Waterford Notes: Bruce Thomas Jr. Wins Late Model Thriller; Bill McNeil Tops Street Stocks

Bruce Thomas Jr.

Bruce Thomas Jr.

WATERFORD – Bruce Thomas Jr. arrived in victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl Saturday night and had plenty of people to thank.

And two of the most important getting thank you wishes were right behind him on the podium.

Thomas came out the victor of a wild battle at the front over the final lap and half to win the 30-lap Late Model feature Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Vin Esposito of Waterbury was second and Keith Rocco of Wallingford third.

It was the second victory of the season for Thomas, of Groton.

“That was just purely luck,” Thomas said. “I didn’t have a car to win.”

Esposito led most of the event but, lost the lead when Rocco got by him on a restart with five laps remaining. But Esposito rallied back and got to Rocco’s bumper on the penultimate lap.

Coming to the white flag, Esposito gave Rocco a bump and moved him up the track and moved back to the lead. But on the final lap, Rocco returned the bump, but in the process opened up the bottom lane for Thomas to go the lead off of turn two.

“My brother was on the radio with me and he said ‘You watch out, something is going to happen up there.’” Thomas said. “They were both about the same speed. When I saw Keith take the lead I was like ‘Vinny is not going to want to give it up that easy.’ I could tell they were just overdriving the entry to [to the corners] just to make sure the other guy couldn’t get him, or vice-versa. So I said, ‘Maybe I can just hit my marks and stay close.’ because I was pretty much junk the whole race.

“And then as soon as Vinny got to Keith he moved him up the track and then coming off of turn two Keith just repayed the favor back into his bumper and I went by both of them without touching a single flake of paint. I said ‘It doesn’t happen like this too often.’ That was just purely luck. I didn’t have a car to win.”

Esposito and Rocco were left chasing Thomas for the final half lap.

“In the last corner, I was better through the center [of the corner] and I just gave him a nudge and it opened up the door for [Thomas],” Esposito said.

Said Rocco: [Esposito] shoved me up the racetrack and got me off the bottom so I did the same thing to him and I guess we gave the win to Bruce.”

Bill McNeil made a special appearance at the Speedbowl Saturday one that might become a regular deal.

McNeil, who is running regularly in the DARE Stock division at Stafford Motor Speedway, brought his Don Cote owned car to Waterford to run the 25-lap Street Stock feature and ended the night in victory lane.

“We missed the hard tight action,” said McNeil, of Preston. “I’ve been trying to convince my car owner to come back here racing. He said if you win tonight we’ll talk about it. When I was out in victory lane he was like ‘We’re going here.’ We love racing at this place and there’s no place that has action like this.”

Josh Galvin of Franklin was second and Phil Evans of Uncasville third.

Ray Christian III of Groton held off second place Garrett Denton of Hope Valley, R.I. and third place Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon at the line to win the 25-lap Mini Stock feature.

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  1. hey a real racer – running more than one track – way to go

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