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   The Chrome Horn - Modified Racing Series



by Hazel Meredith

The Modified Racing Series, sponsored by Bob Valenti AutoMall.com, returns to the “Bowl” for their third visit of the year. It will be a busy night both in the pits and on the track as eight divisions are in competition.

The MRS has a heated battle for the championship in the works -- with just five races remaining on the 2010 schedule, three drivers are in contention for the title.

The Series last competed at Thompson International Speedway, which saw engine problems for the point leader, an off night for the series defending champion, and a well-deserved win by one of the series’ young stars.

Dwight Jarvis of Ascutney, VT, suffered engine problems during practice forcing the point leader and former series champion out of the event. Jon McKennedy from East Chelmsford, MA, who was second in the standings, was not running up to par, and was involved in a late race incident resulting in a 24th place finish. That result left him tied for first place with Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, CT.

“Hinckley entered the program 39 points behind Jarvis, but thanks to the hard work and commitment by his car owner, Chuck Montville, and crew, Hinckley was race ready after a hard practice session crash. In the feature race, Hinckley quietly made his way to a top five finish after starting deep in the field, and ended up in a tie with McKennedy at the top of the standings.” (MRS PR)

Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, PA, is also now only 33 points out of first place thanks to his win at Thompson. That was his second win of 2010.

Since the program is so long tonight features took to the track at 4:45, with a couple of divisions running before and between MRS qualifying.

Saturday Legends

First up are the Legends Division with 21 cars starting the event. The #20X of Joe Bavolacco led the field to the green, with the #45 of Joey Mucciaeciaro quickly taking the point by going three-wide on the second lap.

The first caution came on the following circuit as the #88G of George Dorothy Jr. went airborne in turn one.
Alessandr Vitelli in the #21 moves to the point on the fifth circuit with a second caution on lap 10 for the #38 of Nick Ladyga and #2 of Angelo Belsito spinning in turn one. Both cars were able to drive away and continue.

Anthony Flannery in the #25 took the checkers followed by #88 Dave Garbo Jr., #21 Alessandr Vitelli, #45 Joey Mucciaeciaro and #30 Edward Field. This was Flannery’s 18th win of the season -- quite a feat by the 16-year-old. He says that he and his family have purchased a late model car (the one driven by Keith Rocco in the season-opener), and he hopes to be able to get it on the track before the end of the year, and compete in the Late Model Division full-time next season.

MRS Qualifying

The first of three qualifying heats for the MRS is up next with The #21 of Geoff Gernhard leading the field to the green. Dwight Jarvis in the #28, who started second, dropped back quickly. The #10 of Don Fowler got loose coming off turn four and also lost some spots.

The results are #21 Gernhard; #52 Pasteryak; #2 Barry; #00 Christopher; #55 Doucette; #57 Rocco; #28 Jarvis; #10x Fowler; #98 Chew.

In the second heat, the #34 of Dave Etheridge started on the point, but the #73 of Jon McKennedy who started second, pulled ahead and led the entire heat.

The finish was #34 Etheridge; #1 Goodenough; #53 Wrenn; #13 Masse; #12 Annarummo; #97 Malave; #18 Spiers; and #0 Cleary.

In the third heat, Les Hinckley in the #06 started on point and led the entire heat. Once the field got single file, there was no passing.

The finish was #06 Hinckley; #79 Zachem; #17 Bateman; #05 Dore; #9 Jarvis; #20 Coby; #25 Pennink; #85 Mechalides; and #71 Pearl.

The top six finishers from each heat move to the feature and there will be a consi of the final eight cars. Bryon Chew will not be in the consi as his car still has damage from the event at Thompson.

A.B. CDL Training Center Truck Division

Ten trucks took to the track for this division with the #8 of Bill Leonard leading most of the first half until Waterford veteran, Allen Coates in the #90, passed for the lead. Just a lap later the caution came out for debris -- a piece of a truck fender on the track.

Coates quickly pulled ahead on the restart and the battle was for second between Leonard and Keith Rocco in the #94. Rocco would prevail and pull ahead, but another caution would fly as the #0 of Howard Payne lost power and headed to the infield.

Coates and Rocco battle side-by-side on the re-start with the trucks even after a lap and a half until Coates is able to pull ahead. With five laps to go, Rocco is still on his bumper, but can’t get by -- at least not yet. Despite repeated attempts and bumpers to Coates, Rocco had to settle for second in this event. Third was #8 Bill Leonard and fourth was #22 Keith Chapman.

The Allison Legacy Series

This touring division of mostly 12 and 13-year-olds, ran a 25 lap feature with the #44 of James Logan taking the win. #3 Kyle Poodlack was second and #46 Eric “the Bonehead” Bour was third.

MRS Consi

The eight non-qualifiers try for their last shot to make tonight’s feature. The top four will make the move to the feature, with two provisional starting positions as well.

Leading the pack to the green is #28 Dwight Jarvis, the defending series champion.

Jarvis jumps to the point at the start-finish line with #25 Rowan Pennink and #97 Jeff Malave battling for second. Pennink gets the edge and pulls ahead. In the fourth and last qualifying spot is #85 Louie Mechalides. The #18 of Eddy Spiers pulls to the infield with apparent mechanical issues.

At the half-way mark, the same four are leading with the battle being for fifth between #10 Down Fowler and #71 Jeff Pearl. Jarvis would take the checkers, followed by Pennink, Malave, and Mechalides.

Rowan Pennink and Don Fowler get the provisional starting spots, with Jeff Pearl getting the track provisional.

Special Event

The crowd gathered at the Speedbowl had a special treat tonight as a Sikorsky Blackhawk Helicopter landed on the infield. Several lucky fans won a drawing to “meet and greet” the National Guard troops that flew in on the copter. After Miss Connecticut sang the National Anthem, the SK modifieds readied to begin their feature event.

SK Modified Feature

Todd Ceravolo in the #16 led the field to the green with the #73 of Joe Perry on the outside front row. Ceravolo has had two second place finishes this year and is trying for his first win.

After a quick caution for debris on lap 3, Ceravolo quickly jumps to the point again. Perry is second -- Ron Yuhas is falling to the back of the field with apparent issues.

Keith Rocco, the newly crowned NASCAR Short-Track Champion, is on the move and has a bumper to the back of Joe Gada trying to gain fifth spot. After a second caution, Ceravolo is back out front with #71 Jeff Pearl in second and #91 Jeff Paul in third ahead of Perry. Rocco is behind Gada again in the outside lane trying to move forward.

On lap 14, Joe Perry goes for a spin through the turn one grass after contact with the #13 of Doug Coby and #17 of Adam Gada. Gada comes to a rest sideways in turn one and luckily the #21 Kyle James was able to almost stop before tapping Gada in the driver’s side door.

Ceravolo has the restarts down pat as he again jumps out front. Pearl has pulled ahead of Paul for second. #51 Rob Janovic is now battling Paul for third and has the edge on the next lap. Paul is sticking to the bumper of Pearl and trying to get by without success.

With two to go, Ceravolo has a commanding lead over Pearl. The battle continues for third with Janovic taking the spot, Paul in fourth and in fifth the #32 of Tom Abele Jr. Keith Rocco, who has dominated the division this season, finished mid-pack in tenth.

Norwich Bulletin Mini Stocks

Christina Kellerman in the #04 led the field to the green. Kellerman pulls ahead of the pack but the #25 of Charles Canfield quickly gets past to take the lead. The #6 of Nick Papacoda spun in turn four with a near miss by several cars who got around him. Canfield takes the lead on the restart with #5 Steve Violette in second and #3 Ian Brew third. Kellerman is fourth -- until the next caution on lap 10 for the #33 Chuck Rogers who spun in turn four.

Canfield leads the pack again with Brew in second and #52 Sean Caron now in third. The #50 of Louis Bellisle III has moved to fourth with #51 Mark Panaroni fifth. The #04 of Kellerman gets spun in turn two and heads to the pits. She is able to return to the track.

At the half way point, Canfield continues to lead with the battle for second. Brew gets past Caron for the position and just gets past Canfield for the lead when the caution flies again.

After a three-wide battle for the lead, the #3 of Brew gets the lead. Right after that, the #50 of Bellisle gets spun into the grass to bring out another caution.

Brew takes the lead on the restart over Caron who is battling Canfield for second. The #11 of Ken Cassidy Jr. has moved to third with the #93 of Greg Moran Sr. in fourth. The #25 of Canfield sails through the turn three grass bringing out the caution yet again.

Brew gets the jump at the restart but the #52 of Caron is having a problem and quickly drops back through the field -- he heads to the infield. Luckily the field was able to split around him. On the next lap Brew is off the pace and also heads to the infield -- Cassidy inherit’s the lead with Moran Sr. in second and a huge battle for third as they take the white flag.

Phil Evans in the #12 pulls off third, with #26 Jeffrey Cembruch fourth and #34 Ben Bargnesi is fifth.

Modified Racing Series 100 Lap Feature Event

In fourteen events this year, there have been eleven different winners -- will we see a new winner crowned tonight?

It looked like we would have a clean start, but the back of the field got bunched up heading into turn one and #20 Doug Coby and #10 Don Fowler getting the worst of it. Both cars were towed from the track.

Doug stated, “The #12 car [Todd Annarummo] pretty much just junked me on the start. We had a good car tonight and I though we’d have a good race.” Jeff Malave in the #97 is also in the pits with a broken tie rod.

Gernhard gets a good start on the green with McKennedy falling into second. #06 Les Hinckley is third and #52 Chris Pasteryak is fourth. This used to be Chris’ home track, so I expect a good run from him tonight.

Just 7 laps in and the field is mostly single-file, except for a few cars near the rear. The #2 of Ken Barry has passed the #34 of Dave Etheridge for fifth.

Ted Christopher in the #00 is on the move and has now also passed Etheridge to take sixth. Just two laps later he passes Barry for fifth and is setting his sights on Pasteryak.

Pasteryak has now moved into third and is quickly trying to make the pass for second. We’re only 23 laps in, so there’s still a long way to go.

On lap 29 the 2nd caution flies for the #97 Jeff Malave spinning in turn four. No damage was done and he drives away, but subsequently heads to the pits to check the car. Jeff Pearl and Steve Masse, as well as Rowan Pennink also head to the pits.

Gernhard and McKennedy bring the field to the green and are side-by-side through turn two. Gernhard takes the point and Pasteryak is third. Christopher is sixth and is trying to pass for fifth when caution comes out again for Jeff Malave again as he spins in turn four.

It’s a quick caution and this time McKennedy gets the jump to take first. Pasteryak and Hinckley are side-by-side for third with Barry and Christopher battling for fifth and sixth. They run like this for several laps, but another wreck at the back of the field brings the yellow hankie again for a wreck in turn one involving the #12 Todd Annarummo, #55 Joe Doucette and #9NH Joey Jarvis.

Christopher heads to the pits after his car was checked by officials for reports of leaking fluid. He returned to the track but is now at the back of the field.

McKennedy gets a huge jump on the start and quickly pulls ahead by three car lengths. Hinckley is second, Barry third and Pasteryak fourth.

On lap 40 the #85 of Louie Mechalides blatantly dumped Christopher heading into turn four. That was supposedly retaliation for an earlier move by Christopher, and both cars were sent to the rear.

McKennedy and Hinckley start one-two and finish the next lap that way. Since they were tied in points at the start of the race, that is also the current point standings.

Pasteryak gets to the outside of Hinckley and completes the pass on lap 41. Unfortunately, on the next lap as the field headed into turn three, something happened to the #06 of Les Hinckley and his machine hit the apex of the wall head on very hard. The #2 of Ken Barry was also caught up in the incident. Luckily Hinckley climbed out of the car under his own power and seems OK.

Hinckley was on the inside of Barry as they headed into the turn, and when something happened to his car, it just took a right and came across the front of Barry’s car.

On the restart it will be McKennedy, Pasteryak, Gernhard and #79 Max Zachem. Barry’s crew just stated they expect to get him back out on the track.

This is Pasteryak’s first race back after a wrist injury suffered racing in July. McKennedy leaps to the front and the #34 of Dave Etheridge is off the pace and falling to the back of the field.

At the half-way point, McKennedy and Pasteryak have pulled away from the rest of the field by several car lengths. Christopher is up to twelfth.

Another car on the move is the #13 of Steve Masse -- he is up to fifth after passing the #05 of Jacob Dore and the #25 of Rowan Pennink.

The battle is now for third between #21 Gernard and #79 Zachem. Masse is now closing up on the bumper of Pennink as well. Back a few spots there is a battle between #28 Dwight Jarvis and the #1 of Rob Goodenough. Jarvis completes the power pass on the outside to take the spot on lap 72.

Masse is now working on Zachem for fourth, but not quite able to complete the pass.

With 20 laps to go, it looks like the race is McKennedy’s to lose. He has opened up a lengthy lead on Pasteryak and then there is a huge gap back to third of Masse. The #28 of Jarvis passed the #79 of Zachem to take fifth with 12 to go.

With ten to go Christopher is up to 11th, but running out of time. Jarvis trying to get past Gernard with two to go to take fourth, but can’t make the pass in time.

Jon McKennedy takes the checkers with Pasteryak settling for second, Masse third, and Gernard for a career-best fourth.

McKennedy now also has the point lead as the series heads to Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday for their first visit to that track. That event will also be a qualifier for the North-South Shootout that will be held November 5th & 6th in Concord, NC.

This car was a brand new one for McKennedy -- the crew just finished it last night! It is a Race Works chassis in the car and it performed superbly tonight.

Steve Masse said, “We were loose at the beginning, but we pitted at lap 25 and made a track bar adjustment. It helped, but I couldn’t get to the front as quickly as I wanted. I was praying for a caution after I got by the #21. I thought I could get by Chris [Pasteryak] who was running second, but I was thinking too far ahead and couldn’t catch them. There’s been minimal passing in every race. The tires have affected how the features play out.”

“I’m very, very excited to be racing at Stafford next week. I’ve never raced there before, but I expect to learn from the veterans.”

Chris Pasteryak said, “It was good, but not good enough. Jon was good all night. It was better than sitting in the emergency room!”

“We tend to have long greens after a few cautions when a few cars drop out.” “Yes, I’m going to run Stafford, I feel good. I’m looking forward to Stafford. Hopefully we put on a good show and it’s good for the series.”

McKennedy stated, “It’s been a long week and a lot of work, but everyone got together and got the car ready. I’m proud to get the win and the points lead.”

When asked about the new tires this year: “They seem to last a lot longer so you can go a lot harder the whole race. I rode around the first 30 laps and the last 7 I was running pretty hard and the car stayed under me.”

“I’m looking forward to Stafford - I have more experience than some of the guys. I’ve run there in the modifieds and Super Modifieds, so I’m hoping we can put on a good show there.”

When asked about the new car: “I felt like we just needed to do it. I was driving the old one for everything we had and I just thought we needed to make a change to have a chance for the championship.”

Source: Hazel Meredith
Posted: September 5, 2010

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