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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series


Christopher wanted the Win More Than Anybody So He Did It His Way
by Denise DuPont

The Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) headed to Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday, June 24th for 80 green laps of competitive racing and that it sure was. The event started off with flare as honorary starter Ryan Briscoe, threw the green flag. Briscoe, the Australian professional racing driver from Sydney has raced both open wheel and sports cars in Europe and America. Soon he was not only the honorary starter but also a spectator for the night. He sat on the end of his seat through the entire 80 laps of real hard modified racing with the look in his eye that he wished he was part of it.

There were ten lead changes and five cautions with a lot of aggressive racing as drivers took to the track as though it was for a championship run. Joe Brady must have been on the sidelines watching and rooting on as Christopher piloted the #00 to his second modified victory in one night after a two year drought at Stafford. “I am glad that I could win for Joe it has been tough every year trying to keep that thing running through the races that I want to run with it. This win means a lot and it just was a good night and it is nice to have those.” Stated Christopher in VMRS victory lane.

Earlier in the evening Christopher held off the hard charges of Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT. to capture the SK Modified special 44 lap feature run in honor of veteran car owner Mario Fiore who lost his battle with cancer this week. “We built a brand new car this year and that made a big difference. The car is great. It goes fast from lap 1 to lap 40 in the SK feature. We now have a really good consistent car and it runs good. Like a lot of deals you have to have the right horse to ride. And this is a good deal. Ryan is good to race with. I missed a shift and he good by me and I was able to come around and get back by him.” Christopher confessed highlighting his first Stafford SK win this year.

When the green flags flew for the VMRS race Christopher wasted no time taking the lead on lap one. His adrenaline was still pumping from the SK modified victory and he was ready for more. Christopher continued dog-eat-dog racing as he swapped the lead back and forth with Dave Etheridge, Keith Rocco, Woody Pitkat and Jon McKennedy.

The laps continued to click off until lap 56 when Christopher went under Woody Pitkat from Sturbridge, MA. to take what he wished would be the last pass for the lead. But Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, MA. hot off an Oxford Plains Speedway victory was not ready to concede the victory. Running in the top five, he quickly moved in to second on lap 66 and was ready to challenge Christopher.

Christopher held off McKennedy’s many attempts to pass him until the right combination allowed McKennedy to make a move under Christopher for the lead on lap 77. But as we all know, the race is not over until it is over. The two leaders raced hard into the next lap. When it appeared that Christopher had almost backed off when he came to the lapped car of Roy Seidell, he used his famous crossover move to pass McKennedy in turn two.

Christopher charged forward and never looked back to take the win. “He (Jon McKennedy) was just a little bit better through the middle I guess, but we still did a great job with this car (Joe Brady’s #00). We usually loose the drive in it but tonight the car had tremendous drive. Every spot where I ran on the track it was great. Jon was a little bit better and he got inside of me, but you could see you wanted it more,” acknowledged Christopher. “This win is for Joe Brady and his memory and Mario Fiore. We lost two good guys in racing that have been around a long time. It is good to get a win for the hard efforts of the crew, who put a lot of effort in the car. It was a good weekend and sometimes you have those.”

Two wins in a single night at Stafford in a modified is an honor that very few drivers have on their resume and Christopher now has his name in the books. “It feels real good. It is not that I have not run fast enough to win but it is a tough game. I tell everybody that this is one of the most humbling sorts that you will ever be in because there are just so many things that can go wrong. There are no reruns, It is what it is while you are racing and you hope you finish however many laps that you have to run and you are in a good position. Racing is a tough sport.”

McKennedy definitely had a strong car and if the race had ran a few more circuits the outcome for the finish may have been different. “We had a real good car. With a couple of laps to go there I had the lead,” expressed McKennedy. “I caught the lapped car going into turn one and sometimes eight wheels go better than four. But it was hard racing and I knew it was coming. I did the best that I could but we ended up just a little short. With an overall second is real good night. I want to thank my crew, all my sponsors and all my fans for coming out tonight.” And yes second is a great finish but when you can taste the win it is not always what you want in the end.

And what happened when McKennedy rounded the track into turn one after having the lead? “I felt that I went into one and was drove into the side and was pushed up on the track into the third groove. It is racing and I kind of knew it was coming but what am I supposed to do. Second overall it was a good night. This would have been nice to win, but there are plenty of races in the future.” And yes it in only June and the race season has more opportunity for McKennedy to rethink his strategy and plan for his next victory.

Dave Etheridge from Portland, CT had one of the strongest cars in tonight’s competition. He was very dominant from race start and bounced back from at least sixth to a podium third place in the end. A man of few words, Etheridge summed up his night while recognizing his crew and the great car they gave him to race: “Everything came together and it was a rocket ship tonight.”

The VMRS teams leave Stafford Motor Speedway with some real good racing in the books and head to the high banks of Monadnock Speedway for 100 green laps of racing on Saturday, July 2nd.

Notes from Stafford Motor Speedway:

What are your thoughts on the VMRS feature race?

The race had many lead changes as drivers swapped the top position back and forth as momentum built and the competition rose a notch.

Ted Christopher
“It was a pretty cool race. You have to conserve your tires and get a balance with the car. In this race there was no pit for tires. We are getting better with running in this series. The car was the best that it ran. “
With the laps going by quickly Christopher had a strategy and he stuck to it waiting for the right time to charge for the top position. “I saved the car for a while. I did not want to lead but towards the end I said this is it – if I can win, I can win and I drove it as hard as I could the last 20 laps.”

Can you describe what happened going into turn one and the turn two pass for the lead?

Ted Christopher
“I think that I had a good run because I was able to get underneath him,” stated Christopher post-race. “But more importantly I think that was more that we got together and I was able to run him up which gave me the distance to get away from him for a while. We were just not rolling in the center as good as he was. We had a great drive off. In the end it was fun. I have used lapped cars for many years and I have a little bit more experience at that than he does.” And using that experience and talent, Christopher was able to prove why he is the racer he is.

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: June 25, 2016

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