Tag Archives: VMRS

Nocella Team Championship – 50 Lap Shootout Highlights VMRS Thompson Finale

Canaan, N.H. – Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park provides the stage, and the Valenti Modified Racing Series the final curtain, as the 2017 season comes to a close at this weekend’s 55th Annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, Oct 13,14 & 15.  The VMRS wraps up it’s 14th year of operation with a strong field of race teams entered and Woburn, Massachusetts based modified team Nocella Racing, and driver Anthony Nocella, officially becoming the series eighth different champion.

The final race will settle close finishes where series veterans and newcomers have been battling all season.  Long-time racer Donnie Lashua, of Canaan, NH, mired in second place in the standings is now only 11-points ahead of Mike Willis Jr, of Grantham, NH, who very quietly put some strong finishes together to sneak into third and finding himself in a battle for second in the finale.

Rookie of the Year candidate, Jeffrey Gallup, of Feeding Hills, MA, is only three points behind Willis and 14-points behind Lashua. 15-year old Sammy Rameau, of Westminster, MA, Colby Fournier, of Berkley, MA, and Matt Mead, of Richmond, NH, are also close in the standings.

The list of entries on Wednesday featured 31-cars that indicated they plan to compete at Thompson. A blend of veterans and today’s young star’s make up the raceday roster.

Former series champions, Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, PA, and Woody Pitkat, of Sturbridge, MA, will compete. Recent Fall Final winner at Stafford Motor Speedway, Eric Goodale, of Riverhead, NY will drive for owner Todd Ceravolo, Richard Savary, of Canton, MA, Keith Rocco, of Berlin, MA, and 19-time VMRS winner, Les Hinckley, of Windsor Locks, CT, will wheel a car for owner Ted Anderson.

Chase Dowling, of Roxbury, CT, will drive the famed Brady 00 car, Matt Galko, of Meriden, CT, and Blake Barney, of Jackson, NJ, will also compete.

Qualifying on Friday begins at 5:00 PM.  An autograph session with VMRS competitors is scheduled at 4:00 PM on Saturday, with feature races beginning at 5:00 PM Saturday.

The VMRS is scheduled third in the running order (feature) .


Valenti Modified Racing Series Set For Lee’s Oktoberfest

Canaan, NH. – The Valenti Modified Racing Series, dormant since Labor Day weekend, returns to action this holiday weekend when Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH, welcomes the series to its 34th annual ‘Oktoberfest’ of racing event. The open wheel modified tour will be making its 14th appearance at the traditional season ending program for the New Hampshire Speedway. The series will compete in a 75-lap feature race.

The 75-lap run is a break from what had become the norm at Lee. Twin 50-lap features were tried three years ago and proved to be successful. Both fans and competitors liked the concept. The thought of a 75-lap race was tried at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Maine in August. That format met with approval and was suggested for the Lee race given the amount of races on the schedule at the annual October event.

A list of series drivers, some with long time experience at Lee, some with a great amount of success, and pair of newcomers to victory lane at Lee earlier this season, are entered in the two day event.

Current point leader Anthony Nocella, of Woburn, MA, a four-time winner this season, enjoys an 84-point lead over second place point man Donnie Lashua, of Canaan, NH, going into the 11th race of a 12-race schedule.  The season concludes next weekend in Thompson, CT.

Another highly successful driver, a series win total of 19 trips to the winner’s circle in his scrapbook, is looking for his fifth career win at Lee.  Les Hinckley III, a long-time supporter of series events at Lee, will make the trip from Windsor Locks. CT.

Two drivers, who wheeled to their first career wins this year, have notified the series they plan to spend the Christopher Columbus holiday weekend at Lee.

Mike Douglas Jr and Troy Talman, both tasted victory lane. Douglas, of Auburn, NH, notched his first on Memorial Day weekend. Talman, of Oxford, MA, scored a 50-lap win in July, his first in a tour-type modified.

42-points separate Jeff Gallup, of Feeding Hills, MA, and 15-year old charger Sammy Rameau, of Westminster, MA. for top Rookie honors heading into Lee.  336-294

Gallup and Mike Willis Jr, Grantham, NH, are battling for 3rd in the standings with only 1-point separating the two drivers. Matt Mead, of Richmond, NH, and Colbey Fournier, Berkley, MA, are separated by four points for fourth with Rameau only 6-points behind Fournier.

Additional entries expected include Rob Richardi Jr, veteran George Sherman, former Lee winner, Tony Ricci, Jimmy Zacharias, Dylan Rock, and newcomer Ryan Doucette.

Qualifying events start at 2:00 PM on Saturday afternoon, with feature races slated for 12 noon on Sunday.  Lee USA Speedway is located  on Route 125, Lee, NH.

Pennink Holds Off Rocco To Win VMRS 80 At Stafford.

Stafford Springs CT –. Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, took the lead on lap-56 from Portland Connecticut’s Dave Etheridge, and went on to win his first race of the season in the Valenti Modified Racing Series 80-lap race at Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford, CT, Friday night. September 1.

The 2013 series champion scored his second VMRS win at Stafford, and his 11th career win moving to fifth on the all-time series win list.

Etheridge started on the pole when first heat winner Ted Christopher, of Plainville, CT, was forced to withdraw because of a motor problem.

The veteran driver led the main event until Pennink passed for the lead. They were the only race leaders in the 80-lap sprint.

“The guys gave me a really strong car under us tonight,” Pennink explained in victory lane. “ The last couple times we’ve been here (VMRS) we’ve had probably the same type of car we just haven’t had the luck to make it here to victory lane. Tonight we did. I’ve got to thank all the guys on the Gary Casella team and everybody that helps out. Awesome job.”

The race was slowed for the eighth time (caution flags) on lap-78 creating a green-white-checker finish. Keith Rocco, of Berlin, Connecticut, made a late race charge to finish (0.608) by Pennink.

Anthony Nocella, of Woburn, Massachusetts, fought a recurring steering pump problem throughout the afternoon practice session, started the race 17th then worked his way to the lead pack to finish third. Etheridge settled for fourth with veteran driver Jeff Malave, of Manchester, Connecticut, returning to racing after a 2-year absence because of health issues, made his first start count with a respectable fifth place finish after starting 15th in the 26-car field.

Jackson, New Jersey’s, 17-year old Blake Barney made an impressive showing in his Stafford debut mixing it up early on with the lead pack, and checkered sixth in his first VMRS start.

Donnie Lashua, Dan Meservey Jr, Matt Galko, and Mike Willis Jr, rounded out the top-ten.

Heat race winners:  (1) Ted Christopher, (2) David Schneider, (3) Rowan Pennink.

The race was slowed eight times by caution flags for minor spins or incidents.

Race Summary:

Stafford Motor Speedway

Stafford Springs Connecticut

September 1,2017

Entrants: 30

Distance: 80

Margin of Victory: 0.608

Average Speed: 40.920

Best Lap Time: 19.014 Pennink

Best Speed: 94.667   Pennink

Race Time: 59:28.469

Caution Laps: 25-30-34-55-55-55-56-78

Lap Leaders:  Etheridge (1-56) Pennink (57-80)

Unofficial Order of Finish: (1) Pennink (2) K. Rocco (3) Nocella (4) Etheridge  (5) Malave (6) Barney (7) Lashua (8) Meservey Jr (9) Galko (10) Willis (11) Trayner (12) Ricci (13) Savary (14) Gernhard (15) Fournier (16) Gallup (17) Mead (18) Molleur (19) Flannery (20) Rameau (21) Masse (22) Talman, (23) Richardi (24) Schneider (25) Medeiros (26) J. Rocco