WATERFORD – When his team decided to go back to an old car for this week’s SK Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Tyler Chadwick had his reservations.
“It’s a little nerve wracking coming to the track knowing if we didn’t make the right decision or not, or if we should have brought the other car we’ve been running every week,” Chadwick said.
It took only a few laps for Chadwick’s confidence to rise.
“I knew we made the right call right from round one of practice,” Chadwick said.
And by the end of the night it was clear Chadwick’s team made all the right moves.
Chadwick held off the charges of Ted Christopher over the closing laps to win the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
It was the second victory of the season for Chadwick, of Ledyard.
“This is actually the car we won the championship with [in 2012],” Chadwick said. “We decided to put her away for the winter [after the 2015 season] and try our other car this year. We were good at the beginning of the year but we’ve been really struggling to find grip and forward bite. Week in and week out we just couldn’t seem to find it. So with nothing really to lose we decided to bring the old car back and make some changes to her over the week and she was just really good right off the rip which was awesome.”
Christopher, of Plainville, was second and Diego Monahan of Quaker Hill third. Monahan was later disqualified from the finish for an illegal modification, moving Joey Gada of Salem to third place.
Chadwick started second outside of Bo Gunning and the pair put on a side-by-side show over the first 15 laps.
Riding the outside lane, Chadwick was able to edge Gunning twice for the lead, but Gunning’s inside lane runs back kept Chadwick at bay.
With 20 laps left Gunning was able to clear Chadwick from his outside, but a lap later contact between the two saw Gunning sliding out of the lead in turn two to bring out the caution and put Chadwick out front.
“That was really really hard tight racing that we were doing,” Chadwick said. “Every lap I kept thinking I was going to get him but he had enough bite off on the bottom to where I couldn’t clear him. Then contact started happening, which is going to happen for the lead. No one got wrecked, no one got put in the fence or anything. It was definitely hair raising. I was just trying to look for a way around but the top wasn’t getting it done.”
On the next restart it was Joey Gada getting by Adam Gada for second place with Christopher moving to third place and Monahan up to fourth.
The caution came out again with 12 laps left and on the restart Christopher moved to second place past Joey Gada with Monahan following to third. But Chadwick was up to the task of keeping Christopher at bay over the final 10 laps. Christopher took one bumping shot at Chadwick on the final lap, but Chadwick held his line.
“Coming to the white flag Teddy gave me a good shot going into [turn] one,” Chadwick said. “I had to gather it back up. I’m just glad I was able to keep it low when I was trying to gather it back up and he wasn’t able to get underneath us. That was pretty intense with a couple laps to go. You know Teddy is going to give you a little bumper, you’ve just got to ready for it and hope you can hold on.”
Christopher said he would have likely had a better chance to make a move on Chadwick if not for Monahan pushing in third.
“[Monahan] was beating the [crap] out of me,” Christopher said. “I was like ‘Give me a break to try to work him and go through?’”