Entitled Domination: Ryan Waterman Wins Street Stock Championship At Stafford

Ryan Waterman celebrates the 2023 Street Stock championship at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Ryan Waterman started the 2023 season at Stafford Speedway with a pretty simple goal to meet. 

The longtime local Street Stock had run sporadically at Stafford in recent years. He had come close to winning at the track, but was still chasing that first trip to victory lane before this season started. 

On May 12, in the first event of the season, Waterman achieved that goal of winning, scoring victory. 

Just a little less than five months later, the driver from Danielson who just wanted to get one win at Stafford was celebrating a championship at the track. 

Waterman finished second in the 20-lap Street Stock feature Friday to score his first Stafford Speedway championship. 

“I never thought I’d be a champion at Stafford Speedway,” Waterman said. “What an incredible place. Wow, what a season. We just wanted to start the year and get a win. About halfway through we saw how good we were running and I said to [car owner Nick Bendiak], we should try for the championship now. We’re in the points, let’s do it. I can’t believe we did this.” 

Waterman came into the night leading 2022 Street Stock champion Travis Hydar by 14 points in the standings. Hydar won the feature but was Waterman edging him by 12 points in the final standings. Waterman finished the season with seven wins, 13 top-five’s and 14 top-10’s in 15 starts 

“It’s unreal to me to win a championship here and get seven wins in one season,” Waterman said. 

Hydar finished the season with six victories. Friday’s win was his 19th overall in the division, tying him for second all-time at the track with Johnny Walker. Kyle Casagrande is the all-time winningest Street Stock driver with 20 victories. 

“This is a great finish,” Hydar said. “My goal was to win one more race than the year previous and we did that. I met my goal. If we went back to back on championships that would be awesome too. … Congrats to Ryan and those guys. They deserve it. They raced hard all year and they’re super consistent.” 

Hydar went past Travis Downey for the lead on lap 13, with Waterman running in third. 

Caution flew on lap 17. On the ensuing restart Waterman was able to get by Downey to move into second behind Hydar. 

Caution flew once again on lap 18. On the restart it was Hydar and Waterman battling side-by-side for a lap, but a wreck at the back of the field brought the caution out before the lap was completed. 

On the next try at the lap 18 restart Waterman edged ahead through turn one with Hydar fighting back on the inside off of turn two. But it was for naught once again with caution flying for an incident deeper in the field. 

Ultimately Hydar and Waterman gave the fans a final three laps of the season to remember. 

The pair went side-by-side for lap 18 with Waterman edging Hydar for the lead to complete the lap. The same went for lap 19 with the side-by-side battle raging and Waterman on the outside lane leading to complete the lap. On the final lap the pair remained side-by-side with Hydar getting the edge into turn three. Hydar come off of turn four in control to beat Waterman to the checkered. 

Travis Hydar celebrates victory in the Street Stock feature Friday at Stafford Speedway (Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

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