SEEKONK, Mass. — Audio & Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Seekonk Speedway photo —
Anthony Nocella set his own pace on Saturday night at Seekonk Speedway — and it ended up paying off in a big way.
The No. 92 Nocella Paving modified parked in victory lane at the end of the 100 lap feature race for the Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS). It was Nocella’s first VMRS victory of the season and it came in dominating fashion, leading the entire second half of the feature.
“I gotta thank all my guys, they really worked hard on this thing this week — we weren’t even really planning on running this race,” Nocella told Race Chaser Online. “We started up front and we just had a really decent car all day. Normally I like to just ride somewhat towards the front and try to save my tires, but I figured the car was good and we restarted second there and I tried to get out front and set my own pace from there.”
The move on the outside to the lead came on a lap 38 restart, when early-race leader Dan Meservey slowed up going into turn one in an attempt to hold the bottom line. Meservey got back in the throttle a split second later than Nocella and that was the difference, with Nocella powering to the lead and really never looking back.
Though he was out front, Nocella had to worry about plenty of things going on behind him. An array of caution flags flew late in the feature event and hitting the restarts perfectly was key to his victory. He knew it would be tough to constantly hit shifts exactly right on each restart, but in the end, it all worked out.
“We kind of set our own pace on each restart and just really tried to keep the car going straight,” Nocella said. “You worry about missing a shift — we’ve had that happen before here running in the lead and that didn’t end well for us. I tried to save the tires and keep the car straight as much as I could.”
The battle to the finish behind Nocella was a tight one. Richard Savary, who started mid-pack and made his way into the top-five in the first half of the race, was battling it out hard with Jon McKennedy during the final circuits.
“Nocella’s car stayed neutral, I saw him starting to loosen up a little and I thought maybe that would work for us, but his car never went away,” Savary said. “Congratulations to him. My car was good until about 20 to go and then it tightened up. I’m really happy to be back here in the top-three and running good again.”
McKennedy had a rough feature for the first 90 laps, but he ended up with a strong run. He started in the mid-pack and worked his way towards the front, but contact with Todd Annarummo at lap 61 sent him spinning down the frontstretch and forced him to the tail end of the field.
From there, McKennedy was the show.
He worked the outside and the inside lane and got himself back to fourth for the final restart of the race at lap 88. He quickly got by Woody Pitkat and grabbed third, but then the battle was on with Savary. He tried to work the inside, the outside and the middle — but nothing was working. Until lap 98, when he rolled by Savary on the outside and gave himself clear sailing to Nocella — but it was too late.
“It’s just to bad, we had a really good car all night,” McKennedy told Race Chaser Online. “We started mid-pack and got our way up into the top-five and then we got spun down the frontstretch — so we decided to pit and made some adjustments and we were able to drive our way all the way up to second there. They knew that we were here tonight.”
Pitkat, who ran inside the top-five for much of the race, ended up finishing in fourth at the time of the checkers. Dave Schneider finished fifth, followed by NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Chase Dowling in sixth.
Todd Patnode, Kyle James, Russ Hersey and local favorite Todd Annarummo rounded out the top-10 at the end of the feature. The Valenti Modified Racing Series returns to action on June 19 at Oxford Plains Speedway. Seekonk Speedway returns to action next Saturday with the Late Model Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series round one.
Audio with race winner Anthony Nocella:
Audio with second place Jon McKennedy:
Audio with third place Richard Savary:
RESULTS: VALENTI MODIFIED RACING SERIES; SEEKONK SPEEDWAY; June 4, 2016
- Anthony Nocella
- Jon McKennedy
- Richard Savary
- Woody Pitkat
- Dave Schneider
- Chase Dowling
- Todd Patnode
- Kyle James
- Russ Hersey
- Todd Annarummo
- Rob Richardi Jr.
- Mike Willis Jr.
- Geoffrey Gernhard
- Branden Dion
- Colbey Fournier
- Carl Mederios Jr.
- Troy Talman
- Matt Mead
- George Sherman
- Dan Meservey
- Chris Pasteryak
- Ryan Kuhn
- Kevin Iannarelli
- Nick Ladyga
- Donnie Lashua
- Dick Houlihan
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
Email Kyle at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @Kouza34
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