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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series




Barrett Proves Himself as
a Well Rounded Driver in the Series

Denise DuPont

On Friday night at his home track young gun Tommy Barrett was up to the challenge to get his first 2013 Valenti Modified Racing Series win. Starting on the outside pole Barrett raced with the leaders and in the end finished first. This was Barrett second VMRS career victory at Stafford Speedway after moving up from the SK Light division to the touring series. “It feels good to be back here at Stafford. I wanted to go as hard as I could without using the car up. That was the plan for the race,” said Barrett from Victory Lane.

In the past critics have felt that Barrett needed to tweak the car or switch tires to win, but during this race Barrett proved that he had what it takes to start out front and win. “Usually we come in and pit to save our tires, but tonight I was running up front in the top five then the top three, so we stayed out. Then before the last couple of cautions we thought that we might go green for the whole race.”

But during the long stretch of green racing Barrett was able to maintain his second place without using up the car. “My spotter told me I had a good lead on the rest of the field and I backed it (the car) down a little bit. Because there was green lap racing for a long time, my spotter then came on to tell me to get going in case the race ends green. So I picked it up when he (Dave Etheridge) was getting caught up in lapped cars. Then I started to see some motor problems so I really did not want to see a caution.”

But a caution did come out with 7 laps to go. “I caught up with him and then there was a caution.” When a caution came out, Barrett took a gamble on the restart and made his move for the top position. “I took the lead on the restart and went forward from there as the car just kept coming in. But still it (the car) was real flat coming off the corners.”

Second place finisher Steve Masse started out the year with a win at Waterford Speedbowl. At the time Masse was very optimistic that it may have been just been new race season luck. He stated then that the team would go forward race by race and see how they did and plan their next move from there. Whether it has been the planning, team strategy, luck or driver maturity Masse has had his best race season yet with the VMRS.

“We are still taking it race by race.” Masse stated with one big smile. “I am happy with a second place finish tonight. We still have eleven weeks and elevens more races and the car is in one piece. So we will go home and work on it to make it better. Honestly I think that I am probably going to race every race this year, but you never know what is going to happen in racing --When you are going to get a bunch of damage or when you are going to go on a nice hot streak. But at the end of the day you need a race car. The way that it looks now I will probably run the full year.”

Did Masse have something at the end to beat Barrett or did he just settle for that sure second? “I do not know ‘Billy the Kid’ did something to my motor and when I was going down the chutes it was like a motor that I never had before. That was where I was gaining on him (Tommy Barrett) on the straightaways but I think that I used up too much car trying to pass people or just getting by cars in the field.” Masses start the race in eleventh and passed more cars than any other driver in the top five to get among their ranks. “I wore up the right rear a little too much and the car was loose at the end. I did not have anything for him unless I was able to get along side of him and then I would have passed him in the end.”

Veteran driver Dave Etheridge completed the 80 laps of good hard green racing finishing where he started with a solid third place finish. “We are very happy with third. From the runs that we have had before it always seems like we have bad luck here. But we are happy with it (third place finish). I really wish that we did not have all those cautions at the end. I could have probable had a second and made a run for the lead, especially with that caution after that long run. We are happy and we will go on and see what we can do the next time.”

First Etheridge passed Keith Rocco for the lead which he relinquished soon to Ryan Preece. Then as luck would have it Ryan Preece lost momentum on lap 22 and pitted giving up the lead. Etheridge once again found himself back in the lead position. A long stretch of green lap racing followed with Etheridge dominating the field by a sizable margin. “The car felt good tonight right at the beginning. Then when I drove by Rocco (Keith) I knew we had something. Then we decided we were going to drive as hard as we can and see what the car was going to do. We just raced with what we had and we did not save anything to see what we could do. Now we know for the next time when we come back that we have to tighten it up a little bit more.”

Eric Goodale knew at the green he had a good car. Starting seventh on the grid, Goodale crossed the line a strong fourth. “First and foremost I’m happy I finished the race here at Stafford. I seem to have had difficulty seeing the checkered flag here. We had a pretty good car all night, I was hanging out riding. I didn’t want to see those cautions come out there at the end. The car was handling real well and I thought I had something to be in the top one or two positions there but as soon as that caution came out and it went back to green, I just got so tight in the center of the corner I couldn’t rotate – that really prohibited my chances of winning the race. I was hanging on there for the last fifteen laps – I was hoping something would happen up front there to take advantage of it. We had a rough start this year so I’m just happy the car is in one piece, we’ll load up and head to Waterford.”

“I’ve been known to use up my tires pretty quickly so my crew chief has been working with me, trying to save the car a little bit. Right from the beginning of the race I knew the car was good and usually that’s when I burn the car up because I don’t realize how much I’m burning the car up. I backed it down the first 50 laps, but it wasn’t easy mentally to ride in line there.”

With just under 25 to go, Goodale made his move and by lap 60 was up to third. A caution on lap 71 set him back to fourth where he held the spot until the finish. “We were able to save a little something there for the end, but we came up about 15 laps short there at the end.”

Qualifying tenth, Richard Savary was able to use his planned strategy, move forward and finish the night at Stafford Motor Speedway fifth. “We were starting in the middle of the field, our strategy was to ride the first 40 laps- let the race unfold. A couple of guys were more aggressive, I let them go. A couple of guys were slow, we went by them- we just rode and rode. Then about 25 to go, we decided to go. They told me our lap times were the same as the leader but we were back in the pack. We passed a few cars and got up to fifth which is great. We had opportunity being on the inside on the restarts. But we were a little too free at the end. We saved the car but not enough- I wasn’t able to fill those holes at the end.”

A full season may not be in the cards for Savary, but for the four VMRS events and the show at Star that Savary has competed in, the results have been consistent. “Our goal from the beginning of the year was to go race to race- we’re going to maintain that. As long as we can finish races like this, come home in one piece, we’ll continue. We don’t have a set goal to do the whole schedule because we don’t have that backing. As long as the car stays in one piece and we stay competitive we’ll keep racing. So far we’ve finished every race we started, knock on wood.”

The VMRS teams will return to racing on Friday June 28th for 100 laps of green racing as the Chase for the Tenth Year VMRS Champion continues at Lee USA Speedway. If you cannot join us at the track, please join us follow the action on thechromehorn.com.

Race Notes from Stafford Speedway 80 Lap VMRS Event:

What was Tommy Barrett’s Thoughts after his first 2013 race season win?

Tommy Barrett
“We were lucky tonight when a lot of the top drivers had issues – Preece, Rocco (Keith), Pennink, Christopher….. We really got a break there. “ “I know it is still early in the season but I was getting a little frustrated after Monadnock and Seekonk not being able to come up with a win. We have been consistent and running up front. Last week at the open show at Star Speedway we had radiator problems that caused the motor to break. I could get on the throttle and drive the car like an SK Light and you are not supposed to be able to do that. I just had no pull getting off the corner.”

What was the team’s plan going into this race?

Tommy Barrett

“We are running up front and we just need to keep doing what we are doing. My mission today was to stay up front and not use the car up and that was what we did. I have never started on the front row before. “

Thoughts on going back to Lee USA Speedway where Barrett won there during the last VMRS visit to the track:

Tommy Barrett

“The track is hard on tires and we definitely will save our tires there because that is what we do there, save out tires.”

What is Dave Etheridge’s thought on the VMRS Series as a competitor?

Dave Etheridge
“I love this series. it is for an average racer that does not have a lot of money. They can pick and choose races. We are on a limited budget and that is where we are and what we do.“

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 22, 2013

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