Controversial Finish Gives Jeffrey Gallup First SK Modified Win At Waterford Speedbowl

Jeffrey Gallup celebrates his first career SK Modified feature victory Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl

Jeffrey Gallup celebrates his first career SK Modified feature victory Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl

WATERFORD – Jeffrey Gallup has surely imagined plenty of scenarios in his head of just how his first career SK Modified victory would play out at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Though reality Saturday left him staring down a scenario he likely never came close to imagining.

Gallup crossed the finish line second at the conclusion of the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl, but he was immediately declared the winner of the event after track officials penalized Keith Rocco for spinning Shawn Monahan in the final corner.

“It’s a pure joy,” Gallup said. “I’ve been racing four years now and trying to do this. I’ve wrecked a lot this year. To finally gets one makes it all worth it.”

While Gallup, of Agawam, Mass., was left celebrating his first win after after three full-time seasons in the division, Monahan and Rocco were left angered in the pits after the wild finish.

Woody Pitkat of Stafford was second and Ted Christopher of Plainville third.

Monahan started on the pole and or was in first or second on the track through the event, until the final corner. After Ed Puleo was spun out of second place by Joey Gada with 18 laps left, it put Gallup on the outside of Monahan.

From there the two battled side-by-side for the lead until the final lap. Two times in the closing laps Monahan looked ready to clear Gallup, but Gallup rallied back on the outside each time.

On the final lap, Rocco, running third, made contact with Monahan in turn four, sending Monahan spinning. Rocco went under both Monahan and Gallup to take the checkered flag, but track officials immediately made the call to penalize Rocco for the contact with Monahan.

“Going into [turn] three [on the final lap] I thought I’d be lucky getting second because Shawn had a pretty good jump on me,” Gallup said. “But, Keith drove it there and Shawn didn’t drive it in as hard and the outcome was Shawn spinning.”

Coming into the event, Rocco had won nine of 16 SK Modified events this year at Waterford. Monahan, looking for his first victory of the season, was left fuming.

“I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose,” Monanah said. “I feel like I’m a driver with pretty good car control and when you win as much as Keith does, there’s nothing better as winning again and doing it as many times as you can. I’ve said it all week long, this was my final run for a while, I wanted to have a good one. I think I did have a good one. There was a good crowd, a lot of cheering. But the bottom line is, tonight Keith crossed the line. For his sake I’m glad I’m not coming back for a while. It will give me time to relax and he can continue to run for his national championship. But, it’s just wrong. I’m sure he would do it all over again and finish second if he could, but it’s too late. I’m just [expletive] pissed.”

Rocco said Monahan and Gallup were strategically blocking and that race director Patrick Williams had told drivers that blocking wouldn’t be tolerated.

“The race director says in the driver’s meeting that he’s not going to go for people blocking and running down the middle,” Rocco said. “If you ask me my opinion, that’s what Shawn did. I consider Shawn a good friend. I like him. Him and his brother [Diego], I love them guys. He slowed the pace down so that [Gallup] would ride next to him the whole race and that nobody could get by him. As far as I’m concerned that’s stinking up the show and blocking. I’m not here to finish second.

“The race director said in the driver’s meeting, clear as day, ‘We’re not going to go for blocking any more.’ He said ‘It’s getting old’ He said ‘We’re going to make calls.’ … He said ‘If you get spun out,’ he said ‘I don’t want to hear it.’ That’s what I remember in the back of my mind.”

Williams said Monahan and Gallup were not blocking.

“[I said] I would be the final judgment on whether people were blocking or not,” Wiliams said. “And they were not blocking. Those two guys were racing. And he came up and got into him and spun him. It’s as easy as that. I told these guys that I would be watching. If I feel they were blocking then I’m probably not going to call it, but those guys weren’t blocking.”

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  1. Why you win 9 features and your still crying and yet you are a back marker when you run at Wall with the bigdogs go figure.

  2. Shawn, can you see if they can fit a big wheel race or foot race in before the vmrs race. Long night.

  3. Just saw a video clip of the last lap and looks to me that Shawn looped it all on his own. Maybe I’m missing something here but Rocco got screwed!!!

  4. Whatever video you were watching, you need a bigger screen.

  5. The instagram video taken from the infield does not give the best view of what happened…

    I was there tonight. And I”ll go on the record that i am a Kid Roc fan. But Monahan got screwed. No blocking involved, it was clean racing between Gallup and Monahan for a few laps, and Keith could not get by them. Keith got into Shawn in turn 3 on, on last lap, sent Monahan up the track him and Monahan spun. Would have been a miracle save by Shawn.

    If Monahan washes up the track, and saves it, I still think Rocco gets penalized.

    It was not a tap.
    It was not a bump.

    It was a pretty solid punt.

    I’m still a Kid Roc fan, but Keith got greedy, like he said he was going to do last week, and it got the better of him. Gotta call it like it is.

    I have to say, hats off to Monahan. Drove a great race, and he handled it all pretty well for getting screwed out of a win in the last turn before the checkers. After climbing from his car in the infield he “spoke” with Keith then he played to the crowd, pumped them up and the crowd loved it!!!

  6. I was there. The hit couln’t have been any more blatant.

  7. That was a dirty move. Leave it to a Rocco fan to make excuses. Boo Hoo

  8. Rocco put out 3 cars singlehandedly in the VMRS heat race and got sent to the back all 3 times. He is catered to at the bowl. It’s nice to see that the MRS does not cater to this baby. Rocco deserved that steering wheel to the head ,not saying I condone violence, but when will he be made responsible. When he kills someone?

  9. The 31 was keeping the 44 next to him the whole race. Total block job.

  10. Hey HTT – who’s making excuses for Keith? i certainly am not.

  11. Mike Guerette says

    Maybe I’m missing something.Shawn and Jeff were battling for the lead.Both want to win,,how is it possible to be blocking?Keith was getting antsy.He drove deep into turn 3 knocking Jeff up the track,then punted Shawn in turn 4.It looked very deliberate to me.I don’t think the track officials went far enough.He should have been disqualified,then suspended for 2 weeks.

  12. The 31 and 44 were racing hard but they were not running fast lap times. @Jim if Keith ran a Big Wall motor at Wall he could probaly run with them. I have worked with Sesley many times and even he has told Keith he has no shot at Wall with his Waterford motor

  13. hardcore fan with a radio says

    The hate is strong…2 week suspension for bumping someone. Ive been to every race at the speedbowl this year. There would be no cars left if guys got suspended for tapping someone. I think maybe only one time this whole season Rocco was put to the back. Now someone is going to say that he isnt going to be put to the back because of favoritism, but i guess thats out the window now. That call cost Rocco and the Speedbowl any shot they had at a national title, so tell me how they favor him.

    they have an app called race monitor. You can see the lap times of every car for the whole race. They also have radios in the cars that you can scan. Monahan had a genius plan for the last month. Ride around in the back for 3 weeks and then get the chance to start on the pole. That was the easy part. The hard part was starting on the pole and winning the race. His best chance would be blocking hard, but the race director who seemingly knew what he was up to had a big discussion in the drivers meeting about how he was going to penelize the leader if he was blocking.

    So the next best thing you can do is get a car on the outside of you and keep him there. as long as your side by side, no one can pass you. I was working until 2 to go when miraculously monahans car pcked up 3 tenths of a second and blew by gallup. He got to the last corner and put the breaks on had to stay on the bottom. Keith tapped him and sent him back up the track. Monahan had it saved, but spun anyways for some reason…Ohh thats right, if he finished second, he wouldnt start on the pole next week.

    Good thinking. Cant wait to see how long the front row runs side by side a half second off the pace next week. Thats not blocking though….

    “keep him out there” “keep him out there” Anonymous spotter chatter

  14. Frog git it right. Yes they were racing for the lead but they were not running fast laps at all. Rocco bumped him and he spun. When Earnhardt did it, it was just one of them racing deals. As far as I can remember every driver is there to win. Whatever happened to “rubbing is racing” ? I’m not saying there should be drivers running wild wrecking everyone else but some of the rulebook should be tossed out and let the guys race.

  15. Cars racing side by side are almost always slower than a car running alone.Neither car is running a preferred line and both are going as fast as they can without wrecking each other.The question is do they move over because the car in back is faster?Then why race ,just time trial.Or does the guy in back just wreck them,because he thinks they are blocking.If that’s the case,then bring back the railroad ties! Old Time Waterford, two laps wreck,twolaps wreck.No thanks

  16. Cars maybe slower racing side by side but not by 5-7 tenths slower. Good plan by 31 just didn’t work out as planned. I agree you can’t let leader get punted on last lap because then they are a sitting duck that will get used up everytime.

  17. Did the times come from Mylaps?

  18. I dare any one here run 20 laps side by side as clean as thouse 2 did idc what any says best race at the speedbowl this year

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