WATERFORD —It wasn’t Todd Owen’s best race of the year — just his most important one.
“It wasn’t easy, but I kept my cool and got it done,” said Owen, after his sixth-place finish in Saturday’s 35-lap SK Modified feature — the final SK point race of the season — enabled him to win his first Speedbowl SK championship.
Owen’s sixth-place run, combined with a fifth-place effort by Cory DiMatteo, gave Owen an 8-point victory over DiMatteo in the standings.
As far as the lead was concerned, Andrew Molleur pulled away from Mike Christopher after an early restart to rack up his third SK win of the season.
In other action, Jason Palmer romped to his 10th Late Model win of the year and vaulted into the point lead by two points over second-place finisher Ray Christian. Ethan Durocher struck for the first time in the SK Lite Modifieds, Nickolas Hovey pulled down his first Street Stock win,. Charles Canfield roared to his second straight Mini Stock victory and John O’Sullivan rolled to his eighth Legends win of the season, putting a padlock on the track title one race ahead of schedule.
Owen, meanwhile, knew he had to finish seventh or better to guarantee a track title
“We didn’t have a great car tonight,” Owen said. “But it was good enough to get us where we needed to be.”
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Not even a flat tire suffered halfway through the race cut could dash his quest for the title.
“We went in the pits, put on one of the oldest tires that we had and came back out,” Owen said. “And we moved into sixth, which is where we had to be.”
DiMatteo was involved in some drama during qualifying when he blew the rear-end in his car and had to borrow the car usually driven by Bill Anderson, taking it to a fifth place finish.
Molleur, meanwhile, carved by Christopher on an early restart and never relinquished his lead.
“”I thought the inside groove was the place to be tonight,” Molleur said. “The car started loose, and then got better. I got some pretty good advice tonight from Buddy Charette, who drove in the SK Lights and told me what the track conditions were. Buddy was my buddy.”
Owen, meanwhile, was the champ, his first since he won a Late Model title at Riverside Park Speedway in 1996. Owen also clinched the Triple Threat title Saturday.
“I never dreamed of winning one title,” Owen said. “To win two in one night is unbelievable.”
The Late Models featured another unbelievable battle between Palmer and Christian, who were door-to-door for about 10 laps. It was the same breath-taking side-by-side action the two drivers have been responsible for all year.
Palmer eventually pulled away to take a two-point lead in the standings with one race left.
“There was a lot of grip out there tonight and my car was good,” Palmer said. “We came here to win. That’s what we do.”
Christian, meanwhile, nailed down the Triple Threat title.
The 2021 season has not been kind to Ethan Durocher, who was involved in multiple wrecks this season and even had to take some time off to repair his car.
He was a rocket Saturday, taking the lead early and holding off Jason Chapman the rest of the way.
“We had a rough year, but I can’t thank my team enough,” Durocher said. ”They kept working hard. We were close, but not close enough until tonight. Starting up front made a big difference.”
Charette, who finished third, was the Triple Threat champ.
Charles Canfield made a bullet move early in the race to jump into the lead. He withstood the threats posed by Chris Garside, who was second, and John Bavolacco, was third, down the stretch..
“It’s ever easy to keep Chris Garside behind you, but we were able to do it,” Canfield said. “And John Bavolacco gets better every week.”
Nickolas Hovey made a key move late in the 25-lap Street Stock feature — a switch from the outside groove to the inside groove. That put him into position to slash underneath Ryan Waterman to post the victory in the Street Sock feature. Chris “Moose” Douton was second.
“Ryan Waterman was trying to hold the center and didn’t want me to get inside him,” Hovey said. “I had to use a little bumper, but I got it done.Doug Curry, the point leader, also won the Triple Threat title.
O’Sullivan took the lead on laps 4 on his way to a dominant win in the Legends, his eighth of the season.
Newcomer Mason Tessier and Brody Monahan were fighting for second, when the two were involved in contact and drifted up the track. Tessier and Monahan fought back to finish second and third respectively.
Sullivan, meanwhile, posted a perfect score to wrap up the Triple Threat crown.
Racing resumes on Oct. 15, 16, and 17 for the Speedbowl finale.
35-lap SK Modifieds: 1. Andrew Molleur, Shelton; 2. Mike Christopher Jr., Wolcott,; 3. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 4. Rob Janovic Jr, Waterford; 5. Cory DiMatteo, Farmington’ 7. Todd Owen, Somers; 7. Paul Buzel, Trumbull; 8. Joseph Ternullo, Middletown; 9. John Bercham, West Greenwich, RI; 10. Wendell Dailey, Gales Ferry; 11. Timmy Jordan, Plainfield; 12. Dylan Izzo, Monroe; 13. Joe Gada, Uncasville,; 14. Adam Gada. Bozrah; 15. Ed Puleo, Branford; 16. Tom Pinson’ 17. Jeff Malave, Manchester,.
20-lap SK Lites: 1. Ethan Durocher, Canterbury; 2. Jason Chapman, Ellington; 3. Paul Charette, Woodstock; 4. John O’Sullivan III, Salem,; 5. RJ Marcotte, Millville; 6. Alan Gombos, Monroe; 7. Wayne Burroughs. Oakdale,; 8. Sami Anderson, Wolcott; 9. Tom Abele Jr, Norwich; 10. Michael McCarthy, North Oxford, Mass.; 11. Cole Kugler, Bradford, RI; 12. Evan Bourgeois, East Haddam,; 13. Barry Marando, Charlton, Mass.’ 14. Christopher Hurt, Newington; 15. Charlie McDougall, Naugatuck.
30-lap Late Models: 1. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 2. Raymond Christian, Uncasville; 3. Ryan Morgan, North Franklin; 4. Glen Thomas Jr., West Bridgewater, Mass. 5. Charlie Rose, Tiverton, RI ; 6. Charles Bailey III. Lisbon; 8. Jordan Hadley, Waterford,; 8. Keith Scalia, North Branford; 9. Isaiah Newcomb, Plymouth, Mass.; 10. Rich Staskowski, Hope Valley, RI; 11. Randy Cole Jr Middleton Mass.; Derryck Anderson Jr., Warwick, RI; 13. Charles Bailey IV, Lisbon, CT; 14. Aaron Plemons, Uncasville; 15. Jason Williams, Lisbon; 16. Tony Macrino, Waterford,; 17. Brett Leblanc, Uxbridge, Mass.
25-lap Street Stocks: 1. Nickolas Hovey, Chaplin,; 2. Christopher Douton, Niantic,; 3. Aaron Plemons, Uncasville; 4. Jon Porter, East Lyme; 5. Tyler Trott, East Hartford; 6. Ed Gertsch Jr., East Haven; 7. Douglas Curry, Groton,; 8. Eric Lutz, Miller Place, NY; 9. Jason Finkbein, Columbia; 10. Tyler Cinamella, Willimantic’ 11. Zach Meade, Putnam; 12. Timothy Poulin, Thompson; 13. Ryan Waterman, Danielson; 14. Shawn Monahan, Waterford; 15. Norman Root Jr, Old Saybrook; 16. Bo Norman, Clinton,’ 17. Jaysin Beal, Ledyard,; 18. Ritt Shawn, Westerly, RI; 19. Al Stone III, Durham,; 20. Shawn Gaedeke, Groton,; 21. Brandon Houghton, Thompson,’ 22. Andrew Pellegrini. North Grosvenordale; 23. Hillary Renaud Vernon, VT; 24. Tom Shea, New London.
25-lap Mini Stocks: 1. Charles Canfield, East Haven; 2. Christopher Garside , Groton,; 3. John Bavolacco, Stratford; 4. Tommy Silva, Gales Ferry; 5. Jared Roy, Sterling; 6. Kevin Moore, Moosup; 7. Dave Trudeau, Mansfield; 8. TJ Racicot, Quaker Hill; 9. Jesse Oloski, Salem; 10. Hailey Beal; 11. Nicholas Pappacoda, North Branford; 12. Soup Civardi; 13. Erica Canfield, East Haven; 14. Wayne Taylor, Moosup; 15. Charles Beal, Ledyard; 16. Bill Sylvia, Preston,.
20-lap Legends: 1. John O’Sullivan III. 2. Mason Tessier, Dighton, Mass.; 3. Brody Monahan, Waterford 4. Joseph Ternullo, Middletown,; 5. Jordan Lamothe, Waterford; 6. Scott Limkemann. Lebanon; 7. Dylan Cote, Griswold; 8. Scott Kinsman, Berlin,; 9. Ron Miske, Shelton,.