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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



Savary Captures Third
VMRS 2014 Race
Denise DuPont / Polly Reid

In front of a full house on a perfect night for racing, Richard Savary settled a side by side battle in the closing circuits edging Chris Pasteryak to become the new and final leader with three to go. Savary in the Robert Walendy owned modified crossed the finish line to claim the Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) Firecracker 100 win at Monadnock Speedway.

Pasteryak followed for second, Justin Bonsignore joined the podium with third while Rowan Pennink and Russ Hersey completed the top five.

“The race really did go the way I needed it to,” Savary explained to John Spence in victory lane. “We needed some cautions since we started in the back, then I got really fortunate towards the end on the restarts being on the inside line and for whatever reason the guys on the outside backed up really bad. I was lucky enough to be on the inside. Chris is one of the best drivers this division has ever had.”

Savary followed up his win last weekend at Lee with this victory at Monadnock. The Canton, MA driver now at three VMRS wins for the season. “Last week I won Lee for the first time in a modified. This is my first modified win at Monadnock. I’ve been on the front stretch for a top three finish, but this is my first modified win here.”

The twenty-four car field paced the high banked quarter mile oval in the missing man formation in honor of former VMRS competitor Jim Boniface who recently passed after losing his battle with cancer. Todd Owen of Somers, CT brought the field to green and was successful holding off Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY for the first eighteen circuits. Bonsignore had his mirror full with Chris Pasteryak. The Lisbon, CT driver shadowed Bonsignore through the next several cautions until a restart on lap thirty-two. Pasteryak on the outside wheel to wheel with Bonsignore, powered with determination to the lead to take the lead on lap thirty four.

At the half way mark Pasteryak and Kirk Alexander running nose to tail were followed by Bonsignore, Russ Hersey and Todd Szegedy. Savary who took the green flag fourteenth, was now secure in sixth.

Two more cautions kept the field close with one restart finding Geoff Gernhard’s front bumper connected to Todd Szegedy’s back bumper. Szegedy eventually ‘shook’ free but both had lost significant positions and the series point leader going into the Firecracker 100 was forced to pit two times, eventually unable to finish the event.

Pasteryak led what would be the final restart on lap seventy-three, Bonsignore on the outside admittedly did not come up to speed allowing the inside row to capitalize on position with Alexander back into second, Savary third, Bonsignore, Hersey and Dana Smith the top five on lap seventy-five.

Savary passed for second with twelve to go, Bonsignore mirroring the move on Alexander a few circuits later to secure third while Savary turned up the heat on Pasteryak. A wheel low, Savary edged under Pasteryak the two side by side putting on a show for the fans. Savary cleared Pasteryak with three left on the board and added an exclamation point on his run by pulling ahead for a convincing victory.
“To race with Chris, wheel to wheel, there is nobody else in this division that you can feel that comfortable with – he’s going to race you hard, maybe there could be slight contact but at no point are you thinking that he is going to turn you or bump you up the track. I thanked him for that.”

“Everything fell our way. I said to myself, coming from the back to fifth, this is a great finish for us. If we just let this thing run green and we finish fifth I’m going to go home and say hey, where we started, a fifth place at this track, I’d be happy. Then the yellows came out, I was on the inside, someone missed a shift, now I’m in third, then we had a long run. The guys in front of me really started freeing up and my car stayed the same, I didn’t go any faster, they just went slower.” Savary continued, “Chris set such a good pace, fast pace out front. I was in the middle of the pack and going slow, staying that speed then at the end, Chris leading, he had to keep a pace, the 21 was working him- they both were working harder than I was- it was one of those nights where everything went our way.”

“All the cautions probably helped Richard out,” said two time series champion Chris Pasteryak. “He was just a lot better than I was those last three or four laps. I thought maybe I could stick with him and no, he just drove away. This is the third year in a row I’ve been leading the “Firecracker 100” with like twelve laps to go or ten laps to go, he was just a little better than I was at the end. We had a great race car all night, I can’t complain.”

“In 2012, I was leading with twelve to go and Todd won the race,” Pasteryak said. “Last year I was leading with twelve or thirteen to go and Dwight got me on the restart, tonight I was leading with four to go- we’re close. It was just where I started and where Richard started. Being up front, having the chance to lead, I probably had to run the car a little bit harder. Some nights the restarts help you and tonight they helped him a little bit and hurt us a little bit. All the stopping and starting, trying hard to keep the lead because I thought that was my best shot- would have, could have, should have- he said he picked up a lot of spots by guys pitting or spinning- hey, you can’t predict it that’s why you run the race.”

Justin Bonsignore won his heat race and through the luck of the draw started on the outside pole. On lap 19, he passed Todd Owen for the lead and charged forward to pursue his first 2014 VMRS win. But the pass to the front and lead run burnt up his equipment fast. Bonsignore slid back to second when Pasteryak made his way by him on a restart for the fourth caution on lap 32. “We just burned the car up a little bit too early. We were a little to free.”

Bonsignore ran solidly in second until he missed a shift, got loose and backed up to fourth during the last restart on lap 73. He then rebound to pass for third for a podium finish. “I missed a shift on the last restart and it put us back a little too far back,” described Bonsignore. “We were a little off. We probably raced a little too hard in the beginning and burned our stuff up a little too much. We were good on the long run and right before that last big wreck. I was coming back to Chris (Pasteryak) and I thought that we had a chance if it stayed green. But they put a lot of Speedy Dry down on that last restart it burned us up. I missed a shift and it shuffled us back. It is hard to come from twenty to go when everyone is holding on for dear life it is hard to get back pass four lead guys.”

“It was another good night for us tonight. I want to get a win but we will take another top three and keep chipping away at the points. Hopefully go into this summer with some momentum and get that win. So it was a good one and we go to Stafford in a few weeks.”
Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, PA, on the other hand drew a bad qualifying position and was disqualified from his heat race after making contact while racing hard for the final qualifying spot. Pennink made it into the feature through the consi race and then had to drive from the rear to run with the leaders. “My night started off drawing a bad number for the heat and then the heat race was stacked with a lot of good cars in it. So it was a really tough heat. I ended up qualifying through the heat but I was disqualified for some reason that I still do not know why. We had to run the consi and just put too many laps on the tires in the consi to get us a win. Starting out at the back after we were spun, with just 25 to 30 laps to go there was nowhere to go but to the front. We got a top five out of it in the end so it was not a complete loss of a day. We gave it our best effort and finished with a fourth.”

It was Russ Hersey's of Swanzey, NH, first VMRS race and what better place to start but at his home track. He piloted the #51 modified that he consulted at the SBM 125 at Star and that coupled with the track advantage gave Hersey a car he could potentially win with. “Early on in the race I had to pull the reins back,” confessed Hersey. “Kenny and I talked about it – not to pull the trigger too early. Usually when you are up there you are trying not to get hung out on the outside on restarts because at Monadnock it is brutal out there and you burn up the right rear tire. So I watched the board and tried to put myself in an odd number position. I passed Kirk to get to third and then I fell back to fifth so I was happy there.”

Hersey had a great run for his first time with the series. Surviving the cautions and finishing in the top five was a great run for his first VMRS outing. “I had a car that stayed under me all night so I was very happy. The fan broke on the last 30 laps so the temperature was hot and the power steering was not quite where it should be to run with the guys up front in a manner that is not going to put everybody at risk. So we are a few pieces away and a couple adjustments from being a top three car, but it was a good solid fifth place finish tonight so I am happy.”

Finishing sixth through tenth were, Kirk Alexander, Dana Smith, Matt Mead, Mike Willis, Jr.,, and Max Zachem.
The VMRS series returns to racing at Stafford Motor Speedway, on Friday July 18th.

Savary mentioned he has won there but again, like Lee and Monadnock, never a win in a modified. “That’d be a nice thing to check off in the book too.”

And with it close to half way in the season, Pasteryak is looking forward to the series return to Stafford. “I always like going to Stafford and for the last couple of years, I’ve always run better over the summer.”

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

Race Notes from Monadnock Speedway:

Savary and the team have a different philosophy this year that is working well.

Richard Savary
“Last season we raced thinking about points with the $10,000 to win point thing, we needed to finish every race and that’s more important and I think that takes away from some of your driving and some of your mindsets. This season, not even sure we would be at every show, decided to just go to every race and try to win- see how that plays out. The whole mindset now when we come is about winning and not necessarily thinking about points. Honestly, not going to even think about that until the end of August. You could fall out of one and two races and the point’s thing is out the window.”

What are your thoughts on today’s race?

Justin Bonsignore
“It seemed like a lot of heavy hitters in the series started towards the back in mid-pack and there were some newer guys up front. The #51 (Hersey) was up front and he does not normally race with us. And Kirk (Alexander) in the #88 was up front with us. And they were just here for the win. Then you had a lot of guys looking for a win like Chris Pasteryak. It is just getting to that time of year when a lot of guys want to win a race, it was a hot summer night and the track was slick. Guys tend to lean on one another a little more and that is just good hard short track racing.”

What are your thoughts on today’s many cautions (nine in total)?

Rowan Pennink
“I do not know what all the cautions were about tonight. It seemed like every restart was jamming up or getting tangled up with somebody. I do not know why everyone was driving so crazy. People were running into me and I was spun once and had to go to the back. It was just one of those nights.”

Russ Hersey
“I am coming in for the first time into the series. I have a Kenny Barry car, Justin (Bonsignore) is right in front of me and Kirk (Alexander) is a buddy of mine from town and we all have the same chassis. These guys are running for points and I knew that we did not have a piece to win but a piece that could contend for a top five somewhere but probably not a win. These guys are running for points so there is no sense in taking any chances. A lot of the guys were running like we were getting $50,000 to win and that it is all for nothing. And that is not me. It is not all or nothing. We put seven straight days into this car until midnight or three o’clock in the morning. Now we can take a piece home and adjust on it, not rebuild the whole thing or replace it. If the MRS guys had a little more respect for each other driving $50,000 piece of equipment I think that it would help a long way for the series and the fans would like it better.”

How did you get the ride for today’s race?

Russ Hersey
“A couple of my buddies own this car and they have been struggling. They had power and setup issues. I normally help Jon McKennedy do the crew chief duties for his team when they ran over at Star. Like when we won the SBM race a couple of weeks ago. I gave a little bit of a hand when we were over there. I had a couple of motors sitting around from when we ran this. So I said to myself: “These are good people and these are good motors.” So I said to them: “How about we put one of these motors in your car and we can go down to Monadnock. If we are uncomfortable we will adjust it.” The team got in the race, they were happy. It is just a feel good thing and we got a top five out of it. I am ecstatic.”

Source: Denise DuPont/Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: July 6, 2014

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