Steven Masse, of Bellingham, Massachusetts passed race leader Anthony Nocella, of Woburn, Massachusetts, on lap 9, and went on to win the Valenti Modified Racing Series sanctioned 100-lap feature race Saturday night at Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Massachusetts.
Masse’s win, his first of 2014, his first at the famed Seekonk oval, and his eighth career VMRS victory, moves him to fifth on the all-time Series win list.
From the pole position Nocella held the lead for the first eight laps when Masse slipped by on the 9th circuit. From that point on, Masse was the class of the field leading the way to the finish in his Ell Gee Restaurant Supply sponsored Chevrolet.
Masse’s last win was in August of 2013. He got off to a slow start in the new year with bad breaks, a damaged race car, and tough luck, but the Seekonk win might be just what Masse needs to turn things around.
“This win feels real nice. We drew a good number we started second (outside front row) and we had the best car tonight so we are in victory lane and I couldn’t be happier.”
At times Masse looked like he was in cruise mode. His spotter made sure he was in tune with the pack of cars trying to hunt him down. “They were telling me how many cars I had behind me. I just tried to keep it about five car lengths ahead of everybody.”
Masse becomes the fifth different winner in five races this season.
Justin Bonsignore, of Islip, NY, for the second consecutive race at Seekonk put the ‘Monster Marine’ #21 Chevrolet in the runner-up position after spending laps 50 through 95 chasing Nocella. Bonsignore slipped by when Nocella slipped up on a lap-95 restart.
“We had a good car. It’s tough to pass here,” said Bonsignore post race.
“We came from ninth and obviously Steve had a great car. We probably used ours up a little bit too much to have any shot at him on the last restart. Anthony (Nocella) really made it tough on us. I really had to work. Good hard clean racing. We’ll take it,” said Bonsignore.
Nashua,New Hampshire veteran Norm Wrenn drove to a solid third place finish in the ‘Advanced Gas Distributors’ #53 Chevrolet.
Wrenn was beaming after his best finish of the year. A season that has not been too good until Saturday night.
“We have been horrible so far. We picked a good number today in the draw and it paid off. We qualified without going into the consi. Last week we didn’t even qualify. I’m ecstatic.” Wrenn explained.
“I have to thank my crew. They’ve stuck with me. If it weren’t for the crew we wouldn’t be racing. I’m happy for them,”
Max Zachem, of Preston Connecticut, finished an impressive fourth with Dave Schneider, of Northport, New York, rounding out the top five. Schneider’s consolation win put him in the 19th starting spot.
Todd Szegedy, Chris Pasteryak, Geoff Gernhard making his first start this season, Mr. Rooter Rookie of the Year contender Mike Willis Jr, and Florida entry Jonny Kay, rounded out the top 10.
30 drivers entered Saturday’s race. Masse, Dana Smith, and Wrenn won heat races. Schneider won the 15-lap consolation race.
20 of the 24 starters finished the race on the lead lap. It took 42 minutes 8 seconds to complete the 100-laps event. Seven caution flags slowed the race.
The series heads back to Connecticut Friday night, June 20, for the 2nd annual Town Fair Tire 80 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Valenti Modified Racing Series 100 at Seekonk Speedway
(1) Masse (2) Bonsignore (3) Wrenn (4) Zachem (5) Schneider (6) Szegedy (7) Pasteryak (8) Gernhard (9) Willis (10) Kay (11) Mead (12) Savary (13) Jarvis (14) Kopec (15) Houlihan (16) Pennink (17) Medeiros (18) Pearl (19) Nocella (20) Holdridge (21) Smith (22) Abele (23) Richardi (24) Meservey
Time of Race: 42:08:239
Margin of Victory: 0.612
Best Speed: 97.226
Best Lap Time: 12.325
Lead Changes: Nocella (1-8) Masse 9-100
Cautions: Laps- (7) 26,26,31,49,56,65,95
-Valenti Modified Racing Series Press Release. Photo Credit: Crystal Snape Photography