The Valenti Modified Racing Series Spring Dash 100 headlines Monadnock Speedway’s season opener Saturday.
The Modifieds began the 2014 Series schedule at Waterford Speedbowl last weekend and Connecticut drivers dominated. Keith Rocco, a multi-time Waterford champion, won, followed by prior VMRS champion Chris Pasteryak, Todd Szegedy, Jeff Rocco and Max Zachem. Pasteryak and Zachem are Series regulars who typically run the full schedule.
“I drew a bad number for my heat race, but I wound up starting 12th,” Pasteryak said. “This was the first race on the new right rear tire Hoosier has developed for the series. It seemed pretty good. It was durable enough that you could race hard in your heat if you had to and not have to lag back in the feature in order to have something at the end.”
Pasteryak drives the 5CT sponsored by Dawley’s Collision and Custom of Waterford. He said he will be at Lee USA May 11 for the Tri-Track Modified Open Series Bullring Bash 100. That three-race series is independent of the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Event number two in that series is slated for Star Speedway June 14.
Modified Series Rookie of the Year contender Mike Willis Jr. of Grantham, a former regular at the now defunct Canaan Fair Speedway, finished 10th at Waterford.
One car that will likely get cheered on more than any other this Saturday is the Trader John’s Gun Shop No.88 — the most recent ride of Modified veteran Jim Boniface for owner John Corliss. Corliss raced at the Mad Dog when it opened as a dirt track in 1971. Boniface, gravely ill with cancer, is planning to attend Saturday’s race to watch multi-time Modified champion Kirk Alexander wheel the No. 88.
“I’ll be there,” Boniface said this week. “I want to thank Kirk, who’s been doing all the work on the car to get it ready. I had it all torn apart last fall and haven’t been able to get it back together myself. Kirk’s been at it in the shop every night with several guys. We’ve had our wars on the race track, but everybody’s been very helpful.”
Boniface drove both Modifieds and Pro-Stocks and has over 100 career wins. “I’ve always loved the Modifieds,” he said.
Bill Kimball of Bennington begins defense of his Sportsman Modified track title this weekend. Other divisions in action include the Pro 4 Modifieds, Super Stocks, and Mini Stocks.
Eddie MacDonald added another first to his racing resume by winning the American Canadian Tour Governor’s Cup 150 at Lee USA Sunday. The crowd was held down a bit by cold temperatures and overcast skies, but the racing was good. There were several lead changes and only three cautions.
MacDonald ended up on the pole via ACT’s plus-minus handicapping rule, but he didn’t contest the lead at first. He was running in sixth at the halfway mark.
Rhode Island driver Ray Parent took the lead on a lap-64 restart when multi-time champion Brian Hoar got turned around and he held the point until only five laps remained. By then MacDonald had come back up through with the Grimm Construction/Hancock Electric No. 17 and he was putting on the pressure when Parent lost the reins exiting turn two and spun out of contention.
“I fell back a bit at the start, but that was OK because there was no need to push it on cold tires,” MacDonald said. “I’m glad that we could finally get a win here. I’ve always wanted to win an ACT opener. I thought I was running out of time near the end. It was too bad for Ray, he drove a great race.”
Joey Polewarczyk Jr. was stout as the eventual runner-up in the Pole’s Automotive/NHPrecision.com No. 97. Dover’s Wayne Helliwell Jr. finished third. Duane Skofield of Plaistow won the Northeast Classic Lites prelim.
Racing returns to Twin State Speedway this season after a year’s absence. Owner Dennis Fleury has handed over the weekly asphalt racing operation to Jim Zullo. Twin State continues to offer Archie Archambault’s Karting Series on Sunday afternoons and Arena Series (Mud) racing on several Saturday afternoons.
Zullo says there are about 12-15 cars per division (Late Models, Super Streets, Limited Sportsman and Wildcats) prepping for the season opener Saturday, April 26. That will happen after a downtown car show and a procession on the Claremont streets up to Thrasher Road. The Northeast Classic Lites will also be on hand opening day.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.