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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



The Master Shows That Endurance
And Patience Pays Off

by Denise DuPont

The Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) returned to Monadnock Speedway on Saturday, August 25th for their final race of the season at ‘The Dog”. This 100 lap feature event honored the memory of former VMRS competitor, Victor Johnson. Johnson lost his life in a house fire in May 2011. It is always a special race for the drivers when they come together to honor one of their own.

It has been an unusual year for the VMRS with rainouts canceling competition all through the month of August. So with the sun shining the Series headed to New Hampshire and to the series grass roots.

Veteran Dwight Jarvis has had a lot of great runs in 2012, but so far a win has eluded him. He started the race mid-pack and deftly made his way to the front after he began a hard charge with just 50 laps to go. Challenging for the lead for several laps he suddenly inherited the race lead on lap 80 after leader Todd Patnode was towed off the track with a front left flat.

Jarvis wanted to race Patnode for the win but went forward defending his lead. “You never know when the win is coming until you cross under that checkered flag,” Said Jarvis after his win. “The car was on a rail tonight, it felt so good. I love this track and the fans here are wonderful. I am just so proud to win. Todd (Patnode ) and I had a good run going, too bad he got a flat left front. I had something for him that I was saving to the end.”

Rowan Pennink came from a very rough NWMT race at Bristol Motor Speedway where he left a badly damaged family owned modified to come to Monadnock Speedway. Pennink did not escape the spins and cautions though when he got to the Monadnock’s VMRS race. The race was caution laden and one incident even left a racer, Dave Schneider, with a wrist injury.

At Monadnock, Gary Casella had the #25 car waiting for Pennink pristinely prepared and ready for practice. Pennink qualified great in his heat race but because of VMRS rules began the race at the rear of the mid-pack cars. “We started kind of far back and headed up to the front.” Pennink said about his starting position. ”It was a long race, a little rough and with a lot of cautions. Our car was really awesome. We probably had a shot to win but we did not have quite enough for Dwight. We have been struggling here this year and we are happy to finally get a good run here at Monadnock. Hopefully the next time we run here we will have another good run. “

Young gun, Tommy Barrett also started the race mid-pack right behind Dwight Jarvis. Barrett knew that the rubber on the car was going to be a challenge for the #9 team so he drove conserving where he could. “We started the race in the middle and I was just driving around trying to save the tires. When we came in we swapped the right side tires. After that we returned to the race and the right rear went down so we came back in and changed that tire. We got back out and made our way up to about fifth and then the right front blew going into turn three and I slid up the track. So we had to come in and change that tire.”

Returning to the race from the rear of the field once again, Barrett picked off the cars one at a time. Then as a last move he passed Kirk Alexander on the last lap for a podium finish. “I then did what I could when I got back out. I basically rode on the outside the whole time to try to get back up into third. So we had two blow outs and had to make five pit stops tonight”

Three time VMRS champion and all time win leader Kirk Alexander returned to the series to run at his home track in pursuit of another win. He started the race in third and wasted no time passing for the lead before the end of the first lap. Alexander dominated until the second half of the race when his car started to fade, then he lost momentum and with it the lead. “I should have put another round of bite back in her( the #43 car). The car was pretty fast but real loose and it burned up the right rear. It might just be these tires. I really wish that I ran one more race but hey, it was my first race (this year with series) I really wanted to win. I tried real hard but this happens.”

As other drivers raced forward, we saw Alexander go back one spot at a time until he was sitting in third. “The car got real loose, it was real bad. I almost came in with thirty (laps) to go but I said no “I am going to stick it out. I am going to stay and try.””

So Alexander stayed out on the track with thirty to go giving it all that he has. “I drove hard and we ended up with a fourth. I almost got third but I did not know that the #9 (Tommy Barrett) was coming right up on the outside. “

Point leader Jon McKennedy also made the run back from Bristol and jumped into the Art Barry owned #2 ready to expand his point lead.

But during the race McKennedy was at the wrong place more than once and got collected up in a few incidents. McKennedy pitted and the crew tried to make the car right but it was not for their lack of trying that the team did not win. “For the most part the car was decent tonight. When we got caught up in the wrecks the wheels were bent up. So I think that the car has a bit of a toe-in issue right now. But considering how we were banged around the car was pretty good. The crew worked real hard before the race. They had to change the steering over. We lost power steering during the heat race. Thanks to them they worked hard to get it ready for the race.”

McKennedy had a solid fifth place finish salvaging the night and rewarding the team’s efforts. “We ended up in the back because we were caught up in a couple of wrecks. We were spun out once. Then we climbed over the top of a car. But considering how bad it (the race) was for us, all and all it turned out to be a decent night. I think we ended up fifth.”

After the long endurance type race at Monadnock Speedway, VMRS teams packed up and headed home. They will now have this week to re-group and get their cars ready for the Third Annual Shark Cycle 80 lap feature event at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday August 31st.

See you there.

Racing Notes from Monadnock Speedway:

Thoughts on all the cautions?

Dwight Jarvis
“I do not know what is happening on this series. It is out of control. Nobody has respect for each other and they are just wrecking each other. The track itself was good. “

Rowan Pennink
“People just are driving over their heads.”

Tommy Barrett
“Having a lot of cautions in this series is pretty rare. The car was not good on the short runs, so tonight I did not like all the short runs. The longer we ran the car was getting better so tonight the racing was not on my side like other nights when it is.”

Kirk Alexander
“Ridiculous! They probably should have gone to single file sooner to stop all that crap. It is not fair to some guys but then you get all these wrecks. I think that is why Todd (Patnode) got a flat tire, he picked up a piece of something on the track. Things like that happen but tonight people were getting stupid. It did not seem like it did when I use to race the series five or six years ago where the drivers respected each other. It seems like now there are young boneheads that drive into everything. They just do not use their head. They get out there and they just want to go gun ho. They just do not use their head.”

Jon McKennedy
“It was certainly frustrating. It was a 100 lap race and everyone was racing like it was the last lap.”
“It is kind of unfortunate when you get caught up in wrecks and restart in the back. It is just never good. The back half of the field is all over the place.”

Dwight Jarvis is a man of few words and says exactly what he means. After the race I asked:
Did you do anything special to prepare for tonight’s race?

“Yes I had a cheeseburger.”

When will you compete next with the VMRS?

Dwight Jarvis
“Seekonk is or next show. I wish that there were some more local races. I do not think that we belong at Stafford or Thompson so I do not go.”

Kirk Alexander
“You never know where I will pop up.”

Tommy Barrett
“I am having a lot of fun running in the series. We got a third here and a third at Thompson. Hopefully we can stay running in the top five.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: August 26, 2012

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