Tempers Flare at Waterford’s Wild “Full Fender Throwdown”; On-Track Brouhaha Erupts Between Limited Sportsman Drivers Waterman and Stone; Fans Feud; Hadley Takes Checkered
By DAVID M WIERNUSZ
A crash following a three-wide battle for the lead ended up with Limited Sportsman diver Al Stone III exiting his race car to chase down fellow competitor Ryan Waterman. Waterman, who was still strapped in his No. 75, evaded Stone’s foot pursuit by first backing up, banging into the front end of Jon Porter’s parked No. 8 and speeding away through the soggy infield grass.
Waterman parked high in turn two safely out of Stone’s reach.
People in the grandstands rose to their feet. Boo’ing. Cheering. Clapping. Hollering. Arm waving. The 30-lap main event came to an abrupt halt on lap 12 when Stone exited his smashed No. 52, visibly angry, and sprinted in a zig-zag pattern across the track and infield in order to run around race officials who were attempting to keep him from reaching Waterman. Track officials – one of which was chasing Stone on an ATV – were ultimately successful in their bid to catch up to and calm the four-time Limited Sportsman champion.
Shawn Courchesne on Sunday writing for RACEDAYCT.com reported Stone’s comments.
“[The incident with Waterman] was just my breaking point of really having enough with all of it. It’s just a lot of unnecessary actions out there. Some may call that hard racing or something else, but I’ve raced with Corey Hutchings and Josh Galvin and Shawn Monahan and I didn’t have to [rebuild] my car every week racing with those guys. We raced hard and we race aggressively and we didn’t have to go to the frame shop once a week. There’s a different way of doing things. It’s just a lack of respect really. They just need to get a handle on that and I don’t really know how they’re going to do that and it’s not really my job to figure that out. That’s why they’re management and I’m the driver. I get it. I do think [race director] Chris [Forester] is trying and I think that [general manager] George [Whitney] is trying. I just think it may be just a little bit out of control now. They wrecked a lot of stuff last night in the [Mini Stock] and [Limited Sportsman divisions].”
“It’s all just nonsense going on at the track and it’s just getting old. So we’re like killing the field and on a restart with 18 [laps] to go it was just aggressive driving early that didn’t need to happen and I got wrecked. I knew it was coming and it happened and I just said ‘I’m not going to take it anymore. I’m just not going to take all this nonsense anymore.”
Waterman was not repositioned to the rear of the field and finished the event 11th. Efforts to reach Waterford Speedbowl regarding the assessment of any penalties were unsuccessful.
Temper flare-ups were not limited to the drivers. As the scrimmage between Waterman and Stone was unfolding on the track, some of the fans standing along the fence in turn one began to quarrel, several becoming irate over the contact between Waterman and Stone. Track security interrupted the fracas. One fan was asked to leave the speedway for the remainder of the night.
Jordan Hadley, 21, who was on the outside racing Stone and Waterman when the crash on lap 12 occurred, went on to take the checkered flag and pocket $200. Hadley, whose post-race interview is posted on Waterford Speedbowl’s Facebook page, offered his view of what happened on lap 12: “I was on the outside with Waterman and Stone below me. We came off of [turn] four three-wide and I went to check up . . . I am not going to blame anybody . . . like they do to me, but I’ll leave it at that. I think it speaks for itself.”
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