DiMatteo wins SK Modified race in Speedbowl season opener
Waterford — It was a season opener that had almost everything — come-from-behind finishes, dominating performances, dramatic crashes, a rain delay — it all happened Saturday during Blastoff 2021 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
When the fireworks ended, Cory DiMatteo won the 35-lap SK Modified feature, Jason Palmer was a winner in the 30-lap Late Models and Ryan Waterman pulled out a win in the 30-lap Street Stock feature.
Jared Roy came from behind to win the 25-lap Mini Stock event and Wayne Burroughs, the defending champ, came through in the 25-lap SK Lite Modified race,
John O’Sullivan was a winner in the 20-lap Legends feature and Jim Boyle led from start to finish in the Speedbowl Trucks.
Rob Richardi came from behind to win the 20-lap Pro Four Modified feature and Alan Reiser chalked up a win in the Limited division.
DiMatteo, who started on the pole, blurred away from the field and dominated every lap in a race that was slowed down by several cautions, including a wreck on the front stretch that involved reigning Rookie of the Year Anthony Bello, which caused his car to go up in flames. Bello was not injured and walked away from the incident.
DiMatteo’s car was healthy, despite dealing with a plethora of restarts.
“Restarts were my Achilles tendon, but when I was able to get up to speed, I was able to stretch out the lead,” DiMatteo said. “The better car prevailed.”
Palmer may have had the better race car in the Late Model feature, but he didn’t prove it until the end of the race when he chose to start on the outside on the final restart from Ryan Morgan, who took the lead from Palmer with about 10 laps remaining.
“If Ryan had the top groove, I think he would have won,” Palmer said. “My car was restarting well on the inside until it didn’t and I lost the lead. So I had to change it up.”
Palmer’s final lap was one of his best of the race as he bulleted past Morgan, who was on the inside.
Waterman waited until the final lap to whirlwind past Al Stone, who had led from the beginning of the race to capture a dramatic win in the Street Stock feature. Doug Curry moved into second and Stone had to settle for third.
“I definitely had the better car,” Waterman said. “I was hoping for a caution because it took Al a couple of laps to get up to speed. I had to take advantage of that.”
A late caution gave Waterman the opportunity he needed to make the pass in the second turn.
Roy didn’t lead the Mini Stock feature until the final lap when he erupted past both Charles Canfield and Tommy Silva to extract a breath-taking win. Canfield was second and Silva third.
“Patience played a big role,” that Roy after collecting his first Speedbowl win. “I stood behind the leaders and waited. It couldn’t have played out any better.”
That scenario wasn’t true for Canfield.
“I made a mistake on the last lap,” Canfield said. “I tried to take it easy and wound up finishing second.”
Wayne Burroughs knew what he had to do to take control of a yellow-flag filled SK Lite Modified feature.
“The car was so good on the outside,” Burroughs said. “I knew if we could get to the outside, we would set sail.”
John O’Sullivan, who led most of the way, finished second and Jason Chapman made a formidable comeback to finish third.
The most serious incident was sustained by Samantha Anderson, whose car was crushed after flying into the Turn 1 wall.
O’Sullivan was able to collect one victory Saturday when he led all 20 laps of the Legends feature.
Jim Boyle was in control as he cruised to a win in the Speedbowl Truck feature.
The Pro Four Modifieds were in town and Richardi used a late energy surge to get by Doug Merservy Jr. to win the Unlimited Division while Reiser finished third overall and was the Limited winner.
Action resumes Saturday at the Speedbowl with the SK Modifieds, Late Models, Mini Stocks, Street Stocks, Legends and Speedbowl Trucks in action. Racing starts at 3 p.m.