MYSTIC, Conn. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Crystal Snape photo —
As of late, the common trend has been for the Valenti Modified Racing Series to be surrounded by controversy.
Whether it comes from a questionable call at the Lee USA Speedway October event in 2014 that dropped Tommy Barrett to the rear after he won the event, or the events of Saturday evening’s event at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, the series seems to be the one that everyone keeps talking about — for better or for worse.
The car counts so far in 2015 have been up and down, with some races pushing 35 cars and other races just barely holding twenty modifieds in the pit area.
Last Saturday night, the series ran at Beech Ridge up in Maine, with twin 50 lap feature events on the schedule. The series had said there would be one overall winner on the night — the driver who held the best average finish across the two segments.
In the middle of the two, an invert took place with the whole field. That meant that whoever finished last in the first segment would start pole in the final race and the winner of the first event would start last in that event.
Driver of the No. 12 Luff Industries ride, Todd Annarummo, told Race Chaser Online the format really just did not work.
“That track is too tight for the invert to be like that. There were some guys starting up front who had no business being there.”
Win Taken From Pitkat On Last Lap Move
On the final lap of the second segment Saturday, with Woody Pitkat out front in the overall results and second in the actual segment, Pitkat dove to the inside of leader Richard Savary trying to make a pass for the lead and win.
The two made contact, sending Savary around and Pitkat to the back per the officials for the contact. That decision gave Anthony Nocella the overall victory, not Pitkat. Officials deemed that Pitkat’s penalty was correct per the “A-B” rule, which says that in the event of two drivers making contact, both must go the tail end of the field.
Race Chaser Online reached out to Pikat on Tuesday evening for comments regarding the finish, to which Pitkat admitted he had “nothing good” to say.
Pitkat went from what would have been a win in the overall results down to 11th. It also affected the points championship battle for the series, since Pitkat had come into the event as the leader by 34 points over Todd Patnode, who finished sixth in the event.
The series still has not released any updated points standings, now five days after the event.
Series Changes Finishing Order Without Notice Until Tuesday
The series Public Relations department released a finishing order on Saturday evening that placed Anthony Nocella as the winner, with Todd Szegedy in second and Annarummo third. After a review of the rundown, officials deemed Annarumo had actually finished in second spot.
Annarummo informed Race Chaser Online on Tuesday that he spoke with series officials and they stated he actually finished second instead of third.
“I am sure Jack Bateman will update the results. I think he is just finishing doing them. I actually called Jack to see if he reviewed the finish because I didn’t think it was correct. He did call me back later in the day and say he did correct it and that I would be awarded second, but that he was still reviewing the entire finish at that time.”
With the new updated finish, which the series finally released on Tuesday night, Anthony Nocella won the event with Annarummo in second and Szegedy third.
“The whole format of the twin races stinks. Here we were on Tuesday, and they still are trying to figure out results from Saturday, it’s a shame.”
Szegedy, Stuart Problems Continue With VMRS
On Tuesday afternoon Kevin Stuart, the car owner of the No. 85 driven by Todd Szegedy, added that the series had not yet called him regarding the apparent change in the finishing order of Saturday’s event.
“I heard that we would be dropped to third but they have not called me yet. It does not surprise me that they didn’t call because that is how they operate.”
“The whole series is a joke. That is just how they operate. When we were disqualified from the Claremont race last month they never even picked up the phone. We had to find out on the internet.”
Stuart’s brother Kenny, who also works on the team, also commented on the series decision and the issues the team has had in the past.
“I find it kinda funny that we came in second and I am now told they didn’t have any transponders working in the tower, so how do they even know who finished where,” Kenny said. “They were basically guessing on who finished where crossing the finish line at the end. It’s a joke.”
Stuart also went into detail about a late race restart situation he felt should be in question by officials.
“The caution came out and when we restarted Todd (Szegedy) passed two cars during three laps and then the caution came out again. All of a sudden they dropped us back to sixth even though we were clearly ahead of them. If Annarummo finished in front of us, I completely am for them putting him there in the results, but he should have never been in front of us on that restart.”
“We were told earlier in the day when we asked for practice results that they didn’t have anyone that could get them at the track. They have to physically score cars and everyone is human, they obviously made a mistake.”
Not only did Kenny Stuart discuss the event at Beech Ridge, he also shared with Race Chaser Online that when the Stuart’s family-owned car was disqualified at Claremont, he witnessed multiple other cars fail inspection without penalty.
“Hey, we were in the wrong and I am okay with the DQ from that race. But, I watched ten cars go across the scales illegally and they only told two or three drivers to fix the car before the feature. They do whatever they want and the technical inspector has absolutely no idea what is going on. I had to tell him one of the rules because he did not know.”
With the events at Beech Ridge now in the rear view mirror, the Valenti Modified Racing Series next scheduled event is this coming Saturday evening at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut.
The series will be part of the annual “Wings and Wheels Spectacular,” co-headlining the night with the International SuperModified Association and the NEMA Midgets.
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 all things from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. He also works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night PA announcer and is the PR Director of the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
Email Kyle at: email@example.com
Follow on Twitter: @Kouza34