Mechalides Wins Rain-Delayed Thompson TVMRS Race by Denise DuPont
Two Weeks Later, The Weather Finally Cooperated
The second annual Sunoco Thompson Modified Mania TVMRS Series 75 lap event continued on Sunday, September 23rd after a delay of two weeks. The race had run two laps earlier this month before it was rained out. This time, race resumed Andy Seuss leading the field of cars around the track.
Louie Mechalides in victory lane at Thompson. (Jim DuPont Photo)
Lou Mechalides had a top five car during the practice sessions and continued on a roll when the race resumed. Mechalides won the 75 lap TVMRS race at Thompson Speedway after he moved into the lead on lap 23 and then dominated the race for the next 52 laps.
“We unloaded the car to day and it was pretty good,” said Mechalides. “I just never could have imagined that it was going to be that good come feature time. We have run a whole bunch of laps down here Pro Stocks and PASS cars but never got to win.”
As the green flag was thrown on Sunday, Seuss led the field of cars across the start line with Chris Pasteryak on his outside. Mechalides drove hard to get to the second position by lap nine. From that lap onward, Mechalides and Seuss tangoed as they exchanged the lead back and forth several times. Mechalides gained the lead for the last time on lap 23 and as Andy fought Lou for the lead on lap 27, Seuss’ brakes locked and he went into the wall between turn one and two.
“We had a great car again,” said Seuss. “Something happened and the brakes just
locked up. We were fighting that a little bit in practice. All of a sudden there were a ton of front brakes. There is an issue somewhere but unfortunately it destroyed the car. Hopefully we can salvage as much as we can.”
At the end of the race Mechalides found himself making a run for the lead against Tommy Cravenho in Gary Casella’s #25 car.
“They kept on telling me he was back there and I gave it all that I had for the last fifty laps or so,” said Mechalides. “I was just trying not to over drive in the corners and run a good lap. Then he got by me and I had to get it back from him. All of a sudden he was there.”
Andy Seuss (#70) and Louie Mechalides (#40) were the only two drivers to lead at Thompson. (Rick Ibsen Photos)
Tommy Cravenho who was doing double duty in the Modified Mania events made his way from 15th to second spot.
“I like this track,” said Cravenho. “I want to thank my sponsor for hooking me up with Gary Casella. They are a great bunch of guys that gave me a good car as you can see especially at the end. Hopefully the race was good for the fans.”
When the checkered flags were thrown Cravenho was a bride’s maid finishing only in second.
“We will take it,” said Cravenho. “We gained on him but maybe in the end I put it in too far in. I maybe should have slowed down a little. “
Jon McKennedy started way back in thirty-second, avoided accidents and maneuvered his way up to third by the end of the race. Jimmy Kuhn also made the right moves and maintained a top five car for almost the entire race.
Les Hinckley made it back up into the top five by lap 55. Then at one point in time he even made it all the way up to third spot but in the end he had to settle back for a fifth spot finish.
“We salvaged a good day out of it all in all,” said Hinckley. “I really think that we had one of the cars to beat all and all. It was really disappointing that we really could not get up and run with the leaders. I thought that we were going to have a shot at it but the car just freed up too much.”
Hinckley is now trailing Alexander by fourteen points in the battle for the TVMRS title.
“Point things take care of themselves,” said Hinckley. “It is unfortunate that Kirk had his trouble. We were both in the same. Fortunately my guys did a great job straightening the car the best that they could. We made it back up to fifth but we should have been third. The car was just so on edge I kind of screwed up and lost a couple of spots there. ”
Probably the worst incident of the day occurred during TVMRS practice. Johnny Bush (#68) lost a hose and sprayed the track with fluid. Bush’s car and four other cars that were riding hard collected up by the liquid and sustained severe damage. Jim Boniface in his #57 car landed on his roof during the incident and left the track on a flatbed.
Other cars involved in the accident were: Dwight Jarvis (#28), Tom Abele, Jr (#32) and Jimmy Dolan (#69). Abele, Bush and Dolan were able to complete repairs on their cars to start the race. Bush and Dolan found that the accident had taken a larger toll then suspected on their cars as they went to the infield during pre-race hot laps.
During the actual race, the second caution took out last year’s Modified Mania winner and current point leader Kirk Alexander. The caution all began as Brian Schofield got sideways on the track and corrected his car, but it was not fast enough. Cars went every which what way to avoid his car and it was too late because cars tangled during the evasive actions.
Also involved in the mishap was front runners Les Hinckley, Rob Goodenough, Jack Bateman and Richard Savary. Alexander’s car was so badly damaged that he was towed off the track hammock style.
“I really thought that we were through it,” said Alexander.
The True Value Modified Racing Series will race next at Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Massachusetts for the DAV Memorial Weekend Saturday, October 6th and Sunday October 7th.
Andy Seuss led early, but destroyed his car after a wreck caused by a brake problem. (Top - Jim DuPont Photo). Les Hinckley came back from a flat tire to gain some ground in the point chase. (Bottom - Rick Ibsen Photo)