on the ninth lap of the Super X car feature but needed an energy burst on the final lap to hold off both Yardley and Ryan.
Yardley actually caromed off the turn 4 wall in an all-out assault to catch Shafer but wound up just short.
“It’s a blast running with Yardley,” Shafer said. “I know he’ll run me clean and I’ll run him clean, but we don’t mind leaning on each other.”
Yardley, however, also leaned on the wall.
“I had a good run, and if I didn’t come off loose, I think it would have been fun drag racing to the center,” Yardley said. “But it is what it is.”
Yardley’s lead over Shafer was chopped to four points.
Monahan spent the entire 20 laps increasing her lead over second-place driver Nicholas Hovey as she led from start to finish.
“This was crazy,” Monahan said. “I got to give credit to my father for working on this car all week.”
Racing resumes Wednesday July 18. The X-Cars, Super X-Cars, Legends and Bandoleros will be joined by the Vintage Midget Racers.
20-lap Bandoleros: 1. Emma Monahan, Waterford; 2. Nicholas Hovey, Chaplin; 3. Maddie Harkin, Portsmouth, RI; 4. Tyler Alkas, Kensington; 5. Evan Marchand, Somerset, Mass.; 6. PJ Evans, Uncasville; 7. Nick Archierre, Danbury; 8. Brody Monahan, Waterford; 9. Sawyer Reiss, Guilford; 10. Anthony Bevilacqua, Newington.
25-lap Legends: 1. Peter Bennett, Cromwell; 2. Colin Haley, Ashford; 3. John O’Sullivan, Salem; 4. Dennis Pantani, Branford; 5. Mason Levesque, Dighton, Mass.; 6. Tyler Palmer, Watertown; 7. David Lespinasse, Milford; 8. Brian Zimowski, Enfield; 9. Tyler Barry, Griswold; 10. Anthony Bello, Newtown.
35-lap X-Car: 1. Dave Gargaro Jr., Cranston RI; 2. Eddie Looms, Plainfield; 3. TJ Racicot, Quaker Hill; 4. Will Rheaume, North Franklin; 5. Josh Ciccio, Seymour; 6. Raymond Herman Sr., Groton; 7. Harry Rheaume, Oakdale; 8. Corey Caddick, Richmond RI; 9. Eric Finkbein Sr., Columbia; 10. Christopher Lee, Oakdale.
25-lap Super X-Cars: 1. Marc Shafer, Groton; 2. Dave Yardley, Kensington; 3. Ed Ryan Jr., Preston; 4. Don Berge, Uncasville; 5. Bill Reiman, Southington; 6. Mitch Bombard, Willimantic; 7. Peter Martin, Plainville; 8. DennyLee Hoffman, Westbrook; 9. Keith Brown, Griswold; 10. Ray Phillips, Canterbury.
Press release from the New London-Waterford Speedbowl
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