Track Side: Valenti Modified Series remains tight
THE Valenti Modified Series resumes Saturday on Wings and Wheel Night at Waterford Speedbowl amidst a tight points battle between Justin Bonsignore of West Islip, N.Y. (363), Rowan Pennink (362), Carl Pasteryak (354) and Todd Szegedy (353). Bonsignore, Pennink and Szegedy will also be racing Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway in the Call Before You Dig 811 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150.
The Waterford race card includes the ISMA Supermodifieds, the NEMA Midgets, NEMA LIte and SK Modifieds.
For those who have spun out on the internet lately trying to access updated Valenti Modified Series information, note that the new address in the aftermath of personnel changes and discontent is now — themodifiedracingseries.com.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series is at Monadnock Saturday for a 100-lapper. Maines’ Larry Gelinas is the alpha wolf in that series, having tallied a win and three seconds in the last four races. Gelinas was leading at Lee USA before a late caution brought winner Joey Polewarczyk Jr. alongside. Gelinas is the point leader (258) ahead of Connecticut youngblood Dillon Moltz (228) and Matt Frahm of Hampstead (223).
One competitor Gelinas is likely to have to contend with at Monadnock is veteran Russ Hersey of Swanzey, who will strap into the Maynard Bros. No. 42 sponsored by Twin State Trucking. Hersey took over the ride from former Thompson Speedway Competition Director and Pro-Stock ace Jeff Zuidema, who has had to step aside because of back problems.
Monadnock’s Sportsman Modified division appears pretty healthy, although it’s being dominated somewhat by veteran Todd Patnode of Richmond. Patnode had his sixth win of the season fall into his lap last week when race leader Scott MacMichael spun out through a pool of fluid with three laps to go.
There are several rookies in Monadnock’s Sportsman Modified class and two of them, Kim Rivet of Chicopee, Mass. and soon-to-be Monadnock High School junior JT Cloutier, 15, son of the track’s GM Michelle Cloutier, are doing very well.
Rivet, who enjoyed much success in Mini Stocks, drives the Rivera Racing No. 99 sponsored by 95.3 The Wolf, E&W Salvage of Walpole and Kmiec’s Garage of Alstead. Kmiec’s has been sponsoring race cars since the days when Claremont (Twin State) Speedway was a dirt track.
Rivet and Cloutier are presently tied for New Hampshire NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors in a battle that tightened last week. “We lost a motor in practice, but thanks to Gary Knight, we were able to run the feature with a borrowed motor,” Rivet said. “I got up to fifth from last, but with five to go, that one quit too.”
Rivet reports that the Sportsman Mods (602 GM crate engines) require a lot of breaking in and through the center of the turns to get the weight transfer needed up front. “I didn’t use the brakes much in the Mini Stock and, I had fenders,” she said.
I jumped the green last week regarding the American Canadian Tour event at Beech Ridge. It’s this Saturday, Aug. 9 — post time 7 p.m.
Ben Belanger of Whitefield won the Strictly Minis Triple 20s event at White Mountain.
Hudson Speedway’s Sunday race card includes the Don Hayes Memorial for the Roadrunner division.Lance Barthelmy of Fremont won the first segment of last Friday’s Supermodified event at Lee, only to get torn up in a red-flag wreck in round two. Sparky MacIver came out on top in the second segment, but Jake Stergois had the last laugh when he dominated the final 10-lap shootout from the outside pole and came away with the lowest combined segment score and the overall win.
Lee hosts the ISMA Supermodified Ollie Silva Memorial 75-lap Mid-Summer Classic, presented by Haffner’s “It Kicks”, tomorrow night. The ISMA Supers were recently out at Sandusky Speedway in Ohio and they endured a three-and-a-half hour rain delay during the Hy-Miler 100, which was eventually won by defending champion Lou Cicconi. Jeff Locke of Raymond finished fourth. Ben Seitz, the former NEMA Midget standout, won a 40-lap event the previous night.Rob Summers of Vernon, Conn., having a very steady season despite not having won a race, leads Jon McKennedy in ISMA points (749-736). Seitz is third (722) six points ahead of Cicconi.Chris Perley will race at Lee USA and Waterford in Vic Miller’s No. 11. “It’s a fun race, a good time,” Perley said of the Ollie Silva Memorial.
By most accounts, Ollie Silva won over 500 features races. Many of them, it was widely observed, in equipment that was less than stellar, new or shiny. He was a member of the first class of inductees of the New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame in 1998 along with Richie Evans, Rene Charland, Pete Hamilton, Bugsy Stevens and Ron Bouchard.
Quoting former Star Speedway champion Dick Batchelder, himself a NEAR Hall-of-Famer, “Ollie didn’t ride in the car. He wore it.”
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.