Saturday, June 9, 2012
Mechalides Nabs Seekonk Valenti Modified Series Win
by John Spence SR
SEEKONK, Mass. -- He is known as ‘Lightnin’ Louie Mechalides for good reason. ‘Lightnin’ quick when he has too. The Tyngsboro, MA., veteran driver was pressured right to the finish Saturday night, holding on to win the 100-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, MA.
The win was Mechalides’ sixth career VMRS victory. He first and last win at Seekonk was six years ago.
Starting from the front row in a 24-car field, Mechalides was quickly pursued by Les Hinckley, of Windsor Locks, CT. Hinckley pressured the race leader for the first 68 laps, often pulling up alongside the lead car. Jon McKennedy, the current point leader, passed Hinckley on lap 69 and held the second position for two laps until Hinckley took it back on the 71st circuit. Hinckley gave chase until lap 90 when McKennedy got by for good.
Wiring the field was not in Mechalides’ playbook.” I didn't want to lead all 100. I just wanted to lead the last 10. But there were a bunch of really good guys stacked up and I didn't want to go that far back. Les was running really hard there for awhile.
Mechalides credited long-time car owner-crew chief Billy Calicchio with helping the Lowell, MA., based team earn the win.
"We worked on the car all week. We took the car apart. He (Callicchio) helped us out with it and got everything going in the right direction. I was watching the lap counter waiting for the car to start going away, but it didn't. It kept going. It was really good. We have a really good piece to work with now."
McKennedy, who started eighth, followed Mechalides closely to the finish, a position he was happy with. "I was a little bit free. I was really good for awhile. The first half I just elected to ride. The last 30 laps I was pretty free. I think a lot of the guys were getting loose. It's tough trying to pass when you're free. It's hard to run the line you want too. You need the whole track to keep the car under you."
Tom Barrett, of Millis, MA., finished third, Hinckley fourth, and Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, PA., rounding out the top five.
Joey Jarvis, Ascutney, VT.,Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, CT., Mike Holdridge, Madison, CT., Norman Wrenn, Nashua, NH., and Rob Goodenough, Swanzey, NH., rounded out the top ten.
Seven caution flags slowed the race that took 47 minutes to complete.
Todd Szegedy, of Bethel, CT., Pasteryak, and Holdridge won qualifying races, with Dick Houlihan, of Bridgewater, MA., capturing the consolation race.
Did Not Qualify: Melissa Fifield, Vinnie Annarummo, Todd Annarummo, Geoff Gernhard, Rich Ferreira.
Top 10 Points; McKennedy (188) Pennink (172) Holdridge (144) Mechalides (136) Wrenn (132) Hinckley (122) Barrett (108) Coby (106) Pasteryak (87) Bakaj(85)
Next Event: Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, Stafford, CT. June 22, 2012
Race # 4 Seekonk MA Speedway
Distance: 100 laps
Time of Race: 47:43:165
Margin of Victory: 0.203
Best Lap Time: 12.229
Best Speed: 98.029 (Hinckley)
Lead Changes: 0
Lap Leaders: Mechalides (1-100)
Cautions: Lap 17,38,40,40, 47,49,80
Order of Finish: (1) Louie Mechalides (2) McKennedy (3) Barrett (4) Hinckley (5) Pennink (6) J.Jarvis (7) Pasteryak (8) Holdridge (9) Wrenn (10) Goodenough (11) Szegedy (12) Malave (13) Bakaj (14) D.Jarvis (15) Houlihan (16) Schneider (17) Mead (18) Jordan (19) Owen (20) Oliveira (21) Doucette (22) Zachem (23) Nocella (24) Barnett