Mark Cooper, team owner for 2012 Waterford Speedbowl Late Model champion Dillon Moltz, said Sunday that, as it stands now, his team will not return to the track to race for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Cooper said the only way his team would return to Waterford is if track owner Terry Eames agrees to reverse a penalty that was given to Moltz following Saturday’s 30-lap Late Model feature at the Speedbowl.
Moltz finished fourth on the track Saturday but was penalized after the race to the last spot on the lead lap, giving him a 12th place finish. Moltz was penalized for making contact with Bruce Thomas Jr. on the final lap of the event.
Moltz came into the night 14 points behind division leader Keith Rocco, who won Saturday’s event. After the penalty he found himself 41 points behind Rocco.
“Coming to the checkered [flag], he didn’t get put in the wall,” Cooper said of the incident with Thomas. “It was good hard racing, [Thomas] was blocking. … Dillon did a peck, he did a peck and Bruce chopped him down and Bruce spun around and came to a complete stop on purpose. Coming to the checkered it’s all or nothing.”
Said Eames: “The entire [officiating] team, including me, participated in the call. It was clear to us that it was overaggressive driving in nature. It wasn’t a close call in our minds.”
Thomas, a three-time track champion with 51 career Late Model victories at Waterford, is running a part-time schedule this year, though it seems most weeks when he’s run there’s eventually been some aggressive racing taking place between himself and Moltz. Thomas has even made light of the regular bumping and banging between the two in multiple post race interviews.
Though, at no point during the season has Thomas been penalized for initiating any contact between himself and Moltz.
“Bruce was supposed to run a partial schedule this year, that’s what he told everybody,” Cooper said. “My biggest problem is that he’s been there six or seven times now and three times out of that he’s wrecked us.
“One time he destroyed the entire nose on the car. There was another time he moved us out of the way for a spot. The most recent one he destroyed the right rear wheel hub, rim, axel tube and everything. Dillon had such good car control in that that he didn’t spin. But no penalties have come down on that stuff.
“It just seems like with [Thomas], it’s anything to keep us out of the points battle. I’m not trying to cry about anything, but I’m tired of beating a dead horse. In this economy, it’s hard to ask people to come to the track and give up their days to do this, and for the track to turn a blind eye again and again and again, it’s ridiculous.
“If they’re not willing to turn around the penalty from Saturday night and give us back our finishing spot, we will not be returning to the ‘Bowl. We’re going to Seekonk [Speedway in Seekonk, Mass.] next Saturday and if that doesn’t work out, we’ll be going elsewhere. That is 100 percent.”
Said Eames: “We welcome the chance to meet with him.”
Cooper also said that he and a member of his race team have been assaulted multiple times in the pits over the last two seasons at the track by Bruce Thomas’ brother, crewmember Nate Thomas.
“I have been assaulted by Nate Thomas twice in the last year,” Cooper said. “And nothing has been done about it. I had a conversation with [Eames] in regards to how he was going to handle that and he personally said to me that he has a deep connection with the Thomas’ and that he tries to help them out whenever he can. So I said ‘Basically you’re telling me nothing is going to be done about it?’ He basically walked away and said he would get back to me.”
Said Eames: “That’s not what I said at all. I’m waiting to hear back from a police officer who we’re told witnessed something last Saturday night and I guess the guy has been off duty all week and hasn’t returned my call yet. Knowing the police officer took notes about this, I want to talk to him before I do anything.
“And my comments to him about the fact that I go back a ways with the Thomas family wasn’t to indicate that I have any problem doing anything. We’ve had no difficulty over the years penalizing various Thomas’ for things that they do wrong. We’ve specifically expelled Nate Thomas a couple of different times. He shouldn’t have taken what I said as being reluctant to do anything.”
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