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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



Mechalides Gets First 2011 Win and Big Purse
by Denise DuPont

On Saturday, July 16th the Valenti Modfied Racing Series (VMRS) went to Canaan Fair Speedway for the fourth annual “Ricky’s Race For Kids”. In addition to the normal series drivers, there were several NWMT drivers in attendance to vie for the projected $36,000 purse money that was posted. The winners portion being - $12,000.

Louie Mechalides drew for the pole, led every lap and won the 112 lap race. The #85 team was the only car in the field to sport the Ricky Miller purple so it was appropriate that the purple team take the checkers and the win. ”I really did not want to draw the pole but when it was a good place to start. The car was really good so I was lucky be able to have run all those laps that hard and still have a car at the end of race.”

The race was caution laden with ten cautions marring the momentum of the race. Leading the race Mechalides was ahead of the accidents and managed to avoid any damage. “I cannot believe how many cautions there were in the race,” said Mechalides while reflecting on the race. “We usually have two caution and we had about five cautions before lap 10. We could have done without all the cautions. I could have gotten stuck in the back. But it was a good race.”

The cautions benefited Mechalides because he was surrounded by the strongest of survivors “After the cautions I knew that I had all good cars starting on the outside of me. I was trying to race with them and not loose any spots. Mike Stefanik and Kirk (Alexander) were all fast. So I knew I had my hands full. They all run pretty good.”

Modified champion Mike Stefanik jumped into the #66 car of Ed Marceau to make a run for the money. The team had a great night but it was one spot short. Stefanik finished second after also surviving the many accidents. “A second place finish is good for just dropping in at the last minute we got a little tight at the end.”

Stefanik came to Canaan immediately following the NWMT race at Loudon. The team did not have enough time to complete their normal race preparation which including tires. “I think that we missed our tire sizing just a little bit. It was a problem that we got here a little late and did not get a good tire selection, which is not really any body’s fault. It is just the way the weekend went. Being over at the big track and not being able to have all your guns loaded when you pull into the pits it hurts a little bit. But I am not going to complain about a second place finish. It was a good run. The car does not have any scratches on it. So we should be ready to go to Seekonk on Wednesday and try it all over again. “

VMRS regular Norm Wrenn had his best finish of the season. Wrenn started mid-way in the field and executed his plan to finish the race as best he could. Not only did he follow his pre-race strategy but he also probably surpassed the team’s expectations. “The race was awesome. I started I think fourteenth and we had a plan going into this I was going to find a few open spots and coast because it was a long race and we needed to stay out of trouble. There were a lot of cautions and I stayed out of trouble. There was a bad crash on the front stretch and I was coasting at the time luckily. We had a little front end damage when a car came over the front end but luckily I was not pacing aggressively at the time. It probably saved me from being out of the race at that point. “

Wrenn’s car appeared to get better as the race went on. Coasting and finding the open spots saved enough of his car to ensure a strong podium finish. “Towards the end we were actually reeling in the leaders on every lap. I was able to get by the #43 as he spun his tires to get into third spot. . At the very end I was talking to myself, “Let’s not crash here. Let’s just get to finish and be happy with a third place. I did not want to be aggressive at the end and take a chance and place my nose where it did not belong.”

VMRS past champion, Kirk Alexander, came to Canaan to win. He did not win but he had racing fun and was paid to do it. Alexander completed the race in fourth. “It was a awesome day and a great payday. We went forward and improved our position so that is really cool.”

The VMRS drivers are use to competing on the track with a lot of green lap racing. When they have an off night an circumstances cause several cautions, drivers and teams find themselves in unfamiliar territory. “The car was awesome. I just did not need those cautions. The car stagger would open up under the cautions and it would take about six or eight laps to get it back to where it was good enough to run with them. Those cars up around me were really fast. I was lucky that I had an awesome race car. We had a good car tonight and started thirteenth and we finished fourth. I buzzed the tires on the restart when I thought that I had a shot to get back into second. I was racing with Mike Stefanik and Louie and I wish I could have done it without all the cautions. “

The existing point leader for the series, Chris Pasteryak, also enjoyed racing on the track even though he was involved in an incident. “It was an exciting race. It was a lot of fun. I kind of got spun early when I chopped a guy which was a racing deal.”

On a close tight fast track, cautions do occur and Pasteryak was caught up in a few himself. “Then I got caught up in another racing deal. We probably could have earned a second place finish but I was more worried about the #0 (Mike Holdridge) trying to get by me on the outside and I got into Les (Hinckley). I turned him sideways in turn one and I finished fifth. I guess I got one coming from him but I will go to apologize to him in a few minutes. Other than that we have four wheels on it at then end of the night.”

The VMRS teams will head next weekend to Oxford Plains Speedway on Saturday, July 23rd as part of the TD Bank 250 weekend.

Canaan Fair Speedway Race Notes:

So why were there so many cautions and damaged cars at the annual “Ricky’s Race For Kids”?

Chris Pasteryak shared his thought why: “This is a fast track and we started four more cars than we usually do. We also started some guys that do not normally race with us, you add to that twelve grand and on top of that a full moon. It is just modified racing. It has been like this since I was a kid. Some nights are good and some nights are bad. It was not the prettiest of races but we had a good crowd.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: July 19, 2011

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