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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Running For The Cash,
It Is A ‘Wreckers to Checkers Race’
Denise DuPont

The Open Wheel Tri-Track Open Modified Series rounded off their 2014 season with ‘Open Wheel Wednesday’ at Seekonk Speedway on Wednesday July 23rd. With over $50,000 in total prize money, top drivers from the northeast headed to Seekonk for their chance to take home a piece of the bootie. In total, forty five teams headed to the ‘Cement Place’ for their chance to take home the $10,000 winner’s purse.

The race format defined twenty-five starting positions. There were twenty to qualifying through heat races, two drivers from each of the two consi races and then the winner of the B-Main race had their choice to race or take home $1,000 in cash. Matt Galko of Meriden, CT was the B-Main feature winner and selected to start the race.

Home track favorite, Todd Annarummo of Swansea, MA., started the race on the pole with Tommy Barrett, Jr., of Willis, MA. on his outside. Annarummo held onto the lead for most of the race but did not lead the most important lap, the last one.

The two drivers were evenly matched and ran door-to-door most of the race. About lap 85 Barrett decided it was time to make a move. Running on the outside he dropped under Annarummo and there was some contact but both car made it through. Now in second Annarummo surged back on the outside but a caution on lap 87 stopped his momentum. The incident was brought out by a spin involving Steve Masse, Anthony Nocella and Kyle James.

For the first time in the race, Barrett had the pole on a restart. When the last green was thrown he charged forward with Annarummo going to the outside. Waiting silently in third Matt Hirschman saw an opening and pulled by Annarummo for second. Barrett and Hirschman raced hard until lap 97 when Hirschman running on the outside suddenly slowed and took Annarummo backwards with him. Jon McKennedy saw an opportunity and jumped from fifth to second running there for the final three laps. McKennedy making that one last dash for the cash chased Barrett across the finish line while Hirschman and Annarummo pursued them. The two finished third and fourth respectively. Richard Savary rounded up the top five.

Capturing the large purse added another notch in the young Barrett’s race portfolio. Excitedly reflecting on the win, Barrett expressed his thoughts on the race: “It was one of the biggest paying races of the year and winning was huge Top guys from the series (Valenti Modified Racing Series) and the tour (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) competed so we knew we had to beat some of the top drivers. There was a lot of quality there in the forty-five cars that showed up to compete. Just coming home on top really means a lot. Also my grandfather passed away this past weekend and I wanted to get the win for him and that meant a lot.”

“We have had actually had a really good year with the #9 car,” confessed Barrett about his 2014 season in the family owned #9 modified. “Our first race we won at Thompson with the MRS. We got a second at Stafford race and we won at Seekonk Open Modified race. And earlier this year we had a good car at Lee and at Star at the other Open Wheel Tri-Track Series races. So we have had a strong year with the #9 car especially after last night. We are now going to run Waterford with the MRS. So everything is good with the team right now and hopefully we can just continue what we are doing and keep the wins coming.”

Rounding out the top ten on the event were: Ryan Preece, Vinnie Annarummo, Rowan Pennink, Paul Newcomb, Jr. and Anthony Nocella.
We now all have to look forward to 2015 to see what the Open Wheel Tri-Track Open Modified Series promoters will plan for their spin on modified racing in the future.

Some Extra Race Notes From Seekonk Speedway:

From your driver’s seat can you walk us through some of the race action?

Tommy Barrett

“Todd (Annarummo) started on the pole and I started second. For the first two laps I tried to make a move and it was not working so I thought I would ride behind him for a little bit. I took the lead from him early on and he came back and got past me. We had a few restarts where I was on the outside. When the race was finally getting down to the wire about lap 81, I said it is time to go. I tried to get by him on the outside on the restart and we actually ran side-by-side for about 5 laps. He bought me up the track a little bit but nothing bad. I drove into turn three and finally I got the break. He got loose a little bit and I crossed him up and came down. I think he got on the brakes a little bit to stop me and I got into his left rear a little bit but I still got under him. I completed the pass in turn one and I took off from there.

With the race being a run for the money what were your thoughts on the race?

Tommy Barrett

“This race being a one-time race for the big purse you are not really worried as much about wrecking the car. It is pretty much a ‘Wreckers to Checkers race’. That was what is in your mind going into the race. With all the best guys competing from series and tours that just makes it that much better to be able to take home the $10,000.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: July 24, 2014

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