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   The Chrome Horn -  Modified Touring Series


McKennedy Changes His Apex To Make Passing In Turn Three A Winning Move!
by Denise DuPont

The Modified Touring Series (MTS) dodged the rain to run their 125 green lap race at Stafford Motor Speedway. Twenty modifieds showed up to compete in the series first appearance at Stafford. The pre-race format was different with no pre-qualifying. Heat races only then all twenty modifieds took the green flag.

Eric Goodale from Wading River, NY and Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT secured heat wins. The final pre-race activity included a draw for the top ten qualifiers for their starting position. Last to draw was Keith Rocco of Berlin, CT and with only one gas can left, Rocco had the pole with Ted Christopher from Plainville, CT on his outside. So two modified drivers that could call Stafford their home track led the MTS field to the first start of the series at Stafford.

When the green flag flew, Christopher wasted no time to charge to the front position. Kirk Alexander came along for the ride and took second. Dylan Kopec from Palmer, MA had third and pole sitter Keith Rocco fell back into fourth. The top position swapped leads a few times until on lap 7, Preece pulled passed Rocco to take the top spot. Preece went forward to lead until lap 110 when second place runner Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, MA zeroed his #29 modified in, got under Preece coming out of turn two. McKennedy then passed under Preece in turn three to take the lead position. McKennedy’s car was the fastest on the track as he charged forward to take the checkers and race win.

“It was tough those last 30 to 40 laps,” confessed McKennedy in victory lane. “Ryan and I were very equal. We stayed running about two cars lengths apart at the end and Ryan was tough. For at least 40 laps we were nose to tail and I could see his (Preece) car was starting to get free. I was trying to make the time just right off of turn two to get a big run out of turn three. When he pulled away a little bit, I said “Man that is all that I got”. Then I started to change the apex a little bit and I was slowly gaining on him and at the same time I could see him getting a little looser. A few times I had a good run on him and he was able to close the door. It was then that I said “I have to do something a little different to get the timing right.” That last run I got right up to his door and that time he could not pinch me off. So it was a good hard clean passing in three. From there we were able to hold him off those last few laps. We definitely were going as hard as we could those last few laps.“

McKennedy came from last place a couple of times during the race and ran hard to get back to the front. “We had a great car tonight. The car was really good. After the competition yellow we selected to pit right after to swap left side. We basically started tail end twice and basically passed forty cars. We had a great car and a big thanks to my crew.” Exclaimed McKennedy. “We had an A Frame break in a heat race. They basically had to rebuild the whole front end and that put us really behind. So I have to really thank my crew, they really worked hard today.”

“It was great to win in this series being only the second race.” Stated McKennedy with a smile. “And it is great to come out of here with a win. Stafford is a great facility and the track has been real good to me the last few years. To beat one of the best head to head is also good. Ryan is one of the top dogs and they have a good drive with a great team behind them so it was a good win. Now we are off to Lancaster tonight to run a Super Modified in the ISMA tour.”

Preece had a very strong run going and then with less than fifty laps to go his car started to falter. “I do not know what happened. When Chris was in second and all of a sudden he was right on me. My car was getting really tight for some reason. And it was not because of the right rear wearing.” Acknowledge Preece. “Around lap 80 or so, something felt like it just collapsed in the left front and then from there I just had to pump a bunch of rear brake into it trying to get it to turn and to rotate into the center. And that was really early for that to happen. I am a little nervous on why or what may have happened. But we had a good car and there is nothing more than you can ask for. You cannot win every race and nor do I expect to. To lead a race like this a lot of laps and come up just a little short -- it is what it is. Jon and Chris are both hard workers. I just have to work on getting a little better for the next time”.

With a win and now a second place finish, Preece now has another favorite race venue to compete in. “I am really happy with how that car performed. I thought the race went really well. The series does do a good job at keeping the show going. I like the heat races. I actually like Monadnock’s heat race format better. It (#6 modified) was fast qualifying and then it was time trials and then the feature. That was cool.”
Chris Pasteryak hung on for a podium finish and as usual was all smiles and happy at race end. “It was a lot of fun. I drove every lap, all one-hundred and twenty-five green, harder than I drove any lap in an MRS race, except of course for the last five. And I thought that the car had more underneath me the whole time. We missed it. We have the motor combination pretty close. I do not think that I got beat by a Steel Head or Spec Motor. I think that I got beat by two cars that were handling better.”

Wishing he was closer to the leaders at the end to see some of the action, Pasteryak still was happy with a third place finish. “I am sure it was an exciting pass for the lead. I was just not close enough to see it. They were in another zip code. I know we have some ideas for the next time. We will work on it and come back a little bit stronger. We are not close, but we are closer than everyone else behind us.”

Richard Savary, Keith Rocco, Woody Pitkat, Mike Holdridge, Dylan Kopec, Les Hinckley, and Ted Christopher would round out the top ten.

So after a cool night of racing, MTS teams and fans headed home and will prepare for the next race and the challenges that it brings. The MTS series will be at Seekonk Speedway next Saturday night to bring more fun and excitement to the racing community at the ‘Cement Palace’.

Notes from Stafford Motor Speedway Modified Touring Series 125:

Thoughts on American Racer Tires?

Jon McKennedy
Did you take any tires?

“We did take a tire at that caution about lap 70. We pitted with the leaders and we put on a right rear as well.”

Ryan Preece
“The American Racer (tire) races well. I like it. As it wears it does not become a really hang on type of situation.”
With a good tire under him, Preece now has to up his plan, “It becomes a now I have to get up on the wheel and drive my butt off.
And that was what I was trying to do ahead of Jon. He had a little bit more forward drive than I did. So that is something that I need to work on for the next time.”

Chris Pasteryak
“I really liked the tire. I actually loved the tire”.

Thoughts on the MTS series after the second race?

Ryan Preece
“What I like about this series is it does not matter if you are an ROC guy, an MRS guy or a modified tour guy, they make the rules so that they are level field. You have an eighteen degree motor that finished third. You have Spec Motor that finished second and a Steel Head Motor that won. You have three different combinations. And if you looked at Race Monitor I am sure that the lap times were relatively close.”
“To be honest with you, for guys that have 15 gallon cells, that it great for them. But I do not really care. I am going to come and show up just like I would show up for the modified tour. All I am doing is adding some lead and that is what I like about it. I do not have to change anything about my car. If they chose not to give us a forty lap break with adding five gallons, it would not have bothered me one bit because I would have made it on fuel. I always pack it full for a race. You have some guys who are trying to make everybody happy and that is great. We are all racers and we all want to race. It does not matter where we are, we just want a place to race. So when you have something restricting you from going there, it drives people away. That is what is so great about this series, they have a combination that allows anybody whether they are an SK, SK Light, Modified tour car, ROC or an MRS car like I said. Any series can come and run here in the competition. That is what is cool”.

Chris Pasteryak
“I thought our MTS race here went pretty well. We (the series) did not look dumb. Which is good. This 40 lap deal, hopefully they interviewed a couple of guys to try to fill the time a little bit. I am going to come anyway even if it means I have to put a dry brake in the car. Maybe some of those guys that were on the fence saw that we had a good night (The MTS series) and maybe they will come to the next one knowing that I do not have to buy a fuel cell, I do not have to buy a dry brake… There is a safety element too. They are going to come and we are going to try to fuel and knowing that there could be a lot of caution laps with one hundred and twenty-five green flag… It might be a 200 lapper by the time that you get done. Being on the cover of RaceDayCt or Area Auto or Speed51 for a big fire in the right rear with a guy in a tee shirt fueling a car does not look good for anybody. That is worst case. It that is what we have to do to make it safe to get more guys to come then we will do it, If more guys do not come and there is no 40 lap break then we will take it out and we will do it that way.
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 3, 2017

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