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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series




Rocco Also Achieves 50th SK Modified Career Win
at Home Tracks

Denise DuPont

Keith Rocco started his night the way any driver and team would want to by winning his Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) heat race. He followed that up winning his 50th career SK Modified win at Waterford Speedbowl.

Starting the 100 lap VMRS feature event in fifth position he knew exactly what he had to do to get to the lead. He paced himself and repeated what he had done in his heat race to be in the lead by lap 10. Rocco survived cautions, and strong challenges from Chris Pasteryak then later Rowan Pennink to win his first 2013 VMRS race. “It is always good to have more than one win in one night, it is awesome.” Rocco said in Victory Lane. “This really shows what we are made of and what kind of people that I have behind me. Without good people behind you, you do not get success. I have to thank everyone on the team. They did an awesome job.”

“I really pushed in the heat race to see what I had. I knew then that we had a good car. When it came to the feature race, I figured I could just ride and save the car or I could get out front and save the car. Starting the race in fifth we just took what we could get. We got to the front and we just road.” And drive for the win Rocco did as he maintained his top spot lap after lap, caution after caution, and challenge after challenge. “The car was just absolutely awesome tonight. This thing was just dialed in. And getting to the front first and saving our car even going through traffic made my job easier. “

VMRS point leader Rowan Pennink had a solid second place finish after starting the race in seventeenth. Pennink started his heat race toward the back, raced hard and made it up to a qualifying sixth spot. “We got in a tough heat race to start the day. I had to start off in eighth. The heats are tough here. It is real tough to pass when everyone is on new rubber in the heat race. We ended up just making it to sixth to qualify and not have to get in the consi. I wish that we could have started the feature race inside the top ten. Then I think that we could have had a little better shot. But I am happy with a solid second place finish tonight.”

Starting near the rear of the field Pennink found himself carefully picking off cars as he moved to the front of the pack. He spotter guided him around several incidents and spins until he was up front challenging for the lead. “Coming from the back in seventeenth we had to work our way up. It was a tough battle to get to the front. There are a lot of fast cars out there.”

As the race progressed, along run of green lap racing was quickly replaced with multiple cautions and challenging restarts. “We got a little bit free on that long run but once that the tires cooled back down the car came right back to me and we were able to get right back up on Keith (Rocco). But Keith had a good car. Congratulations to him on the win. We will take second and the point lead.”

Chris Pasteryak led a little bit and then fell back further in the top five. At race end he surprised himself when he was able to hold on for a podium finish. “I was Ok for a couple of laps but I did not have anything for the leader tonight. I think if my car was a little bit better the race would have been a blast. For me it was a pretty difficult race. I was just way too tight right from the get go. And I probably did not have a third place car. At best I probably had a sixth or seventh.”

Pasteryak was able to avoid race mishaps with Lady Luck was on his side. While other drivers raced hard only to be sidelined, Pasteryak stayed clean running up front surprising himself a few times by being at the right place at the right time. “I felt lucky a couple of times when a couple of guys had some trouble. I did alright on the restarts and did not do screw them up too bad and ended up third.”

The #9 team of Tommy Barrett has been struggling a bit the last few races as they try to dial the car in. After some strong runs with good finishes, the team has missed their mark the last few races. “We are still working on the car,” said Barrett after the race. “We have been struggling a little bit. Fourth is not too bad but that is not what we are looking for right now. I am trying to win the championship and I am trying to pull ahead of Rowan (in points). Overall, it was a decent point’s night. We were second in the heat and fourth in the race so I do not think that Rowan gained anything on us there. I will take a fourth today with the car is in one piece and overall it was a decent point’s day.”

Dwight Jarvis was all smiles as he exited his car in inspection. “I loved today’s race. I had a ball out there. I got into some oil a few times and I got sideways. But all and all we had a good finish.”

The veteran driver has been in a lot of race situations but his experience has taught him how to make the best of things and go forward. Losing his radio communication with his spotter he just continued forward racing without going back a spot. “The radio unplugged and we had no communication for about 20 to 30 laps there at the end. It was like racing in the old times. The guys worked hard and gave me a good car to work with.” And with the car his team gave him with or without a radio, Jarvis came from twentieth for a top five finish.

The VMRS teams will return to racing on Saturday, August 17th for 100 laps of green racing as the Chase for the Tenth Year VMRS Champion continues at the “Cement Palace” of Seekonk Speedway. If you cannot join us at the track, please join us follow the action on http://www.thechromehorn.com.

Race Notes from Waterford Speedbowl:

What were your thoughts on all those cautions during the last ten laps?

Keith Rocco
“I saved a lot right to the end, so we had a good car. I know that we saved a lot running out front and I knew that the good guys were going to be coming and I would have the pressure on me on the restarts. So when I got out front I just road and when all those restarts came at the end I knew that I had a good car underneath me.”

Rowan Pennink
“I did not need the last couple there once I was on Keith and I thought if we got running a little bit we could have him. Actually on the last restart I was up underneath him and then the caution came out.”

Chris Pasteryak
”At first I was like man the car was not all that great. I did not know if I was happy to see the restarts or not. On the first one, I was sitting in fourth and I was kind of hoping that it would ride out to the end as much as it stinks for the fans because for me it would have been better. Then I hated the restarts then I was pretty happy when I got into second on one. And then I was not too happy with the last one (restart after caution). I fell back into third. I guess your opinion changes whether you are starting on the outside or the inside and whether or not you have a shot to maintain your position or move up a little bit.”

Tommy Barrett
“I really did not know what to think because my tires were going away pretty bad. I did not know if the heat cycles were going to help it or hurt it. I did not know what to expect. At one time on a restart I had a bunch of rubber on my left front tire and that was vibrating pretty bad. That was a wild last ten laps but I did what I could and got a fourth place finish out of it.”

On their way to Waterford The Roscoe #25 team incurred a flat tire on their hauler and they were a late getting the car to the track. Did this impact the team at all?

Rowan Pennink
“We will take the bad luck getting to the race track and we will save the good luck for the race track.”

Did ISMA and NEMA rubber on track effect race conditions?

Rowan Pennink
“No I do not think so. The track actually had a lot of grip on the Hoosier tires. We run the Hoosiers which is probably close to the same compound to theirs. I do not think that hurt us.”

Tommy Barrett
“It definitely did but everyone had to deal with that. It is just another factor that goes into racing. It is just something that we have to overcome and deal with.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: August 11, 2013

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