Old Friends and 180 Degrees
Well I think it’s safe to say that the Innagural Billy Greco/Theresa Baribeault Tribute Night and Race was a SUCCESS! There have been some dwindling car counts in the SK Modifieds over the recent weeks and it was put to rest last night with 20 Cars registered in the pit area for this special event. Great credit goes to Dave Baribeault and all those involved with making this happen. After talking to folks at the track it’s almost beyond belief the logistics and cooperation that’s needed to pull of these type of events particularly being the first one. From the beautiful one of a kind trophy to getting two of Mr. Greco’s former cars there. I understand the older coupe now lives a pampered life down south after being restored. The present caretaker of this car made the trip with the car for this event and the Pinto is a special car as it was his last car that he won with at the now shuttered Danbury Race Arena. Most importantly was the turnout of the Greco Family and their extended clan. It was like stepping back in time for me personally as they were taking up a large section of the grandstand with Greco hats and tribute shirts being worn proudly. This was a scene that played out years ago at any number of tracks in the New England area as various family and friends would have the swag and had their section of the grandstands that they occupied weekly. Mrs Baribeault had her seat back in her spot with a beautiful display of flowers as well. I want to thank the Greco Family for the gift of a Greco Ball-cap.I will wear it proudly and will cherish it. I hope this event can be an annual occurrence.
In past weeks there has been some rough racing with zero give and take, along with what seemed to be a total lack of respect on drivers parts in various divisions. Saturday night racing proved you can do better and can put on a show without the beating and banging. With the exception of a couple rubbin racing deals I thought that Saturday nights racing was perhaps some of the best of the season as the Greco Baribeault Race was AWESOME! In the end it was Todd Owen besting Anthony Flannery after Flannery was out front most of the event, a late race caution with 4 to go bunched the field back up and the last four laps were edge of your seat type stuff. With the white flag displayed, Owen and Flannery went through 1 and 2 side by side and as they came out of 2 the Flannery car went tight and it was just enough for Owen to edge ahead down the backstretch. The slight lead stayed the same to the Checkers. Owen collected $2,600 dollars for the win and added to his pocketbook as he had won the dollar $5,000 SK race at Stafford the previous night. Well done Todd. Rob Janovic finished 3rd and has been on the podium for a few weeks in a row now. He was quick to thank both Ed and Johnathan Puleo for their help maintaining the 51 car and also showed great class in mentioning 4th place Ryan Morgan who ran him clean throughout the event. Morgan is perhaps the best car in the division at this point without a victory. This, despite only running a limited schedule.
My Atta Boy or Great Job of the night goes out to Riley Paul as he finished 2nd in the two Legends features. This young man drives beyond his years and the team had faced some adversity this season with some major wrecks over the past few races. So happy they are finding their way back. Isaiah Newcomb won the first feature keeping atop the points and the 89 car of Dylan Cote took the second race of the evening.
Brody Monahan and team proved to be human as with about 3 to go in the Truck feature something broke in the right front as he was battling with Kyle Gero. For the last 3 laps young Monahan reminded me of his dad as he simply refused to relent or give up and with sparks flying battled with Gero to the checkers with Gero nipping him at the line. Gero’s win was well deserved and kind of expected as he has had a top running truck throughout the season and has shown a go to the front driving style.
In another exiting Mini Stock feature things we’re decided on the last lap as it was The self proclaimed King John Bavallaco edging out Charles Canfield for the win. This was a great race as the top two battled side by side trading the lead for the last 10 laps or so. There were some words from Canfield in Victory Lane regarding the methods used by Bavallaco to grab the checkers but it was respectful. The Mini’s continue to put on a great show every feature they run.
Jason Palmer showed he’s the man to beat as he garnered the Checkers in the Late Model Feature. The race featured some great side by side action from young guns PJ Evans and Brody Monahan. Great job to those two young men.
Ran into an old friend at the track last night. Rick Raduscha. He writes for The Racing Paper as well and attends races all over the country. My brother and I met Rick when we were kids at Plainville Stadium. It was probably 50 years ago. You won’t meet a nicer guy and he should have been in politics as Rick knows everyone and everyone knows Rick. It was great to see him.
Also great to see Matt Buckler at the track again and in his own words to me. “I love this noise…..it is my medicine. All the people……I feel better already….”.In true Matt fashion, you cant explain things like he does. Get Well and Be Well Matt. More prayers to Ben Dodge who continues to deal with his own health issues as well.
Don’t forget to attend Wild and Wacky Wednesday as the season is winding down and the action will only get more exiting as these drivers battle for Championships and of course this Saturday Night……The big boys…..the Monaco 100 Modified Race which will certainly bring some of the heavy hitters in the Northeast to the Bowl to battle with our local heros. Don’t forget to bring a friend to the races.
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