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1996 Year in Review

1996_Jimmy_Broderick_SK_Champ (Dugas)
The Jimmy Broderick / Harry Wyant combination once again capture SK Modified Championship honors in 1996 (Rene Dugas photo)
Jimmy Broderick won his second straight SK Modified track championship in 1996 in Harry Wyant's #3 car.  At the time, he joined Bob Potter (1986-1987) as the only other driver to repeat as SK champion since the division began at the track in 1985.  The Ceravolo family did it additionally as car owners in 1988 (Dick Ceravolo) and 1989 (Bob Potter).  The 12 different SK Modified feature winners marked the 10th consecutive year that 10 or more different competitors won at least one race in the division during the season.  Todd Ceravolo won the Blast Off 96 while Broderick capped his championship run with a victory in the season ending Finale 100. For the third and final time the Gada brothers Dave, Mike and Dennis would each win an SK feature in the same season. 

1996_Brouwer_LM_Champ (Dugas)
John Brouwer Jr won a tightly contest Late Model Championship battle in 1996 at Waterford (Rene Dugas photo)
John Brouwer Jr, whose grandfather Jack was part of the Speedbowl ownership group in the 1960's and early 70's, won the Late Model track championship by a slim 4 points over 6-time champion Phil Rondeau, but it was Tom Fox who won an amazing 11 feature events – equaling Rondeau's 1992 total and at the time bested only by Rondeau's 14 in 1989.  It was the 3rd time Fox amassed double-digit win totals, having won 10 events in 1991 and 1993.  Rob Janovic Jr won the 50 lapper during Blast Off! weekend.  Jay Stuart won the Finale's 100 lap LM event.

1996_Coates_SS_Champ (Dugas)
Allen Coates earned his 1st career Speedbowl Championship by dominating the Strictly Stock division in 1996 (Rene Dugas photo)
Allen Coates set the Street Stock Season Wins record in 1996, collecting the checkered flag on 9 different occasions.  The previous record of 6 was set in 1977 by Bob Faiella in the Street Stock's inaugural season and equaled in 1989 by Allan Wohlstrom and again in 1995 by Ed Reed Jr.  Coates also set a division record by opening the season with 4 consecutive feature wins.  Late in the season, his point lead was so enormous that despite running a Late Model over the final weeks, he still won the Strictly Stock point championship by over 100 points.  The season's longest race was the 50 lapper during Finale weekend and won by Ed Puleo.

Dan Darnstaedt won 7 features in route to the Mini Stock track championship.  He also won the division's longest race of the year – the Finale's 50 lap event.  Veteran Bruce Thomas, who won the Blast Off 30-lapper, was second in points and wins (4).  Jeff Diegielewski won 4 features.   Former late model competitor Bob Greene, Al Royce and Tracy Golas joined Darnstaedt as back-to-back feature winners.

1996_Darnstaedt_MS_Champ (Dugas)
Dan Darnstaedt added a Mini Stock Championship to his resume in 1996 (Rene Dugas photo)

The Legend Cars evolution into it's current regular weekly division began as part of the newly designed Thursday Night Thunder series.  The 9 event series, which ran from the 4th of July to Labor Day weekend also featured 4 and 8-cylinder enduro classes for both men and women. Legend Cars ran 5 events on Thursdays as part of the New England Dodge Dealers Legend Car Tour.  It began a long and successful partnership between the track and the division – eventually fielding enough cars regularly for both a Wednesday and Saturday point series by the early 2000s.

The NEMA Midgets returned once again for a 25-lapper held in June, which was won by Bobby Seymour – his second straight season with a win at Waterford.  In addition to the Saturday and Thursday series, the track also had 8 Demolition Derby Sunday events scheduled in 1996.

Below are 2 episodes from the WTWS Channel 26 weekly production 'Speedbowl Weekly'

June 1, 1996 highlights
plus interviews with Matt Kobyluck, Tucker Reynolds Jr,
Eric Edgerly and Jeff Diegielewski

June 22, 1996 highlights
plus interviews with Jeff Pearl, Ed Reed Jr,
Mike Caprio and Rob Oloski

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