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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



'Part 1'
Surrounded by the Best,
Pasteryak Accepts 2011 VMRS Trophy

Denise DuPont

On Saturday, December 3rd, the eighth annual Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) was held to honor the top fifteenth drivers and owners in the touring series. This year Chris Pasteryak had the Championship crown retuned to him as he conquered his second VMRS Championship since 2008. With multiple Championships, Pasteryak now joins two other racers in the record books with multiple Championships, Kirk Alexander and Jon McKennedy.

Chris Pasteryak accepted the award with the big Pasteryak smile thanking his family, his crew, his sponsors and everyone that helped get him there. The driver worked hard all season to get where he was at the end. But he knows he could not have gotten there on his own. So as he anticipated the championship trophy, Pasteryak took the time to thank and recognize everyone thank made him and the series the success that they were in 2011. “All too often in racing the driver gets all the credit. The truth is that a successful season is never the result of only one person. It takes a very dedicated group of people an extraordinary effort to get the extraordinary results. I am very honored to be surrounded by some of the best. I would like to thank my fellow competitors for putting on some of the best modified racing in New England and in the Country. And I would also like to thank some of the track owners and promoters for allowing us to come and play at their tracks.”

Representing his family and race team veteran modified driver Charlie Pasteryak accepted the VMRS Top Car Owner in Points Award. Father like son, Charlie smiled and graciously took the award. “This (The 2011 VMRS Championship Car Owner Award) is really a whole lot more special that you think. The Stafford win was truly the highlight of our year and our family. A special thanks goes out to all of our series sponsors. This is really a good deal (the VMRS) and this is fun.”

Les Hinckley raced very hard all 2011 and had the championship within his grasp all the way up to the last race. In the end though, he had to settle for second best. Second place is really not a bad place to be but when you can almost feel the top milestone is yours, it is a bittersweet place to be. “It was a good year for sure. Anytime that you walk away for the commitment that is put in against the competition that we compete against and you come up second and you walk into the last race of the year with the chance of walking out first you have to be proud of that. It is a tough pill to swallow when you get out of the race car right after finishing second (in the VMRS Championship).”

Thinking back on the 2011 race season Hinckley was very up beat and sounded encouraged to go the next step towards the series championship in 2012. “When you reflect on it though, for what we have – very good people helping us and very good equipment, but our budget is not what others -have to work with. I know people have a hard time to believe it but that is the truth. That being said, what we have been able to accomplish and the races that we have won, it is hard to be disappointed in what we have accomplished. It was a long season.”

In 2011 Rowan Pennink competed regularly in the VMRS and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour while running for the Championship in both touring series. In the beginning of the season he was right on top for both race divisions. Then a racing date conflict hurt one attempts while “Lady Luck” intervened in the other.

A third place standing was not what we were hoping for when we were leading the points for the beginning part of this season. But we were not able to make one of the races with a conflict for the tour but hopefully once we see next year’s schedule for this series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series hopefully we will be able to make it to all of the races in both series next year and compete for a Championship in both of them.

I love racing as much as I can. I use to race every Thursday night at Thompson (Speedway) also. At that point that was what I needed to do to get laps under my belt and to become the best driver that I can be. Now I do not race Thursdays at Thompson. But running in the two modified touring series definitely helps my racing.

Veteran racer Mike Holdridge has been trying to get a win racing with the VMRS for a few years now. But bad luck or mishap stepped in causing the win to be just out of his reach. But that elusive win finally came to Holdridge on August 6th at Beech Ridge Speedway. Then much to his own amazement a second win came right on its back at Seekonk Speedway. “This was the best year that I could ever ask for. I never thought that we were ever going to actually get a win so this is pretty cool. We got a second win right after our first win. I wish that you could hold that feeling for a long period of time but it goes away and at the next race you start all over again.”

I would now like to use some words from Les Hinckley to summarize racing and why we do what we do every year when we do what we do. Racing when it comes down to it, is both a love and a passion for a lot of us. And even though at times it is a tough and yes a lot of work, where would we be without it? “It was a long season and it was a very fun season. It is a relief at times because you are done with it and you have time to do other things. But it is almost painful because you just want to get back after it. You just want to have a shot at it. You just want to keep doing it. I think that we had a legitimate shot at a few more wins. Sometimes things did not go our way but everyone can say that. It is just part of racing. “

See you at the track in 2012 as we go forward and venture into another exciting year of racing and the memories that it brings with it.

Notes from 2011 VMRS Banquet

What has he thought about winning his second VMRS Championship?

Chris Pasteryak
“To tell you the truth I have not really thought about it (the 2011 VMRS Championship) since the season has ended. Right after Lee we got ready for Caraway (North South Shootout race) and went down there. We have actually been pretty busy since then. So this is the first time that it has really hit me here tonight.”

“It is great it puts me in the same category as Jon (McKennedy) and Kirk (Alexander). Well I do not know if it puts me in the same category but at least according to statistics I am right there anyway. I do not know if I am in the same category as them but we will come back and try it again next year.”

“We (the #5CT team) just want to go and have fun. Other people would put a lot more on the expectations because of the last name (Pasteryak) and because my family has been involved in it (racing) for so long. But it is more than my father, uncle or I do.”

Winner of the VMRS Bob Polverari Award

Mike Holdridge
“This award has caught me off guard. But I am glad that my fellow competitors voted on it, it really means a lot. I am just a little bit speechless right now. This is an unexpected award here so it is really special.

“I watched Bob (Polverari) when I was a kid watching races with my father in the 70’s so it is pretty cool. It is a special award to get and it means a lot.”

Winner of the VMRS SPAFCO Most Improved Driver Award

Joe Doucette
“Well I can honestly say that I am overwhelmed, surprised and thrilled. Last year we were here and I believe that I finished something like seventeenth. Even to be a podium this year and then get an award in the top ten was a thrill. So the Most Improved Award I am humbled by it. I want to thank Kenny (Barry) and the officials for voting for me for this. I certainly hope that we can follow this up next year. This year we had our first win, we got our first top ten and I had to have my first beer. So I do not know what else that I have left to do other than to continue to approve and hopefully we can get into the top five or top three next year and go from there.”

What are your racing plans for 2012?

Chris Pasteryak
“The same as this year.”

Les Hinckley
“We have some stuff to work out. I hope to do the same thing as 2011. That is the direction that we are heading in. Hopefully it all works out. But we have some hurdles to cross to get to that place financially.”

Mike Holdridge
“We will be going after it just like we did this year. I want to win again so that is the goal.”

What stands out in you mind as the most memorable event in 2011?

Chris Pasteryak
“The Stafford MRS win was the most memorable event. To go there a lot of times and finally get one that was great.”

Les Hinckley
“I have a hard time just getting past Monadnock and the opener of the year. It was just an awesome race. There were four cars at one time under a blanket for the last ten or fifteen laps. I ended up getting to the outside of Louie (Mechalides) and Jon (McKennedy) with a couple to go. And I got the lead with just two to go. It was just the way that whole race played out. It was a fun race.”

“Obviously Seekonk was a fun race passing Dwight for the win late in the race. So you know that anytime that you win a race it is hard not to put them on the top of your list. But the Monadnock one it is just hard to top that one just the way that we came from the back and the way that it all played out. Closing off the race in the last tow laps that was a good one (race).”

Rowan Pennink
“Winning Lee’s (Lee USA Speedway) race just because Lee is one of the tracks where we have not done our best at over the years. We have struggled to be run fast there and have a car at the end of the race so that we can do something with it. Before the win we consider it one of our worst tracks that we go to. And to end the season with a win there a t Oktoberfest Weekend really was a good way to end the season with the #25 team.”

Joe Doucette
“Obviously my most memorable moment of 2011 was the victory at Oxford (Plains Speedway). I was completely dumbfounded by the whole thing. Still to this day I find myself reading the live reports just to read about the win and to get excited. That would have to be the highlight. And not just for me but also for the whole team. I certainly do not want to be selfish on this. They (my race team) deserve it probably more so than me. I get to have all the fun while they put all the hard work into it. I am thrilled for them that we got the victory. It kind of pulled us out of the slump that we were kind of in. It also proved to us that we are capable of doing it under the right circumstances. It has given us a boost of enthusiasm to continue on and move on it.”

What are your thoughts on the Wall Stadium Turkey Derby Race?

Les Hinckley
“We ran the Turkey Derby (at Wall Stadium) last week. We almost won and we should have, so that's difficult to deal with. You just want to have a shot at it. You just want to keep doing it. We had a real good race car, one of the better ones that we have ever had. We were just able to work through traffic and get to the front and put ourselves in a position to win that race. It really was a gratifying race. I do not like the outcome of it though. I do not like it for how it ended for us and I feel worst for what happened to Matt (Hirschman) than I do for myself.”

“Because ultimately my decisions are what ended Matt’s day, and it ended it for myself too. When your decisions end your outcome it is one thing. But when your decisions change someone else’s, that is another thing. I do have a hard time with how it affected Matt and I spoke to him about it. I do feel badly about it.“

“When we are there (at Wall) people know that we are there. It is not that my name is necessarily recognized because of my last name. It is we are recognized because of the performances that we have had there. It is not like the first time that I went there that everybody knew who I was. Like a Blewett or a Hirschman based off their history in racing.”

“My dad raced long ago but gave it up for the betterment of his family. He never got the opportunity in the prime of his career to make a statement for himself. He gave that all up for us. So I did not going to the first Turkey Derby with people knowing who I was. People know who we are when we are there because of what we have been able to accomplish there.”

“In 2006, I think that was the year, we almost won it with Jimmy. It was quite a race and we have made a lot of nice friends down there. This year they knew we were there at Wall. And hopefully they will again in the future!”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: December 4, 2011

©2011 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.