Disorderly Incidents Lead To Harsh Words From Front Runners After Mod Tour Mr. Rooter 161 At Waterford

Whelen Modified Tour 30th Anniversary LogoWATERFORD – Running near the front of the field during Saturday’s Whelen Modified Tour Mr. Rooter 161 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Ted Christopher saw the car of Dave Salzarulo rolling out of the infield and back toward the track on lap 95.

“I was thinking ‘This isn’t going to be good.’”

Christopher’s summation was spot on. Salzarulo shockingly pulled out of the infield at Waterford and directly in front of the leaders of the event.

The ensuing mayhem of cars dodging Salzarulo left fifth place running Timmy Solomito spinning in front of the field and pole-sitter Donny Lia heading to the pits with damage.

And it was just the first of two shocking incidents when the leaders were nearly taken out in the event by questionable moves.

“I couldn’t believe what happened there coming out of [turn] four when the guy was sitting in the infield and comes out – I knew where I was, I knew I wasn’t going to touch him – but as soon as heard the caution I heard a couple guys got taken out, that’s honestly ridiculous,” eventual race winner Ryan Preece said of Salzarulo’s move to return to the track in front of the leaders. “I think a 15-year old kid racing a Quarter Midget would know better than to do that. It’s unfortunate.”

Preece, Christopher and second place finisher Doug Coby all questioned NASCAR’s decision to start all 33 cars that entered the event instead of setting a 28-car field which had been announced for the race.

“That’s what we have to deal with early in the season,” Coby said. “You need cars to support the series so you just have to have a better reign on how you’re going to manage it.”

Said Preece: “I think that’s why we kind of had so many cautions. It’s a catch-22 because if you didn’t start them there’s going to be guys thinking ‘Hey, why should I show up if I’m not going to qualify.’ But at the same, time for tracks like this [all the cautions] makes it really hard to get a rhythm going and to put some laps on it.”

The second major incident that saw the leaders nearly piled up was when series rookie Troy Talman came out of the turn four pit reentry gate and fired back onto the track just as the field was coming to take the green flag for one of the late restarts.

Talman was later parked by NASCAR for driving past an official with a stop sign at the reentry point.

“That just shouldn’t happen,” Coby said. “They said they had a [the stop sign paddle out]. That’s not going to stop a Modified. There needs to be a better way to do that. I was very close. I saw him coming and I was very close to probably clipping [Preece] in the right rear, but I checked up and [Preece] kind of got going so I was like ‘Ok, whatever.’ Then I think they wrecked behind him. That’s just ridiculous. You just don’t do stuff like that. The kid pits 14 times in the last 15 laps. I don’t know who’s idea it was to send him to go.”


  1. Bob of West Haven says

    Lots of cautions. Maybe they should not run the feature as the last event. Everyone left at the same time and getting out took some time. I got home well after midnight.

  2. 33 cars is just way to many for a track like the Speedbowl. The Speedbowl does not have the room like there is at Thompson or even Stafford. IMO they should limit the field to 26. Its just asking for problems especially with the difference between the fastest and slower cars allowed to start causing wreck after wreck and stinking up the show. NASCAR really needs to start questioning whatever officials it has placed in charge that is making the decisions like adding too many cars to the event. I’m wondering if it is the same official that decided to add the road course test at Thompson when it is obvious there won’t be much or any significant participation from the teams.

  3. First, it was a great crowd, overall great event. Great job for the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

    There was an exceptional amount of stupid at this NWMT race. Thank goodness this doesn’t happen often.

    1. The 37 trying to rejoin on the fly into the pack of lead cars after spinning, and then taking out several cars on the front stretch.

    2. Not opening the pits for 3-4 laps after an incident, forcing damaged cars to drive around, and around, and around, and around.

    3. The 3 getting back on the front stretch from the pits just as the cars on track were coming around turn 4. YIKES!!!!

    4. The very slow cars, cars that spin all by themselves, and the perennial yellow flag causes. These cars, and you know who they are, are just hazards on a tight, crowded track such as this.

    All the restarts kept the cars bunched up too much, couldn’t get some room to maneuver and try to make passes. It’s only a two-wide track.

  4. Larry, I don’t think the size of the starting field had anything to with the wrecks last night. It just seemed to be the way guys were driving. They rarely ever caught the back of the field to actually lap anyone. And one incident directly had to with the ridiculous NASCAR rule that you can’t beat the leader back to the line on the restarts.(which did not exist in the lower series until they started double file restarts in the Cup series, but they got rid of the rule in the Cup series and kept in the short track series for some reason) Preece was taking off early and NASCAR was on him about it. His team said he was afraid that Coby would wreck him if he did not jump.(all according to officials on the radio) NASCAR said they would black flag him if he did it again. So on the next restart he does not really take off, and Coby beats him back to take the lead. NASCAR is just about to black flag Coby for beating the leader to the line, so he had to really slow down to give first place up to prevent it. That slowing down led to a jumble up that caused Rocco to get the flat tire.

  5. PaulRose says

    I think it was a cool night. I was excited to hear that all 33 drivers will get to race. Everyone at the Bowl who dose not go to any other track would get to see a true full field of Mods race around the track. And if the drivers are crying because there was to many driver on the track. Well I say this to them. Should Stafford or Thompson go to just 28 cars per show? How about New Hampshire or Bristol? I think i remember reading some ware a long time ago that they set the Max field at any WMT race at 43.

    I agree their were a lot of bone head moves out on the track. One thing I think that could help fix the pit problem would be if you go in the pits under the yellow you don’t go any laps down. Unless the green flag goes out. But that is NASCAR to work out. It would also give less stress to teams.

    I watched that 3 car come out on the track when they just restarted. That pit official had the stop sing out in his hand and the driver did not heed to it. And I don’t blame that official for not stepping out in-front of the car to stop them. And when the Yellow came out he was parked for the night.

    To many rookies out on the track is what also led to so many bone head and cautions. A lot of drivers made their first start at the Bowl. And to many did not know how to run the fast and tricky oval.

    I give the night a 9 out of 10. It was a good night and people can bicker and moan but I loved it! The Speedbowl crew did a awesome job!

  6. One thing people may not realize is that the size of the starting field not always tied directly to the size of the track once you get outside of the top 3 NASCAR series. Some of it has to with how many spots the promoter works out with the sanctioning body they want to pay. Quite a few years ago the Busch North\East Series ran at Loudon one week and started over 40 cars. The very next week they ran at Dover, a track of pretty much the same size, with a starting field of only 30 cars and sent several teams home that did not qualify.

  7. master sergeant says

    The weekly divisions all put on a great show. SK feature was very exciting and kept fans on the edge of their seats. Congratulations to TC for winning SK feature.

  8. Never cared when the show ended as long as it was early enough to stop for a drink at one of the beach bars. Well, that was when I was single. I still like the main attraction last. Agree they started way too many cars.

  9. Mod Tour Fan says

    Do they let just anyone run the NASCAR Modified Tour these days? It appears buy a NASCAR license and have at it , it does not seem to matter what kind of racing experience you have you just need to show up, pay your way in and you can race, or at least attempt to. Shouldn’t a driver have to show NASCAR they are capable of running with the Mod Tour before they just show up and cause problems for drivers that do know how to drive? I never knew they just let any Tom, Dick and Sally that shows up race, but that is what appears to be happening. Years ago, a certain amount of drivers had to qualify for the race, those who did not qualify went home if they did not receive a provisional spot. New London Waterford Speedbowl is not big enough to start 33 cars especially when some of them are NOT capable of running with the Mod Tour. I do believe there is a place for Melissa Fifield in racing, just not the Mod Tour, a weekly track that runs SK Lites maybe a good place to start. At Waterford she was over 10mph slower than the car that qualified just ahead of her, clearly she needs to get more experience in another lower level division, however I will say in her defense I never see her spinning out and causing problems for other drivers. Last night she got lapped on lap 7 and got the black flag, something NASCAR actually got right. As for Dave Salzarulo, I have no idea what he is doing on the Modified Tour. I have watched him race for years, (let me clarify that, attempt to race) I have watched him in the Sunoco Modifieds at Thompson, the SKs at Stafford and now the Modified Tour, I have never seen Salzarulo in a race where he didn’t spin out or crash and sometimes both! Now I could be mistaken he may have had a race or two in all these years that he didn’t crash or spin out, but I am certain they are few and far between, ( on those nights he probably caused someone else to wreck). There is NO WAY he should be allowed to run the NASCAR Modified Tour, he is a menace out there , an accident waiting to happen and has ZERO talent! Last night is a classic example, he clearly has no idea what the hell he is doing, any idiot knows if you spin out you try to stay put until you are clear to pull back on the track, and what about his spotter, I can only assume he has one, I guess he is not much better than the driver! I am curious as I was not at the Bowl last night and had to read online, was Salzarulo able to continue after taking out the polesitter Lia and Timmy Solomito? Hopefully he wrecked his own car also, bottom line is Salzarulo should not be racing on the Modified Tour, at his age if he hasn’t figured out how it is done he never will. The Troy Talman incident, at least he is apologetic, he is a rookie, pit entry and exit is tricky at Waterford, lighting is poor and he was listening to his spotter. Luckily it did not result in a hugh wreck, however it is my understanding he was parked by NASCAR, Salzarulo should be parked by NASCAR until he can prove he is capable of driving on the Tour, he is lucky Lia didn’t track him down to re-arrange his face!

  10. NHMS has barely had 30 cars in recent events and the racing has been great. Less cars is much better IMO. Its not like the top dawgs are going to miss making the race. 24-26 would have been perfect for Waterford. 33 is crazy. I don’t pay to see yellows. I pay to see racing.

  11. I always thought, as a rule 28 cars was the limit. I heard it was the track’s idea to start all 33. If you look at it this way, I guess Zachem would have never even made the race let alone get his best finish so far in fourth if they didn’t start them all. I blame it on the slow cars and rookies.

  12. JimBinCT says

    the two bone head moves during the tour race were just bone head moves. No more, no less. The night was great. I would suggest that on a night when you are going to have a 161 lap race with time trial qualifying, maybe move festivities up an hour or two. or give another weekly series the night off.

  13. I agree with jim

  14. Fast Eddie says

    I would bet Mr. Beamer and Mr. Beadle had something to do with starting the full field (aka $$) and it was a great idea. I finally got to the “new” Speedbowl and thought overall it was great! For those complaining about “getting home time” you’re doing fine. I’m just south of Boston and got home @ 1:30 am., still with a smile on my face from the event!

  15. It took waaaaaaay too long for driver introductions.

    It’s quality, not quantity that counts. If there were only 20 cars starting, and Heagy, Bush, Salzarulo and McDonald started, there would still be problems. Last season, McDonald caused 3-4 cautions all by himself at one event. These cars need to stay out of the racing lanes. About two years ago, Bush almost took out Preece on the backstretch at Thompson. Preece was blowing by on the outside and Bush drifted up in the way. Preece had to slam on the brakes. Bush nerfed the 4 a couple years ago at Stafford, took out the 4.

  16. Hey mod tour fan , why don’t you tell us how you really feel ?

  17. Yeah Jim, they did change the usual schedule that they’ve used in the past. Pretty sure last year for the tour race the first feature went out at 630. This year they went out around 730. Doesn’t matter to me at all but the young kids and older folks were probably pretty tired lol.

  18. Crazy in NY says

    For sure as others have suggested, don’t count cautions on tracks with outside pitting. This is a no-brainer to me it seems. NASCAR stubborn as it is won’t likely change though so at least do a halfway
    if you insist on these long races on short tracks. Kind of ironic don’t you think that the VMRS format of limiting the field to 24-26 is being touted as fix to the NASCAR Tour which is picking up the MRS “table scraps” of cars that wouldn’t make the show there but have found a home on the Tour. MF 01 never won a consi on the MRS but here she makes them all. Oh how the mighty have fallen (kidding) but it’s also kind of funny to read the Tours finest dive bombers and sliders complaining about people wrecking cars. I’m sure Preece and Coby have apologized to Rocco after they’re restart games.
    Fix the BS on the starts/restarts already. No more games…. you jump..you go tail. No more warnings.
    Here’s a novel idea..how about a pace car? No?.. sorry I brought it . The best tour ought to act like
    it that’s all I’m saying.

  19. Qualifying needs to mean qualifying. The time trial runs should be renamed something appropriate and fitting, such as “Starting Order Runs”.

  20. Great job speedbowl crew,esp Shawn M.Stafford better look out,car counts and attendance stink.Waterford is looking good.

  21. Chris D. says

    So, 33 cars entered for Stafford friday including Saz, Melissa, Heagy, McDonald, and it looks like Wade in the 33 instead of Bush. Who should go home after qualifying? My guess is no one will. Would be nice if they used practice speeds to qualify instead of time trials like they do in cup.

  22. Well, 31 are supposed to start. So that means the 01 is out, and then McDonald and Bush will be battling to go home.

  23. Chris D. says

    33 cars started the Sizzler…including the 01 who was 12mph off the pole speed. They won’t send her home. Lajoie and Silk are entered.

  24. Chris D…

    Do you know of an online link to friday’s TSI125 entry list?


  25. Chris D. says

    I actually saw it on Stafford’s home page…click on the photo with Coby in victory lane. The Stafford list does not include Brendon Bock in the #29, so I guess there are 34 entries. The Stafford list does not have a driver listed for the 38, The Nascar page has J. Bush as the driver. There will be a fair amount of obstacles Friday for the usual front runners to navigate.

  26. Thanks, guys!

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