Category Archives: Modified Tour Racing

Wrenn Announces Retirement

by Jim Snape

After 26 seasons, over 200 starts and 26 wins, including four championships Norm Wrenn of Nashua, NH will no longer thrill race fans with his dynamic driving skills.

After finishing in third place in the 2015 Modified Racing Series final points, Wrenn announced he will not be driving in the future.

“It’s been really great from day one, we didn’t go out to be aggressive, we did it as a sport, we did it to have fun, we did it to relax. The crew with me today is the same crew that started withDSC_1343 me years ago, we really came a long way.

We won 4 championships along the way, one with the Pro Stocks and three with the Pro Four modified’s. And at the end. I wanted to go out being competitive and I think we were more competitive in the modified’s as we ever have been.

But now I’m 55 and been at it for almost 30 years and last year after we won Seekonk. I told everybody, it’s time. I wanted to go out with a win. Now my body’s getting tired and I have a ton of work to do. I’m going to miss it. I love racing.”

The most notable point in Norms racing career was his first ever victory in the Pro Stock at Star Speedway in 1991, a season where he won a second feature and the Pro Stock championship. “And my first modified victory at Seekonk ranks right up there too” he said. “If I didn’t win that race at Seekonk, I might still keep racing. I won’t fade away from racing because my son is driving Pro Fours now and I’ll work with him. And I’ll support the Pro Four division with help and sponsorship.”

Whelen All American series – 62 starts 4 wins.

PASS North super late-model – 10 starts.

GSPSS – 2 starts.

Pro Four modified – 48 starts 21 wins

VMRS – 91 starts 1 win

Woody Pitkat Crowned Valenti Modified Racing Series Champion

Manchester, NH. — Woody Pitkat, of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, was honored Saturday night, November 7, as the Valenti Modified Racing Series Champion for the 2015 season.

The event was held at the Best Western Executive Inn at Manchester, New Hampshire.

Pitkat was joined by car owner Peter Kulessa, crew chief Greg Felton, and the Patterson Farms race team for the special presentations. The VMRS championship was the first for both Pitkat and Kulessa.

DSC_1336In accepting his award Pitkat thanked the Perry family and Valenti (Auto Group) for all their support and sponsoring of the series. Pitkat acknowledged Jack Bateman, the series founder, saying “thank you for your hard work, time, and sacrifice, to give us a great affordable series to race at week in and week out. I admire your dedication.”

Pitkat also stated winning the series title was his first ever series championship and he considered it a special feat. “I may never win another so this one means a lot.”

He complimented VMRS drivers. “Just because I run the tour does not put me above anyone. I am a race driver and so are these guys with this series. I am grateful for the opportunity to run with them and compete here. I look at it as another addition to my resume.”

Kulessa spoke proudly of his first championship. “It’s unbelievable the guys just worked so hard. Last year we made the switch to Woody and had top five finishes. We knew we had a good car and we knew we had a good driver. This year we were supposed to run a limited schedule. When July rolled around we were leading the points so we decided we might as well give it a shot.”

In addition to the champion, the top 14 drivers were also recognized for their accomplishments. Runner-up Chris Pasteryak, Norman Wrenn, Todd Patnode, Todd Szegedy, Donnie Lashua, Mike Willis Jr, David Schneider, Dennis Perry, Jon McKennedy, Rowan Pennink, Dylan Kopec, Russ Hersey, Anthony Nocella, and Kirk Alexander were recognized.

Annual sponsor and officials awards were also part of the presentation.

Sunoco Race Fuels Jacket: Woody Pitkat
Thirty Race Care Wear Fire Suit Recipient: Matt Mead
Magnus Transmissions Rookie of the Year : Dennis Perry
Jack Competition Engines Most Improved: Carl Medeiros Jr
Tough Luck Award: Todd Patnode
Sportsmanship Award: Mike Willis Sr
Mechanic of the Year Award : Greg Felton
Dedication To Racing Award : Matt Mead
Bob Polverari Award : Kirk Alexander
Above and Beyond Award : Laura and Jerry Elliott

Jack Bateman disclosed that 14 races are on the schedule for 2016 and he anticipates two more dates to be added in the near future. The series will make the announcement as soon as those dates are finalized.

RoC Pavement Series to open 2016 season at Mahoning Valley Speedway

(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 11-5-15) Mahoning Valley Speedway is proud to announce they will play host to the Race of Champions (RoC) Tour for their 2016 season opener which is set for Saturday, April 9.

Mahoning promoter Floyd Santee and RoC head Joe Skotnicki have recently come to terms to bring the popular pavement Modified Series to the ¼-mile oval in Lehighton for the first time in 10 years.

“It’s exciting. That term is over utilized but it is. Mahoning is a terrific track that provides great racing,” said Skotnicki.

“I think it’s a great step for asphalt Modified racing as well. We’re building on the legacy that Andrew (Harpell) created and we know what we’ve got to do and that’s expand and look at things in a different light and have races at places like Mahoning. Floyd and all of the Santee’s have done a terrific job promoting there and it’s great that we could bring things together to put an event on that has all of the elements to become a must see.”

The race will be contested over a 75-lap distance.

The last time the RoC raced at Mahoning Valley was October 21, 2006. Eric Beers took the 100 lap victory over Kory Rabenold and Billy Putney. 40 cars filled the pit area with 28 taking the green.

With this being the first race of the season for both Mahoning and the RoC, it is expected that those numbers will be attainable and then some as many teams will be anxious to get back onto the track after a long winter.

Mahoning Valley has a distinct reputation for constant side-by-side racing and with the RoC Tour coming in and mixing with the regulars, it has all the makings of what could be an instant classic.

“It’s multiple grooves with a lot of opportunities for racers to race, but it’s also very fast. 10-second laps, so the 75 laps will go by quickly, but I think fans will be entertained and on the edge of their seat throughout the event and in the end that’s the goal,” said Skotnicki.

“Personally, it’s great, I’ve enjoyed Mahoning since the very first time I stepped foot inside the place. It’s fun, it’s family oriented, it’s just a great place filled with Modified racing history and you can’t ask for much more than that.”

The RoC has strong roots at Mahoning Valley. Beers, Zane Zeiner and Tony and Matt Hirschman have all raced and won here and then went on to score in the crown jewel of pavement Modified racing, the Sunoco Race of Champions 200.

2015 Mahoning track champion Earl Paules and John Markovic are former winners on the RoC Tour. Austin Kochenash, who finished second this season to Paules, is the 2013 RoC Rookie of the Year. Mahoning Octoberfast 2015 winner Roger Coss raced this past season on the RoC Tour but has spent the past few years in Lehighton.

Bringing together the RoC touring stars to face off against the home team, it will be anyone’s guess as to who can win as asphalt Modifieds best of the best will go head-to-head on the circular bullring.

“I guess we really won’t know until the checkered flag falls on April 9, but I know the talent that will be in the field. There is no telling who can put it together and pull off a great run. It could be a veteran or it could be a guy who has never seen the place before and that’s the excitement of hosting a race like this,” said Skotnicki.

“You just don’t know and it’s a great way to start the year out, a true locals versus the touring series guys battle. It kicks off the run for the Race of Champions Series crown and who knows at the end, maybe it’s a Mahoning regular that comes out on top. Right now, we only know where it begins and it gives all of us something to look ahead and think about throughout the winter months.”

For 2015 RoC champion Matt Hirschman, it’s a race he has longed to have. While traveling countless miles over the past few seasons, this will be a homecoming of sorts as the Northampton resident is only 30 miles from the track.

“It’s going to bring in a lot of new people and it’s going to bring in a lot of people back that maybe haven’t been there in a while. It’s just huge for the whole area,” said Hirschman, who has 14 wins at Mahoning Valley including a record tying 11 in extra distance races with Beers.

“The RoC for the past few years has pretty much been a New York state only series. But now with the new management under Joe Skotnicki they are branching back out and it’s nice to see them coming to our area. To have a race close to home like this will be great to perform in front of our hometown fans plus have a touring race where you’re going to see a lot come in that you wouldn’t see the rest of the year,” he continued.

“I think for a long time Mahoning was like a hidden gem. A lot of people knew of it but know over the last few years, especially under Floyd (Santee) paying the higher purses for the bigger races he’s put on, Mahoning Valley is definitely on the map. Even if people haven’t been there, they’re going to be looking forward to coming to that race because they’ve heard a lot about the track. It’s going to be quite a race.”

Additional details will be released in the coming weeks.