(EDITOR’S NOTE: Speed51.com reported on Sunday that Ted Christopher was disqualified from his win for a fuel violation.)
The atmosphere of the Valenti Modified Racing Series was a bit frosty going into Saturday night at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT). After a week of controversial penalties and hard hitting opinions all stemming from the stormy finish at Beech Ridge (ME) seven days prior, many in the pit area hoped to put it all behind by giving the capacity crowd a show with good and hard racing.
At night’s end, that’s exactly what the fans got with Ted Christopher and Chris Pasteryak giving the crowd a green-white-checkered grand finale to close out the night.
Christopher flexed his muscles on the final lap by powering under Pasteryak and winning the race back to the line for his second straight win in the Modified Racing Series portion of the Wings ‘N Wheel event.
Christopher started third in the 100-lap feature but it took him just two laps to snatch the lead away from polesitter Rowan Pennink. For the first 90 laps it seemed safe to etch TC’s initials on the winner’s trophy. That was until Pasteryak completed his march to the front after starting 11th. Pasteryak closed up on Christopher’s back bumper on lap 91 before making a bid on the outside for the lead. Christopher was able to block Pasteryak at first, but Pasteryak was able to get Christopher the same move one lap later in turn three.
“He got out there and I didn’t know he jumped right out there and I pulled down and I’m like, ‘He’s going to go, I ain’t gonna block him for ten laps,’” Christopher said after the race.
Pasteryak set sail after that, victory seemingly assured when he took the white flag with no TC in sight. But it wasn’t meant to be as Brandon Dion and Norm Wrenn had spun behind the leaders, blocking turn four and bringing out the caution to set up the two-lap shootout.
On the restart, Pasteryak would run Christopher high in one and two, forcing TC to pull in behind Pasteryak as the white flew again. Entering turn one on the final lap, Pasteryak’s No. 5 would slide up allowing Christopher room on the inside down the backstretch. By the time the two Connecticut drivers came around to the checkers, Christopher had completed the pass to score the victory.
“My car got a little better on restarts, but I didn’t know how it was going to be with a green-white-checkered. But on that one, he got into the side of me pretty good , so then I pulled the plug after that, but he’s so tight it’s like ‘okay’, and I knew he’d try to drive in the side of me again, and I’m like I’ll do the crossover,” Christopher said while describing the finish.
As for Pasteryak, he knew the clash of nerf bars would make things tough the rest of the way back to the checkered flag.
“I tried to move him up a foot or two and after that it was game on,” said Pasteryak giving his perspective of the finish. He was able to keep it on the bottom. My car was a little too tight, he got underneath me, once I figured he was there I wouldn’t of back out so why would he?”
When the dust had settled, both drivers were equally complimentary of each other in their driving performance past and present, but more importantly, they had given a race that sent the fans home happy and had given the MRS just the thriller it needed.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Valenti Modified Racing Series Wings and Wheels Unofficial Results
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