A major rain delay gave Grigas plenty of time to think about the upcoming race. The rookie knew he would have his hands full all night and a mirror full of tough competitors, including Andy Seuss, who started on the outside of the front row.
“I get nervous. And usually when I get nervous that’s when I go really fast. If I am too comfortable before I am in the car I will not do as well. I am not this macho guy that will sit here and tell you that nothing scares me. I get nervous before a race. My biggest nervousness today was Andy Seuss. That kid is a rocket ship and he goes fast anywhere he goes. He’s not going to be the typical guy that rides in second until lap-90. He wants out front as soon as he can get there and I thought I was going to have to hold him off the entire race.”
GRIGAS TAKES FIRST WIN IN MODS AT WATERFORD by Matthew Dillner
Rookie Overcomes Rain, Bobble & Carnage for TVMRS Win
Very few drivers left Waterford Speedbowl’s True Value Modified Series race with a smile on their face. Accident-filled qualifying races rubbed out several competitors. Then rain washed out hopes for a quick night and inevitably led to a curfew shortened feature event. About the only one happy after the clock struck midnight was Bobby Grigas III. While others sulked, Grigas celebrated his first career win in a Modified.
“There are no words to describe how I feel,” said an emotional Grigas in victory lane. “I am in a state of awe right now. This is my third True Value Mod race and I only raced two nights at New Smyrna (Speedway, FL) so I have just a handful of races in a Modified. To win this early in my Mod career is just amazing.”
The sun didn’t exactly shine on Grigas all day in Connecticut. During practice he bounced his #09 Modified off Waterford’s rickety Armco barrier. Grigas recovered and then dominated his heat race and that put him on the pole for the main event.
The Triple G Racing Team celebrated in a big way. (51 Photo)
That jittery-feeling went away when Seuss crashed out on the second lap of the race.
“When I saw him wipe out I wasn’t relieved, but did know that that was one big thing off of my back.”
Grigas hopped out to a large lead over the rest of the True Value Mod Squad. But that margin of comfort was erased quickly when a bobble nearly cost Grigas the lead and the win.
Girgas and Seuss do battle on the opening lap. (Jim Dupont Photo)
“I was comfortable and just driving around at my own pace,” explained Grigas. “I even had my head resting on the seat because my neck was starting to hurt. I almost lost it and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. When I recovered it I was like ‘what?’ I was speechless in the car and when I almost spun out I was beating myself up in the car.”
Jimmy Dolan pounced when the window of opportunity opened up and nearly stole the lead. He knew that Grigas’ slip up was his only shot.
“We had one chance when he (Grigas) got loose and caught up in the speedy dry,” said Dolan, who finished second. (Dale Evonsion finished third.) “Man, it was my one chance to catch him and I got up along side of him. I just couldn’t follow through. He was a little faster than me. He had the preferred lane. I was on the outside and you couldn’t do it up there. I did everything I could when I was up along side of him. I turned down a little bit and he turned up. We locked up for a little bit, but it was real good racing.”
“It just made me drive harder again,” said Grigas. “Instead of just cruising around, I had to hop on it. I had to run harder. That nice little gap I opened up made me drive the car slower and easier as to not beat the car up. But when that happened I thought, oh no they are right behind me again.”
But they weren’t on his bumper for long as Grigas once again stretched out his lead on the field. Due to the lengthy rain delay and a Waterford Speedbowl time curfew, officials decided that they would throw the yellow and checkered flags when the first caution flew after midnight.
“They (Grigas’ crew) lied to me and told me that the race wasn’t going to be over if they threw the yellow flag.
“They came over the radio when the yellow came out and said ‘It’s all over!’ I was very relieved. I was psyched when I found out especially with how my day started bouncing off the wall in practice. I didn’t think I was going to be here right now. It didn’t even feel real. It’s one of those things where you ask yourself ‘did this really happen?’
The win did happen. And even more impressive was that it came on a track that Grigas had never laid eyes on until the team entered the gates on Saturday morning.
“I had never even seen this track before. I had never even seen a race here before. I went on their site and Mod Series Scene and watched that in-car video that they had of the Super-Modified. That’s it really.”
Midnight didn’t only mean the end of the race for Grigas.
“Its father’s day! Usually my mom likes to shoot high and tell me ‘You are going there to win’. I always tell her to take one step at a time that I am just trying to make it. She told me to win a trophy for your dad for father’s day.
“When it happened I was pumped and psyched. I didn’t get my dad a Father’s Day present so this is it for him. This is going to make tomorrow more sweet. My father is pumped and my mom will be home awake all night and waiting for me to walk in the door.”
So maybe this was not only a Father’s Day present, but quite possibly a belated Mother’s Day one as well.
Dolan (#69 on outside) pounced on the opportunity caused by the Grigas bobble. (Jim Dupont Photo)
Grigas hoisted the hardware with his dad in victory lane (51 Photo)