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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



Savary Conserves Car
And Slides Into Victory Lane
Denise DuPont / Polly Reid

Lee USA Speedway closed its season with the tracks thirtieth Oktoberfest weekend. For their eleventh year, the Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) participated in the weekend with a 100 lap feature event. Twenty-four modifieds qualified to start the race.

Lee USA Speedway’s track surface has an abrasive texture which is tough on the soft Hoosier tire compounds used in this modified series. Race teams were prepared for the tire challenge and from the beginning of the race drivers drove at a conservative pace. Drivers gauged themselves to save their tires until it was time to head to the front. Pole sitter Mike Willis, Jr. of Grantham, NH, led for the first 19 circuits. Dennis Perry of Ashaway, RI, who started on the outside pole passed for the lead on lap 20. Perry maintained the lead position for the next 60 laps with driver’s settled in-line to run a steady pace as the laps clicked off.

There were only two race cautions. One mid-way when Woody Pitkat of Sturbridge, MA, spun the #42 modified around with a flat left rear. And the second occurred on lap 80 when Dwight Jarvis of Ascutney, VT, spun around in turn four after getting high up into the marbles while driving three wide. After the last caution, Richard Savary of Holbrook, MA, jumped to the lead on the re-start and did not look back. He had saved his tires and ran to take the checkered flag and win. Justin Bonsignore of West Islip, NY, and Pitkat had come from the rear of the pack and were right behind Savary at race end to take second and third place respectively. Perry held onto finish fourth and Willis fifth.

“I am happy to have the win,” said Savary after the race. “I just wish that we could have put a better race on for the fans here like we can at some tracks. This is a great track for these cars. It is just not a good tire combination. It is so abrasive if you try to go anything over half throttle the car just starts sliding around. My hats off to the guys that came from the back. Because to pass cars here and save tires is very difficult. And a couple of the guys up front did make it from the rear.”

“We went half throttle for 70 laps. That is not really racing”, confessed Savary about the race. “But when it was time to race I was happy that we had enough car left. Then when it was 20 to go on the restart I had to go, so we went. Prior to that we were just rolling around like everybody else. We just happened to be lucky enough to be in a good spot and glad for the win.” This was Savary’s fourth VMRS win in 2014. Savary also won the June 27thrace at Lee USA Speedway.

Justin Bonsignore came to Lee USA Speedway with a slim five point lead over Rowan Pennink, the weekend did not start out well for the West Islip, NY driver when trouble in the heat race forced the series point leader to run in the consi and start the VMRS 100 lap feature twenty-fourth - last on the starting grid. Bonsignore stayed focused and with a couple of breaks falling his way, crossed the line second. “Honestly, it’s so hard to tell when you come here what you got,” explained Bonsignore. “Because like yesterday, we only got one round of practice and you can never get to the throttle, even on new tires. It was kind of a guess. Then we went out into the heat race and it just wasn’t all that there- we struggled- I got into the #27 (Kevin Iannarelli) there and they put us through the consi – we had a lot of extra laps on our tires.”

From the drop of the green, Bonsignore used patience working his way through the field and by the time the first caution waved at the half way mark, the #21 had cracked the top ten. With twenty-five to go, Bonsignore had made it to seventh then gained two positions after a spin by Dwight Jarvis that ultimately ended Rowan Pennink’s day. Passing for third with less than twenty to go, Bonsignore held on getting by Perry for another spot. At the line, Bonsignore saved enough tire, held his own and crossed the line for the runner up spot.

“I just never touched the throttle all day. Kenny (Barry) kept coming over the radio and said if you can pick them off without burning up, go ahead. I was like, I’m just idling around, not really using the throttle. We got up to the top ten – unfortunately for the #25, they had their issues- we got to fifth and we had a good car from there. I probably could have run with the #99 but you have to look at the big picture this time of year so I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that.”

Bonsignore admitted that pitting was in their strategy but the call was made to stay out. “We didn’t want to give up the track position,” said Bonsignore about the decision not to pit. “All in all, a great day, we’ll take it- we’ve had our share of bad luck – hopefully we can finish out Thompson smooth. We have a potential to have a really awesome weekend. It would be really cool to get Art Barry a championship.”
Crossing the line third, the day was a rollercoaster for Woody Pitkat who used his experience behind the wheel and a positive attitude to recover from an incident at the half way mark that could have ended his day. Starting the VMRS “Oktoberfest 100” eighth, dropping back as far as thirteenth by lap 40, Pitkat brought out the first caution of the day at the half way mark when a right rear flat forced Pitkat around in turn four. Pitkat was able to recover from the spin and safely pit for fresh rubber rejoining the action deep in the pack at ninetieth for the restart with fifty-one circuits left on the board.

Solidly in the top ten with 25 to go, Pitkat got another break when the caution waved with 19 to go. The caution closed up the field and Pitkat, now in fifth, was able to pass for another position. The confidence Pitkat has in his car and team is partly what helped get him to the podium at a track he admits he has little experience at. “I’ve been through it time in and time out so you just try and keep your cool,” said Pitkat about recovering from the flat tire at the half. “I just tried to take my time there, then we got that caution with about 20 to go, I was like alright we’ll be good, it was time to go. You just try to keep your calm and composure – I know I have a good car- every time I’ve driven this thing we’ve been in the top five except for last week. This is good- I don’t have much seat time here at Lee. I felt I might kind of overdrive today, wear the thing out.”

Mike Willis, Jr. is currently leading the race for the VMRS Mr. Rooter Plumbing Rookie of the Year. He started on the pole and led the field for the first time for 20 consecutive green laps. Willis stayed within the top five for the entire race and finished in a solid fifth place finish. “It was hard starting on the pole and trying to dictate the pace of the race. I got out front and led a couple of laps.” Willis actually led the race nineteen laps after the green flag flew. “Then people got antsy and wanted to go and I let them go. I then just ran my pace. Then come go time I started to get better and then it stated to get tight in the center. That hurt us a little bit at the end. But we were good enough to come out of this with a top five today.”

The VMRS series has just one final race remaining on their 2014 schedule - a 75 lap feature event at the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing Presented by XTRAMART on Saturday, October 18th at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

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

Notes from Lee USA Speedway:

Even though Richard Savary won the race he was not happy with the way that it rolled out because if the tracks effect on the tire compound.

Richard Savary

“It is a very difficult track in these cars with these tires to race at. I think it is terrible and I do not think that we have the right tires to race here. That is unfortunate for the fans because we could not put on a great show. You can ask anyone on pit road and we went half throttle for 70 laps. That is not really racing.”

“The tires are just too soft for this surface. We run into the same problem at Beech Ridge. And this has to make it difficult for this division. I realize that you cannot just get a special tire for certain tracks, but everybody pays to see these care run and us as drivers want to be competitive and race. And it is very difficult to race when all you are doing is trying to save your tires.”

What went through your mind when your tire was going down and then you spun to bring out the first caution?

Woody Pitkat

Pitkat was staying high on the track the best he could knowing his tire was going down, the car spinning around in turn four. “I was like something didn’t feel right and I figured I had a tire going down. I was just trying to ride it out and we were fortunate enough to have nobody collected when I spun and we were able to come in and get another tire. I did a pretty good job trying to save it – I got real high in turns one and two and might have picked up something that got us that flat rear. All in all it was a good day- this is fun. I was glad to see Justin had a good day, obviously we both have SPAFCO cars- I’m glad to see they had a good point’s day and whatever happens at Thompson happens at Thompson.”

What are your thoughts as the race year draws to a close and you move closer to clenching the 2014 rookie title?

Mike Willis, Jr.

“We have had a really successful year. I am glad that we made all the races. I have not taken a provisional or anything. I was able to qualify with all these guys and it is a tough field to race in every week.”

Source: Denise DuPont/Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: October 14, 2014

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