If the opening event at the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night, April 30, is any indication of how things will go this year, then this should be one of the best racing seasons to date.
Thirteen years ago Larry Cirillo, promoter of Monadnock, gave series founder Jack Bateman the opportunity to showcase the new Modified Racing Series. Bateman must have done something right because the MRS has opened all but two seasons at the high-banked 1/4-mile speedway.
In the end a packed grandstand witnessed some hard fought side-by-side bumper-to-bumper action with Chris Pasteryak of Jewett City, Ct. besting a stellar field to take down his first victory of the MRS 2016 season. It was his 11th win overall with the MRS putting him 4th on the all time win list.
Chris commented, “I ran a little harder than I wanted to in the heat to finish second which gave us a good starting position for the feature because of the heads up start.”
Pasteryak ran in the top six until lap 20 when he stepped up his program and started pressuring the leaders. “I really didn’t know how the car would be and I guess I could have taken it a little easier and stayed around 5th or 6th but I did what I thought was right. Jon’s (McKennedy) car was getting better but he spun himself out trying not to wreck me. It took off real good on restarts, just a little tight on entry had to slow down to keep it on the bottom, other than that it never changed, it was flawless. Any time you have guys like Jon McKennedy and Kirk Alexander lined up behind you and beat them for the win is a good night” he said.
Even though the season is one race old, Kirk Alexander looks to be a serious challenger for another MRS championship. Starting midpack, Alexander of West Swanzey, NH, showed why he was the 2004-05-07 MRS champion working his way into 8th place by the quarter century mark, then pressing race leaders Woody Pitkat and Pasteryak when flagman Tim Bennett showed the crossed-flags. By lap 60, with Pitkat now in his rear view mirror in the Trader John’s Gun Shop sponsored modified set his sights on Pasteryak for the lead. McKennedy worked his way under Alexander taking second place from him but McKennedy spun himself out six laps later while going for the lead.
For the last 20- laps, Pasteryak and Alexander put on an edge of your seat duel for the victory but three yellow flags tightened the field and Pasteryak jetted into the lead on each restart crossing the finish line 0.282 seconds ahead of Alexander.
One second behind Alexander’s #43 was another local favorite. Russ Hersey of Swanzey, NH, had to be the hard charger of the event after starting from the fourth row and working his way forward until a lap 24 caution where he suffered a flat tire under yellow. But a new tire and an adjustment saw him use the next 75 laps to drive his way to the front for a podium finish.
“We have an all new rear suspension in the car, trying to figure it out. Things we changed on the car didn’t work out so we threw some stuff at it and got really good. We set fast time in warm-ups and was fast in our heat. We got a cut tire under caution and pitted, then worked our way methodically back to the front, then we got back to Chris and Kirk but just didn’t have the car to get by them. I had to keep an eye on guys behind me like Todd Patnode and Richard Savary, those guys ran me awesome. We just didn’t have the forward drive we needed. To come out for the first time with a new suspension, have to pit with a flat and come from the back to finish 3rd with a chance for a win is all we can ask.”
Hersey also added, “Jack and his staff have done a great job with the 15s and 28s (Hoosier tire compounds). You can come and race, the other tires were so hard, they would last but you couldn’t race anybody on the outside. You still have to be careful with this tire but now you can race on the outside.”
Rounding out the top 5 were Donnie Lashua 4th, and Jon McKennedy recovering from his lap 81 spin to finish 5th.
Summary VMRS Spring Dash 100 Monadnock Speedway
3-88- Russ Hersey
4-117- Donnie Lashua
5-29- Jon McKennedy
6-24- Todd Patnode
7-99- Richard Savary
8-52- Woody Pitkat
10-0- Mike Holdridge
11-72- Ryan Kuhn
12-04- Brandon Dion
13-38- Mike Willis Jr.
15-22- Roy Seidell Jr.
16-50-Carl Medieros Jr.
17-4- Jeffrey Gallup
22-93- George Sherman
Mike Willis Jr.
Time of race–54: 41
Lap leaders–1-24 (Savary), 25-49, (Pitkat), 50-100 Pasteryak
Margin of victory–0.282
Best lap time–12.912
Next event–Stafford Springs, CT. May 20