"KID ROC" RULES
VMRS LINCOLN TECH 80
Sets Right Pace To Capture Win
/ Polly Reid
Rocco of Berlin, CT outdueled, outlasted the best of the best Friday night
at Stafford Motor Speedway taking the lead from Tommy Barrett, Jr. with
twenty to go and never looked back claiming the checkers in the Valenti
Modified Racing Series Lincoln Tech 80 at Stafford Motor Speedway. Barrett
finished second with Justin Bonsignore third, Woody Pitkat and Todd Szegedy
completing the top five.
“I think I started off the race a little too hot, set a little bit of a too
fast pace,” confessed Rocco in victory lane. “But this Northeast Race Car,
Petit horsepower under the hood really carried us all the way.”
Starting on the pole, Jeff Rocco led the field to green with Rowan Pennink
on the outside. Pennink wasted no time powering to the lead with Keith
Rocco, who started fourth already in the mix taking over second place in the
Five circuits in, Keith Rocco led Rowan Pennink, Todd Szegedy, Ted
Christopher and Jeff Rocco who was holding strong in fifth. The field was
reigned in on lap 13 for a single car spin bringing out the first yellow. On
the restart, Keith Rocco led but Ted Christopher made his move into second
while Szegedy took an unplanned ride into the infield through the grass.
Szegedy was able to collect up and continue but had to do it from the back
of the pack. With 25 laps showing on the board, it was Rocco leading
Christopher, Barrett, Pennink and Woody Pitkat.
The green flag run continued and at the half, the top runners remained the
same with Keith Rocco over Christopher, Barrett, Pennink and Pitkat. The
next caution waved just a tick over ten circuits later. Barrett in third,
made use of the lap 50 restart and low through turns one and two was the new
leader on lap 51 only to have that change up again when Christopher passed
for the top spot one lap later. Meanwhile, Keith Rocco in third had Pitkat
behind him and Chris Pasteryak who started sixteenth, was running in the top
Three more cautions kept the field close, Christopher leading, had his hands
full with Barrett who continued to challenge. The duo raced side by side on
the restart, Barrett becoming the new leader on lap 54.
yellow waving, Barrett edged out Christopher on the restart when coming out
of turn two, Christopher got out of the groove and into the turn two outside
wall. Christopher was done for the night. Suddenly, it was Pitkat
challenging Barrett for the top spot. In spirited side by side battle,
Pitkat did lead a lap only to have Barrett take it back. Meanwhile, Keith
Rocco was close behind in third.
It was the next restart that was key for Rocco. When the green flag flew on
lap 58, Barrett leading had Rocco on the outside, Pitkat behind with
Bonsignore and Chris Pasteryak filling in the top five. Rocco made his move
down the backstretch getting an edge low into turns three and four emerging
with the lead over Barrett on lap 60.
“It took a few laps after the restart before it really fired up,” said
Rocco. “I had the opportunity to cross him over, I went for it and once we
were out front, I don’t think there was any looking back.”
From there, it was all “Kid Roc”. Remaining solid in the final twenty green
flag laps, Rocco worked lap traffic when needed while Barrett, Bonsignore,
Pitkat and Szegedy sorted out the remaining top five spots. “The longer we
ran the better our car got,” said Rocco. “The car faded a little bit in the
middle on that super long run but other than that, it came right back to
life after the restarts.” The victory was Rocco’s second VMRS win of 2014,
the first coming at Waterford Speedbowl in April.
“It was a typical Stafford race. We were single file for the first half and
kind of just road around.” Confessed Tommy Barrett of Millis, MA. “Then
there was a few more wrecks than I wanted to see in the second half. I do
not know what happened but there were a few cautions right in a row that I
really did not want to see after getting the lead from Teddy and Keith.” The
race in had seven cautions in total, six of which happened after lap 50.
Barrett started the race sixth and when he made his way to the lead pack
where he was perfectly matched with Christopher. Christopher had the lead
but on restarts he could not shake off Barrett running his outside lap after
lap. “We had several laps where we ran side by
side going for the lead and I had finally got him right before that caution
that took him out. It was sad to see Teddy out of the race that early we had
a lot of good racing going there.”
After an accident took Christopher out, Barrett did not have enough left in
the family owned #9 modified to hold off the challenges of Rocco. “Keith got
behind me after that and I did not have enough forward bite. We got loose
getting out of the corner and that was where Keith was really killing and
hurt us. The thing was just bogging out getting into the corners and it
could not pick up until half way through the straight away. It is what it
is. We have had a rough year so far in this series.” Barrett crossed the
finish line with a solid second place finish.
Running the Art Barry owned #21 VMRS modified, Justin Bonsignore of
Holtsville, NY. finished on the podium. Bonsignore started ninth and drove
at a consistent pace. “It was a good race for us. It has been an obvious
struggle at the bigger tracks with the new motor program and I commend the
series. They are doing a real good job trying to work on it and tonight
showed it. We were a lot better, we were competitive. And you want to come
to the race track and have a shot to win. Others have steel head motors and
we are trying to catch up motor wise”.
“It was another good night for us, with another podium, we are just knocking
on the door.” Bonsignore stated after the race. “It was a good run and
probably better than I expected I would have come out of here with. This is
not one of my best tracks. It is pretty much a win for us because we beat
everyone in the run for the points. It looks like we are going to rack up
the third place finishes, but that is what it is going to take to be in
contention at the end of the year for the title. We are getting into the
summer months now and we are going to start looking at that slowly.”
Chris Pasteryak crossed for sixth with Pennink following for seventh. Max
Zachem completed a solid eighth position finish after struggling in practice
and qualifying with car issues. Eric Goodale had ninth and Norm Wrenn
overcame cautions and setbacks to round off the top ten.
The next VMRS event is at Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday August 9th, for
the annual Wings & Wheels show. If you cannot join us at the track, please
join us follow the action on http://www.thechromehorn.com
Notes from Stafford Motor Speedway:
What are your next race plans?
This Saturday the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Monadnock
Speedway for The O’Reilly Auto Parts 200. Wednesday night is the final in
the Tri-Track modified series races at Seekonk Speedway with $10,000 to win
on the line.
“We will go to Monadnock tomorrow with some momentum and then we take this
car back to Seekonk next week for the big show.”
“We had a second place here and we head to Monadnock tomorrow and then
Wednesday to Seekonk and we will see what we can do.”
With the new rules a lot of drivers felt that it
was like driving an SK modified at Stafford Motor Speedway.
“I have not had a lot of experience in driving an SK but it definitely felt
like I was driving an SK light modified out there. I felt like there was
more corner speed because you have to keep the momentum up after all that
straightway speed and stopping more or less when you get to the corner and
then get back on it. It was more like you had to roll the corner and keep up
On lap 55 Ted Christopher was racing for the
lead and suddenly the Joe Brady owned #00 modified took a sharp turn into
the turn two. What happened?
“After I got the lead I do not know what happened to Teddy. If I ran him up
a little too much and he got a little loose and he hit my right rear but I
did, I did not mean to run him up.” .Barrett was racing for the lead with
Christopher. The two cars were evenly matched for several laps. Barrett
finally got the lead. Then Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco joined in on the
chase for the win. On lap 55, as Pitkat raced hard for the lead spot his
right front clipped Ted Christopher’s left rear. The contact used
Christopher’s momentum to send him hard into the second turn outside wall.
It was just hard racing in very close quarters.
Source: Denise DuPont/Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com