SK Modified Point Battle Heats Up Heading Into Saturdaywaterford
WATERFORD — If you talk about the New London Waterford Speedbowl SK Modified points battle with Dennis Perry, it will be a short conversation.
He doesn’t want to talk about it. He doesn’t want to know about it. And if you bring the point race up, he will quickly change the subject.
“For us, it’s all about getting a win,” the Pawcatuck driver said. “We never planned on running for points and I don’t even look at the standings. Somebody sent me a copy last week, and as soon as I knew what it was, I got rid of it.”
If he did sneak a glance at the standings, however, Perry might like what he sees. He’ll go into Saturday’s 35-lap SK Modified feature with a two-point lead over Keith Rocco, a five-point lead over Joe Gada and a 10-point cushion over Tyler Chadwick.
He would rather talk about getting his first win in Waterford’s SK Modifieds, however, than winning his first championship.
“We’re going to do what we always do,” Perry said. “We plan on going to the front as quickly as we can. Usually the car that gets to the front first is the car that’s going to win. If you let guys like Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco get to the front before you do, the odds of catching them aren’t too good.”
While Perry has been shut of the win column this season, he has come close. He has racked up two seconds, two thirds and nine Top 5s in 16 races. He’s been out of the Top 10 only once all season.
“And the worst part is, on that night we were leading that race when our car broke,” Perry said. “If we could have won that night, it would have changed the entire scenario. “
There have been two other races in which Perry’s car suffered significant damage and it looked like he would be out of the race, but he came back to record Top 10 finishes.
“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish on the small budget that we run on,” Perry said. “We build our own stuff, so we’re used to fixing things. Some teams need to bolt on new parts when they get in trouble. We just fix what we have and keep going.”
His cousins Norm and Shelly Perry and George Wilkerson make up Perry’s team.
“Norm owns the car, but it’s a group of people that have been around for a long time,” Perry said. “They have a lot of experience.”
This year the crew members also have the experience of running for a track championship — even though they aren’t allowed to talk about it.
In addition to the SK Modifieds, the Sunoco Late Models, Limited Sportsmen, Mini Stocks, the Magnus Racing Products SK Lights and the NEMA Lights will be competing Saturday. The action gets under way with qualifying at 5:15 p.m.
Here’s a rundown of the other divisions.
Sunoco Late Models: Keith Rocco is sizzling hot, with five wins in the last seven races. He has finished 11 of 13 races this season in the Top 5.
Anthony Flannery trails Rocco by 20 points after finishing 11th in the last Late Models race, his worst finish of the season.
Limited Sportman: Chris Meyer is the division’s hottest driver with seven consecutive Top 3 podium finishes. He has three wins, three seconds and a third place in that stretch. Meyer, however, still trails Al Stone by 20 points with four races left.
Mini Stocks: Rookie driver Jacob Perry collected his second win of the season last week and is in seventh place in the standings, only eight points out of fifth.
Point leader Wayne Burroughs has back-to-back second-place finishes, however, and leads five-time champ Ken Cassidy by 12 points.
Magnus Racing Products SK Lights: Tony Membrino Jr. snapped a five-race winless streak Saturday for his fifth win of the season. Membrino started the year with four straight wins and leads Corey Barry by 20 points. The hottest driver is Cory Dimatteo, who has five straight Top 5 finishes, including two wins.
NEMA Lights: The division heads to the Speedbowl for the third time this season. Past winners have been 13-year-old Ryan Locke and P.J. Stergios. Jim Chambers is the point leader.