Ternullo looking for SK Modified improvementwaterford
Press release from New London-Waterford Speedbowl
WARERFORD — Joey Ternullo of Middletown is a busy 20-year-old who attends two institutions of higher learning —not only is he a junior at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, but he also attends another prestigious school — SK Modified University at New London Waterford Speedbowl.
He claims he learned a lot about SK Modified during his rookie year last season.
“The rookie season was filled with a lot of ups and downs,” Ternullo said, “but we gained a lot of experience out there. I think we ran nine races and in those nine races I learned a lot. I developed a good feel for the car and I learned how to work on it a bit.
“I also was around guys on the crew who knew what they were doing and I picked up some tips from them. That was really cool.”
He said his first race in June was typical of his entire season. He was involved in an early wreck, was sent to the rear of the field and rallied to finish fifth.
For his second season in the SKs at the Bowl, Ternullo has decided to upgrade his equipment.
“I have a new car,” Ternullo said. “I picked up Cam McDermott’s Troyer and I hope to be running that car as much as we can down at the Bowl. “
Last year Ternullo was able to build the foundation of what he hopes to do in a Modified.
“Last year we gained a lot of confidence that we hope we can take with us into 2019,” Ternullo said. “We’re coming into Waterford with a full head of steam and I think we’re ready to win some races. We’re headed back to the front, just like we have been for the last nine or ten years.”
Ternullo’s first season at Waterford was in 2009 in the Bandolero division. He advanced into the Legends division and captured a track championship in 2013. Ternullo has racked up 29 victories at the Speedbowl tying him for 40th on the all-time win list with Brad Voglesong, Brian McCarthy, Ed Gerstch Jr., Mike Daignault, Moe Gherzi, Rick Donnelly and Timmy Jordan. He also picked up a nickname along the way, Joey Walnuts.
He thinks the past experience can only help him when it comes to the Modifieds.
“I think driving the Legends and the Bandoleros have helped me because I learned what you can and cannot do,” Ternullo said. “But there are a lot of things you can and cannot do with a Modified. It’s a completely different animal.“
It’s an animal, however, he is looking forward to taming.
This is what’s in my blood,” Ternullo said. “One day I was sitting in the stands at the Speedbowl and I told my dad I wanted to be out there one day racing Modifieds,” Ternullo said. “And here I am, just a few years later. This has been a dream come true and I’m really happy for the opportunity. I’ve had a lot of people on board helping me out. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do this.”
His sponsors include Laticrete, which has been sponsoring Ternullo’s racing efforts for 10 seasons.
“What we have accomplished together has been remarkable,” Ternullo said.
He also is sponored by Middletown Ceramic Tile and Portland Transmission.
“My dad has really helped me over the years,” Ternullo said. “He’s always been there for me.”
Ternullo, however, said getting to the front is up to him.
“We know where we are now, and I think every week we get better,” Ternullo said. “That was proven last season.
“The confidence level gets bigger every week, I think once we start running up front on a consistent basis, we’re going to stay there.”
“Once you get your first podium, you want to keep doing it every week. You finish third, and you only need two more spots to get to the top.”
That’s where Ternullo wants to spend a good chunk of 2019.
“Hopefully we can get Joey Walnuts back to victory lane,” Ternullo said.
At Central Connecticut, Ternullo is looking for a grade of A. At SK Modified University, however, he is looking for a grade of V — for victory.
Contact Mike Serluca at firstname.lastname@example.org