Al Stone III Looking To Clinch Third Speedbowl Limited Sportsman Title Saturday In Waterford

(Press Release from the New London-Waterford Speedbowl)

Al Stone III celebrates a victory earlier this season (Photo: Courtesy New London-Waterford Speedbowl)

Al Stone III celebrates a victory earlier this season (Photo: Courtesy New London-Waterford Speedbowl)

WATERFORD — On a night that will honor first responders, Al Stone of Durham will be looking for a first of his own.

He will be trying to be the first New London Waterford Speedbowl driver to win three Limited Sportsmen championships when First Responders Night takes place Saturday at the Speedbowl.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Stone said. “We have worked very hard at it.”

All Stone needs to do is finish third in his qualifying heat race to lock up the crown. Stone also has won championships in 2008 and 2010.

Stone’s quest for three titles is just one of the stories surrounding Saturday’s eight-division program. All First Responders with a valid ID will receive grandstand admission for $5.

“The First Responders are the people who keep us safe,” Speedbowl GM-promoter Shawn Monahan said. “We want to say thank you to them for their unselfish dedication.”

The first responders will be treated to a busy night of competition. Thirty-lap Super –X car and X-car features, which were rained out on Sept. 12, have been added to the program.

The Pro Four Modifieds will be making their second appearance at the Speedbowl. The Pro Fours will be joined by the track’s five divisions in the Whelen All American series — the SK Modifieds, the Late Models, the Mini Stocks, the SK Lights and the Limited Sportsmen. Qualifying will get under way at 5 p.m. and the first feature will get fired up at 6 p.m.

The spotlight will shine the brightest on Stone, however, who is on the verge of being the first Saturday driver to clinch a title. He comes into the night with a 71-point lead over Monte Gibbs.

Stone says his dad, Al Stone Jr., is the unsung hero in the climb to the championship.

“My father is more dedicated than anyone,” Stone said. “He works 12 hours a day at his own job, and then comes to my shop on his way home to work a few more. He’’ been at the top of his game more than ever.”

Stone said the hard work at the shop has been just as important to his title run as his performances at the track.

“I think our finishes prove it,” Stone said. “We had just one mechanical failure, and we were able to get in our back-up car and still finish third. Last year we were hurt by a lot of DNFs. This year we decided to step it up. We bought a new car with a different engine and things have worked out well.”

There were a few growing pains, however, at the start of the season.

“We struggled,” Stone said, “It took a while to figure out the new car. But one we did, we’ve been very consistent.

“I know Chris Meyer and Ryan Waterman weren’t around for the entire season, but the competition is still tough. You have Monte Gibbs, Jason Chicolas, Allen Coates, Corey Coates, Ed Gertsch, Jack Aquilina and Norm Root. It’s been a battle every week.”

Stone, who is sponsored by Honest John’s Used Cars,  plans to expand his repertoire. He says he’ll be climbing aboard an SK Light sponsored by Horsepower Hill Farm and RH2way for the final Speedbowl point race  Sept. 26 and for Bemer’s Big Show on Oct. 24-25.

In the SK Modifieds, defending champ Keith Rocco has surged into a 9-point lead over Tyler Chadwick with two races remaining. Jason Palmer, winner of two straight Late Model features, has a 33-point lead over Rocco. Wayne Burroughs has an imposing 41-point edge over Kenny Cassidy in the Mini Stocks and has a solid chance to wrap up his first title Saturday.

Corey Barry has moved back into the SK Light lead with a 3-point cushion over Paul Buzel.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $5 for juniors 13-16 and children 12-and-under are always free.

For more information, log on to speedbowlct.comor call 860-442-7223.

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