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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series


Pasteryak Captures Eleventh VMRS career Win by Denise DuPont

The ‘Stafford 80’ Valenti Modified Racing Series race started the night as with three action packed heat races. With only ten laps to get to the front, drivers raced hard to get one of the six transfer positions. In the end heat races were won by Keith Rocco, Mike Willis Jr. and Todd Szegedy. A capsule drawn determined that the top six qualifying positions would be inverted. This brought Dylan Kopec from sixth to the pole with veteran Norm Wrenn on his outside to start the race.

The race looked from the beginning that it was going to be a typical VMRS feature race with only one caution early on at lap 6. The caution flag flew then for Dan Meservey, Jr. who has spun his way through the front stretch infield spewing dirt and dust in the air. After that, the laps continued to click off quickly with Woody Pitkat leading the field at his home track. Pitkat passed Todd Szegedy for the lead on lap 13 and did not look back. He was ready to make it two for two night with his SK Modified win already in the books earlier in the evening.

Then on lap 58, Carl Medieros, Jr. spun in the backstretch and came to a stop bringing out the second caution. The yellow flag brought race action to a quick stop and broke the leader’s momentum. Then as the old adage goes: “Cautions breed Cautions”. The field return to racing only to be back under yellow one lap later when two cars made contact and spun just after turn three. Kyle James who was collected in the spin was able to pull away while Medieros pitted with a right rear flat. With twenty-one of the twenty-six car field still on the track, the race went back green after a brief delay caused by a report of oil on the track.

The green flag flew once again on lap 59 for a twenty-one lap shootout. Then as the leaders came around turn two, Szegedy’s #85 snapped around to bring out yet another caution. Several cars were involved in the accident. Pennink’s #25 modified sustained the worst damage though after making hard contact with the backstretch wall. After the impact, Pennink quickly exited his car when some flames erupted. Track crew addressed the small oil fire and the Roscoe modified was towed hammock style into the pits. While track crew cleaned debris, Szegedy was able to pull away on his own.

The race resumed and only ran one lap before cars collected up and spun to bring out the fifth and final caution on lap 60. During the caution Szegedy pitted. The Stuart race team took off the hood off the #85 only to find a pierced radiator leaking. So after a strong run another competitor’s night was ended.

On the next and final restart, Pitkat did not come up to speed after missing a shift. “I definitely missed a shift but I do not think that I spun my tires,” confessed Pitkat. Pasteryak was able to pull pass Pitkat on the outside and was the new leader followed in second by Dylan Kopec. Pitkat wasted no time getting into second and chased Pasteryak for the top position. In the end Pasteryak crossed the finish line first for his second VMRS win in a row. Pitkat was second and Mike Willis, Jr. completing third had his first ever podium finish.

“I would rather be lucky than good,” stated Chris Pasteryak in victory lane. “I do not think that the best car won tonight.”

Pasteryak then described what he saw on the final restart. “He left a little bit before I did. When we got to the shift point it looked like he spun the tires and I didn’t. To tell the truth, I really thought that he was going to just drive back around me. I did not have anything for him and it showed.”

Pasteryak summarized his night as a lot of luck and being at the right place at the right time. “I was so lucky in my heat race.” He started his heat race last and missed two incidents to finish fourth. He began the feature race twelfth and managed to avoid incidents until he finally had the opportunity to pass for the lead on the restart. “I missed the big wreck off of two. Keith could have gone left instead and he went right and the #85 collected him. It has been my year man and I am going to enjoy it. Winning at Stafford feels great, the points will take care of themselves.” Pasteryak has won the last 3 out of four races so he is on a roll.

On the last restart when the front two cars came to the shift box Pitkat missed a shift and Pasteryak in the second place car was able to go on the outside around him. “That is the deal with the box.” Described Pitkat. “The leader sets the pace and the guy on the outside will have his front right wheel ahead of you and will get out of the box ahead of the leader. So the leader is at a disadvantage.”

Pitkat definitely had a fast car but he could not make it past Pasteryak for the lead before the laps ran out. “He was real loose and I tried to run him down.” Pitkat stated about his run at the race He made his way to second but his chase ended there. “I do not give up, I race every lap as hard as I can. I was trying and I thought that I could catch him, but I just couldn’t. He (Chris Pasteryak) was pretty good. Once I caught up to him he slowed down and protected his lane. At that point I probably over worked the thing (#42 modified) to try to get back the lead. It is what it is and we will just go on to the next one.” Pitkat was disappointed that he did not win, but a second place finish was a good reward for his efforts.

Mike Willis, Jr. won his heat race and started the race in fifth. He pitted towards the end of the race which was not in the team’s plan but ended up being a good call. Willis was then able to make his way through the field and end his day with a podium finish.

“For once we finished here,” stated Willis. “For some reason we are always in the wrong spot here and are involved in a wreck. Tonight someone was in front of us that helped us out through that wreck on the back stretch. All I saw was smoke and cars going everywhere and I thought I was done for it. Some body hit me in the rear and turned me towards the wall. But then I was able to then get around Rocco who was sitting right there in the middle of the track and it turned out to be pretty easy.” With luck on his side Willis completed third, his best finish in VMRS competition.

When the caution flag flew on lap 58, Willis pulled in to pit. “I misunderstood my dad and pitted. But it ended up to be a good call because the car was loose. The car was awesome after that.” So the pit stop was not what the team planned but in the end was the move that placed them where they needed to be. “We have been struggling lately ever since we crashed at Claremont (Speedway). But the team never gave up and finally found what the problem was. I have to thank Kenny (Barry) for that and for giving me a great car.” Mike Willis, Jr. finished Oxford Plains race in nineteen and came back at Stafford to finish third. Ted Christopher finished fourth and Norm Wrenn for fifth. Dave Etheridge, Keith Rocco, Dylan Kopec, Dan Meservey Jr., and Matt Swanson rounded up the top ten.

The VMRS teams will now celebrate Labor Day weekend and have a month off before they return to racing Octoberfest weekend at Lee USA Speedway October 10th and 11th.
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: September 6, 2015

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