Dream Fulfilled: Tyler Chadwick Wins Bud SK Modified Nationals 150 At Waterford

Tyler Chadwick celebrates his first Budweiser SK Modified Nationals 150  win Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Mark Caise/Waterford Speedbowl)

Tyler Chadwick celebrates his first Budweiser SK Modified Nationals 150 win Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Mark Caise/Waterford Speedbowl)

WATERFORD – In 2012 Tyler Chadwick etched his name boldly into the record books at the Waterford Speedbowl in winning his first SK Modified championship at the shoreline oval.

Though the celebration of a season’s long worth of chasing a title had nothing on the jubilation of a dream becoming reality for the Ledyard driver Saturday.

Chadwick inherited the lead with 31 laps remaining and went on to win the Budweiser SK Modified Nationals 150 Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl.

It was his first victory in the most prestigious SK Modified event on the Speedbowl’s schedule annually.

“I’ve always dreamed of winning this race and we’ve always come up a little short,” Chadwick said. “But tonight, the car was good the whole race. I just can’t believe it, I’m still in shock.

“I’ve been coming here my whole life and this is the biggest race for the SK Modifieds. The biggest race to win is this one right here. As a little kid I always wanted to win this race. I’ve come close a couple times. It just means everything.”

Keith Rocco of Wallingford was second and Ed Puleo of Branford third.

Chadwick collected a $5,000 winner’s payoff for the event.

“This is like so much more exciting [than clinching a championship],” Chadwick said. “The race to win a championship you just kind of hung around, you didn’t want to get in too much trouble. This race, just the excitement of crossing the start-finish line with the checkered flags going knowing you won the race, you can’t beat that feeling.

“We’ve had an up and down season but as of late we’ve come back really strong, and this is huge. My dad has really really always wanted this race. It’s huge, it’s the biggest race I’ve ever ran. To be on that trophy, that means a lot to me. I’ve been coming here my whole life so to be on that trophy it’s really special.”

Ted Christopher went by Puleo for the lead 11 laps into the event and held that leader’s position for the majority of the race. With 33 laps left Rocco went by Chadwick for second and two laps later he got under Christopher coming out of turn two. But in turn four the two made contact and wrecked, handing the lead to Chadwick.

“When I got outside of [Christopher] he just acted like I wasn’t there, he just kept driving us out of the ballpark so I knew we weren’t going to be able to do it up there on him anyways,” Chadwick said. “When Keith got by me I just kind of let that play out. I knew he had a better chance of passing [Christopher] and hopefully we’d be able to take the opportunity and it worked out perfect for us.

“I kind of had a feeling it was coming. I knew [Christopher] wasn’t going to let anybody go by. … It worked out perfect for us.”

Said Rocco: “I was all the way in there [on Christopher]. I got a run off of [turn] two. I was all the way up to his door and he just kept coming down on me. I just couldn’t hold it on the bottom, he had me so low. I probably should have shown a little more patience. We had the car to win tonight.”

After the incident, Rocco restarted seventh in the field. He got up to second by lap 15, but by then Chadwick had built more than half a straightaway lead. Rocco was able to cut the lead dramatically but never got within striking distance of Chadwick out front.

“[The last 29 laps] felt like 129 laps,” Chadwick said. “I just wanted the race to be over. But actually that’s the best the car was. I was able to get on the gas the hardest then. … The car was the best it was toward the end.”

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  1. There is no doubt in my mind that TC cost Rocco the race. It was more than obvious that KR had a faster car. It’s too bad that these events continue to happen when TC is on the track.

  2. Congratulations on your victory!

  3. It was good to see Woody, Matt Galko, and Dennis Perry show up, but for $5000 to win I was expecting more than 19 cars.

  4. I think the low car count was due to the tracks history of not paying the larger purse. hope Chadwick gets paid ..too bad for Rocco karma is a b*tch. the track tried their best to get him the win and it didn`t work out. oh by the way who had the special handicap this week in the sk`s.???? LOL .. what an embarrassment !!!

  5. TC ruined that race. IMO. He just pushed and pushed. Please don’t be a Rocco hater !

  6. not really a rocco hater.. I have seen him from the lead run guys to the fence that were faster that particular night ,day or event at the bowl so he got raced as he races teddy.. chadwick was smart to allow them to mix it up.. he knew as did almost everyone in attendance what would happen..he is running better at stafford but clearly gets a pass at the bowl with tech on the mod and the late model.. facts ..sorry its true.. yes he has talent but the bowl right now has no credability,the tech is non existant from lack of knowlwdge so winning there does NOT have the appeal,or legitimacy as a stafford .or thompson.on a level playing field rocco is an above average driver.he has been in good equipment on the tour (partridge #6).preece ran good with ol blue .. hills car is junk and njever seems to finish.. so no hating just facts .clearly there are other factors in play when he is not running his own stuff or is not directly involved in the maintainence and or set up on the car in question.and I give him credit for his earlier natiuonal tiltle .. I think he earned that one .. the attempt this year and the comments about the “system” are hypocritical and he comes off as a sore loser.. preece is no better = another sore loser

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