WATERFORD – In 2011 Tim Jordan left behind an extremely successful Late Model short track program to make the jump to running a Modified.
Of late, the Plainfield driver has wondered plenty if he made the wrong decision. Four years plus chasing a win was making him his biggest doubter.
Jordan was a Late Model champion at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in 2006 and 2010 and had 22 victories in the divison over five seasons.
“We’ve poured a lot of effort and money into this Modified deal and sometimes I wondered if maybe I shouldn’t drive a Modified because I haven’t had much success,” said Jordan, who also had five Mini Stock division wins at Waterford in 2004. “Sometimes you start to doubt yourself as a driver. Like ‘Can I do it.’ I can give you the polished interview, but I’ll give you the honest one, and that’s sometimes you wonder if you’re not cut out to be behind the wheel, and it was starting to get that way. … Sometimes I was thinking, ‘Am I wasting my time? Am I wasting my dad’s money?’”
Saturday night at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Jordan finally got to experience the fruits of the efforts of he and his father Pat.
Jordan held off the charges of Ted Christopher and Rob Janovic Jr. over the closing laps to win the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. It was his first victory behind the wheel of a Modified.
“It’s so hard to win one of these damn things,” Jordan said “I was starting to wonder if I’d ever win a race again. … We’ve been working really hard to try to get here and we’ve had nights where we should have been here and we’ve had nights when we don’t deserve to be here. We’ve been working hard on this car. … This is for my father. He works his butt off on this thing like you wouldn’t believe. We’re just two regular guys racing against big teams out here. … We put every last dime we have into racing.”
As if the victory didn’t have enough emotional substance for Jordan and his father, it came on Mother’s Day weekend. Jordan’s mother Debra passed away from cancer in 2009.
“So, this is a big win for that,” Jordan said. “It couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s awesome. Really awesome.”
Janovic, of Waterford, was second and Christopher, of Plainville, third.
Jordan started second and went to the lead at the start past Adam Gada. By lap 17 Christopher was hounding Jordan on the outside.
On a lap 32 restart, contact between Jordan and Christopher sent Christopher up the track and allowed Janovic to move into second place.
“I hate winning races like that,” Jordan said. “I had to play some defense. … I said ‘Screw it, I’m doing what I have to do.’ I’ve seen great drivers like Keith Rocco, I’ve seen the [track] general manager Shawn Monahan do what it takes to win. I’ve seen everybody do what they need to do to get to victory lane here.
“I thought back to Thompson [Speedway], 2012, Ted beat me in a [Valenti Modified Racing Series] race at Thompson and I said ‘There’s no way I’m going to let this one get away.’”
Said Christopher: “The outside was a little bit tight for us and there just wasn’t enough room there. But it was fun racing.”
It was the first SK Modified division victory ever at any track for a driver in an LFR Chassis. The new chassis company, owned by NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team owner and driver Rob Fuller, began in 2014. Jordan is in his first season with the new car.
“It feels like [the win] should have happened last year at some point,” Jordan said. “But its tough down here with the handicapping system. Usually last year we were very consistent so we would start toward the rear of the pack and I would just always find myself behind [Keith Rocco] with three laps to go. That was our season last year.”
After winning the 30-lap Late Model feature earlier in the evening, Rocco had the opportunity to become the track’s all-time winningest driver in the SK Modified feature, but finished fourth, rallying after a first lap spin near the rear of the pack.