Dispute Between SK Mod Driver Nichole Morgillo And Waterford Speedbowl Management Takes Ugly Turn

Nichole Morgillo

Nichole Morgillo

Former Waterford Speedbowl SK Modified division driver Nichole Morgillo blasted track officials for their decision to release a statement Tuesday concerning the situation that led to her backing out of competition at the facility on Saturday.

The statement, released at 11:10 p.m. on Tuesday by track officials alleges that Morgillo “voluntarily” agreed to be removed from the track’s handicapping system for setting the starting lineup for Saturday’s 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified division feature.

Morgillo said Tuesday evening that she never agreed to be removed from the handicap and that one of the representatives of her team made it clear to track officials that if she was not allowed to start in her handicapped starting spot she was removing herself from competition Saturday and for the rest of the season at Waterford.

“All of it is not true,” Morgillo said of the statement released by the track. “I’m sick. I’m ready to hire a lawyer. If they want to bury me and call me a liar over this because they’re in a trouble, then guess what, I’m going to bury them deeper. … You don’t call innocent people liars. I 100 percent deny that I was agreeable to anything.”

Morgillo also said track owner Terry Eames agreed to meet with her Tuesday evening concerning the incident and then unexpectedly cancelled that meeting 45 minutes before it was scheduled to take place.

Morgillo has competed regularly in the SK Modified divisions at the Waterford Speedbowl and Stafford Motor Speedway for the last six years. On Sept. 21, 2013 she became the first female driver to win an SK Modified feature at the Speedbowl.

The statement from the track Tuesday evening said: “Following Saturday’s practice session, Speedbowl Race Director Patrick Williams, along with long-time race official Eric Webster, met with SK Modified competitor Nichole Morgillo. The meeting resulted in Morgillo voluntarily agreeing to relinquish a spot in the track’s handicap system used to determine starting lineups for feature racing, for Saturday’s race event only.”

“We have periodically asked competitors in other divisions this year to reconsider starting in the preferred handicap for a week, and it has gone well” Williams was quoted in the release saying. “Saturday was not an isolated case or request. When we walked away, the competitor was agreeable and we felt the meeting went well. The driver never approached myself or (Eric Webster) to say they had changed their mind or were upset with it”.

Seconds after walking out of her meeting with Williams and Webster, Morgillo said: “They told me they’re taking my handicap away and I have to start in the back.”

In an interview Saturday, Williams never stated that there was any option for Morgillo to agree to starting outside the handicap or not and never stated she had had volunteered to do it. Williams said the decision was made because Morgillo had been involved in multiple incidents recently in SK Modified features at the track.

“I want to put her behind the handicap,” Williams said Saturday. “… I’m not trying to gouge anybody or say anything bad about anybody, but I think too many things are getting wrecked. I’m not saying it’s her fault. It’s a hard decision for me to make, a very hard decision because I have the utmost respect for her and her whole family.”

Based on the standard handicapping system, had Morgillo finished in a qualifying spot in her heat race she would have started at or near the front of the field Saturday. Morgillo was second fastest unofficially in the first SK Modified division practice of the day Saturday and sixth fastest in the second practice. Williams and Webster met with her after the conclusion of practice and before the driver’s meeting and qualifying races. She did not participate in her scheduled qualifying heat.

Morgillo said Tuesday that her spotter, Joey Ferrigno, spoke to Williams after the driver’s meeting and told him that she was going to remove herself from competition for the night at the track and would not return to the track for the remainder of the season if track officials were not going to allow her to start in her handicapped qualified starting spot. She said Ferrigno was told the decision was final and she was not being allowed to start in a handicapped starting spot. Ferrigno also confirmed late Tuesday that that conversation took place.

“The statement says I didn’t complain afterwards,” Morgillo said. “That’s a lie. I said I would have never come back if I knew I wasn’t going to have my handicap this week. He said just work with us this week and you’ll have your handicap back next week. I never agreed to it. And my spotter went to them and said I was packing my stuff and finishing my season at [Stafford Motor Speedway] if they didn’t give me my handicap and they refused to change anything.”

Eames was not available for comment late Tuesday evening.

“Our race department felt they had the best interest of a competitor in mind, a competitor we’re happy is part of our racing family” Eames was quoted as saying in the statement released Tuesday evening. “Somehow it got turned into something completely different, which is a shame. We hope to see Nichole in the pit area very soon”.

The statement from the track went on to read: “The meeting with Morgillo was a procedure Williams has taken with competitors in other divisions in both the track’s Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday and Saturday night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race programs this season. … In the SK Modified division, the handicap system used is based on a formula for a driver’s finishes in the previous three events held for the division. Morgillo’s finishes in the three most recent SK Modified® feature races were 18th, 15th, and 16th. Morgillo is currently 15th in the season point standings.”

Morgillo said Eames contacted her Monday and stated he was “very concerned about what happened Saturday” and asked her to meet with him on Tuesday. Morgillo said they agreed to meet in Plainville at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. She said at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday Eames sent her a text message stating that he could not meet her but he wanted to reschedule the meeting.

“He blew me off with [45 minutes left before I was supposed to meet him],” Morgillo said. “And I said that I’m available [Wednesday] night and I’m available Thursday night and he never contacted me back. And then a couple hours later I see this [statement] come out. I’m just disgusted.”

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  1. The observer says

    I see a pattern here. Seems many racers have the same story about getting screwed or the short end of the stick there at the Speedbowl. Terry and that klan of his is too much. The common denominator here is the track management!

    Let’s go to the video and see what happened… Oh sorry Sid left in disgust too only a few weeks ago. Remember that one Terry?

  2. Grey Matter says

    Lawyer up Nicole. Terry needs a good smack in the face. The guy has no back bone nor does he have the political sense to deal with this appropriately. He doesn’t deserve to be a track owner if he can’t resolve this in 24 hours. Simple as that. He should understand the possible legal ramifications of the poor and biased decision making Saturday evening. Its plainly obvious there is some sort of short circuit in the management of the Speedbowl.

  3. Bob Freeman says

    A person that agrees with a decision will comply; a person that disagrees will not. Loading up and leaving does not sound like acceptance of a decision to me.

  4. Sharpie Fan says

    Somehow it feels that “the best interest of a competitor” that they had in mind was not Nichole.

  5. Our pit spot is very close to where Nichole had been parking on a weekly basis. We all watched the conversation inside the trailer and she was visibly upset during the entire conversation. The fact that the Speedbowl and it’s officials feel it necessary to try and defend themselves in this manner is embarrassing for the entire racing community…

  6. And we wonder why they’re bankrupt? C’mon y’all…you have to take care of the drivers, then the fans, then your pocket books.

  7. Jack Mayhoffer says

    The level of stupidity that the Waterford Speedbowl has now stooped to is incredible. I absolutely cannot believe that they think that this line of reasoning they came up with is any sort of an answer or solution to what went on last Saturday evening.

    I can only imagine the pressure that Eric Webster must be under at this point to agree to go along with this line of BS that is being passed off by Terry Eames and his underlings. A group that’s shrinking weekly due to the firings of a good number of longtime, faithful employees in the past month or so.

    The days of having a good time and fun at the Bowl are completely gone at this point in time. The change in the attitudes and just the atmosphere in general at the place has changed around completely since the start of this race season. I never thought that it would sink so low, so quickly.

    It’s almost as if the ownership, including the spouse and extended family employed there, are purposefully trying to damage what little reputation the track has left. I honestly don’t think that they could do a better job of ruining a business that was rebounding than if they actually tried to shut it down on purpose.

    You can mark me down as yet another fan that will NEVER spend another single dollar at the Waterford Speedbowl after supporting it since 1986.

  8. I love the racing at this place but this is turning into a joke. Maybe Terry should focus his attention on other things besides sending drivers away pissed off. Maybe fixing the disgusting bathrooms. Maybe finding a buyer… Oh wait they had that till he tried to change the deal while they were on the way to buy it. I hope this place stays open but this guy needs to go bye bye real quick along with every official working there. If her wrecking Is there biggest concern then they better get a grip on reality. The auction is set for October yet we don’t hear anything about a potential sale. If Nicole is sick of fixing her car then she can make the decision to go to the back. Stafford has its share of blockers yet i don’t believe they ask anyone to remove themselves from the handicap. Waterford officials are a joke. Go to Stafford Nicole, just watch out for the 76.

  9. Boycott the bowl.

  10. Tracks should learn to realize that without racers, there are no fans, and no one through the back gate, and without the racers, crews and fans, there would be no tracks… Period…

  11. I have noticed people suggesting that Nichole Morgillo should hire an attorney to deal with this situation. Please keep in mind that the Waterford Speedbowl is bankrupt. Even if she did have a successful claim against the track she would never receive a dime, and would still be liable for her attorney’s expenses. I agree with everyone who says she got a raw deal.

  12. CT modified fan says

    And Terry swings into full PR spin mode. My guess is that NASCAR is sending some heat because of the ton of bad press. Shows zero PR sense to not see how bad it looks when you do that to one of the few minorities at the track.

    I told everyone I knew when Everett Marvin left that Terry knows he’s losing the track and he’s doing his best to sandbag whomever buys it next. All the event since seem to point to this being true. Nobody could have this bad of a sense of business without purposeful intent.

  13. It’s very obvious that the ownership has just given up with this place. The end is near for this group and they just don’t care anymore.

  14. I love how Williams’ two statements totally conflict with each other. Said it was a “…hard decision for him to make….” And then the statement reads “…voluntary agreed…”

    Now Wolliams has zero credibility with his peer officials, race car owners, drivers, and the fans.

    You reading thIs Patrick Wliams?! You have ZERO credibility now…all done so by your mouth. Congrats!!!

    Nichole- support continues to build for you …do what you feel is right for you and the team. THAT is the decision that matters.

    I love the racing at the ‘bowl, but I am boycotting it from now on. I was all jacked for the Bud Nats 150, but not going to give the bowl another dine.

    It appeara Terry is just looking to get as much out of this last season of ownership financially, nothing more.

    Terry had a chance to make this right, and blew it with the statement released. Now it will be awfully hard to fix this without an apology over the track PA system after the national anthem, and in person to all involved and finally removal of Patrick Williams from ANY position at the track.

    Now, I only hope that if the rumor that the Ceravolos are buying the track is true, that they use situations like this one and Sid’s departure as models of what NOT to do….because in each case, EVERYONE loses…including the paying fans.

    Go out and do the right thing, Terry.

    Kirk out.

  15. Typical speedbowl games they are always screwing drivers out of starting positions on Wednesday, fan favorites can start up front or near the front very week and finish on the top 3 but others if they come in 5th they start in the rear every week, pat Williams is a joke and so is the whole speedbowl program, no one up there knows what’s there doing honestly,

  16. Bobby Rich says

    Maybe this CLOWN has other thoughts on his mind….??

  17. sam-missle says

    I wonder when they will stop paying the competitors, after all terry, will go out with his pockets full!!

  18. Tracy Lord So, I have a question.Is it because shes a woman or because she didn’t want to give up handicap?According to this article they’ve taken handicaps away in the past.So is it because shes a woman?Well,my opinion is I know for a fact that Nichole has been involved in many accidents in yrs.at speedbowl.Ive also heard that she finishes well from the pole.The track has been under turmoil for years now,yet drivers,fans,officials,etc.still give them their money,not to mention the fact that fixing racecars is not cheap,yet again,they go back.Its like pushing rewind ,play again every week.So,if you don’t like what happens everyweek,don’t go.Why give someone your hard earned money when you know you cant win or atleast be treated fairly.Why get kicked in the teeth week after week and PAY TO DO IT.Have some self respect people,the track doesn’t.

  19. AS I read in disgust of Wacky Williams decision it was made even before Nichole started her heat race. This to me speaks pure vermin of this classless Race Director It is as if he had a severe Vedanta against her team. He did not know where she would have started.after the heats.FACT. It took him days to comment, a real spineless person.FACT He says this goes well for who??? The ones he wants to win. wonder if he gets a kick back? As he states it is not her fault so why is he punishing her? FACT Yea this spineless mean and vicious act that.effected Nichole by lost points, purse money ( if Terry pays) and lost points at end of season and more cash. If Nichole was to sue I hope it would be the Race Director. One for incompetence and Secondly for not enforcing the very rules he is asked to uphold. Third being fair to all competitors. next. it could be a sexist suit as well. , Lastly for making DEALS which he is not allowed to pursue. Nichole paid a huge price.in her fan base, set up for track, her fellow racers. Who is to say if she would not have been taken out by their favorite driver. I could see that as a real possibility just look at last week. More so than Nichole causing an accident. Terry and and band of outlaws need to leave. Sooner the better, Hoping for a SK boycott. You earned this Williams on being so totally incompetent alone. Just remember race Waterford where the FIX is always in place. If Terry had any And met with Nichole to hear pure BS must likely Nichole would have had to pay the bill. wonder why????

  20. justwanarace says

    Nicole there is a web site (Go Fund Me) set up a request for money and Sue the jerk. I will be the first to donate money!

  21. Why waste your effort suing the guy? There’s got to be a clause within the competitor sign off at the handicappers booth that would prohibit such things from happening. Plus it is more than apparent the management has little to no interest in finishing the season with any utter shred of dignity remaining intact.

    Opening Day (after being extended) without a full grand stand ready for fans and in a state of repair still, inexcusable, and down right awful showing of management priorities at the speedbowl. It doesn’t cost that much for a few four by eight boards to be swapped out which was all that was done looking at photos from facebook pages and photography websites. What kind of statement does that give your clientele?

    Allowing tether gate to even happen. No excuse necessary for checking safety items on race cars. As an owner this was one thing that seemed to be worked on within the speedbowl operations area. However did it really need to get to that point in the first place?

    Losing Sids View on a technicality violation in the pits. Deplorable showing of management to rectify the situation in a timely fashion. An apology should’ve been issued to that entire crew and the official reassigned a new duty within the paddock area for over stepping his bounds. Media such as Sids usually is given cart blanche on the property to do whatever for documentation purposes. Why this was suddenly not the case is beyond me.

    Finally allowing a race director to make foolish decisions such as this. I don’t care if it is Ted Christopher or Nichole Morgillo you don’t make the statements this director makes to a media outlet. It sounds childish. “We need a break at the front” sounds awful like the driver has been a hassle all season. Forget the fact that Nichole is a woman. Who says that when in such a position of power on race night? When you’re a race director you need to calculate every statement you make to competitors, ownership and to the media. Not mouth off like a moron and the driver is a hassle. Never does anyone at a local race track need to embarass a competitor for their driving habits. For Terry to BLOW OFF a meeting with Nichole just proves his lack of interest in keeping the track a viable entertainment entity.

    So in short it is time for a change at the track. Whether that means it is sold to another racing orientated individual who wishes to continue growing short track racing in CT or not is yet to be seen. If one of the ownership can take to Facebook and complain publicly they’d rather lose the Speedbowl then keep it going after earlier summer adversity then it is time to move on for them as individuals. Go enjoy boating, cruising in the nice cars and trying other business ventures. Let somebody else take a crack at the racing business because it is certainly not for them long term.

  22. This is horrible. It just keeps getting worse. How do you go into damage control and make things even worse. I think the bowl just needs to apologize to Nichole and her fans. Fire the person who made the decision. Then put the money for the points fund and last race in escrow because the bowl has a not too good history of paying there racers, vendors for the last race of the season. And this season appears to be the last race for this ownership group.

    Nichole probably does have a legal case, at least a lawyer would claim so, but at the end of the day she wouldn’t be able to recoup anything of value as there is a long line of creditors ahead of her that aren’t going to get what they are likely owed.

    I was really torn about what to do on October 6th. Go to a Pats game or go to Waterford’s potentially last race ever. The way they are going I am not sure Waterford will still be running on October 6th.

  23. start emailing NASCAR !!! they monitor all their emails. start sending them.

  24. It’s plain to see that what they are doing here is trying to manipulate the Nascar the points the same stuff anders is getting slammed for down south. Open your eyes and look at it they see like this we need rocco to win if she starts on pole which I’m guessing she might have the night he might not win because she does good staying there. Or they are worried when rocco comes through or if he is behind a Lil he might get caught up in something. So what do they do they take her out of the equation all together and put her behind him. These tracks and there pets are so worried about this Nascar points stuff they are willing to do whatever it takes to manipulate the system. That is until they pass of enough people they don’t come back.

  25. lol Clarkie….Is that a serious post??? you think the track was worried that rocco wouldnt be able to pass nichole??? I guess the track had brain freeze when they took the max points win away from him 2 weeks ago. Im sure that post was a joke though, cause you couldnt really believe that

  26. RIngo Star says

    Yokasta was able to break up the Speedbowl faster than Yoko Ono destroyed the Beatles.
    Her Legacy in CT short track racing will make Hurricane Sandy seem like a pop up spring shower. She is the Shoeless Joe Jackson of NASCAR.

  27. You people are so dumb. I would never ask for a SK boycott or a fan boycott. When you do that the track is gone.be careful what you wish for.all short tracks have there problems.all tracks have there favorites.its been that way for years at every level of racing.I love Waterford speedbowl would hate to see it gone.

  28. Dorene Sikorski says

    sometimes you need to see something with new eyes, I see that this situation is political nonsense. A place that is almost bankrupt and Terry cannot concentrate on what is actually happening because he most likely is worried about his personal life. First people drop off of Face Book, then they lie about what actually happened. The sad thing is that Nichole was one of the best drivers there and for some reason, people were scared of her. If you have fear of racing get off the track. What you did to her will come back on you, and she will still have her Glory………So proud of you Nichole!!!

  29. Clearly not one of the best drivers….Did she destroy a lot of equipment? Yes. Was it all her fault? No. But does she have a hard time finishing races with her car in one piece? Huge yes. I see what the officials were trying to do, but they went about it all wrong. If I were still racing I would be careful racing around her, from what i see on the track. I definitely don’t think she should leave the bowl though. Soon these people making bad choices will be gone.

  30. Crazy in NY says

    Fear not my fellow NE modified fans. Hope springs eternal. Here in NY we have our own
    “Waterford”…Lancaster National/Elegant Builders Raceway that is/was run by a fool
    but is getting a new lease on life next year with an infusion of new blood (and cash).
    I love the Speedbowl but reading about the raw deal Nicolle got really put a damper
    on the desire to support a place. My guess (and only that) is some of the nameless/spineless drivers in that series put a bug in Williams ear about her.
    They should look in the mirror. There is plenty of crap driving there that doesn’t involve
    her and she’s been caught up in some things not of her own doing. You can smell a rat
    when you see things like ‘It’s only for 1 week” and then she’ll be back in the handicap.
    Like 1 week is going to fix anything allegedly wrong. If you want to fix some shaky driving
    start with Teddy or Keith. Plenty of blame to go around. Good luck at Stafford Nicolle.

  31. Having been a long time fan of Saturday night racing at Waterford I have seen a lot of things many I disagreed with especially of late. I think Waterford has a greater possible issue than Nichole being treated by an incompetent, unethical, bias, sexist like rookie Race Director and never pay a penny Terry. Or the racer getting preferential treatment, who causes accidents as well. I am hoping NASCAR is reading so both of these uncaring, uneducated individuals about safety :race officials can be stripped of their licenses and fined heavily..It is something I can not comprehend why are children of as little as 1 up to 14 allowed in the PITS I watch baby strollers and little children walk to the pits They must have a day care center there!! Pits are a hurry up area and a place of frenzied activity. Look at what happened at the VMRS where a pit worker got hurt.. Why are the children there during the races?? Imagine what would happen to Terry and Want to be if a child was hit by a moving 15 inch tire, or other vehicle. I do not want that to happen, not in the least. Real tracks have higher standards and age and shoe requirements. What is this deal? As stated it could be an even greater issue for the track officials, than they currently face., I will not be at any races there in the future. I loved that place a real two lane track with mods so unlike so boring single lane Stafford.. .

  32. James Scott says

    William very well said.

  33. ^^^ Ha Ha Ringo…..

  34. The Bowl is 10x better than other tracks around the country. Car counts are excellent. The racing is superb. Personnel is OK too, if you’ve heard some of the horror stories I’ve heard. Look up Franklin County Speedway. You guys think Terry is bad?
    The Bowl has its flaws, but its hellova lot better than other tracks. But standards are higher here because we have one of the premier short tracks in the country next door. Said track also has the same show every week, has horrible lines at the food stand, and has had their replay board broken for how many years now? The Sizzler and the Finale are a joke. 35$ for a show that can be fit in one day, and is nothing more than the 5 local series plus the Whelen Modified Snore. Waterford charges the same on their opening/closing weekends for 13 divisions of racing… not 6.

  35. Seriously? She wrecks someone every week costing them big dollars. I saw her,destroy Kyle James first lap first turn in a heat race. He missed the next week. Seems like she gets worse every week.

  36. In the article she says she never agreed to be removed from her spot BUT if you go in her Fb and read the status she put Sunday at 2am regarding the situation she said ” I agreed and walked away”
    Seems like everyone will jump to conclusions and bash the track for anything when she also isn’t telling the entire truth….Smh

  37. Was a Webby fan says

    I am not surprised by the lying going on from the speedbowl management. I am very surprised at Eric Webster though. I really thought webby was a good person. I can’t believe he would go along with this. I feel like I misjudged him. Very Very Very Sad.

  38. Taylor – not seeing the Facebook comment you refer to on the site – please copy and paste.

    Curiously, what did she agree to? Agreeing to be removed from the handicap AND THEN walked away? That does not make sense. But, need to see the quote from site.

  39. As a female midwesterner watching this unfold from afar, I’m befuddled by the whole “handicap” thing. The fact that she has spent SIX YEARS undeterred by accepting something that essentially says being a woman is a “handicap” in racing is mind-boggling. I’d much rather earn my way, than accept preferential treatment–but maybe I’m a true minority with that sentiment.

  40. jacklyn106 – From the Waterford Rule book:

    “1.5.2 Starting Position Determination
    All Drivers for all Divisions must sign in with the Race Handicapper prior to the qualifying event (4:15pm
    on Saturday night NWAAS events). Drivers who are not signed in by 4:15pm will be placed to the rear of
    their qualifying race. Also, Drivers who do not participate in at least one practice round may be placed to
    the rear of their qualifying and/or feature event.
    Drivers will be handicapped based upon the three previous race events held. Any driver that misses an
    event will be credited with one and one half wins for handicapping purposes for that event. Disqualified
    cars (received no money-no points) will be given two wins for handicapping purposes for that event. Cars
    that have been placed to the rear of the finishing order for a race rules infraction will be given a win for
    handicapping purposes for that event.”

    Being “put behind the handicap” means your starting position in the feature be farther back in the field.

  41. Jr- go on her Facebook, she posted it in her status on August 17 explaining what happened. it won’t let me post the screen shot of it on here

  42. U wanna PULL the I am WOMAN hear me roar,,go back,dont take anybody out from the Outside,U know youll be ok from the inside,as long as your alone on the track,you know,you have taken cars out for years,and its always someone elses fault.Hell,you had motor issues,………….Why would you even be out there and Stay out there then take someone out?Then,in your own Denfensive,say well I had issues w my motor?

  43. Rabbit, one of the only people with common sence on here. The “it’s because she’s a girl” excuse is the stupidiest thing I’ve heard. These people must be blind or don’t actually watch her race. How many cars has she wrecked this season? I don’t know because I’ve lost count.

  44. Taylor, after stating “if you do not give me my handicap tonight, I am packing my car and finishing my season at stafford” they said “we’ll we hope you don’t do that” yeah I nodded and walked away. I was done with there conversation. Also I was most offended my competitors knew about this before I did. So the “choice” had already been made. I was never given a “choice” so before you knock me… Know all your facts. And I’m pretty sure any incident I’ve been involved in this year came from behind me. And yes, I had a motor problem in a heat race from the previous race getting completely junked and paying for the damages and coming back to maintain my handicap. I got ran over in the heat because wasn’t up to speed and that caused Kyle James to get hurt too. Thanks for your concern.

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