Oxford, ME. — Two Massachusetts racers shared top honors Saturday night, June 18, when Anthony Nocella of Woburn, and Jon McKennedy, of East Chelmsford, each captured wins in the Valenti Modified Racing Series twin 50-lap feature races at Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, ME.
In the first 50-lap go, Chris Pasteryak, of Jewett City, CT, started on the pole and led the opening 9-laps when Dan Meservey Jr, of Chatham, MA. took command until lap 19.
Northport, NY’s David Schneider then grabbed the lead and held it through the 34th circuit when suddenly Nocella, in the family owned #92, took over the lead and held on through lap- 50 to win his second consecutive race and 4th VMRS career win.
Post race Nocella stated, “ I’d like to thank all my guys. They gave me an awesome car again especially having to start a little deeper because we won the last time. The car was great early and we worked our way through. It went away a little at the end but it was good enough.”
On the inside pass of leader Schneider, “ I figured I had a shot when I cleared (Richard) Savary to the bottom there and Jon (McKennedy) was working the # 19 over (Schneider) pretty good. I didn’t know which lane to go in but I saw him getting a little tight there and when he washed up little trying to hold off Jon figured I’d take a shot and go for it.”
Only two caution flags slowed the race. 17 cars finished on the lead lap. The event was completed in 21-minutes.
In the second event, Carl Medeiros Jr, of Westport, MA, and Branden Dion, of Taunton, MA, were the early leaders but it was McKennedy, with Pasteryak giving chase, showing the way prior to the half way point with McKennedy holding on to the top spot to nab his second win this season and his 17th career VMRS victory. McKennedy pulls to within 2 wins to tie Les Hinckley (19 wins) for 2nd on the all time win list.
The highlight of the second race was the strong showing and runner-up finish by long-time veteran George Sherman of Framingham, MA. Sherman started the race fourth and ran steady through the event. In the closing stages he passed Pasteryak for second and his best ever finish with the VMRS. Drivers, officials, family and friends, an emotional moment for many in victory lane, greeted Sherman.
“I’d like to thank my crew. they got the car working good for me. The car was getting better and better for me every lap. I was hoping to do good tonight but this is more than I expected.”
Sherman added, “I knew about halfway through the second race I had something for the front. It feels really good to have the car competitive. We’ve been struggling and hopefully it’s a turning point for us.
Sherman had long-time friend and racer Joe Doucette serving as spotter who one night back in 2011, after many years of trying, finally put his race car in victory lane at of all places. Oxford Plains. Both Sherman and Doucette came to the series from the Pro4 Modified division.
Pasteryak, Russ Hersey, of Swanzey, NH, and Colby Fournier, of Berkley, MA, rounded out the top five. Fournier notched his best finish and was solid through the second main event.
Three yellows were displayed in the second event. 9 cars finished on the lead lap. The race was completed in 22-minutes.
Unofficial order of finish: (Race 1). (1) Nocella, (2) McKennedy, (3) Schneider (4) Savary (5) Pitkat, (6) Meservey (7) Richardi (8) Hersey (9) Patnode (10) Mead (11) Lashua (12) Pasteryak (13) Willis (14) Sherman (15) Dion (16) Ianarelli (17) Medeiros (18) Fournier (19) Bleau (20) Haley)
Unofficial order of finish: (Race 2) (1) McKennedy (2) Sherman (3) Pasteryak (4) Hersey (5) Fournier (6) Willis (7) Pitkat (8) Mead (9) Dion (10) Schneider (11) Richardi (12) Savary (13) Medeiros (14) Meservey (15) Ianarelli (16) Bleau (17) Haley (18) Patnode (19) Nocella (20) Lashua
Seekonk, MA — Anthony Nocella passed early race leader Dan Meservey Jr. after a lap-38 caution flag, and went on to dominate the Valenti Modified Racing Series sanctioned 100-lap race at Seekonk Speedway, Saturday night, June 5.
The win was the third (VMRS) victory for the Woburn Massachusetts driver whose last win was August 15,2015. Nocella becomes the fourth different driver to win in four races this season.
By virtue of winning the first heat race, Meservey started on the pole and looked impressive early on until Nocella took command. The #92 Nocella Paving Chevrolet became the target with the series top guns giving chase.
Chris Pasteryak chased the race leaders until a lap 73 flat tire knocked him from contention. Then Richard Savary, Woody Pitkat, Chase Dowling and Dave Schneider gave chase.
In the late stages, Jon McKennedy hunted down the race leader after being involved in contact with another car on lap-61. McKennedy pitted, went to the rear of the field, and then electrified the crowd as he attempted to get back to the front. By lap-70 he was 11th, lap-80 fourth, and on lap-93 was challenging Savary leading to a side-by-side duel until McKennedy slipped by.
With a win in his heat race and starting the race inside second row, the night belonged to Nocella in convincing style.
“My guys gave me a great car. Normally I don’t like to start up front. Want to save the tires as best you can,” said Nocella.
Nocella spoke about being the driver in front and dealing with (8) caution flags bringing the field closer to the leader. “ You don’t want to slip a shift. we’ve had that happen before and do not want to spin the tires. Keep the car straight. Each restart I was able to keep the lead and keep it at a couple of car length advantage,” said Nocella “
My guys kept telling me who was coming up through and that Jon (McKennedy) had pitted. I knew he would be coming hard. Make him work for it if he was going to get to us.”
Nocella did not plan to enter the Seekonk race because of a commitment to a dirt midget series in the Midwest. “ A six night series, we flipped, and ended up coming home. I asked my guys if they wanted to go to Seekonk and we ended up coming here and it worked out good for us.”
McKennedy, Savary, Pitkat, and Schneider, rounded the top five with Dowling, Todd Patnode, Kyle, James, Russ Hersey, and Todd Annarummo, finishing sixth through tenth.
Heat race winners were Meservey, Carl Medeiros Jr, and Nocella. No consolation race. All 26 cars started the event.
Eight caution flags slowed the race that was completed just less than 55 minutes.
19-cars finished on the lead lap
June 4, 2016
Caution Flags (8) Laps – 38, 41,45, 49,60,61,73,87
Time of Race: 54.52.618
Best Lap Time: Nocella 12.279
Margin of Victory: 1.360
Lap Leaders: Meservey (1-38) Nocella (39-100)