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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



Stafford Speedway’s Town Fair Tire 80
Belongs To Stuart Automotive Team
Denise DuPont / Polly Reid

Close already once this season, Todd Szegedy was not going to let this one get away. The Ridgefield, CT driver committed low in turn one passing Ted Christopher emerging as the new and final leader. With 22 to go he wheeled the Stuart Automotive, Dunleavy sponsored, Kevin Stuart owned modified into victory lane, scoring his first 2014 Valenti Modified Racing Series win in the Town Fair Tire 80 at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Ted Christopher crossed for second, Keith Rocco third, Rowan Pennink and Eric Goodale the top five.

“I knew Teddy was a little better off, he was a little tight in the center which was messing my center up and I wasn’t able to get a good run so I sort of set him up a little bit,” said Szegedy about the winning pass. “I knew Teddy was going to be tough to pass, he always is, he knows what he is doing. He came down on me a little bit going into one which is normal, it was good hard racing, that’s what I expect and vice versa. He did everything he could to hold me back, we just had a stellar car- the thing is unbelievable.”

Szegedy rolled off third in the field of twenty-six cars and maintained position dropping to fourth by the half way mark. Two cautions following the half mark kept the field tight. Szegedy moved into second by lap 44 and threatened to challenge the leader on the next restart. A timely caution for Szegedy on lap 50 was the opportunity he was looking for. Patience combined with determination - Szegedy dove low into turn one taking the lead from Christopher and never looked back.

Szegedy’s next task was to put as much real estate between himself, Christopher and the rest of the field. “I just wanted to get away. I didn’t want to take the chance of starting to lap cars and have Teddy on me because he’s the master at using lap cars as a pick. I wanted to get as much distance as I could. The car stayed underneath me, was real easy on the throttle, I conserved in the beginning, I let the guys go that wanted to go hard, but I knew I couldn’t let them go too far away. Generally, you know there is going to be a caution and there was. The VMRS does get a lot of long green runs- you don’t know when you’re going to get that caution so you need to keep yourself in contention at all times, which I did.”

Szegedy dominated the final 22 green flag circuits - at one point having built nearly half a straight away between himself and Christopher in second. “I wasn’t sure what I quite had half way through the race but when we went green on that last run there, the car was unbelievable. “ Szegedy who was able to clear lap traffic without incident, appeared to be on ‘cruise control’ as the laps ticked off on the scoreboard, Szegedy claiming his first win of 2014.

Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT. returned to Stafford for normal weekly racing adding to his schedule a VMRS race for a fuller night. Behind the wheel of the Joe Brady owned #00 modified, Christopher won his heat race, drew to start on the pole, led 24 of the 80 laps and finished his night in second. There was a lot of lapped traffic but Christopher did what he does best at his home track –pass over or under and stay in the front pack. On spot shy of a win, the team is still working towards a 2014 victory. “We are just still searching. We are just oo tight in the center. I knew about half way through that was the down fall with it. But A third at Thompson and a second here, the next spot we will see what we get.”

Berlin, CT driver, Keith Rocco, took the John Rufrano Wheeler Automotive #68 modified from eleventh to third to challenge the leaders but he was never able to reel the top two in. There were a lot of fast cars out there and Rocco used his home track experience to his advantage to be among the leaders. “I think that we were just as good as the two cars in front of us”, Rocco expressed at race end. “It seemed like no matter who got to the front first. Everybody tried to save something for that last caution and then everybody just gave it everything that they had. We were a little bit too tight tonight but I want to thank everybody on my team.”

Eric Goodale of Wading River, NY, led thirty-three laps only to find his top spot stolen from him when the first caution came out on lap 43. Goodale had a good car but it was no challenge for Christopher on the restart. The two ran side by side but Christopher got the bite to pass. “We were really strong in the beginning. We had a good car out there tonight which it showed early. Then the caution came out on lap 43 and I did not get the best restart. Teddy was able to get the edge on me and then we banged wheels pretty good in turn one and two and the car was just never the same after that. We still had a good car but it started to get tight after that. I was just hoping that the laps were going to run out a little faster than they were. But my crew does not give up. We have been getting better and better each time that we come to the tracks so I feel pretty god about finishing fifth.”

Next Friday night, June 27th, the VMRS teams head to Lee USA Speedway a smaller track with a little bit tighter corners which may be a challenge for those drivers that perform best at the bigger tracks. But short track racers that like the smaller bull rings it will be there space to excel.

See you at Lee USA Speedway next Friday or if you cannot make it, join Denise, Polly and Jim back at TheCHromeHorn.com for live action from the track.

Notes from Stafford Motor Speedway Town Fair Tire 80:

Szegedy remains the VMRS point leader as the series heads to Lee USA Speedway next Friday night.

Todd Szegedy
“It’s nice to get a win, that’s what the team comes here for, that’s what my sponsors are here for- to win. I want to get into a rhythm and master getting better at short tracks. That is a little bit of a weak area, I’ve got a little bit of work to do there but I tell you what, we’re close. Seekonk is one of my worse tracks and we ran very well there last time. I’m starting to get the hang of these short tracks – it’s just a matter of time before we start getting wins on them. It’s a good night for us, we strengthened our points lead a little bit.”

What are your thoughts now that you are here in “Victory Lane”?

Todd Szegedy
“First, I have to thank Kevin Stuart for putting me in this race car, Bear (Billy Calicchio) he put a set up underneath this thing that is unbelievable,” said Szegedy. “We had an unbelievable car at Thompson and we had an unbelievable car here. Doug Dunleavy, you see his name everywhere, he’s out there sponsoring cars, he’s putting his name out there and it’s great. I’ve to thank the Montanari’s for all being here, my girlfriend Melissa, my sister, all my friends and family that are here, it’ nice to get a win. I’ve also got to thank Mike Petit- big power in this thing, that guy really made my career in the beginning and helped me get to where I am now along with a lot of other people. It is definitely a good night for us.”

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

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