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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series




Teams Head to Waterford Speedbowl
for Last Minute Adjustments for Blastoff

Denise DuPont

This year the “Valenti Modified Racing Series” (VMRS) is celebrating their tenth year of competition. On Easter Eve, VMRS teams headed to the Connecticut shoreline to Waterford Speedbowl to shake out cars before their race season officially blasts off on April 6th & 7th weekend.

There were 23 VMRS type cars in the pits among the 125 cars prepared and testing on the track. During the off season modified teams either built new cars or tore the old ones down to rebuild for the planned 19 race schedule.

Rowan Pennink will continue to run double duty in 2013 running the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) and VMRS both full time. The family owned #93 Monk Mechanics Hand Cleaner car headed to Thompson International Speedway where Pennink alternated between his NWMT modified and Gary Casella’s #25 VMRS modified getting seat time in both cars. “I am excited to head down to Waterford next weekend. We came close to winning that race at the opener last year and we have a good shot at it this year.”

In 2012 the Roscoe Race Team had a few bouts of bad luck with engine issues but held on to finish second in the series championship run. The team had tried a new motor mixture and run with it out there were a few problems. “Last year we had different motor combinations that were new to us and the engine builder. Hopefully we got a lot of stuff worked out and this year we will not have any new problems.”

While Pennink was at Thompson, NWMT driver Richie Pallai, Jr. and the #39 CARQUEST Filters/Bosch Spark Plugs race team selected to head to Waterford Speedbowl. The weather was warmer and track was ready and waiting for race teams. “We have never been here before so we are here to shake the car down and to take a couple of laps. We felt we could not do too much at Thompson because the track is still green and the weather will change. So we thought it would be a good idea just to come here with the car, shake the cob webs out and get some laps in to prepare for the race here later this year.”

“Our plan is to run the whole tour (NWMT) this year and to finish with a top ten in points. We can definitely use the boost. We will run a new car that we got at the end of last year and it ran really well then.“

“We stripped the car down during the off season and re-built it the way we wanted it. We updated everything that needed to be updated. The car is great. It is fast here today and we did not have to replace anything on it. I am really excited to run it this year.”

Pallai’s first time behind the wheel at Waterford left him with a big smile. “The track is a fast track. That was the first thing I thought about it. I have only been here one to watch and I did not think it was as fast as it is. It is definitely a fun track with two grooves which definitely makes the racing better. The overall speed of the track through me off a little bit at first but that is why we race to go fast! But he gears in these cars sometimes make you feel like you are going faster than you are. It is a cool track and I like it.”

NWMT veteran driver Charlie Pasteryak brought his #15 VMRS modified to Waterford to get both him and the car ready to race. This year Charlie will be in a car more rather than behind the scene with the wrenches. “In 2013 we will race a little more than last year. But it all depends on how the season goes with Chris. Two cars are a lot of work. It has taken us a couple of years to get the equipment and build up the personnel. We have a great crew but it takes a lot to bring two competitive cars to the track. You can bring two cars but to bring two competitive cars to the track requires a lot more and we are just about there.”

Second generation driver and son Chris Pasteryak is looking forward to the 2013 race season with the VMRS and the opportunity to recapture the championship from 2012 defending champion Jon McKennedy.“It is fun to be back at the race track. The car felt real good out there. We will do a couple little things to it when we head back to the shop but other than that I am happy with it.”
“We are planning to run all the (VMRS) races and to have fun. This year we will do the best we can.”

This weekend the #1NH Hamshaw Lumber sponsored team of Rob Goodenough made the trip from Swanzey, NH to Waterford Speedbowl. “I am hoping that it is going to be a better than last year. We have good expectations this year. I am hoping that things will go our way for a change and we have a good season racing with Hamshaw Lumber.”

The team had their share of issues last year and they were on the track to make tweaks where needed. “We did not make a lot of changes to the #1NH car this year but we went through everything we had and freshened up what we had. We are starting off with everything right this year and we are just hoping to stay out of trouble taking it week by week. Hopefully it will all fall unto itself. The plan is to run the full series season but obviously depends on how the season goes but we have every intention to run the full year now.”

Car owner Dale Holdridge prepared the family owned #0 modified to Waterford to shake out and potential problems. His son and car driver Mike Holdridge shook out the car and along the way discovered a potential motor issue. The team now will have a week to continue their work. Then next weekend they will return to their home track to start the race season off hopefully with a notable finish. “The car is handling perfect,” said Mike Holdridge. “We have a few motor problems that hopefully we will straighten that out this week and then it will be good to go. We think that it may be an oil issue and if that is what it is we will be good to go. It was a nice day today and I like that I did not have to drive three hours to test the car and we did not wreck anything testing it today.“

“We did not make many changes from last year. We are just hoping that we can get everything straightened out with our program. We now have a week to address what issue we may have. If we can, we will be good to go.”

Todd Owen is back behind the wheel of VMRS series owner, Jack Bateman, #17 modified for the 2013 race season. Owen has a lot of short track racing and his smooth ride on Saturday certain showed his experience. “The car was perfect on the track. It was fast right out of the box and very consistent so far. So we are happy.”

“This year we have good equipment and Jack (Bateman) is motivated to do well so we have a little bit more of a championship (VMRS) opportunity this year. So my plans for 2013 are to run fulltime MRS schedule and run Stafford when I can -- there maybe a few conflicts with the schedules. I will also run a couple of Late Model races.” So Owen has a full race schedule planned.

Louie Mechalides clocked some of the fastest times in the Easter Egg Purple #85 Stuart Automotive modified. “Everything is fresh and new and hopefully we will start off good and have a good time. The car feels really good out on the track today. We will go out a couple more times and then we will be done.”

Tommy Barrett was practicing the family’s #9 modified when the car appeared to break something as it snapped around during mid-afternoon shake-out time. The car was towed to the pits with severe looking damage to the rear of the car. Barrett, one visible shaken driver, joined his car and regrouped while the crew went to work to evaluate both their driver and car.” The car was fine,” Barrett said resting in the hauler. “I did not want to push it too hard but on the track I was faster than the #19 car (Dave Schneider) who was running a little loose on the track. I went up on the high side to get around him and I went up a little too high and got up in the marbles and got into the wall. The car came out from under me when I lost it in the marbles. “

”This year, I will be running the Modified Race Series full time. This week did not come off too good but we will see how next week goes after we get the car fixed. The car is pretty bad but we will do what we can to fix it.”

Seekonk Speedway’s Todd Annarummo practiced the family owned #12 car. He had some good laps with consistent looking times. The driver has an aggressive schedule planned for the 2013 race season which includes some VMRS races. “The car felt good on the track and nothing fell off during practice so that is a good thing. This year we are going to start out here at Waterford and then run the complete Star (Speedway) modified schedule. We are going to run for the Championship at Star Speedway and defend my home track (Seekonk). Then we have nine or ten VMRS races that we are going to head to.”

“Luckily none of the Star races conflict with the Seekonk schedule so we are going to do all the Seekonk and Waterford shows and then maybe a couple of Lee (USA Speedway) shows. So we have a busy season planned.”

Steve Masse will return to the VMRS with a plan to run fulltime this year. The team hopes to start off their year with a solid start with good finishes and consistent runs. “The car was good during practice. We just came to shake it down. Everything felt good and tight and snug and drove consistent. So I am happy.”

“Plans for the #13 team are to run the MRS series full season but it will be dictated on how we run at the beginning of the year. If we run good then we will try to continue out the full year. If we do not run well the first couple of races then we will probably just pick and choose.”
Connecticut driver Jimmy Dolan is looking to race for fun in 2013 fitting in a track when there is time. ”We will be running a limited schedule, do the best we can and try to have fun. Picking and choosing our races is more fun for our team. So running that way is definitely more fun and it keeps my wife happy to!”

The #69 family owed team packed their car in the hauler in one piece ready to head home for the Holiday. “The car felt really good on the track today. It was great to get out there and it was a good shake down. We had no problems with the car. It ran real well and I am looking forward to come back again next week.”

Happy Easter everyone and we are looking forward to seeing you at the track or back with us next week as we provide live updates from Waterford Speedbowl for the Budweiser Blastoff Weekend!

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: March 31, 2013

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