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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series




Beech Ridge Speedway Enters August
Hopping with Modified Madness

Denise DuPont

The Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) made the long trip back up to coastal Maine fighting the vacationers to get to the track but it was all worthwhile. When the checkered flag flew drivers were all smiles after completing in just thirty-one minutes 100 laps of green flag pack racing Talladega style. The drivers drove side by side lap after lap from front to the back lap after lap with a very clean race. As the laps clicked off fans were on their feet jumping, shouting and clapping. For a moment one may have thought we had transcended to the south and Bowman Gray Stadium with the dynamic bullring atmosphere. But no we were on the shores of Maine smelling the sweet smells of ocean air mixed with racing fuel.

On July 13th the #13 Masse race team left the Canaan Fair Speedway with a car that was so severely damaged they had to crunch it in the hauler to bring it home. The team skipped the last race at Oxford Plains working hard to prepare a car for Beech Ridge. In the shop they had to replace the rear end, the drive shaft, and almost a complete front clip. The transmission had to be rebuilt along with the suspension parts and plenty of sheet metal. Their hard work was rewarded with a heat race win and then their second 2013 VMRS race win.

Words could not describe the smile that Masse had in Victory Lane as he accepted congratulations and the winning trophy. “I think that it was an awesome race!” Masse said as he got out of the race car. “I surround myself with good people that lift me up and we got the job done today. This is a big win for us. We just totaled our whole race car a couple of weeks ago. We put it back together in a couple of days. And she is as good as new. I tried to pace the car and save the tires. The car was a little tight at the end of the race. But I think I did a good job of saving.”

For the first 65 laps Masse rode in the front of the pack smooth pacing himself consistently during the long stretch of green laps. The cars behind him we rallying for position running side by side on the top and bottom. “I was kind of out there for the first 60 laps just hanging out cruising around on a Sunday drive and then the last half I had to race David Pinkham and Anthony Nocella for the win and it was fun.”

After the one and only caution Masse found himself back with the field of cars for the restart. He lost the lead to track favorite David Pinkham. Pinkham’s lead reign was short when he was passed one lap later by Anthony Nocella. Now the challenge was there for Masse to recapture the top spot. “My car was tight middle off so once I got underneath him on entry if he was still on my outside coming off the corner he would pull away and I could not get back to the throttle. I knew that I had to pretty much get by him on entry and move up the track a little bit to make space for myself.“

So Masse knew what he had to do, but could he do it? “Going down the front stretch when there were four or five to go I got a good run and I just sailed it in there and hoped for the best.” And he was rewarded for the action as he stuck with his forward momentum and regained the lead and win.

Second place finisher Anthony Nocella out ran Max Zachem and Dwight Jarvis to win his heat race. The re-draw found him in fifth place ready to race for his first win. When he passed to take the lead on lap 72, Nocella knew that he had to race his car harder than Masse who was running in his shadow. “On that restart I kind of wanted to run second so I did not have to set the pace because I did not want to burn the tire up. But then we got a shot so I said “I might as well go for it” and see what we have. We were going pretty good but I was kind of tight so I had to stay on the outside and I could not roll the corners as good as we wanted to and Steve was quick so I just wanted to give it a couple of shots on the bottom and sailed it in and slid up. We kind of rubbed a little bit. I was just a little too tight to run him back down. But it definitely was a good run.”

For the second race in a row Nocella has lead a portion of the race. This time he had the opportunity to lead longer providing an opportunity to run defense and learn more of what he has to do to save the car for the lead at the end. “It was definitely our best run so far", said Nocella from Victory Lane ceremonies. “I thought we had something but then we got loose when we got messed up there. The car is definitely getting better and better as these guys work on it. The crew gives me a great car and it just makes it easy for the car to run good out on the outside.

Chris Pasteryak slowly paced himself to the front as he raced to move forward one position at a time until he made his way up to a solid third place finish. Pasteryak also had a mile long smile in Victory Lane as he joined the first two podium finishers. “I thought that it was a lot of fun!. Actually it was fun to run side by side for all that long. The car was going good and ya, I had a blast! Tonight was a lot of pack racing like Talladega or Daytona. And I have never ever said that leave the state of Maine before. Well maybe once at Oxford a couple of years ago, but never leaving Beech Ridge. I ran way better than I have ever run here.”

Pasteryak stated the race tenth and with all the green lap, side by side pack racing, it was hard progress forward. “I had a good car I got a little too far behind. At the end and I used up everything I had to catch them and when I got there I did not have enough for them.”
The VMRS teams will return to racing on Thursday August 8th for 75 laps of green racing as the Chase for the Tenth Year VMRS Champion continues at Thompson International Speedway. If you cannot join us at the track, please join us follow the action on http://www.thechromehorn.com.

Race Notes From Beech Ridge Speedway:

This year there has been quite a controversy over the VMRS tires during every race. Teams seem to be stuck in the mode of making a tire strategy to pit mid-race or just drive around in the rear and save tires.

Steve Masse
“I had a little bit of concern but that is stuff that I cannot worry about I have to drive my race. I cannot worry about the problems that I cannot control. I knew that if I could just stay out front that I would be the winner.”

Anthony Nocella
“I figured that more guys would have pitted. That was why as soon as the caution came out I spoke to my spotter to find out how many guys were coming in but we were still kind of really good. Before the race we planned that if it got loose and there was a caution around then, we were going to come in and do something. But the car seemed good and not a lot of guys pitted so we thought we would stay in and see what we had.’

Chris Pasteryak
What through his mind: “Oh no not again! That is what happened to me at Oxford. Everybody pitted and they were able to make their cars better there and my car got a little bit worse. Tonight Rowan got back up to fifth, but who knows he may have been in a situation where the car was not that good and he had to pit. I do not know. I do not think dropping to last before the green flag was a hot setup tonight.”

When you fell to third on that restart was it the tires? Did they cool off?

Steve Masse
“I think after the long green flag run the tires did cool down and that was when I started to notice the tight off. I was not really racing with anybody before that. So that may have been part of it because before I was out front in the clean air and the car was handling a lot better. Then once I was in traffic it changed the handling of the car a little bit as I tried to get by people. I think that late caution definitely screwed me up a little bit but it did not hurt too bad. And I had to change my line racing rather than picking my own and the nose of the car did not like that very much. I think that I may have worn out the right front just a little bit in the long run. But one tire has to give up!”

Running all those laps at a speed like a pace lap was it a little unnerving in the car? Were you just waiting for someone to make a mistake?

Anthony Nocella
“There is kind of a lot of room here and it is easy to race side by side here. I was kind of waiting for someone to try to go a little too hard and mess everyone up. But everyone for almost that whole race never even touched wheels. Everyone drove pretty smart and kept the wheels on the car.”

Chris Pasteryak
What went through your mind? “God I hope that I am not the guy to screw up and send someone through the infield and ruin this.”

For the first 65 laps Anthony Nocella raced hard as he watched fellow driver Steve Masse out in front by himself. What was your race strategy to stay up front but yet conserve what you could?

Anthony Nocella
“We may have used up our car but I tried to stay to the outside. I saw that the car was better there and there was a little more grip there to save the tire. I tried to go as easy as I could through the traffic without dropping back too far and come back through. He was kind of helped because he was the only won running single file for most of the race definitely helped him save the tire a lot.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: August 4, 2013

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