Russ Hersey has been chipping away at achieving victory in the Valenti Modified Racing Series over the years, coming close multiple times in 2016. After sitting for all of 2017, a snap decision was made to finally roll the No. 88 Modified out for the race at Claremont Speedway on Friday night, a local destination for Hersey. After what seemed like a day of disaster, Hersey turned things around on the track, shook the monkey off his back and claimed his first career VMRS win.
After the late decision midweek to race, the team scrambled to make the car race ready into the wee hours of Friday morning, only to discover that the front end was far from ship shape. Working all morning and afternoon, and arriving at the track late, the team soon discovered faulty wiring was causing a skip in the engine, forcing Hersey to miss heat racing and start shotgun on the field. Once on track, Hersey fought his way up front before halfway in the 100-lap race.
“The car was awesome all night; the tire wear was phenomenal. I can’t thank everybody enough,” Hersey told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Greg Felton gave me educational lessons over the phone and it paid off. We had wiring issues that we chased, we had a bunch of issues. We finished the car up at 2 a.m., sometimes you get lucky, the guys worked their tails off and we got it dialed in.”
“To get the monkey off our back is a good deal, the car was close last year. There were three or four coulda, woulda, shouldas last year,” he stated. “We were out in front and Jon McKennedy took me to school at Monadnock on the last corner.”
While it looked as though Hersey was driving hard, he was saving the car even while carving through the field. After taking the lead following a tangle involving then leaders Dylan Rock and Sam Rameau, which saw Rock spin and Rameau penalized, Hersey did have to turn up the heat a few times to hold off points leader Anthony Nocella, who had his own problems when the rear-end of his car broke during heat race pace laps.
“I was trying not to abuse the rear tires, a couple of times I had to get after it. Anthony was giving me a run but I knew if I hit my marks I’d be okay. The car was great and I can’t be any happier.”
The Valenti Modified Racing Series will head to Lee USA Speedway for their next round on Friday, July 21.
For more information on Friday’s race at Claremont, visit Speed51.com’s Speed Central coverage.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Valenti Modified Racing Series Unofficial Results
Claremont Speedway (NH) – July 7, 2017
|11||50||Carl Medeiros, Jr.|
|15||23||Mike Douglas, Jr||-14|