(Stafford Springs, CT)—The Valenti Modified Racing Series made its third and final visit of the 2016 season to Stafford Motor Speedway for the 7th Annual VMRS 80. Taking the checkered flag was Jon McKennedy after a dramatic unfolding of events over the final laps of the race.
At the start of the race, Rowan Pennink took the lead with Woody Pitkat quickly moving into second. Dylan Kopec was third with Ted Christopher and Dave Etheridge side by side for fourth. Jon McKennedy was quickly carving his way through traffic and he was seventh after the first three laps as Pitkat made a move for the lead on lap-4.
Christopher nearly followed Pitkat by Pennink but he settled back into line in third with Kopec in fourth and Etheridge in fifth. Christopher made a power move in turn 1 to get by Pennink for second on lap-9 and he took the lead from Pitkat in turns 3+4 on the same lap. This was the running order with 20-laps complete as the front five were settled into a single file line with Jeff Gallup in sixth and Richard Savary in seventh for a seven car train out front.
Pitkat got a good run on Christopher in turns 1+2 on lap-28 and he took the lead as they raced down the backstretch. Gallup got by Kopec to move into fifth and Savary followed suit on lap-30 to drop Kopec back to seventh as Pitkat was the leader with Christopher, Pennink, and Etheridge behind him.
Roy Seidell spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution out with 33 laps complete.
Pitkat took the lead back under green with Pennink and Christopher dueling for second. Pennink got clear of Christopher on lap-35 while Savary worked his way up to fourth and Etheridge was fifth and McKennedy was sixth. Pitkat had a healthy lead built up over Pennink when he came across the lapped car of Jimmy Dolan. Pitkat tried to go high around Dolan but got boxed in behind him and as Pitkat went to go low, the two cars made contact with Dolan spinning to bring the caution out with 49 laps complete.
Pitkat took the lead back under green with Pennink, Christopher, Savary, McKennedy, and Etheridge lined up behind him. Pitkat was starting to stretch out his lead over Pennink when the caution came out with 60 laps complete for a spin by Seidell in turn 2.
Pitkat took the lead back under green with Pennink pulling alongside Christopher for second. They rode side by side for two laps before Pennink got clear into second. The caution came back out with 62 laps complete for spins in turn 2 by David Schneider and Joe Doucette.
Pitkat took the lead back under green with Christopher now on the inside of Pennink in a fight for second. Christopher took second on lap-64 with Pennink and McKennedy right behind him. Pitkat was starting to pull away from Christopher while McKennedy went by Pennink to move into third on lap-68. McKennedy took second from Christopher on lap-72 and he had 8 laps to catch up to Pitkat.
Both Pitkat and McKennedy had the wick turned up to full as they were running their fastest laps of the race in the closing laps. McKennedy was slowly reeling Pitkat in and with 2 laps to go, the margin was .399 seconds after Pitkat was nearly a full second ahead.
The race complexion changed drastically with 78 laps complete. Christopher and Savary got together with Savary bouncing off the wall while in turn 1, Pitkat was going by the lapped car of Colbey Fournier when they made contact as the caution was coming out for Savary in turn 4. Pitkat had a flat right front tire and he had to come to pit road for a new tire, which put McKennedy and Pennink on the front row for the green white checkered restart.
McKennedy took the lead with Pennink and Gallup behind him. The caution came out again for a multicar spin in turn 4 involving several cars to set up another green white checkered restart.
McKennedy took the lead with Pennink sticking right with him. Gallup was third with Etheridge in fourth. Pennink couldn’t get close enough to McKennedy as McKennedy took down his first VMRS win at Stafford. Gallup finished third with Etheridge and Kopec rounding out the top-5.
|12||Dan Meservey, Jr.|
|14||Mike Willis, Jr.|
|18||Roy Seidell, Jr.|