.Teams and Drivers,
Submit your FREE profile
 for 2010
   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series




Louie Mechalides Captures
Seventh VMRS Career Victory

Denise DuPont

The monsoon type weather that plagued New England this week came to an end early enough for Saturday night racing. The Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) teams ready to race headed to Seekonk Speedway. There they found that the “Cement Palace” had been dried out and was ready for race teams and fans to fill the facility.

Louie Mechalides of Tynesboro, MA. delivered the Stuart Automotive team their first 2013 victory with one big smile. Mechalides started the race on the outside pole and drove at a cautious steady pace to win the 100 lap feature event. This was Mechalides seventh VMRS career win and his third at Seekonk. “We just rode around and inherited the lead,” said Mechalides just off of Victory Lane. “We just tried to hold on to it then and keep all those guys behind us. My experience here may have helped a little bit but really I just rode around and tried not to overdrive it and protected the bottom. The car was decent and I knew that I should let the other cars go do their thing while I ran my own race at the end. “

On lap 51,Mechalides had inherited the lead after race leader, Todd Annarummo, and second place driver Steve Masse were involved in an incident with lapped traffic. Seekonk’s track has real close quarters and any lapped traffic can change any driver’s fate real fast. Annarummo and Masse pitted to repair damage but the mishap removed their chances to score a win. Steve Masse described what had unfolded in front of him as the incident stole his winning dream. “I think that the #12 (Todd Annarummo) did not know which way to go around the lapped cars. He tried on the high side going into turn three and then he switched him mind at the last second. I had already filled the gap and he came down the track. I do not think that his spotter had enough time to tell him that I was there. “

Mechalides did not run the second half of the race without a challenge. Dwight Jarvis, Chris Pasteryak and Tommy Barrett took turns riding on Mechalides rear bumper all hungry for their first 2013 win. The two past VMRS champions and the young gun made moves to pass for the victory but Mechalides held them off protecting his territory. “A couple of cars challenged us but we held them up. I knew that both of them were really good and also fast. I was just protecting the bottom. If they wanted to go on the outside they could go but I did not want to get stuck out there.”

When the checkered flag flew the top three cars raced to the finish. Initial race results found Mechalides with the win, Barrett second and Jarvis third. Track scorers had announced that Barrett had passed Jarvis at the finish line by .003 seconds.

Dwight Jarvis was sure that he had second by close to a foot. Tommy Barrett on the other hand had driven so hard to secure second that he was not sure if he had really had the spot or not. When track official announced Barrett had second, Barrett’s headed to on track ceremonies.

Barrett was now ready to speak about his quest for the lead. “We had a good run all night long. I was second at Monadnock and another top ten. The season is really just beginning but I am anxious to get a win. His (Louie Mechalides) car went away at the end and I definitely had the faster car at the end. But my car was not handling the way that I wanted it to be. I tried to get Louie on the outside but he was just stuck on the bottom all the way around. So there was no way that I was going to get him on the bottom, unless I moved him.”

Dwight Jarvis really thought he had second and when a third place finish was announced, he was not at all happy with the call. In April a qualifying accident at Monadnock’s Spring Dash had completely destroyed the family owned #28 modified.

“I definitely wanted to win the race. This car was totally destroyed at Monadnock and we just got it back together. Everybody worked hard on this car to get it back to where it was today. I know that I had a fast car and I wanted to win bad. But I wanted to do it the right way. As they always say: “The nice guys do not always win!”

So as the top five cars went through post-race inspection, VMRS officials reviewed audio and visual material to assess the second and third place calls. Jarvis was sure he a good second place as the lead cars crossed the line but the final decision rested on race collateral available for review. “The finish is currently under review,” said Jarvis as his car was being inspected. “I believe that I was clearly ahead of him. I know that I was at least a foot ahead of him.”

A few hours after the race end, VMRS officials released the following statement: ”After review of transponders, visual and video it was Dwight Jarvis edging Tommy Barrett for 2nd by mere inches.”

So Jarvis moved into second behind Mechalides and Barrett dropped to third. All in all it was a great night of racing for the top three teams.

Finishing fourth, Todd Patnode of Richmond, NH was pleased with his car after practice. But as the opening laps ticked off in the main event, Patnode knew there was an issue. “We started 17th and by the looks of the left front, we shouldn’t have finished.” Patnode nodded to the flat tire on the ramp of his trailer.

“We came in around lap 25, where ever that caution was and changed the tire. I thought we were done,” said Patnode after being forced to pit for the flat left front. “But the car was still good and overall, from our standpoint, it was a pretty clean race I thought.”

Restarting from the rear of the field, experience paid off for Patnode when it came to race strategy. “We purposely rode and I had told Tim on the radio to let me know when it was lap 75. I learned at Monadnock that if you don’t keep the right rear under you, you’re not ever going to have a chance at winning one of these races. I mean because we were fast at Monadnock, led a lot of laps then I just burnt the right rear off before I got to the end of it. This one I said, ‘nope, gonna ride, gonna ride’ – I think we hung around 12th most of the night.”

The VMRS teams will return to racing on Friday June 21st for 80 laps of green racing as the Chase for the Tenth Year VMRS Champion continues at Stafford Motor Speedway. If you cannot join us at the track, please join us follow the action on www.thechromehorn.com.

Notes from Seekonk Speedway:

How was your car handling the last ten laps of the race?

Tommy Barrett

”I would get into the corners under him (Louie Mechalides) and I would try to get above him and I think my right font either wore out or the tire was messed up. The car would just slide up so I could not really turn in the middle.”

What were your thoughts on what happened in the accidents that took you out of the lead?

Todd Annarummo
“The #77 lapped car (Matt Mead) just could not pick a lane. I apologized to Steve (Masse) but I think that I was just racing. Lapped cars were supposed to go to the outside – that was what we were told at the driver’s meeting. I would catch him, I was on his bumper and he was holding the #77 car down. I would go to go on the outside of him and he went up the track. I do not know if he was just driving too hard and the car just pushed up the track or what. When he went up the track I made a move to go underneath him and Steve had already come down and filled the hole. I did not know Steve was there and things just happened so fast. Steve did not do anything wrong, I came down on him. I apologized to him but I think that is just racing at that point. “

Todd Patnode always races well at Seekonk and a fourth place was a just reward for the team’s race strategy.

Todd Patnode

“The car needs a little tweaking from where we are but it’s real good. Last time we were here, for the open show last year, we really felt we got a pretty good handle on the track- we had wiring problems back then. This is the first time we’ve been back since that.”
When the motor was not ready for the season opener, Patnode made the conscious decision to not run the entire VMRS season. He will be heading to Star next weekend, back at Seekonk for the Open show there and then select VMRS events. Two top five finishes in two starts, Patnode has a solid start to his 2013 season.

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 9, 2013

©2013 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.