The Chrome Horn - News


Fourth Time is the Charm as Chris Smiles His way to the $10,000 Purse
by Denise DuPont

    The fifth annual Seekonk Open Wheel Wednesday Modified Madness event was won by Chris Pasteryak in his fourth attempt. Pasteryak challenged modified great Mike Stefanik for the lead after a late race caution shrunk Stefanik’s advantage. Stefanik’s car was definitely tuned in for the outside groove and could not hold off Pasteryak’s outside advances on the lap 85 re-start. “It felt really good. I have watched Mike Stefanik win races. To drive around him at Seekonk, I just never thought that I would be doing that.”
   Pasteryak just drove the car and it brought him where he needed to be at the end of the night, winner’s circle, every driver’s dream. “I did not really consciously make an effort to save the tires,” said Pasteryak reflecting on the race. “The car just was getting better and better as the race went on. Normally it gets worst and worst. It just got better and better. I was almost laughing to myself the whole time. It was funny because I could not believe it. I kept waiting for something to go wrong.”
   Pasteryak started his late race charge on lap 80 and almost saw it come to an abrupt end as a car stopped just before turn three and the leaders. “I just could not believe it when Spencer just stopped there coming out of two. (On lap eighty-seven Ken Spencer, III, stopped just before turn three with his car unable to re-fire. This brought out one of the last late race cautions.) I thought that we were all done then. I knew I had really been squeezing on it especially to get around Stefanik and then trying to get myself some room to get away from him.”
   Pasteryak’s mind raced on during the caution reevaluating his strategy and plan. “I was wondering if I should have waited that last little bit. Jon and Jimmy were there. They are the masters of being patient. You can just see it. Where do they run the best at? Lee. There I just go out and burn this thing up and they just save it and they are better at the end. They got a one at the end and we were able to get some ground on them. Had there been another major caution, I do not know if I could have held them off or not.”
   Jon McKennedy followed Pasteryak up though the pack to the front and across the finish line for second. “We had a good car. It was a little bit too tight. We started ninth and the car was a little bit too tight at the end.”
   After couple of weeks of tough luck in the True Value Modified Racing Series, Jon McKennedy has managed to maintain a ten point lead over Rob Goodenough. The #73 team brought their car to Modified Madness hoping for a victory but they had a great run and McKennedy showed why he is currently the point leader in the TVMRS. The last two weeks our luck was tough, but tonight it was not bad. I had a chance to get under him (Chris Pasteryak), but I had nothing for him. The car was actually better up on the outside. Down on the inside I was just too tight. I needed the whole track to really run the car.”
   It appeared that the outside groove was the place to be during the Modified Madness show at Seekonk. “If I were to have to pick a groove, the outside was where the car was more comfortable. The last fifteen laps I knew it was going to be a close race. Coming in second is not bad.
   “Congratulations to Chris. He ran an awesome race. He did a great job at the end.” McKennedy said after passing inspection. “The car is in one piece and we can go on to Oxford with a really good car and I am looking forward to it.”
   Continuing on his roll of good finishes, Jimmy Kuhn, Jr. made it three for three as he brought the #72 car in for a podium finish during Modified Madness at Seekonk. “It was awesome and almost unbelievable. That is the kind of car that contended out there for the win three times in a row. I could not ask for anything more than that.” As some leaders prayed for no cautions, other wished there was at least one more out there. “I needed another re-start to get under Jon. Jon was protecting the bottom and I needed to get down on the bottom. So if they had another re-start I figured I could get under him.”
   Still smiling from ear to ear, Kuhn expressed his satisfaction with his third place finish with the open modified show. “I cannot ask for anything better than this. The car as been great and it showed at the end of every race. We won Lee and then this race here at Seekonk. We have shown what we have been capable of. We have been right there in the run. You cannot ask for anything more than that. It is just awesome.”
   Modified veteran driver Mike Stefanik could just feel the prize money in his hand as he piloted around the cement palace in the lead on lap eighty-three. He was in command. Then just as he was counting the $10,000 booty, a caution came out and stole the money from him. “We saved a little bit when the #43 was leading the race. Then when we got the opportunity to the outside I figured we would try to clear him. My car was better up high then it was on the bottom. Fortunately for us the #43 car got a little loose and but we had nothing left. I got it (the car) by him and I thought that we were not in bad shape. We were driving away from the #52 car (Chris Pasteryak) and then the caution came out. I did not like starting on the bottom. The car was not that good on the bottom as it was on the outside.”
   Last year’s winner Matt Hirschman returned to Seekonk Speedway for a run at making it two in a row. But his car was just short of making the grade. “It was not from a lack of effort. We just missed it (the setup) by a little bit and abused the tires trying to keep the lead and make Kirk work hard to get the lead. We both used up a lot at the beginning. We just did not have enough at the end. I almost passed Stefanik to get the lead. If I got in front of him at that point, I could have stayed in front of him for the lead.” In the end Hirschman rounded off the top five as he took the checkered flag.
   When all was said and done, race teams went home from Seekonk with their notes, lessons learned and strategies ready to plan for 2010 and a return to Seekonk for the Open Wheel Wednesday race and prize money.

Seekonk Race Notes:

Chris Pasteryak
   Rumor has from a very valid source that Chris Pasteryak did not have a race to go to on Saturday June 20th so he escaped to Cape Cod and tied the knot. Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Chris Pasteryak.

Mike Stefanik
   Driving the #66 car once again at Seekonk the team gave it his all for the win. “The guys did a great job with the car.”
   Drivers and fans alike all enjoyed this year’s Open Modified Show at Seekonk. There was more racing, lead changes and just good wholesome racing then everyone has seen in a while. Stefanik was one of the many divers that went home smiling as he left his favorite playground adventure.
   “I had a lot of fun and I think that it was a great race for the fans. There were four or five cars under a blanket rubbing and just doing good racing. I had fun. Yes, I would have liked to have won but everybody that comes here wants to win. I have to admit I was really thinking about the win when we were leading and there were seventeen laps to go. But I was not counting my chickens. I just thought that it would have been nice if this could happen. I was kind of surprised that we were in the position that we were in. I do not come to any race with over whelming confidence. When it does start to look like it is going to happen, then it does get a little exciting. But reality set in and we ended up finishing fourth.”

Matt Hirschman
   Last year’s Modified Madness winner tried to make it two in a row. But even though he tasted the money and victory, it was not his either in the end. “ I did not know if we would have won, but (we believe) we would have stayed in front of him (Stefanik). I just used the stuff up but when you have $10,000 winner’s purse, you use everything that you got and then you have nothing left. We missed it by a little bit. Not by a lot but if we come back again we will just try next year and we should be right there again. I ran this car here two years ago and it was close but not quite there. We will just learn from it and we will have a better shot next year. “

Kirk Alexander
   TVMRS veteran driver and 2006 Seekonk Open Modified show winner Kirk Alexander led his fair share of the race hoping for repeat. But in the end the #43 A Team had to settle for a tenth place finish.“We just had the wrong setup. We missed the setup a little bit. It (the car) should have been a little bit tighter. I knew it too, but we did what we could. We came in and changed the right rear but the left rear was burned right off. Once they were worn it (the car) went from good to bad. We will get them the next time I guess. “

Jimmy Kuhn. Jr.
   Finishing third and still on high. TVMRS Lee USA Speedway win was Jimmy Kuhn, Jr.’s first ever TVMRS win. Kuhn’s thoughts after a third straight great run in the #72 modified:
“I cannot even put it in to words. It was just awesome. In the past we have had a lot of seconds and thirds. We will just not able to get it (a win). Finally being able to get it, it is just a big deal. These things just do not come easy. There are a lot of good competitors here. These guys are some of the best that are here. To beat them is a big thing.”

SourceDenise DuPont /
Posted: July 16, 2009


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