Big Picture: First SK Mod Win Has Diego Monahan Thinking Title At New London-Waterford Speedbowl

Diego Monahan celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl

Diego Monahan celebrates victory in the SK Modified feature Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl

WATERFORD – Typically, any talk of racing for points or championships midway through the season would have most drivers turning shy quick.

For Diego Monahan, talk of winning an SK Modified championship at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl only gets his already excitable personality running at a fever pitch.

“To be leading the points right now is unbelievable to me,” Monahan said. “I try not to worry about it, but I worry about it. I built the car, the ultimate goal is to win a championship.”

The mission to win his first SK Modified championship got a sweet boost for Monahan when he held on through a pair of green-white-checkered restarts to win the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

It was the first victory of the season for Monahan, of Quaker Hill.

“I couldn’t do it without my crew,” Monahan said. “They are unbelievable. I don’t know what they do to the car every week. I just get in and I drive what they give me and I figured it out as I go. … I couldn’t be prouder of our team.”

Tyler Chadwick of Ledyard was second and Craig Lutz of Miller Place, N.Y. third.

The victory moved Monahan past Rob Janovic Jr. to the top of the SK Modified division standings. He had come into the night tied for second, four points behind Janovic. He left holding a seven point lead over Chadwick in second. Joey Gada is third in the standings, eight points behind and Janovic fourth, nine points off the lead.

“If you had asked me over the winter, ‘What are you goals?’ it was just to be competitive,” Monahan said. “That was my only goal. We went out and my girlfriend said ‘If you think you need a SPAFCO car to go fast, just go build one, that’s what you love to do.’ So we built one and we struggled this year, but I finished every race and made sure that we finished. We’ve been getting more consistent every week. I get upset now if we don’t finish in the top-five because I think we’re better than that.”

Monahan started fourth and went to by Ed Puleo for the lead on lap five. From there it was just a matter of holding off the challengers for Monahan.

After going by Rob Janovic Jr. for second with 22 laps left, Chadwick looked ready to challenge Monahan for the lead, but a brush with the wall had him falling back through the field.

Keith Rocco, the dominant force in the division this year was involved in a major frontstretch wreck with 15 laps remaining while running in the top five.

With less than two laps remaining and Paul Kusheba stalking all over Monahan, the caution flew to set up the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.

On lap the lap 34 restart Monahan was able to get away, but behind him Kusheba and third place running Janovic were involved in a turn four wreck, putting Chadwick to second for the second green-white-checkered. Though Monahan was able to leave Chadwick before for the final two laps.

“We pretty much nailed every restart,” Monahan said. “SPAFCO gives us a great car, that’s why I built one. It was just dynamite tonight. It was a little tight but very drivable.

“I don’t know speeds time-wise. I always tell my guys, ‘It’s racy’. We never set the track on fire with lap times. … But we always make it up there. That’s just a testament to my guys and SPAFCO. I’m pumped. I couldn’t be happier.”

Said Chadwick: “We were lucky to miss that [late crash] in turn four. The car was really good in the beginning and I don’t know if I just overdrove it there trying to get by Diego. I lost all my forward bite. I’m really happy for for [Monahan to get the win].”


  1. Johnny Rockets says

    I don’t understand how in the beginning of this it says he built the car, but then says it’s a spafco car, but either way congrats on the win and leading the points, and more importantly for waterford being open, I just would really hate to see the one or more dumb people who say he only won the championship because his brother runs the track, because if that was the case he would have won well before this

  2. Drone in the sky says

    I don’t understand why there was no tech in the sk’s last night. Is it because the 88 wrecked, or is it because Diego won? There was a ton of street stock tech, but no sk tech. Makes no sense.

  3. Youhavenoidea says

    How about Noah Korner winning his first ever of his life in the legend cars last night I think that is a great story to write about, also tho I’m happy for Diego he truly deserves it . The two amazing families got two wins, congrats!!!!

  4. Mike Serluca says

    There was tech for SK Modifieds last night. There is tech every race night, every division, no matter what. What is to be teched is also pre-determined at the beginning of the night for each division.

  5. Mike serluca, if you are referring to the scanning of tires as tech than that is very sad. Shouldn’t that be automatic after the race and heat race?

  6. Mike Serluca says

    Tire scanning is tech. Just like pulling a head or an intake. You said there was no tech. Now are you saying that it wasn’t a tech or that teching tires is an irrelevant tech? Tire tech has already cost one SK driver a podium finish this year. Also, like I said before, tech is pre-determined, not by who wrecks or who wins. Why should it be automatic after a heat? That makes no sense. Maybe they should pull carbs after heats too? Intakes? Flywheels? Tech is tech and to correct your statement, there was tech.

  7. sorry your unhappy drone says

    Tech is tech no matter what!!! U must be a Rocco fan

  8. Doug DiPisa says

    Drone in the sky/ Drone.
    Wow, those are original. Glad I’m on someone’s mind. # LoveIt

  9. Anyone know what happened to Rocco? Did something break on his car to cause him to lose control?

  10. Rich,
    He said he had a tire going down and was trying to hang on for a caution.

  11. Doug DiPisa says

    Rocco got loose coming off turn 4. He had trouble over correcting because of his broken hand which he suffered Wed night at thompson. Plain and simple.

  12. Great run Diego!!

  13. Let's be real says

    Don’t slip into the old speedbowl ways. Heats have points now. Maybe there should be tech after heats. What’s to stop someone from having Extra tires each week just for heat race points. Seems to be more than a few points strokers there now. I also agree though that scanning tires is pretty week tech for the top division. At stafford they do every car before the heats and its automatic for the top 4 after the race.

  14. I do believe that Diego deserved to win, I believe he had the car to beat this night, but when the flagman waves the green flag in turn 4 area and your already a car length or more out in the lead from the person in second place, let’s just say it makes it hard to catch up, I would like to see a more even start, that goes for all divisions, not just this one, many days ago I remember the flag man at Stafford giving the leaders a couple of chances to get the start right, they couldn’t they kept jumping, he came off the flag stand sent 1st and 2nd to the rear, the starts then became a lot more even that night

  15. Stan, I believe the flagman only needs to make sure the front row is somewhat even on the initial green flag at the start of the race. After the initial start it is up to the leader to restart the race at a point between the two lines on the wall. The flagman is supposed to wave the green when the pole position car fires. In the event the pole position car does not fire before the second line the flagman is supposed to throw the green at that point. If the outside car wants an even start it is up to him to keep up.

  16. speed kills says

    diego wont win the title. I know his team works hard BUT you have to race to win … as the season winds down his inability to chose or maintain his line will not be tolerated down the stretch . just my opinion

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