Winchester, NH. — Veteran Monadnock Speedway driver Todd Patnode, of Swanzey, NH, made home track experience pay off Saturday night July 7, taking the lead on lap-64 to win the annual ‘Firecracker 100’ race sanctioned by the Valenti Modified Racing Series. It was the first win of the season for the popular Granite State driver and his third career series win. Patnode’s last VMRS win was August 21, 2016.
Patnode joins Jim Boniface, Peter Daniels, Vinnie Annarummo, and David Pinkham, all with three series wins.
In front of a large crowd on hand for the tracks annual Independence Day fireworks presentation and it’s tradition of the Valenti Modified Racing Series being part of it, Patnode started 21st in a 25-car field and patiently ran near the back of the lineup with the likes of Les Hinckley, of Windsor Locks, CT, Mike Willis Jr, of Grantham, NH, Ron Silk of Norfolk, CT, and eventual second place finisher and series point leader Anthony Nocella, of Woburn, MA, who rolled off in the 25th and final starting position.
Pole sitter Russ Hersey, of Swanzey, took command of the early lead for the first 46-laps. Woody Pitkat, of Bellingham, MA, grabbed the lead on a lap-47 restart when Hersey grabbed it back for two circuits. Hersey and Pitkat flipped the lead back and forth while Patnode was fast approaching. Patnode took command on lap-64 in the Gomarlo’s Supermarket / Gary’s Power Equipment sponsored car and was never headed.
Nocella, who overcame an afternoon full of mechanical woes, largely credited his race team for getting him to a second place finish. Hersey finished a solid third, another strong run for the Warren Mordenti /Central Mass Tree / Twin State Truck Repair team.
Another bright spot in the race was the drive from the 24th starting position to a fourth place finish by Sunapee, NH’s Brian Robie. Robie runs a selected series schedule and the Monadnock(VMRS) finish was his best yet.
Pitkat rounded out the top five.
Donnie Lashua, Hinckley, Kirk Alexander, rookie Jacob Perry, and Sammy Rameau rounded out the top-10.
15 of the 25 cars that started the race were on the lead lap. The race was completed just shy of 55 minutes. Eight caution flags were needed.
Hersey, Joel Monahan, and Matt Mead won qualifying heats. Mead ran a strong race, a solid second for most of the first half.
Next Event: Lee USA Speedway
July 13, 2018
Twin 50-lap Features
Post Time: 7 00 PM
July 7, 2018
Race # 6
Lap Leaders: Hersey (1-46), Pitkat (47) Hersey (48-50), Pitkat (51-56)
Hersey (57-63) Patnode (64-100)
Cautions Flags: Laps 3, 8, 40, 41, 46, 78, 78, 79
Margin of Victory: 0.238
Best Lap Time: 12.01
Best Speed: 70.307 Russ Hersey
Unofficial Order of Finish: (1) Patnode, (2) Nocella, (3) Hersey, (4) Robie, (5) Pitkat, (6) Lashua, (7) Hinckley, (8) Alexander, (9) Perry, (10) Rameau, (11) Savary, (12) Gallup, (13) Willis Jr (14) Monahan, (15) Robbie, (16) Sontag, (17) Gonyaw, (18) Smith, (19) Sherman, (20) Mead, (21) Silk, (22) Richardi, (23) Rock, (24) Bolton, (25) Seidell