PHOTO: ‘Louie Mechalides celebrates his sixth career Valenti Modified Racing Series win. Mechalides lead wire-to-wire in the Seekonk 100. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson

SEEKONK, Mass. — Louie Mechalides knows how to finish a race when he starts on the front row.

The Tyngsboro, Mass., driver started on the outside of his teammate, Anthony Nocella, on the initial start of the Valenti Modified Racing Series Seekonk 100 and immediately took the lead. Series veteran Les Hinckley followed Mechalides on the outside and into second place, and began applying pressure.

Mechalides used the entire track to protect his lead, not allowing Hinckley to get a run at him on the inside. Mechalides endured seven restarts with Hinckley to his outside, but Hinckley was never able to find the traction he needed to complete a pass.

“I could see Les [Hinckley] out there a bunch of times,” Mechalides explained. “I think his car ran pretty good on the outside; he had no problem hanging out there. He’s a tough competitor.”

A restart with 20 laps to go put Hinckley once again on the outside of Mechalides, but after a brief battle, Mechalides took sole possession of the lead.

The battle, however, opened the door up for point leader and two-time Valenti Modified Racing Series champion Jon McKennedy. McKennedy was able to get by Hinckley, and applied pressure to Mechalides over the final ten laps, but was unable to get next to the six time race winner.

“It’s real hard to keep them behind,” Mechalides said. “They all run real well here and all have won here. It’s tough. We ran them as hard as we could there from lap 50 until the end. I don’t know what would have happened if there was a couple more laps. That’s all I had left.”

The East Chemsford, Mass., racer McKennedy extended his point lead with a runner-up finish. Tommy Barrett, Jr., rallied from a lap 40 pit stop, in which he restarted 21st, to finish third. Barrett, of Millis, Mass., was able to pass Hinckley out of turn four on the last lap. Hinckley, of Windsor Locks, Conn., took home the fourth position while Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., drove from his 18th starting position to finish fifth.

Part time competitor Joey Jarvis patiently worked his way from his 14th starting position to finish sixth. Two-time defending series champion Chris Pasteryak was seventh, while a former Seekonk winner, Mike Holdridge, finished eighth. Norm Wrenn rallied from a heat race wreck, which saw him use a provisional and start 23rd, to finish ninth. Rob Goodenough raced in the top ten all race and completed the unofficial top ten.

Although the race was slowed by seven cautions, it featured some great battles for position all throughout the field.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series enjoys a week off before heading to the historic Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn., for the second annual Lincoln Tech 80.

Valenti Modified Racing Series — Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Mass.
Saturday, June 9, 2012

(# – denotes rookie)

1. (2) Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, Mass.
2. (8) Jon McKennedy, East Chelmsford, Mass.
3. (13) Tommy Barrett, Jr., Millis, Mass.
4. (4) Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, Conn.
5. (18) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
6. (14) Joey Jarvis, Ascutney, Vt.
7. (6) Chris Pasteryak, Jewett City, Conn.
8. (10) Mike Holdridge, Madison, Conn.
9. (23) Norm Wrenn, Nashua, N.H.
10. (3) Rob Goodenough, Swanzey, N.H.
11. (9) Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn.
12. (24) Jeff Malave, Manchester, Conn.
13. (5) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon, Conn.
14. (22) Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, Vt.
15. (19) Dick Houlihan, Bridgewater, Mass.
16. (15) David Schneider, Northport, N.y.
17. (16) Matt Mead, Richmond, N.H.
18. (20) Tim Jordan, Plainfield, Conn.
19. (17) Todd Owen, Somers, Conn.
20. (21) Leo Oliviera, Raynham, Mass.
21. (11) Joe Doucette, Framingham, Mass.
22. (12) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn.
23. (1) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass.
24. (7) Larry Barnett, Moosup, Conn.