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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



It is Win #2 for Holdridge in the Valenti Modified Racing Series

Denise DuPont

On Sunday, October 9th, Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) drivers strapped in their cars and raced across the start line at Seekonk Speedway all hoping for a win in the D. Anthony Vendetti Memorial When the checker flag falls there is one and only one winner in the field of starters. With the 2011 race season quickly winding down it was every driver’s wish to be the first under the checker. In the end Mike Holdridge beat the odds and won his second VMRS race this year. Even though the race was over, Holdridge was still not sure if it was dream or not. “It is exciting but really has not set in yet. I will see what happens when I get home. It has been a long day,” Holdridge said after victory lane ceremonies. “The car was just good all day. The car never went away again just like Beech Ridge. It was the same thing – save your tires until the end. In the beginning I was waiting for the right rear to go away – which is typical here. And it did not happen which is pretty cool.”

Seekonk is a small fast slick track that you are either good or bad at. Once a driver crosses the line from bad to good they are both surprised and delighted. “I never would have guessed that I would win here in a million years. I would happen been happy with a top ten here to be honest with you. So I am pretty surprised about it.”

“Until today I had not got the hang of it (the track). You have to go slow to go fast. It is kind of a momentum. Easy on the gas and easy off the gas. It helps it was day time so the car did not change for me as much as it did at night. So that was helpful for me. It might have been a whole different outcome at night. Then again you never know. That big wreck took out a lot of fast cars. That may have been a game changer too. Who knows, anyways we will take it.”

Ken Barry qualified and started the race third. Barry passed for the lead on lap 7 and from there dominated a good chunk of the race. Barry fought off the challenges of several drivers through the race. But when Holdridge made his move for the lead on lap 65, Barry had not saved enough to hold him off. He followed Holdridge the rest of the race crossing the finish line second. “We were good but Mike was just better. I think that I burnt it up just a little bit trying to stay ahead of him. I probably should have saved a little more.”

A lot of drivers struggled all weekend with their car setups. It was October but the weather was summer like. Teams were not sure if they should prepare for a summer or fall race when it would be their time to race. Barry’s team was one of those that continued to tweak their car before the main event. “We were struggling a little all weekend. We were trying all kinds of stuff on the car and we just were not getting it right. We made some pretty big swings at it this morning. We got it really close. We just missed by a little tiny bit so we were fighting it a bit that we need to make better for the next time.”

2010 defending champion Jon McKennedy returned to the VMRS competition at Seekonk after taking some time off. It has been an off year for the team after they were so strong two years in a row. McKennedy was back with a good car though and a podium finish was a reward for the team’s hard efforts. “It has been an up and down season. We ran some races and then we had some issues with the engine. It was no ones fault. We have worked hard and we have it all resolved. It is good to be back with the touring series. It is our first time back in a month or two. It was a tough race for us with a lot of restarts where we were stuck on the outside. Most of the race we fought a tight condition and we were not able to get most of that out. We were just not too far off. The car was way too tight on the bottom. Overall we cannot complain. We had a solid third.”

Jimmy Kuhn runs part time with the modified series when he can. When he does show to run he has a good car and is usually right there at the end with the leaders. At Seekonk Kuhn crossed the finish line fourth with a real solid race finish. “We are happy with a fourth place finish. The car is in one piece. We did not get banged up which is always a good thing. We are happy with our finish. The car was good, but not as good as the last race we raced here. That race we kept getting into melees and had to keep coming to the front. Today we had a little bit more stagger than we wanted so we were a little bit freer that we wanted to be. So it was not as good as that day but it was still good. But the car is in one piece and we are happy.”

Veteran racer Dwight Jarvis rounded up the top five with a solid fifth place finish. “It was a good race. I am tired. We tightened the car up way too much. We came in and pitted and freed it up some but we should have gone more. But you can never tell here. So we had a good car but it was too tight.”

Jarvis had one of the cars that was able to pass cars on the outside. He managed to move into the top five after a late race caution (Lap 95) and in the end he got the job done. “The track was slippery on the outside. The car did not want to turn good up there so I just kind of held on. I knew that was the only place that I was going to be able to pass. I put it out there and it was good enough to get the job done.”

Teams will now regroup and get the cars ready for their season finale at Lee USA Speedway on Octoberfest weekend (October 22nd and 23rd).The track is a series favorite so it will be an exciting finish for the race season.

The point chase is close right to the end this year. So we will have to wait to see if Chris Pasteryak gets his second Championship or if Les Hinckley finally gets his first Championship for the Chuck Montville Race Team.

Notes From Seekonk Speedway October 9, 2011

Normally in October racers find themselves competing in the gentler weather of fall. But at Seekonk temperatures soared and it felt more like summer than fall. Did the heat affect the leaders car or race?

Mike Holdridge
“No it was a nice day. I love summer. So I will take it.”

Ken Barry
“The heat definitely did affect the car. We are use to racing here in the fall and this is like racing in the middle of July. So you had to kind of change your game plan a little bit.”

Jimmy Kuhn
“The heat may have possibly affected our race. The track was a little greasy up top. But for me that was just the way that my car was.”

Dwight Jarvis
“The warm weather made a hard call for us. We did not know what the car was going to do, or if it was going to cool down quick or not. So we tightened the car up like we usually would and it was just too tight. The track did not cool off enough.”

The VMRS event was the last feature of the day and as the driver raced on the track the sun was setting on the horizon behind the track’s third turn. Did the sun going down affect the lead driver’s race?

Mike Holdridge

“No, I had sun glasses on so we were good to go.”

Ken Barry
“Right down there at the end it did. The last fifteen laps or so you were kind of blind for a couple of car lengths going in, but it was not as bad as last year. Last year it was really brutal”.

Jimmy Kuhn
“There was one stage there where it did get real bright. But you still could make things out. There have been times here in the past where it was worst where you could not see things at all. It was not quit that bad so it was not too bad.”

Dwight Jarvis
“No I had the colored shield on. I was ready for it (the sun setting).

Mike Holdridge drives for a very small race team owned by his dad. The second generation driver is very humble and grateful for everything that he has.
Mike Holdridge
“I cannot believe it. I have to thank everybody – my spotter, my crew, my wife and my dad. My dad spends everything that he has on this. We have no sponsors. The car was just perfect from the time that we practiced today. We got here late so we started twenty-second in practice.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: October 11, 2011

©2011 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.