Nichole Morgillo Leaves Waterford Speedbowl After Being Penalized Before Event Saturday

Nichole Morgillo

Nichole Morgillo

WATERFORD – Less than 12 months ago Nichole Morgillo was being celebrated for making history at the Waterford Speedbowl as the first female driver ever to win in the track’s premier SK Modified division.

Saturday Morgillo, of Southington, left the track in disgust after Speedbowl officials told her she was being removed from the standard qualifying handicap procedures for the evening’s 35-lap SK Modified feature.

Morgillo left the track and said she will likely focus her efforts going forward this season on competing in the SK Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Waterford Speedbowl racing director Patrick Williams said track officials decided it was in the best interest for her and other competitors at the track if she didn’t start the near the front of the field for the feature. 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.

Saturday Morgillo was, unofficially, second fastest in the first SK Modified division practice of the day at Waterford and sixth fastest in the second practice. She was told of the decision that she was being pulled from the handicap after practice and before qualifying heats.

“I want to put her behind the handicap,” Williams said. “She would probably go out 11th or 12th, somewhere around there. I personally think she needs to break on the pole. The drivers need a break that are on the pole. 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. They’re great people. It’s just, I need to have a night where I really think she needs to break on the front. Everything is happening up there. She’s wrecked, it’s costing her a lot of money. It’s costing other drivers a lot of money. I’m not saying it’s Nichole’s fault all the time because it’s not always her fault. Everybody needs a break for something.

Morgillo, a longtime competitor in the SK Modified divisions at Waterford and Stafford, held off Ted Christopher – considered one of the best short track drivers in the country over the last two decades – to win her first SK Modified feature at the Speedbowl on Sept. 21, 2013.

Morgillo was livid after she was told by Williams about the decision. She said angering her more was the fact that other drivers had told her of the decision to remove her from the handicap before Williams told her.

“I’m embarrassed,” Morgillos said. “And I’m embarrassed that I heard it from other drivers before it got to me and it wasn’t even a private thing.”

Morgillo said the track should have had the courtesy to inform her of the decision before she went to the track Thursday to test in preparation for Saturday’s event.

“There should have been a phone call,” Morgillo said. “They shouldn’t have wasted my entire week. Coming here on Thursday to fix the motor, fixing my car, wreck after wreck, no penalty happening to other drivers. But my car gets wrecked and I’m getting punished for it? It’s heartbreaking and it’s embarrassing. And it’s sad because this is my home.”

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  1. Race director says

    Hmmm she was 2 tenths faster than tonight’s pole sitter in practice. 6th fastest overall. That’s a disgraceful decision. It seems very bias and sexist.

  2. Damn!

  3. That’s messed up, who is this idiot? He shouldn’t be in that position

  4. linda kimel says

    What a poor choice for the track to do that.

  5. That’s not cool, there’s drivers that start on the pole that don’t belong there, she’s shown a lot of good racing skills, all I can do is smh!

  6. james e warner says

    waterford,, what do you expect,,thats why i quit years ago

  7. I call Bravo Sierra on this one!! The track got this one Very wrong! Whats the same as playing favorites without intentionally playing favorites?? Penalizing ONE driver in particular for something that never happened…. That prejudice mind set is another in a laundry list of bad decisions driving away teams….. Terrible decision!

  8. bentheredonethat says

    Not the right call in my opinion. It’s one thing if you’re much slower than the rest of the field or a rookie and starting on the front row but she is fast and deserves to be where the handicap system places her.

  9. That is crap.

  10. about time says

    Its not sexist… she wrecks weekly and “its never her fault” lol last week she drove way over her head a destroyed 21 motor problems my ass her front wheels were smoking

  11. a man with a racing daughter says

    This is where he rest of the SK Drivers should step up and park there cars for the night! We are a family…..if they don’t stand up to the BS who will be next…..she isn’t a rookie and they have let a lot worse people start up front week after week.

  12. Race director needs to be pulled from officiating at Waterford IMMEDIATELY!!!

    What a disgrace….

    I’m embarrassed for the Morgillos….great people who deserve much more than this…MUCH MORE.

  13. I’m disgusted!

  14. I’m not surprised, the speedbowl has been making a lot of bad calls when they do make a call. It’s the worst it’s ever been! Very sad !

  15. I guess I’m just old school but what kind of handicap system are you using? I”m sure she as good as most of the talent that she races with! Don’t make handicapping more complicated than it has to be It’s a Sat night track! I’ve known the Morgillo’s from quarter midgets and they are a plus for the sport and I truly don’t think she did anymore damage then some of the boy’s. And you mentioned Teddy Christopher, she would have to be around a very long time to match how many people Teddy has taken out!!! Straighten this mess out and have fun! I love my old home and I hate reading bad things! Hope to visit soon!!

    Wayne Mysterious Smith

  16. The aftermath of Ward Jr’s death? More than likely, a knee jerk reaction? More than likely!! Or how many other drivers complained they were worried about her on the track? If there worried about getting hurt, get off the track, in stock car racing your more likely to get hurt than win a race.

  17. Mike Desaulniers says

    This is a total shame and just gos to show what the track has turned into I can name a bunch of drivers down there that don’t have half of her talent

  18. jml racing says

    Since when is an officials decision based on how much it’s costing to fix a wrecked race car. BOOOO Bad call some one needs to check this officials. I thought River head was bad.

  19. She pays her way just like the rest of babies that cry.The track should be a shamed of what they do.great car count and sent them away.

  20. Leave it to the bowl to make another BAD decision and lose another good competitor.

  21. Brigitte Poulin says

    Really! Sexism at is very best! They owe her an apology and this official a review of what the rules are. Have they ever done the same to a guy?

  22. So let me get this right, Nicole, due to the handicapping system in place at Waterford would be starting on the pole or in the front for the feature. Race director decides she is a hazard and it is in her best interest to start her further back. Do I have this right? Wtf? I call bs. She isn’t a rookie, she is a feature winner in the division. What is happening with race officiating lately? The whole red flag fiasco in Jack’s racing series and now this. Oh and lets not forget Sid’s penalty. Lot’s of bad mojo down at the shoreline oval.

  23. Really, really, REALLY stupid call on Waterford’s part. Don’t penalize a car for wrecking. BTW, she’s been involved in a lot less wrecks this year than years past.

  24. ::Sighs and rubs face.::

  25. Really who ever heard of this !!!

  26. This must be a mistake or a miscommunication of some sort. Why would anyone want to hurt this fine lady.

  27. billy jack says

    I try …I really try ..when people tell me to support the track I try I really do .. but when I see this driver so maligned ..I just ..go to Stafford……LOL…I am done spending another effing penny at Waterford. the owners of this track deserve everything that is coming their way when the dust settles…..this is a new low for the race director he is an incompetent fool. glass houses for all the racers there that might feel morgillo causes wrecks..I will spend my money at it appears they will be the only oval track in Ct operating after this season…

  28. I have a few issues here, and I may play devil’s advocate a bit here,
    1. Why would you not give notice you wouldn’t allow someone to race?
    2. if she really is THAT prone to wrecking, there is some validity here, how would you like to race knowing someone on the track was likely to cost you thousands of dollars?
    3. To all of the people shouting SEXIST, if we are being honest, the ONLY reason this is such a big deal is BECAUSE she is a woman. If a race official makes this call against your average, middle aged male, this isn’t a news story, hate to say it but it’s true. People would know about it, they would talk about it, but it wouldn’t be half the big deal that this is.

  29. Maybe they need to take a look at their handicap system not a particular driver.

  30. Either way the racecar is still bent. October is rapidly approaching!

  31. Every time Im there she’s on the podium or real close. Great way to get the car count up. I see bad things coming from this poor decision.

  32. Bob Freeman says

    This is wrong on so many levels and I am both ashamed and embarrassed for the Speedbowl in making this call.

  33. Another bad decision, Terry, get rid of this guy and send Sid and Nicole.a fruit basket with a apology.

  34. Ken Tomaso says

    I’ve made my last trip to Waterford…….will enjoy Stafford and Thompson……poor judgement by track officials……let’s see how many other drivers they pull thus crap with……0……..

  35. so let me get this straight……he was doing her a FAVOR???? Sorry Mr. Track Director that does not add up…try again and find some other lame excuse! Wrecks are part of racing…most drivers deal with it and honestly fans love it. Anytime there is any sort of competition… Waterford deals with it by penalizing the ones they don’t want to win. Wonder whose big mouth let the decision slip and spread all over the track before they “RESPECTED” Morgillo and told her about it? All around bad decision…just like the tons before. They can’t afford the bills at the track…but seem willing to throw away free advertising from Sid and now pushing away your loyal racers….unbelievable!

  36. Wow…….all the other racers need to not race there. That is so wrong to do that! She wins races and gets taken out…..someone is jealous. I hope no one goes to Waterford at least to show support for her!

  37. Head in ass syndrome sadly there is no cure for it

  38. Bob Freeman says

    This is clearly a subjective decision being made here – and that will bite in the butt every time.

    “Waterford Speedbowl racing director Patrick Williams said track officials decided it was in the best interest for her and other competitors at the track if she didn’t start the near the front of the field for the feature.”

    In the past, there were minimal requirements for starting “at or near the front” that included experience (rookie status or a minimal number of starts) and ability to maintain speed under race conditions. A driver could also elect to not start in a handicapped position and start at the back of the field by their choice.

    According to the Speedbowl general rules:

    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. When a draw system is used for starting position, the driver or his assigned representative may draw. When inspections, qualifying races or time trials are held on days prior to the date of the race, The Waterford Speedbowl reserves the right to seal all motors, impound all race tires and/or impound cars. For some events, a predetermined amount of cars (based upon the current order of point standings) may be considered as prequalified. The car must be signed in 45 minutes before racing starts to take advantage of being pre-qualified. Any exception to this must be pre- approved by the Race Director. If a car drops out of the posted starting line-up, all cars will cross over to their new position. All drivers must use their discretion concerning where they restart an event after they have been lapped. The Race Director reserves the right to move all lapped cars to the rear of the lead-lap cars during restarts.

    Lapped cars will go to the rear during every caution in all extra distance events. A Lucky Dog rule will be applied in all extra distance events, allowing the first car in order that is one or more laps down, to regain one of those laps during each caution period, providing that car is not the source or cause of the caution, and is not in the pit area.

    The objective facts are: Ms. Morgillo was granted a license to drive in the division; could never be considered a rookie; is able to maintain a competitive race speed; and has won a feature race in the division.

    If the track had concerns, the correct thing to do would be to have this conversation in advance and not make a decision based on her simply arriving at the track and realizing that she would start at or near the front if she finished her heat in a position that might have resulted in her handicap being utilized.

    It is rare that something gets under my skin – this decision DOES!

  39. I know there are politics at every track, but this is the kind of crap that pushes good loyal competitors away. officials don’t want the favorites to get beat by a “girl” or someone maybe not as well known or liked. I think they feel threatened by you, a strong female presence can be intimidating. remember its not who you know its who you ……………. I wont go back!

  40. Are you serious! This was disrespectful and mishandled from the get go. Absolutely no professionalism exhibited by the officials at all. Terry, where are you getting these ham and eggers from? What is your position on this? At least Nichole is racing these guys, won a feature unlike the woman on the Whelen tour who qualifies last, starts last, finishes last and gets in the way during the race.

    I think the track management and officials need a visit to a proctologist and get their case of cranial rectal impaction taken care of ASAP. You better enjoy every last penny you are getting from this place Terry. Stick a fork in the Speedbowl, unfortunately this place is done!

  41. PETE KINNE says

    Can’t fix STUPID.

  42. Waterford needs to correct this mistake asap! The Race Director needs to apologize to Nicolle next Sat. nite in front of the crowd. If she is willing to come back.
    If this is not done the Drivers should all pull to the rear of the field as a protest,then start the race with their handicapped position. After all the Show must go on.
    Racers stand up for your fellow racer. Fans stay away or show your displeasure.

  43. S.R.HITCHCOCK says

    waterford sucks anyhow !!!! bunch of morons!!!!!!!!

  44. Same thing happened with her fiancee at Thompson where they asked him to start back in the field and not on the front row. He packed up and left. He wasn’t a girl. Where was the outrage then? And do any of you even go to the speedbowl? If you do you. must be blind. She’s caused more wrecks starting up front then anyone else, except the 44 comes close. Some say she’s doing better this season then last. Really? Oh and they sent TC to the rear in the heat race last week when she wrecked the 21. TC had nothing to do with it. Watch the video. No disrespect to her she’s had some good runs and was awesome seeing her win last year but she’s caused more wrecked racecars this year then ever before. Trust me they didn’t do it because she’s a girl. They should’ve handled it different for sure though. Maybe get a driver vote to see if they all agree with the call.

  45. Bob Freeman nice job. You said it all. I guess the speedbowl can make the rules up as they go along rather than following the rules…………..


    it is not the first time, nor will it be the last time. you can either suck it up and prove the track made a mistake, or you can cry and go home, go looking for “greener pastures” that don’t exist. didn’t you come to race?

  47. I’m sorry Jp but Shawn was in his rookie year and still wearing a rookie stripe. I have been racing the bowl for 6 years with a feature win. There’s differences. I am more embarassed how the track handled the situation and that is why I loaded my stuff. It was a very hard decision and I was in years because I wanted to drive. But I couldn’t bring myself to be degraded that way.

  48. The right thing to do was a some sort of sit down meeting with her. Thursday during practice would have been ideal. I just see all these accusations of sexism and I really don’t think that’s what happened here. I do think the track may have jumped the gun though. It would be interesting to know who was involved with the decision. The officials and the owners?

  49. this track needs a new race director . this will never happen as they are too worried about their “prince” being taken out by another driver. If you look at the handycapping , the golden boy would start behind Nicole . God forbid he would get caught up in an accident so as not to get his national title . This is why the track is shutting down. 2 years ago
    I voluntered to assist as an official as I have 6 yrs as a race director for a smaller track and over 40 yrs in racing .Was told “you have to follow our lead” .Our only hope is that somewhere in CT a new track will be bui;t

  50. I go to seekonk on a Saturday nite they dont do that and no cars or trucks get wracked it is to bad this happen the drivers should get together an not show up for one week Then that might show them don’t change the as you go whilst they do that to rocco or any top driver that is having a bad year

  51. Just a bad decision by the bowl. I am not surprised, they seem to make them quite frequently. Though I haven’t seen all the races at the bowl, the decision doesnt seem to have much merit, nicole has raced for a few years, even won a race, and is usually in the top half of the field on time.

    I am not surprised they waited to the last minute to tell the team, had they been informed prior to the event they wouldn’t have showed and the Bowl would have been out the gate receipts. If I were her, I would have done the same thing, left and gone somewhere else to try to prove them wrong.

    I don’t think the bowl made this call for their chosen one. They must have known the decision would likely cause Nicole to leave competition and they are already struggling to get a full 20 car field for Nascar National points which is needed for maximum points.

    I wish Nicole and her team best of luck at Stafford, I am not sure why they ever left. Stafford has a good field because you rarely hear of these officiating issues. They often penalize drivers for conduct and they seem to tech cars more carefully.

    Hopefully the Bowl stays a racing facility with a new owner and race director next season. I really thought they could make some progress with the limited Thompson schedule but some of the decisions the current regime has made just makes you wonder. I guess when the future is so uncertain, you don’t really have to worry about next year.

  52. Having seen my 1st race at Plainville in 1962, I know a wee bit about the sport.
    Having been a Correction Officer for 20 years, I know a little bit about rules.
    I think I should be the new race director and apply the old “CO” code:
    Firm, Fair, and Consistent.

    Hang in their Nicole….

  53. justwanarace says

    Well after this weekends sh*t show who’s fault was that. There were more wrecks and junk cars without said driver. There must be someone from the media who can help with this! Let’s make local media aware of this bullsh** call and call the bowl out on this decision! I will be calling my local paper first thing in the morning. SHAME ON YOU WATERFORD!!! Nicole keep your chin up and head to Stafford,

  54. Well as I watched the sk mods on Saturday night, I was unaware of what had transpired with Nicole earlier that evening. I watched wrecks from the front, rear, even cautions came out involving Rocco himself. At 1 point I wondered if they had more cautions then laps to run in there race. I’m quite certain they had more caution laps then raced laps. So apparently it’s quite obvious that disparaging a single driver, didn’t straighten out a single issue concerning wrecks in that division. Seems like another bad call by the Speedbowl again.

  55. @ P.O’d fan
    If they are so concerned with Rocco’s title why did they take the win from him 2 races ago?

    This has nothing to do with Rocco, just a race director that does not have a clue and a track owner that doesn’t seem to care, if he did he would have stepped up and intervened on the Sid’s View issue.

  56. Nathan Thomas says

    First of all …..I think Nichole is a competitive and competent driver with the talent to win on any given weekend but thats not the issue here…..the race director is grossly under qualified to make the decisions he has been appointed to make.We are talking about a man
    with a couple of years of wacky wednesday racing as his only real racing experience…now I am not knocking wednesday drivers at all but you have got to ask yourself with all the time money and effort that goes into fielding just 1 racing team nevermind over 100…..why was someone with so little knowledge about the sport appointed to make these obvious bonehead calls??
    These type of micro managing calls have no place in the sport and will drive people away.
    I have always been a fan of the 56 from afar and will miss the racing spirit of Nichole…..she never asked for any preferential treatment because she was a women in a male dominated sport but instead looked to earn her respect on the track….she has mine.

  57. I will not ever come back to the speedbowl after what they did to Nichole. I have been envoled with racing for many many years.She has a fast car and when you see other drivers banging her cause they cant pass clean and wreck who do they blame?.Maybe we can all get lucky and the bowl sells to someone who knows racing and can run the place right . Maybe we can get lucky and the new owner or owners get rid of all the present officals. One bad apple spoils the batch

  58. James Scott says

    Don’t agree at all with the decision. Been going to the beloved bowl for years and I think its getting worse. Would love nothing better then a real race guy take the place over. The place just reeks of negativity. I go because I love the place but really it needs a whole new change of attitude. That will not happen under this ownership group. And yes I agree with what Nicole and her team did by packing up and leaving. Let’s hope 2015 will bring new ownership and attitude. Long live the old bowl!

  59. John flock says

    I guess I’ll cross Waterford Speedbowl off my list.

  60. Fly on the wall says

    “Don’t give us a hard time, it’s only for this week Nichole”. Patrick Williams

    That’s disgusting, now this guy is changing his story. Hello Mcfly….your quoted here in print. Terry, Williams, and the speedbowl are an embarrassment. Bad decision after bad decision…. You drive your best PR, SIDS View out the the door, and now this. Does anyone ever make a competent BUSINESS decision????

    Such a SHAME….

  61. I wonder what the Arute Brothers are doing on Saturday nights 😉

  62. B.A.Johnson says

    Must be related to the moron that owns M-40 Speedway in Jones, Michigan

  63. I agree with Nichole leaving that unprofessional run track. As starting at on the front she earned that, and has the right to start at the rear if she decides She has won down there not an easy task. I believe she is a competent driver and well skilled. She even sang the National Arnhem one night for the track. What Waterford did was a huge slap in the face of racing and Nichole.. It was a major insult to Nichole. I support Nichole not the want a be Race Director . Who made a rookie mistake not NICHOLE. . I hate Stafford it is so one lane but That is where I will finish my season. Yes, I was regular at Waterford. But I have been around racing a half of a century and this is right up there with the worst mistake I have witnessed, Waterford if you close you deserve that fate. Let Nichole race. Next week we will hear of oh he is too young to be on the pole or up front. My heart goes out to Nichole who I respect Her’s must be broken by an idiot at the Speed Bowl. Hoping your parking lot is empty. as well as your pits. Because this action was the pits. .

  64. Jodie Evans says

    FACT: Nichole has won more SK races at Waterford than Ted Christopher. Would they consider doing this to Ted?

  65. Jodie,
    You might want to check your facts on that one. Nichole has one career SK Modified win at Waterford, Christopher has 33.

  66. Shawn,
    Has the management or any officials followed up with a response to this? It seems as though the majority of people are very disgusted with their decision and if I were in their shoes I would definitely address this issue, at least a public apologize to Nicole.

  67. Tom,
    At this point, no.

  68. Grey Matter says

    We’ve previously raced at Waterford for nearly two seasons and Nicole is not a bad driver despite what has been said. I watched her first SK races at Stafford and she has come a long way. I support her decision and I honestly think it’s over due. Terry is possibly the worst race track owner I’ve seen after witnessing what he said during a drivers a meeting. This is when we decided to leave. The race director needs to hang it up after this extraordinarily idiotic decision and Terry needs to sell out. No one deserves to be treated like that, NO ONE. I wish the best for Nicole and hope to see her at a few real tracks that don’t have a bunch of mindless hicks running the race track. Another nail in the coffin for Terry and his mismanaged race track.

  69. Nichole, sorry I spelled your name wrong. Bye- Bye Waterford, AND STILL NO UPDATED RESPONSE. I SUPPORT NICHOLE!!!

  70. Jodie Evans says

    Shawn, you are right! I omitted a key phrase–“in the past decade”… It should have read as follows:

    FACT: In the past decade, Nichole has won more SK races at Waterford than Ted Christopher. Would they consider doing this to Ted?

  71. 20 sk”s last night and a good crowd. And here I thought the place would be emty with Nichole not racing……

  72. Well I read all the replies and I wonder….are any of them from actual drivers? I think maybe one might be. I came to Waterford 3x this year. I drive an hour and a half to get there and there isn’t even a program to say who is who. I brought this to the attention of the management and yet nothing. I have read a few articles about Nichole online and most of them were about getting her out of the front. She may have good times when she’s alone on the track but when the other cars get out there…….maybe not. If she has been racing for 6 years why has she not won more than once? She did happen to wreck each time I was there this year. The reason I remember is because my g/son is 17 and she is a girl so he kept track of her.

    Now Stafford I am at every week and have been for years. They have their issues but for the most part they run a good racetrack. The drivers won’t put up with someone new coming in and causing trouble. The fact she is a woman won’t matter because we already have women racing.

    What Waterford really did wrong was not talk to her before anyone else. But being a small track everyone knows everyone. They could have talked to her privately and only she would have known. No one would have known what was going on unless she made it an issue.

  73. And another thing that ticks me off is in this article it said they were celebrating her win because she was the first woman to win at the track. Who the hell cares. Celebrate her first win but because she’s a woman? In this day and age a transgender could be racing and if they win do we celebrate because a transgender won for the first time? You want to race with the big people you get treated the same.

  74. Hey the Speedbowl is a great track and race director is the awesome person to make the calls there working with him is good and right choice was decide

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