Gada, Palmer, Cassidy Jr. among winners at the Speedbowl
Waterford — Joe Gada didn’t know how good his car was at the start of Saturday’s SK Modified feature at the New London Speedbowl.
“We made a bunch of changes to the car, and we were struggling in the heat race,” Gada said. “We were having trouble with the oil pressure.”
Once the 35-lap race started, however, the pressure was on everyone else.
Gada, working on the outside groove, was able to vapor trail past leader Mike Christopher Jr. late in the race and stay in control to post his first win of the season and the fifth SK race of his career.
In other action, Jason Palmer and Ken Cassidy Jr. each achieved milestone wins. Palmer pulled it off in the 30-lap Late Model and Cassidy came through in the 25-lap Speedbowl Trucks race.
The most emotional win of the night was produced by Aaron Plemons, as he won for the first time in the Street Stocks.
Paul “Buddy” Charette went from fourth to first after a late three-car skirmish and held on to win the fist open-wheel race of his career in the 25-lap SK Lite Modified feature.
Tommy Silva ended a 19-year dry spell when he captured the 25-lap Mini Stock feature and John O’Sullivan won the 20-lap Legends feature for the second straight week.
In the SK feature, Joe’s cousin, Adam Gada, dominated the early portion of the race, leading for the first 13 laps.
When Adam Gada had a problem, Christopher stampeded in the lead.
Gada’s car, however, kept getting stronger. He got some energy from the outside groove and was able to swirl past Christopher, who held on for second. Rob Janovic Jr. was third.
“I’m really happy with the car,” Gada said. “It was darn good.”
Good enough to handle the pressure.
Palmer’s win in the Late Models was the 78th of his career, moving him into sixth place on the all-time list, one win ahead of Charlie Webster.
He had to survive many restarts in the race to maintain his lead.
“All those restarts tested my patience,” Palmer said. “I had to be on top of my game.”
He was as he took the lead from Glenn Boss and then pulled away from Ray Christian, who finished second.
Cassidy, meanwhile, secured his 71st Speedbowl win in the Trucks, lifting him to eighth on the all-time list.
“When I received the chance to get into the truck series, I didn’t know if I could even win a race,” Cassidy said. “But as soon as I got into the truck, it felt like home.”
This was not an easy win for Cassidy. He was attacked by second-place finisher Emma Monahan for the entire race and was able to hold her off.
Aaron Plemons won the first Street Stock feature of his career the hard way — by getting the lead from the division’s all-time win leader, Al Stone, midway through the race and then by pulling away from the field.
He dedicated the win to the memory of his late brother Brandon, who died in 2020.
“This means so much,” Plemons said. “Racing was his life. He loved this track so much. This is for him.”
Chris Douton roared by Stone late in the race to take second.
“We had something today, but Aaron had us covered,” Douton said.
Silva grabbed the lead midway through the Mini Stock and maintained a cozy lead over Christopher Garside, who outfought Joe Bavolacco and Charles Canfield for second place.
“My last win was in 2002, so I guess you can say this was 19 years in the making,” Silva said.
In the 25-lap SK Lite Modifieds, Charette was running in fourth place when disaster struck the Top 3. They were involved in an altercation, allowing Charette to take over the lead with six laps to go.
A caution with two laps to go forced a green-white-checker finish, but Charette buzz-sawed away from O’Sullivan to rack up his first SK Lite win.
“This is unbelievable,” Charette said. “I’ve been dreaming about this day for a long time. I wasn’t happy with the late caution, but I was able to let the tires cool off and I was able to get a good jump at the end.”
When race leader Jordan Churchill spun out in Turn 4 on lap 10, O’Sullivan was able to move to the front and grab his second Legends win of the season.
Racing continues Wednesday with the premiere of Wild and Wacky Wednesday. The X-Cars, Super X Cars, Bandoleros and Legends cars will be in action.
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