Woody Pitkat Scores First Career Valenti Modified Racing Series Victory in 2nd Annual VMRS 80 At
(Stafford Springs, CT)---The Valenti Modified Racing Series made its first of three visits during the
2015 season to Stafford Motor Speedway for the Inaugural VMRS 80. Taking the checkered flag was
former Stafford SK Modified® regular and 2003 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Todd
At the drop of the green flag, Keith Rocco took the lead from the pole, but he was overtaken by Ryan
Preece on lap-2. Dylan Kopec was third in the early running with Woody Pitkat and Rowan Pennink
lined up behind him.
Rocco retook the lead from Preece on lap-5 but Preece came right back the next lap and moved back
to the point. The lead changed hands for the third consecutive lap as Rocco went back to the front
on lap-8. Pitkat got by Kopec to move into third on lap-9 with Pennink in fifth and Steve Masse sixth.
Preece rode behind Rocco until lap-13 when he took the lead with a pass in turns 3+4. Pitkat was
still third, with Kopec, Pennink, Masse, Ted Christopher, Richard Savary, and Donnie Lashua lined up
behind him in a single file train of cars.
Rocco took to the outside groove on lap-20 to move around Preece and move back into the race lead.
Preece then tried the high groove on lap-21 and he had enough of a run to beat Rocco back to the line
and lead the lap. Preece then cleared Rocco on lap-22 while Pitkat, Kopec, Pennink, Masse, and
Christopher continued to run in line behind them.
Things began to settle in as Preece was at the front of a 9-car train made up of himself, Rocco,
Pitkat, Kopec, Pennink, Masse, Christopher, Savary, and Todd Szegedy. The order shuffled on lap-31
as Savary and Szegedy both got around Christopher while at the front of the pack, the lead changed
hands again as Rocco went back to the lead.
Preece retook the lead on lap-36 but Rocco came right back on lap-37 to go back out front. Pitkat
was now right on the back bumper of Preece, with Steve Masse was quietly making a charge towards
the front as he was now up to fourth place behind the lead trio. Preece went back by Rocco for the
lead on lap-40 and Rocco would surrender second to Pitkat on lap-47. The caution came out with 50
laps complete for Pennink, who spun at the exit of turn 2.
Masse and Savary touched on the restart with Savary sliding through the infield grass and Masse
then spinning in turn 1 to bring the caution right back out.
Pitkat took the lead back under green with Preece in second. Rocco was side by side with Szegedy
for third with Kirk Alexander right behind them. A multicar incident in turn 2 brought the caution out
with 51 laps complete.
Rocco went back to the lead on the restart with Pitkat second, Pitkat third, Preece fourth, and Todd
Patnode fifth. Pitkat was applying pressure to Rocco’s back bumper but was unable to make a pass.
Rocco and Pitkat were beginning to pull away from Szegedy in third in a 2-car fight for the lead.
Pitkat was able to make a pass for the lead on lap-68 and with 10 laps to go, Rocco was looking high
and low to get back around Pitkat. The caution came back out with 74 laps complete as Norm Wrenn
took a hard hit into the wall coming out of turn 4.
The order for the restart was Pitkat and Rocco on the front row, Szegedy and Christopher in the
second row, and Preece and Patnode in the third row. Pitkat took the lead on the restart with Rocco
slotting into second behind him. Szegedy got by Christopher for third and Patnode was fifth. Pitkat
was able to hold Rocco off to the checkered flag to pick up his first Valenti Modified Racing Series
feature victory. Szegedy finished third, with Christopher and Patnode rounding out the top-5.
VMRS 80 (80)
1) Woody Pitkat
2) Keith Rocco
3) Todd Szegedy
4) Ted Christopher
5) Todd Patnode
6) Kirk Alexander
7) Rowan Pennink
8) Dan Meservey, Jr.
9) Dylan Kopec
10) Mike Willis, Jr.
11) Richard Savary
12) David Schneider
13) Ryan Preece
14) Donnie Lashua
15) Bobby Drown
16) Matt Mead
17) Dennis Perry
18) Chris Bolton
19) George Sherman
20) Norm Wrenn
21) Roy Seidell, Jr.
22) Charlie Pasteryak
23) Steve Masse
24) Chris Pasteryak
25) Mike Keeler
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) is proud to host the inaugural race for the Formula
Lites on its 1.7 mile road course, as part of a double race-weekend on May 29-30. The newly formed
Formula Lites series represents the future of open-wheel racing for developing drivers. Featuring the
very latest technology and engineering, and powered by a 2.4-liter, 16-valve Honda engine, these cars
provide an avenue for drivers looking to climb the open-wheel ladder to series such as IndyCar or
The Formula Lites will be joined by the longest running Formula racing series in the country, the
Formula Vee’s who continue to race under SCCA sanction. Spec Racer Fords and the INEX Legend
Cars will also join the action on Friday and Saturday. TSMP will be only the second road course
included in the Legend Cars 2015 racing schedule.
Don’t miss out on the exciting open-wheel action at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park! For more
information about the event, visit our website www.thompsonspeedway.com or call (860) 923-2280.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube for the most up-to-date information about our events
Ridgefield, CT, modified veteran Todd Szegedy led the opening 11-laps before turning over the top
spot to local favorite Kirk Alexander, of West Swanzey, NH, regained the lead on lap-57 to go on and
win the ‘Bond Auto Parts Spring Dash 100’ before a large crowd Saturday night at Winchester, New
Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway.
The race was the season opener for the Valenti Modified Racing Series.
The win was the third for Szegedy and car owner Kevin Stuart and their second at Monadnock.
Szegedy started first in the 24-car field and when passed by Alexander fell back to third and never
out of the top five.
Was that the plan by the driver of the Stuart Automotive #85 in advance if the 100-lap race. I had a
set pace that I knew I wanted to abide by. I stuck to my guns and let the guys go. I focused on not
spinning the wheels on restarts. I had to drive a little hard to pass those guys but for the most part
that’s what it takes.”
Szegedy furthered, “It’s a great start. We come here to race and win. I’m coming into the season
with a whole new attitude of having fun and having fun is going to get me wins. This crew made all
the right adjustments. Thanks to Kevin and Kenny Stuart and the crew.”
Woody Pitkat, of Stafford Springs, CT, drove the Peter Kulessa owned modified to a solid runner-up
Pitkat explained,“ It was a good race and a good finish to start the season. The car got real tight
towards the end.I was kinda surprised. It got real tight in the center loose off. just battled and did
the best I could. Can’t thank these guys enough for giving me the opportunity. Hats off to Todd.
(Szegedy) We’ll work on this and get it better for Stafford.”
(Thompson, CT) - A full house of fans was on hand to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Thompson
Speedway Motorsports Park for Icebreaker weekend, and the racing couldn’t have been better. Doug
Coby swept the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour action by winning the pole and backing it up with a
dominating win in the Icebreaker 150. Celebrating victories in the NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series were Ryan Preece in the Sunoco Modified Series, Marc Curtis in the Late Model division, Scott
Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman, and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks. Other winners included
Dillon Moltz in the Granite State Pro Stock Series and Scott Quinn in the Vintage Outlaws.
Returning NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Doug Coby earned another notch in his belt when
he earned his 11thcareer victory – his second at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and his first
ever win in the Icebreaker.
Coby, who also set fast time in qualifying the day before, took the early lead and proved from the
start he was going to be the man to beat. A few early race cautions stopped him from pulling out to a
commanding lead, but after a lap 36 restart, that’s exactly what he did.
Not even a red flag could stop him. Once racing resumed, Coby was back out to a ten car length lead
over Bobby Santos and Ted Christopher.
A round of pit stops shook things up a bit putting Ron Silk in the lead, but Coby jumped six spots on
the restart to run fourth before caution flew at lap 84 for Troy Talman. On the lap 90 restart, Coby
moved into second behind Silk and then a caution tightened him up for a double file restart.
Coby reclaimed the lead on lap 100 when he went by Silk in turn three. Ryan Preece and Silk took
tires under caution in hopes to give themselves a shot at Coby up front. Timmy Solomito moved into
the second spot on a restart at lap 118 putting him side-by-side with Coby for a restart at lap 122.
Coby jumped right back out to the front with Santos taking over the second spot.
Coby pulled away to a significant lead before caution was out again at lap 135. Coby handled the
restart as well as he had any other, but this time it was Pitkat who took over the second spot. On the
final lap, a five car tangle in turn four resulted in Coby taking the checkers under caution.
Ryan Preece used a late-race pass to slingshot past Keith Rocco on lap 69 and drive on to the victory
in the Sunoco Modified 75 lap race Sunday afternoon. It was a battle right down to the wire in a race
that was plagued by 12 caution periods.
“We found something there on the bottom of the track,” said Preece about his pass for the lead.
Kerry Malone jumped to the front at the start of the feature, but contact in the rear of the field
brought the race under caution before the field reached turn two. Malone held off Woody Pitkat in
turn one to hold on to the lead when the green flag dropped once again. Pitkat and Preece rounded
out the top-three and the front trio were all nose-to-tail.
Caution flew for a spun car on lap 10, but did not slow the pace of Malone who drove right back out
front. Pitkat missed a shift on the restart and allowed Preece to move up to second followed by
Shawn Thibeault. It wasn’t long, however, before caution was out again for a three-car wreck in turn
Preece won the race into turn one, but went high in turn two and allowed Malone to drive back out
front. The carnage wasn’t over as a battle between Thibeault and Timothy Jordan resulted in the two
in the outside retaining wall in turn three.
Preece and Malone went into turn one side-by-side but it was Preece who won the battle and came
out the leader out of turn two, but the fifth caution was flown when a car spun into the infield grass
on the front stretch. Preece claimed the lead on the restart, but it was Keith Rocco who took over
the second position.
Cautions continued to plague the event making it difficult for any driver to make progress, but Rocco
was able to do just that on a lap 15 restart when he took over the lead from Preece coming out of
turn two. Preece attached himself to Rocco’s bumper and the duo pulled away from the rest of the
Rocco and Preece picked up right where they left off after a brief cleanup for an accident on the
front stretch. Rocco remained the leader through a few more caution periods before a long green flag
run finally developed. Thirty laps into the race, Rocco led Preece, Pitkat, Malone, and Nick Ladyga.
Rocco got a little breathing room at lap 45 when Preece fell back a car length, but it was only
temporary as Preece was right back on his bumper by lap 50. Pitkat, meanwhile, was ten car lengths
behind in third. The field strung out single file as the longest run of the day ticked off the laps and
once again allowed Rocco to get a little breathing room from the determined Preece.
The race took a dramatic turn on lap 69 when Preece, who had patiently been riding behind Rocco all
day, shot around for the lead. Rocco tried to reclaim it, but failed in his attempts. Preece drove on
for the win.
Marc Curtis earned a convincing victory in the 25-lap Late Model feature event Sunday afternoon
after taking the lead from Chris Curtis in an early-race restart and never looking back.
Chris Curtis took the early lead with Marc Curtis taking over second from Chad LaBastie before
caution slowed the pace on lap two. Chris Curtis, however, was the man out front on the restart with
Marc Curtis giving him a run for his money. Both Curtis’ were battling side-by-side when a three-car
wreck in turn two brought out the second caution on lap three.
Marc Curtis drove to the point on the restart with Chris Curtis in tow. Eddie LeClerc rounded out the
top three. Caution slowed the pace briefly, but Marc Curtis was able to return to the front of the
pack as LeClerc gave Chris Curtis a challenge for the second spot. Rick Gentes got into the mix as
he drove around LeClerc for the third position. Gentes continued his progression by taking over the
second spot on a restart at lap 11 as Marc Curtis continued to dominate out front.
The cars strung out as Curtis continued to dominate, but the field jostled for position in the closing
laps as they battled for the second spot. Curtis cruised to the checkered flag and it was Gentes,
Chris Curtis and Wayne Helliwell, Jr. rounding out the top-four.
Patience paid off for Dillon Moltz, who checkered the first event of the season for the Granite State
Pro Stock Series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Moltz took the lead halfway through the
race when Todd Stone, who had led every previous lap, wrecked in turn two.
Stone led the field at the drop of the green flag, and despite a caution flag at lap five, continued to
show the way around after the restart. Mike O’Sullivan, Brad Babb, Dillon Moltz and Larry Gelinas
rounded out the top-five.
As Stone pulled away to a comfortable lead, Babb drove around O’Sullivan to take over the second
spot on lap 10. By lap 15, Babb was on Stone’s bumper and putting himself in position to challenge.
Babb looked to the low groove, but couldn’t get a run on him before caution flew at lap 18.
Stone commanded the restart with Babb putting the pressure on in second. Coming across the line
with 21 laps complete, Babb made a challenge on the outside and the two made contact. Stone spun
out of control and drove into the turn two wall hard.
Moltz inherited the lead for the restart, but proved he belonged there when he pulled away by five car
lengths over Derek Griffith. Reid Lanpher rounded out the top three. Moltz was unstoppable, but
Gelinas was on the move. On lap 32, he took over third and set his sights on closing up the distance
to the leaders.
Claremont, NH - Derek Griffith picked up his first career Granite State Pro Stock Series victory in dominating fashion
as Claremont Speedway opened up a new chapter.
Griffith, of Hudson, NH became a quick study in his first visit to the tricky quarter-mile oval. His first laps around the
speedway were some of the fastest he would turn all night, and the quickest of the 13 cars that arrived. He also led second
round practice as well.
Two rounds of qualifying saw Jeremy Davis pick up the first round over Tom O’Sullivan and Cory Robert. Larry Gelinas and
Bryon Baker rounded out the top five.
Griffith picked up the Sunoco Checkers in the second round, besting Mike O’Sullivan, Barry Gray, Mike Parks and Guy Caron.
As the green dropped on the field, in what was the longest race in series history, Davis and Griffith battled side by side for
the opening lap. Griffith was able to get the better of Jeremy, and took off from the field. By lap 20, the pair had pulled away
by over half a straightaway over Mike and Tom O’Sullivan and Cory Robert.
The first caution dropped on lap 31, when Larry Gelinas spun in the second turn. This was the first of the two yellows that
On the restart, Griffith missed a shift, giving Davis the lead. The pair raced single file while Griffith regained his rhythm, and
at lap 40, the Hudson native moved past, and into the lead once again.
By lap 50, Griffith and Davis once again pulled away, with Barry Gray, Josh King and Mike O’Sullivan the top five.
The final caution came out on lap 54, when Zig Geno and Cory Robert got together and spun in the second turn.
This restart was kinder to the leader, and Griffith took off and started to pull away from the pack once again. While it was
kinder to the leaders, several cars got together in the second turn, including both O’Sullivan brother and Mike Parks. While
everyone kept moving, and no caution was thrown, it jumbled up the field.
The final 71 laps ran without incident. Parks and Mike O’Sullivan started their march back through the field, moving their way
into the top five by the end of the race. Jeremy Davis saw his tires go away, dropping him out of the top five.
With less than 50 laps to go, Barry Gray started closing on the leader, and had closed the lead to about 5 car lengths, but that
is as close as he would get. As they worked through the lapped traffic, Griffith continued his dominance, and by the
checkered flag, he has a one and a half second advantage.
Gray wound up second, with Parks, Mike O’Sullivan and Larry Gelinas rounding out the top five.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series returns to the high banks of Monadnock Speedway on Saturday, May 23. For more
information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, visit www.gspss.net.
Ah yes, opening night. Time to re-acquaint yourself with the sights, sounds and smells of the race track. Everything from the
teams and drivers, the sounds of dozens of V8 engines, and the oh-so-pungent smell of leaded race fuel.
Ultimately, opening night at Lebanon Valley Speedway had partly cloudy skies, but chilly temperatures that dipped down into
the low 40’s by the time the night was over. In other words, it was a typical April night of racing. With the Super DIRTCar
Series holding their season opener Saturday night at Fulton Speedway, only appearance points were on the line for the
Modifieds, but that didn’t take away from the action at all.
JR Heffner started from pole by virtue of winning his heat race with Kenny Tremont, Jr. right alongside. As the race got
going, the two past champions who had battled in their heat race pulled away from the rest of the field while Wayne Jelley
and Kyle Sheldon fought over third.
After a few laps of trying to make the move, Tremont made the pass for the lead on Heffner in turn 4 on lap 9. Amidst the
loud cheers from the assembled crowd, Tremont began to pull away from the pack in the heavy traffic.
Jelley and Sheldon made short work of Andy Bachetti and proceeded to spend nearly the entire race nose-to-tail or side-by-
side, their battle only briefly interrupted by lapped traffic. Eventually, Jelley was able to get the upper hand.
The race ran caution-free, allowing Tremont to coast on his huge lead to his record-extending 121st career Modified victory
at the Valley. It is his first win on the high banks since August, 2013.
Tremont was very pleased with his victory afterwards.
“The way things have been going here, I’m happy to get another win,” Tremont said. “All my crew guys kept digging. Last
year wasn’t so good, but maybe this year will be.”
By virtue of finishing in the top-4, Tremont, Heffner, Jelley and Sheldon have qualified for a match race against Brett Hearn
that will take place on May 9th. The winner of the match race, sponsored by the upcoming series Dirt Track Outlaws, will
receive $250. Also, the top-6 finishers will start in the top-6 starting spots in the May 2nd Modified feature.
Modified Results: 1) 115- Kenny Tremont, Jr., 2) 74- JR Heffner, 3) 45J- Wayne Jelley, 4) 42- Kyle Sheldon, 5) 98- Eddie
Marshall, 6) 34B- Andy Bachetti, 7) 55-Mike King, 8) 98S- Kolby Schroder, 9) 17- Rob Pitcher, 10) 60- Brian Berger, 11) 47- Jeff
Watson, 12) 25J- Chad Jeseo, 13) 87X- Paul Gilardi, 14) 42P- Matt Pupello, 15) 34- Steve Hough, 16) 81- D.J. Faulkner, 17) 1X-
Denny Soltis, 18) 11A- Kyle Armstrong, 19) 24S- Rich Salisbury, 20) 16- Kyle Hoffman, 21) 17R- Elmo Reckner, 22) 12- Tyler
Chartrand, 23) 10- Lorne Browe, 24) 6- Ken McGuire, 25) 43- Keith Flach (at Fulton), 26) 20- Brett Hearn (at Fulton), 27) 115C-
Small Block Entires: 25- Frank Harper, 111- Demetrios Drellos, 1- Jason Herrington, 250- Alan Houghtaling, 83- Chad Pierce,
72- Ray Hall, Jr., 88JR- Olden Dwyer, 13- Frank Hoard, III, 20- David Schilling
|OLD School Photos