PHOTO: Todd Szegedy took advantage of a Chris Pasteryak mistake to claim his first career Valenti Modified Racing Series win at Monadnock Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson

WINCHESTER, N.H. — Chris Pasteryak appeared to have finally broken the ice on a tough season. The defending Valenti Modified Racing Series champion took the lead halfway through the Firecracker 100 at Monadnock Speedway and appeared to be en route to his first win of the season.

But as Pasteryak exited turn two on lap 92, Pasteryak’s blue No. 5 got severely sideways, and opened thedoor for Todd Szegedy.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour star and former champion Szegedy took advantage of the Pasteryak slip up and zoomed by to take the lead on lap 93. That was all Szegedy would need as he scored his first career Valenti Modified Racing Series win.

“I knew [Pasteryak] was in trouble; he was getting really, really free,” Szegedy said. “I was figuring out how I was going to try to get around him, but I knew I had to protect myself from the guys behind me. [Pasteryak] was getting violently loose, and I was too, especially having to run as hard as I was on the outside with the 06 [of Les Hinckley], who ran me unbelievable clean. The guy’s a gentleman for sure. I didn’t have a whole lot left myself. [Pasteryak] had to make a mistake for me to get around him, and he did. It’s not easy to lead sometimes, especially when you have a car you’re fighting. [The car] just got away from him a little bit and I just stayed in the throttle and went around him.”

“Trying too hard,” Pasteryak said of his slip up in turn two. “I stepped on the gas a little bit harder than I did the lap before, and I couldn’t quite catch it in time and almost spun out. It kind of sucks. But I can’t take nothing away from Todd, they earned it. He might have gotten me anyway. It’s not going to keep me up too much at night, because normally I suck here. And by now, we have pitted a few times, the front bumper is up in the air, and the right front tire is on the hood, so I’m going take the fifth and go to the next race and forget about it.”

Szegedy, of Ridgefield, Conn., started the 100-lap feature in the 12th position and had worked his way into the second position behind Pasteryak at the halfway point. Szegedy would start on the outside of Pasteryak on a lap 80 restart, which saw Hinckley restart third. Szegedy was able to clear Hinckley seven laps after the restart, which set up Szegedy to take advantage of Pasteryak’s mistake.

Former series champion Dwight Jarvis was able to get to the inside of Hinckley with less than five laps remaining to claim the second position. Jarvis, of Ascutney, Vt., rode fourth with ten laps to go. Todd Patnode of Richmond, N.H., started 21st in the 24-car field and finished third. Hinckley, of Windsor Locks, Conn., hung on for fourth while Pasteryak, of Lisbon, Conn., rebounded for fifth.

Rowan Pennink and Jon McKennedy entered the event tied at the top of the series point standings. Pennink finished sixth, with McKennedy seventh, giving Pennink a two-point advantage. Norm Wrenn, polesitter Mike Holdridge, and Joey Jarvis completed the top ten finishers.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series turn their attention to the Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, N.H., on Saturday, July 14 for the Ricky Race’s for Kids 112 in memory of Ricky Miller.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Firecracker 100
Valenti Modified Racing Series — Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H.
Saturday, July 7, 2012

(# – denotes rookie)

1. (12) Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn.
2. (6) Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, Vt.
3. (21) Todd Patnode, Richmond, N.H.
4. (18) Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, Conn.
5. (3) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn.
6. (8) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
7. (14) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass.
8. (9) Norm Wrenn, Nashua, N.H.
9. (1) Mike Holdridge, Madison, Conn.
10. (17) Joey Jarvis, Ascutney, Vt.
11. (20) Geoff Gernhard, Salem Conn.
12. (5) Bryan Shumway, Belchertown, Mass.
13. (11) Todd Owen, Somers, Conn.
14. (13) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon, Conn.
15. (22) Matt Mead, Richmond, N.H.
16. (16) Jeff Pearl, Salem, Conn.
17. (23) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn.
18. (24) Jim Boniface, Winchester, N.H.
19. (19) Dave Schneider, Northport, N.Y.
20. (4) Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, Mass.
21. (10) Joe Doucette, Framingham, Mass.
22. (2) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass.
23. (7) Larry Barnett, Moosup, Conn.
24. (15) Joey Cipriano, Waterbury, Conn.