As the new year for the Valenti Modified Racing Series gets started this weekend on the high-banks of New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway, Chris Pasteryak has just one goal for this year. He just wants to win.
It’s been a while since the veteran Modified driver from Lisbon, Connecticut has visited victory lane. Pasteryak’s last win came at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) in 2011, 49 races ago.
“If we park it in victory lane this year that would make really happy,” Pasteryak told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I want to get back into victory lane and be fast off the truck every week. If we unload and people walk up to the fence to see how fast you’re going, to me that is the cool thing. That’s what I look forward to when I go to the race track.”
Pasteryak had his fair share of struggles in 2014. He scored 14 top 10 finishes in 17 races, but broke into the top five just six times. He finished second on two separate occasions, including at Monadnock where he heads this weekend, but just could not snap his winless streak.
However, 2015 has already been fairly kind to Pasteryak. No, he hasn’t captured the checkered flag yet, but he did score two top-five finishes on the KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Tour when he ventured south of the Mason-Dixon Line in late March. Pasteryak finished second at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) and then finished third at Ace Speedway (NC) a couple weeks later.
“Going down there was a lot of fun,” Pasteryak said. “I got to race a little bit at some new race tracks and then I’ll probably head back down after our season is over. I’m glad I went down south to get a couple races on the car.”
But the important part of Pasteryak’s trip south was that he got to test out a new race car. He purchased a 2013 Troyer over the winter.
“We got a new frame and body,” he said. “We moved the old race car onto the new frame and updated some things. It’s a pretty proven short track piece.”
In addition to testing out the car, Pasteryak was able to get over the fact that he was in a new car. You’re going to make some contact when racing against someone like Burt Myers, and because of that, Pasteryak no longer feels like he has to be super careful to not damage the car.
“Normally with a new car before you get it to the track if you get a little scratch or ding on it, it’s a big deal,” Pasteryak said with a laugh. “But once you get a few races on it, that’s nothing. You just beat it out with a hammer and focus on the stuff that really matters instead of the little things.”
Now his attention turns to the quarter-mile bullring of Monadnock, affectionately known as “Mad-Dog.” It’s a place that Pasteryak has had some success at recently, much to his surprise.
“I used to hate Monadnock when I first started with the Modified Racing Series,” he said. “It took me a couple years to warm up to the place. Now in the last couple years I actually look forward to going to that place. It really gets you down when you’re learning because you don’t know why you’re so slow. But last year we were in the top five every race or at least close to it. So I really enjoy going up there.”
Between racing down south, and turning some laps at Mad-Dog last weekend at the open practice session, Pasteryak is feeling a bit more confident that he can see a lot of success this weekend.
“The practice helped us get ready for this weekend. At least I think it did,” laughed Pasteryak. “I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com photo