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RACE RECAP: New London-Waterford Speedbowl: Belltown Motors/Fowler’s Auto Wrecking 100


The Monaco Modified Tri-Tracks Series (MMTTS) traveled to New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Waterford, CT) on Saturday, August 12 for 100 laps of racing on the 3/8-mile semi-banked oval. The oval was fast, allowing drivers to click off speedy laps in the Belltown Motors/Fowler’s Auto Wrecking 100.

Thirty-three teams made the trek to the Connecticut shoreline oval, ready for a full day of racing. But Mother Nature threw a monkey wrench into everyone’s plan.

The day started with a forecast of a picture-perfect day with impending weather around midnight. Then, as it goes in New England, a storm came out of nowhere, with heavy downpours occurring.  Track crews worked water challenges, while management and series officials met to revamp the schedule. Water seeping across the track proved to be more of a challenge than anticipated. To fill the downtime, MMTTS drivers – along with the Monaco Mustang (the Series’ mascot, who handed out MMTTS beach balls for drivers to sign) – participated in an autograph session, as teams reworked setups after the elimination of heat races.

By virtue of a nine-car invert following the scuff session, Joey Cipriano started from the pole, with Jake Johnson to his outside. Cipriano led the field to the green, with Bonsignore falling into second, followed by Jake Johnson, Dana DiMatteo, and Ronnie Williams for the top-five. Before lap 10, Bonsignore took over P1, with Cipriano sliding to second.

With Bonsignore leading the way, on lap 28 the first caution flag flew. When the race restarted, Bonsignore found crafty Matt Hirschman on his outside.

The second caution occurred on lap 49 after Joey Mucciacciaro spun his No. 47 modified on the front stretch. The next yellow came on lap 63 when Sam Rameau and Ryan Doucette came together on the backstretch. When the race resumed, green flag circuits continued to click off fast until a yellow flew on lap 81 flew when lightning was detected behind turn two. With safety as the primary concern, the race was called and spectators were asked to take cover in their vehicles.

Matt Hirschman took his No. 60 to Sign Pro Victory Lane giving him his first Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series win of the season and a $10,000 winner’s purse for his efforts. As part of Victory Lane ceremonies, Doug Dunleavy Gambler’s Challenge winning chips were drawn. Once again, as the chips fall, ‘Big Money Matt’ prevailed and took home the additional $8,100 cash bonus. Hirschman’s crew chief also received the $500 Van Horst Construction Crew Cheif of the Race award…making it an impressive $18,600 payday.

Bryan Narducci benefited from short-pitting – and a sold run – earning him the second spot on the podium. Michael Christopher, Jr., who also pitted early, and raced to a third-place finish – from a 19th place start – earning him the $500 Van Horst Construction Hard Charger Award. Kyle Bonsignore was fourth, with Richard Savary rounding out the top five.

MMTTS teams will dry out, regroup, update notes, and be back on track Saturday, September 23 as part of the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final weekend at Stafford Motor Speedway. Join us then for more sizzling racing. 

Drivers News & Notes:

Matt Hirschman – WINNER

“The way that our last two months have gone is kind of like the way that Waterford Speedbowl’s day has been going. I had to fight through a lot of adversity. We got some things that you did not expect and things that should not have happened, happened. The team persevered and they worked through it. And I never gave up. That is kind of how our team handled this. We did not give up. We kept working at it. We had a good car tonight.”

“It was a different set of circumstances without having the heat races. There were also less laps on the tires. When we started the race the car felt good and I was kind of thinking in my head not to pit at all. But obviously even then, if the car is not good you might have to pit. But the car was good and we decided to stay out. Which kind of made our bed there. And I was good with the decision. Even if somebody could have come up and beat us. I was happy with the decision based on the circumstances. I thought it was the right thing to do and it worked out.”

“We looked at it (weather) pre-race and we knew at some point it was going to rain. And if anything it seemed like it was getting closer like quicker. Because when I last looked at my phone it said rain after midnight. Then as we were strapping into the car, the guys were looking and it was already 11 or around there. It seemed like it kept getting earlier and I felt it was the least risky thing to do. Just stay out and have good track position. And in the end, it paid off.

Bryan Narducci – 2nd place

“It was a lot of fun. The Monaco Modified Series does a great job, which is why they get a lot of cars. We just had a really good day. Our speed didn’t really show in practice because it was shortened because of the weather. We definitely showed in the scuff session and in the race by ending up second after we started it eighth. We were lacking a little drive early on. We made the call to come in early and it was definitely the right call. We knew we were racing the weather the whole race so we just tried to get back towards the front if we could. In the end, it all worked out.

“We were going to just try to pit late and wanted to wait until halfway and see what the weather was doing. But when the yellow came out on lap 28 we knew that we were just going to go backwards if we did not come in. So we made the decision to come in. At first I did not know how it was going to be. But after the stop we and the No. 7 drove through the field pretty quick. So it worked out. “

“I was excited to come here and then be back here in two months. We will also be going to Stafford in about a month.”

At race end did you have anything for Matt Hirschman?

“No. It is really hard to go with him. He has so much experience and he is a top driver out here. I think that he may have been playing with me. He would slow down and make me think that I was going to catch him and then he would go a little bit. It was definitely a good run and something we can work on for the next time we come back and hopefully beat that red No. 60!”

Mike Christopher, Jr. – 3rd place

“I am pretty happy considering the way that we started and how the race was going and even how the day was going. We started the day in the back. And at the end of the day the team had a third. Thanks to Tommy for letting me drive his car. I obviously always want to do well for them and win. But sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Still being on the podium is good. A big thanks to Kevin Stuart of Stuart Automotive and Tommy for everything that he does.”

“I thought that it was pretty early but when it comes to pit stop adjustments and strategy, I trust Tommy fully. I came in during the first stop and came out first. We were probably seventeen or something at that point. But I was punching holes. You are a lot better than some of the guys when you have a new tire on it. Subsequently, I think that I may have used it up a little too much. At that point Tommy said “It is go time!” And then I can go! So I went.

At race end did you have anything for Matt Hirschman?

“No. Maybe a late-race restart and use of the Chrome Horn. But I don’t even think that we had anything right there. He is obviously Matt Hirschman and he is the man to beat. And the real Matt Hirschman showed up tonight. He usually finishes really well. Last year here he was not phenomenal but he showed that he is who he is and he proved who he is tonight.”

Van Horst Construction Hard Charger Award Recipient

Christopher started the nineteenth and finished third earning him the Van Horst Construction Hard Charger Award. After being notified that he was the race hard charger, Christopher said with a smile:  “We got the Hard Charger Award. I want to thank Van Horst for putting that up.”