Category Archives: VMRS- Valenti Modified Racing Series

Getting To Know VMRS Driver Branden Dion

IMG_0974Here is another young hotshoe who started out wrenching and cheering for his dad at local speedways, like so many other father-son teams. Now it’s dads’ turn to help guide his son on his quest for victory.
Name— Branden Dion
Occupation–Student at Bristol Plymouth Regional High School
Car #—04, When I first raced a mini cup at Seekonk Speedway I wanted my number to be 4 like my father who was racing a Pro Stock at the time, but 4 was taken so I took 04 and it just stuck
Current Division—Valenti Modified Racing Series.
Car Owner—Scott Dion
Chassis—2009 Troyer
Crew Chief—Scott Dion
Crew— Maureen & Scott Dion—David Smith-(Smitty)—Zach Oliveira—Trent White
Sponsors—C.Carney Environmental, Raynham,MA.—-Douglas A. King Builders, Easton,MA.—Triple D Racing, Taunton,MA.
                     But always willing to welcome anyone who wants to jump on board.
Favorite Food—BBQ Chicken Pizza
Favorite Type Music—Classic Rock
Favorite Sport Other Than Racing—Don’t have one
Favorite Track—Seekonk Speedway
Years Racing—This is my 13th year. I’ve been around racing my whole life. Ever since I could walk I was at Seekonk Speedway every Saturday night supporting my dad. Once I turned 5, I got into Go Karts at the Stafford Motor Speedway. I raced karts until I was 10, then got into a mini cup car at Seekonk. The following year ran a Seekonk Sport Truck, I won two races that year. The next year I hopped into a late model at Seekonk and ran an SK Lite at Stafford and Thompson speedways. Half way through the year I moved into the MRS and that is who I’m racing with this year.
Any Goals—My goal in racing since day one is to have as much fun as possible, but to do as good as possible and stay consistent.
What other driver/owner/person has inspired you.— A driver that has been an inspiration to me is my father, Scott Dion. Watching what he has gone through, the challenges he faced and how he has overcome them is pretty awesome.
Best Advice Ever Got—Race aggressive, but clean and respect everyone.
Dad must have done something right because this young driver has shown he can run with the best of them and his smooth, consistent style can only lead to many victories in the future.
by Jim Snape
photos by Crystal Snape

VMRS Official Insight

Most times I get to the track pretty early and usually leave extremely late only to learn the MRS officials have arrived hours earlier and start their travel home long after I’m gone.
Those people have to be the most dedicated individuals I have ever met. It’s not a glamorous job and you’re not going to make a bundle of money doing it. The weather can be either hot ,cold or wet and that can all be on the same day. All that plus you might be missing out on family activities. Then why do it? It’s got to be for the love of the sport and the friendships that have been made over time.
One such official is:
Jerry Elliott.
jerryelliottThe Groton, Connecticut resident works as a landscaper during the week. His wife Laura can always be found traveling with him from track to track. Jerry has three children, Jerry JR., Kristen and Arthur.
His position with the MRS is listed as utility official. What does a utility official do? Everything from staging haulers, spotting, lining up cars for there qualifying and feature races and making sure they get on track in a timely manner. He’s been involved with the MRS for the last 3 seasons but has been attending races since the age of 8.
Like many of us Jerry has worked for many teams, especially at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl including James Pont in the street stocks division. Some of Jerrys’ favorite memories include James Pont winning three mini stock championships.
Asked who his favorite driver of all time is or was and it was no surprise he said Richie Evans. Sometimes a person will inspire or impress you in the racing business and Eric Webster (Webby) is “the one who taught me a lot on the infield and I admire him as he moved up from a driver to infield and now race director at the Speedbowl” Jerry said.
His favorite race track of all time was the  Flemington, New Jersey speedway. When asked what was the best advice he’s ever gotten or could give, his answer was “Always be safe.”
by James Snape
photo by Crystal Snape

Pasteryak Claims Valenti Modified Racing Series Season Opener

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

1-15CT.-Chris Pasteryak

2-43-Kirk Alexander

3-88- Russ Hersey

4-117- Donnie Lashua

5-29- Jon McKennedy

6-24- Todd Patnode

7-99- Richard Savary

8-52- Woody Pitkat

9-16-Colbey Fournier

10-0- Mike Holdridge

11-72- Ryan Kuhn

12-04- Brandon Dion

13-38- Mike Willis Jr.

14-15NH-TJ Bleau

15-22- Roy Seidell Jr.

16-50-Carl Medieros Jr.

17-4- Jeffrey Gallup

18-32-Chris Bajaj

19-55-Joe Doucette-

20-19-Dave Schneider

21-77-Mathew Mead

22-93- George Sherman

Heat winners

Richard Savary

Mike Willis Jr.

Dave Schneider


Time of race–54: 41

Lap leaders–1-24 (Savary), 25-49, (Pitkat), 50-100 Pasteryak

Cautions–Laps-24, 31,40,64,73,81,83,92

Margin of victory–0.282

Best lap time–12.912

Best speed–69.703


Next event–Stafford Springs, CT.  May 20