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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



Roscoe Team Sets Sights
And Is This A Sign Of Things To Come?
Denise DuPont & Polly Reid

Saturday, April 19th, the Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) returned to Monadnock Speedway for the “Spring Dash100”.
Rowan Pennink won his heat race, drew the pole, and then later led the field across the finish line to capture a victory for car owners Gary and Kim Casella. This was the #25 Roscoe Racing team’s first 2014 victory towards defending their 2013 VMRS championship. The driver from Huntingdon Valley, PA. made winning look like fun as he captured his second “Spring Dash “ win in a row. “It has been a good race for us the past couple of years. It was a tough race. The #13 and #21 cars were really strong. We just paced the race how we thought that we needed to and it worked out for us. “

“I cannot thank all the guys on the #25 team enough. They put this car together in short notice at the end of the winter to have it ready for Waterford. We had a good car there but had a lot of bad luck.” Pennink got caught up in a few wrecks at Waterford and finished the race fifteenth. From Waterford, the team took the #25 back to the shop and went to work preparing it for Monadnock. “We came here and this thing has been on rails since the first practice. So Bob and Gary and this whole team did an awesome job putting a car underneath me that I can win with.”

Five times he changed the lead with Bonsignore until the lead was finally his to keep. “It was a little bit a game of cat and mouse. I had the lead in the beginning and then he came up and I let him go because I did not want to run that hard that early. Then at some point I figured it was going to be easier to get by him now while he is taking it easy. For me to take the lead early was better than battling with him at the end. So I went by him. Then I backed it down once I got the lead so I would not kill my tires and he snuck by me. So I had to get it (the lead) back one more time. And at that time I thought that we could make it to the end and we turned it up and got a little bit of a gap between me and the other two guys (Justin Bonsignore and Steve Masse) on that final restart.”

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY passed for the lead on lap 6 and then had the time of his life behind the wheel of the Art Barry owned #21 modified. His first year competing in the series with a new ride, Bonsignore is busy learning as he grows with the team. “I am so grateful to be able to drive this car and to drive for such a great team. I tried to reward them tonight but we were just one step short. It is kind of like what Woody said a couple weeks ago at Thompson: “New team still trying to learn each other.” Maybe pit or race adjustments on how much to tighten the car up. Kenny is learning me and I am learning Kenny. So hopefully this is a sign of really good things to come. “
With one of the biggest smiles we have ever seen, Bonsignore captured second place. “That was a lot of fun. That was some of the best racing I have ever seen in one race and I had a good time. The people who came out to the track tonight saw some good racing. “
Bonsignore was the leader until lap 50 when the race pace was suddenly taken up a notch. It was mid-race and on queue seasoned VMRS competitors started a hard charge to the front. The quick change in action took Bonsignore totally by surprise. “I did not think that it was time to go yet and I kind of wanted to wait a little bit more.”

He wasted no time though getting back hard on the throttle and staying with the lead pack. “We had a lot of fun swapping it back and forth. And pulling that dive bombing thing into turn three where it is so tight down there. I think between the three of us (Bonsignore, Masse and Pennink) we might have touched bars once or twice, but it was just good, hard, fun racing. It is cool when you can trust the guys that you are around. You know that you are not going to get wrecked. And if something just does happen it is just because everyone is going for the win.”

Rounding of the top three finishers was Steve Masse from Bellingham, MA. in the family owned #13 modified. “I had a lot of fun racing today. We had good clean side by side racing and it was just fun racing the guys out there.” Masse said in post-race inspection with a big smile. “Justin, Rowan. Chris and everyone in the lead pack were just real clean and I cannot say how much fun I had out on the race track tonight. I was just driving the car and having a ball. “

Masse challenged for the lead several times but third was the best he could get. “We had a good car but I think that we just missed it a little bit. We threw everything but the kitchen sink at it and we found a good setup for this place. But the car was a little tight coming off the corners so when I tried to get back to the throttle it was breaking free on me. Still that was the most fun I have had racing in a long time. I am just happy to be here in third place.”

Chris Pasteryak turned it up in the final circuits for a strong finish in the Spring Dash 100. Coming from mid-pack at the green, the Lisbon, CT driver dug deep for a solid fourth at the checkers. “Another top five,” said Pasteryak who was on the podium in second last week at Waterford. “It’s the best I’ve run here in the spring race. Normally we run really good in the July race but the spring and fall race I kind of struggle a bit.”

Starting twelfth, the two time VMRS champion survived a host of cautions working his way into the top five just past the half way mark. “We were definitely in the crunch zone. I couldn’t really get a row to move up,” said Pasteryak. “Then all of a sudden, the outside cleared up and I was like, alright, now we can go. I had a real good car the whole time before that but I couldn’t really show it because of all the side by side, there was no lane to pick from. Then I did take a shot and got all the way up to fourth. After that, I didn’t have quite enough forward bite to take on the top three.”

Pasteryak had a great view of the battle in front of him between Pennink, Bonsignore and Masse. “It was a heck of a race to watch. I was far enough back and had a little bit of room on Dwight and Todd behind me, I could actually watch them- this tire should produce some really good racing.”

Starting his day by winning the heat race, Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT redrew the third place starting spot. At the end of a chilly yet hot 100 laps around the quarter-mile high banked oval, he crossed the line fifth. “Basically we took it easy in the beginning just trying to maintain track position at the top with the leaders. There we could see how the car balanced out and see what it’s going to do.”

In the top three from the green to just past the half way mark, Szegedy was as high as second behind then leader Justin Bonsignore before dropping to fourth after a restart. Trying to save his tires, Szegedy was at ‘quarter throttle’ until it was time to turn it up. “When I wanted to go, I couldn’t at that point.” With 25 to go, Szegedy in sixth passed Dwight Jarvis on the final restart and held onto fifth to the checkers.

The VMRS returns to Monadnock two more times this season, Szegedy took away some important info for the next event in July. “We’ll probably concentrate on getting the car to rotate through the center and have forward drive.” With a third last weekend at Waterford, a fifth this time out, Szegedy is showing consistency early on that could be key to a very successful VMRS season for the Kevin Stewart owned team.

VMRS teams will return to racing on Saturday April 19lth for 100 laps of green racing at Seekonk Speedway’s Sim’s Spring Kickoff Classic.

If you cannot join us at the track, please join us follow the action on http://www.thechromehorn.com.

Notes from Monadnock Speedway:

Your thoughts on the 2014 race season so far?

Justin Bonsignore
“Last week was a bump in the road as the season started but sometimes you cannot control getting caught up in other people’s stuff.” Bonsignore was caught up in a mid-race incident at Waterford Speedbowl that occurred after Ted Christopher dropped fluid on the track.
“I am new to this series and I did not realize that on the first 15 to 20 laps that they ride around. So I got to the outside and I said to myself: “Ya know what, I am going to go. And we got to the lead and I said: “Alright now I will ride around and we did that for a while and it looked like when Masse got to Rowan they all picked the pace up.”

“I have fun every time I come here racing and It was a real good run. We got the lead really quick and I just tried to pace myself. I am still learning with this series. It is a lot different than the modified tour. You really have to save your tires over here and it has totally different tires. After I took the lead I just tried to pace myself as much as I could. Then Masse put on the pressure and shuffled us back. Then the three of us mixed it up and that was a lot of fun. Everybody says how good and clean this series is and that was a prime example of it. If the fans were not happy with that -- I do not know what is going to please them.”

“We are still learning as a team. It is only our second race together and the first did not go so well last week. So this is our first real race together and hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the rest of the year. Hopefully we can contend for this title at the end of the year”.

Did the cold temperatures affect the racing?

Justin Bonsignore
“The car had a lot of grip. It could have been a little bit tighter to start but we are good.”

Do you still have some concerns on the new right rear tire?

Steve Masse
“I was worried about the tire during the heat race because at Waterford I had a hard time passing. Then today I started the heat race second and I dropped all the way back on the outside. I was blaming the right rear tire but it held up during the race tonight so maybe it is better and then maybe it is not. I do not know yet but hopefully it is better for the car”.

Your thoughts on today’s race?

Todd Szegedy
“The car felt neutral up until about lap 50, then it felt like it might have been getting a little free off. I was waiting until the next restart to see what it did and then the next restart- tight. It got so tight in the center that it was tight on throttle then it would snap loose. At that point it was hang on to the position. We’re gaining on it- we were a lot better than we were last weekend at Waterford even though we finished two back from that- the chassis balance is better. We’re headed in the right direction.”

Source: Denise DuPont & Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: April 21, 2014

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