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   The Chrome Horn - Modified Racing Series



by Hazel Meredith

This special evening of racing features two “winged” divisions - the NEMA Midgets and the ISMA Super Modifieds - and two “wheeled” divisions - the Modified Racing Series and Waterford’s own SK modified division.

Rocco got a perfect start and ran away with the win, clinching the NASCAR National Regional Championship. He now has a perfect season with 18 wins in full fields -- two at Thompson International Speedway, six at Stafford Motor Speedway, and a record-setting ten at Waterford Speedbowl. Last Saturday, his win at Waterford tied the track record of nine wins in a season set by Dennis Gada.

After practices and scuff sessions, the Modified Racing Series (MRS) took to the track for three qualifying heats and a consi race. The top six finishers from each race will move on to the feature, as well as potentially two track-owner’s provisionals.

The MRS series has a three-way battle for the championship going in to tonight’s feature between 2006 champion, Dwight Jarvis from Ascutney, VT, defending series champion, Jonathan McKennedy of E. Chelmsford, MA, and Les Hinckley, of Windsor Locks, CT, a 13-time race winner. McKennedy is currently 11 points behind Jarvis and Hinckley only 6 points behind him. Jarvis has finished second in the last two events at Canaan, NH and Scarborough, ME, to move him into the point lead.

Moving to the feature from the first qualifying heat are: 1) #13 Steve Masse; 2) #0 Mike Holdridge; 3) #10x Don Fowler; 4) #85 Louie Mechalides; 5) #05 Jacob Dore; 6) #20 Doug Coby.

From the second qualifier: 1) #28 Dwight Jarvis; 2) #2 Art Barry; 3) #1Nh Rob Goodenough; 4) #12 Todd Annarummo; 5) #52 Charlie Pasteryak; 6) #34 Dave Etheridge.

From the third qualifier: 1) #25 Rowan Pennink; 2) #73 Jon McKennedy; 3) #00 Ted Christopher; 4) #57 Keith Rocco; 5) #69 Jim Dolan; 6) #17 Jack Bateman.

From the consi: 1) #98 Bryon Chew; 2) #3 Jeff Malave. Provisionals went to: #79 Max Zachem; #21 Geoff Gernhard; #06 Les Hinckley; #9 Joey Jarvis; and #71 Jeff Pearl.


The Waterford Speedbowl SK Modifieds were first up for their 35 lap event. Leading the field of 21 ground pounders to the green is the #21 of Kyle James (Ashaway, RI) with the #73 of Joe Perry (Ashaway, RI) on the outside of the front row. In the second row are #36 Joe Gada (Salem, CT) and #32 Tom Abele Jr. (Noriwch, CT).

Keith Rocco in the #57 will start twelfth tonight. If he can take the win, he will clinch the NASCAR Regional Championship with a perfect season and 810 points. To clinch the national title, he needs 18 wins with full fields of cars. He took the checkers for the win last night at Stafford Motor Speedway to make it one more full-field win to go. He has the 18 wins needed for the championship, but two of them at Thompson International Speedway were not in full fields which give the maximum points.

It’s a clean start as the field is side-by-side through the first lap. James has just a slight edge over Perry until they begin lap three when he clears Perry to take the point. By the end of the lap the field is most strong out and all eyes are on Rocco.

The first caution comes as the #22 of Harry Rheaume spins in to the wall between turns three and four. Kyle James leads the field back to the green and quickly clears Perry for the lead. Rocco is quickly up to the fifth position and he is looking to the inside of #78 Diego Monahan. The #98 of Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. is black-flagged as his car is smoking.

Rocco gets to the inside line and passes to take the fourth position with 23 laps yet to go. He has a couple of car lengths to catch the third place car, #41 of Rob Janovic Jr. Within the next two laps, Rocco catches Janovic and at the half-way mark is looking underneath.

Rocco catches Janovic and gives him the chrome horn getting Janovic loose, but he can’t get by. He ‘s trying inside and outside but Janovic won’t let him by. While they are fighting for thirde the leaders are pulling away by at least ten cfar lengths. We can see Rocco is getting frustrated with Janovic and he’s trying every move in the book to get by. With 11 laps to go #16 Todd Ceravolo pulls to the inside of Rocco preventing him from going anywhere. As they get to the back stretch he and Rocco make contact sending Ceravolo spinning to the grass, and bringing out the second caution.

Rocco must be happy to see the yellow -- at least he will be starting next to Janovic instead of behind him! Kyle James has been having a terrific race in the lead. Abele is still second.

It’s a drag race as James and Abele hit the start-finish line. Rocco pushes Abele past James and they both move to the front.

Six to go Rocco makes the pass on the inside of Abele to take the lead -- can history be far away? Rocco opens up his lead and with two to go has a commanding lead on the field. Unbelievably the caution comes out for an incident involving the #15 of Mike Sweeney and #36 of Joe Gada. Rocco will have to endure a nail-biting green-white-checker finish!

Rocco got a perfect start and ran away with the win, clinching the NASCAR National Regional Championship. He now has a perfect season with 18 wins in full fields -- two at Thompson International Speedway, six at Stafford Motor Speedway, and a record-setting ten at Waterford Speedbowl. Last Saturday, his win at Waterford tied the track record of nine wins in a season set by Dennis Gada.

Of course, Rocco was quite excited by his win, and after spinning a few donuts on the front stretch, pulled back to the start-finish line for the celebration. He thanked his sponsors and family.

Track owner, Terry Eames, stated, “He started here. He sweated blood here. This is where it should have been clinched. Please give another round of applause and a standing ovation to this young, deserving driver.”

Keith stated that “My Dad taught me most everything I know. From the time I could walk he had me in the garage with wrenches. There’s nothing more my Dad wanted than to see me succeed in racing.” Asked if working with Ted Christopher helped him as well, he stated, “it definitely was a plus. He’s been a great friend and mentor to me and definitely helped the learning curve.”

After the champagne corks were popped and the photos were taken, the front stretch was cleared for the NEMA Midgets to take to the track for their 25-lap feature.

John Zych Jr. of Liverpool, NY in the #9 will lead the field to the green. Joining him on the front row is #35 Glen Cabral, Plymouth, MA.

The #75 Chris deRitis of Philadelphia, PA, quickly made it to the front and is pacing the field. These cars are lightening quick and they circle the third-mile oval. Other than the ISMA Super Modifieds, which are up next, there is no other division that is faster.

Just seven laps in to the event, deRitis had begun lapping cars. After several cautions, with a restart with 12 laps to go, the #45 of Russ Stoehr jumped ahead to the lead -- but not for loong -- deRitis got by him just two circuits later to re-take the point, and quickly pulled many car lengths ahead. He easily won the race by a quarter track-length.

DeRitis was followed across the stripe by #45 Russ Stoehr, #47 Randy Cabral, and #26 Greg Stoehr. The fastest lap tonight was clocked at 12.977 seconds which equates to approximately 106 mph. This was DeRitis’ first feature win ever.

The ISMA Super Modifieds were up next for their 50-lap feature, with #92 Rich Reid (New London, OH) leading the pack to the green. Also on the front row is #97 Danny Lane (Essex, MA), and in the second row are #88 Joey Scanlon (Salem, NH) and #25 Bobby Bond (Mexico, NY).

Reid got a great start quickly jumping ahead of Lane. The field quickly gets strung out around the track. Lap five, #84 Mike Luchty (Innerkip, ON) pulls ahead of Lane for second and then just as quick past Reid to take over the lead.

He opens up a quarter track-length lead by lap twelve with the battle for second going on way behind him. Scanlon in the #88 is trying to get past Reid for the second spot. Eighteen laps in, Lichty is half a track length ahead and lapping the back of the field.

Scanlon clears for second and the #10 of “Liquid” Lou Cicconi (Aston, PA) is now in third. The #11 of Chris Perley (Rowley, MA) is fourth as they head to the half-way mark.

The laps are clicking off at an amazing speed. These huge machines have so much power and are so blindingly fast.

Cicconi has closed the gap by quite a bit as the leaders are fully in traffic now.

The first caution of the event - which quickly became a red flag - comes out on lap 36 as the #5 of Vern Romanoski (Strong, ME) hit the wall extremely hard coming off turn two. There was a large group of cars battling for position. Luckily, he climbed from the car under his own power and is OK.

Lichty gets the jump on the restart ahead of Cicconi. However, with seven laps to go Cicconi tried to pass on the outside as they came to the start finish line and Lichty got into him sending Cicconi hard into the turn one wall. Lichty was also out of the event. Needless to say, Cicconi was not a happy camper when he exited his trashed machine.

The #11 of Chris Perley inherited the lead after the crash. Following him is now the #98 of Justin Belfiore, #61 Dave Shullick Jr. and #17 Ben Seitz. This would also be the finish with #29 Russ Wood rounding out the top five.

Chris Perley was happy to get the win. “I didn’t think this was one we were going to get. I would have been happy to finish behind Lichty or Cicconi. This is a great track - there‘s definitely two grooves and you can put on a terrific show.” Perley also won the event at Lee USA Speedway last night. “Two wins in two nights - not bad!”

The final event of the Wings & Wheels Program is the Modified Racing Series 100-lap feature. This is the tour’s 13th event on their 19 race schedule.

Steve Masse in the #13 will lead the field to the green, with Dwight Jarvis in the #28 on the outside front row. Second row is #25 Rowan Pennink and #0 Mike Holdridge.

Although Masse got a jump on the field and a clean start, by the time the field got to turn two the outside line was checking up and several cars collided with the #69 of Jim Dolan and the #34 of Dave Etheridge ending up in the turn two wall. Also involved were the #21 Geoff Gernhard, #3 Jeff Malave and #2 Ken Barry.

After a red flag to clean up the mess, we try to go green again. There are no laps on the board yet as only green flag laps count.

Masse again takes the point and this time it’s a clean first lap. Pennink is in second with McKennedy third.

Our new NASCAR Regional Champion, Keith Rocco, is in the #57. He started mid-pack and is biding his time in this long event. He is currently eleventh with eight laps in the books.

The next caution flies on lap 19 for the #10x of Don Fowler spinning in turn two. He manages to get going and heads to the pits. The #28 of point-leader Dwight Jarvis is sent to the back as he tagged the disabled car as he passed by.

With 20 laps in the books, the #98 of Bryon Chew gets loose going into turn one, spins and backs into the wall. Unfortunately, several other cars then pile into him, causing a big mess! The #06 of Les Hinckley, #9 of Joey Jarvis, #57 Keith Rocco, #3 of Jeff Malave and the #85 of Louie Mechalides. Hinckley and Rocco both went off the track on the back of the tow truck. Amazingly, Chew is able to get back out on the track in time for the restart.

Masse again takes the point, but Ted Christopher is quickly in second place in the #00. Pennink is third and McKennedy is fourth.

Masse and Christopher have opened up a good sized lead by lap 40. At the half-way point, lap 50, it’s still Masse, Christopher, Pennink and McKennedy. Behind them are Coby, Annarummo, Pasteryak, Bateman, Jarvis, Barry and Goodenough.

Not many positions have changed as we head to lap 75. Masse is still the leader with Christopher still a distance back. Pennink and McKennedy are third and fourth.

Coby manages to get past McKennedy for fourth on lap 83. He is now closing in on Pennink. With ten to go, Coby looks to the outside of Pennink, but can’t get past. He is persistent though, and manages to complete the pass on the last lap.

Masse takes the win in a seemingly easy fashion with Christopher in second. The engine in the #00 of Christopher has failed, however, and he cannot drive around to Victory Lane. He must, however, still report to the tech trailer.

Coby, a two-time winner on the MRS at Waterford, says he realized they weren’t getting another caution with 30 to go, so he figured he better start moving. “We had a good car, but just not enough time tonight. I come here to win and I hate finishing third!”

This was Masse’s third win in this series. His previous two came at Thunder Road in Barre, VT. “I’ve been doing awesome on the smaller tracks and I can’t thank my crew enough.” Were you worried about a caution? “I knew we had a big lead on everybody, and I was just glad that we didn’t have a caution. I knew I had to save my tires just in case there was a caution.”

Source: Hazel Meredith
Posted: August 15, 2010

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