Big Battle In Mini Stocks Gives Bill Leonard Second Consecutive Victory At Waterford

WATERFORD – Bill Leonard was doubly lucky Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Leonard had the best seat in the house for the most dramatic battle for the lead of the evening, and in the end the repercussion of that battle landed him in victory lane.

Leonard was declared the winner of the 25-lap Mini Stock feature after Ray Christian III was penalized for over aggressive driving against Ken Cassidy Jr. in a battle for the win on the last lap.

“Ray and Kenny were racing pretty hard and I was pretty much settling for third,” Leonard said. “We were just as quick as they were, but they had the track blocked up. It was pretty crazy coming out of [turn] four there for the white flag. It was pretty eventful. I had a feeling something was going to happen. They were racing pretty hard for the win. I was pretty content with finishing third.”

It was the second consecutive victory for Leonard, of Charlestown, R.I. Wayne Burroughs Jr. of Oakdale was second and Dave Trudeau of Mansfield third.

With 12 lap remaining, Cassidy went by Leonard for second place and began tracking down Christian out front. With seven laps remaining Cassidy got to the outside of Christian to set the battle for the win in motion.

With four laps to go, Cassidy was in the lead at the start-finish line. A lap later it was Christian leading at the line. With two to go Cassidy was back out front at the flagstand, with contact ensuing between the two.

Coming to the white flag, hard contact was made in turn four and Cassidy went spinning to the infield in turn one. Christian completed the final lap and took the checkered, but moments after the finish it was declared that he would be penalized for overaggressive driving.

“I gave him all the room in the world,” said Cassidy, the division’s reigning champion and all-time winningest driver. “I went to the outside. I could have hit him in the [rear] like everybody else does and pushed him out of the way. I don’t race like that. I went to the outside of him. He hit me in the wheel at the start-finish line, almost put me in the wall there. Then the next lap he hit me in the quarter panel and just sent me.

“If he wants to race like that we can race like that, but I don’t come here to race like that. I’d rather pass you clean, come over and shake your hand and have a beer after. I don’t deal with that [stuff] too well.”

Cassidy ended up 15th in the 16-car field with Christian credited with a last place finish. Christian said he wasn’t at fault for Cassidy spinning.

“The way I saw. I was trying to do everything I could to win the race,” Christian said “I got into Kenny off of [turn] four, no doubt. I checked up and tried to let him collect it and [Leonard] pushed me through him. To me, that’s bogus, but you can’t argue the track’s call.”

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