Seven time NASCAR modified champion Mike Stefanik, Coventry, RI., finally broke the ice Sunday afternoon, winning his first ever True Value Modified Racing Series event and his first ever modified race at Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, MA.
Stefanik became the sixth different winner of the annual race honoring the memory of D.Anthony Venditti, the founder of the 64 year old speedway and a pioneer of auto racing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Stefanik, who qualified Saturday in a last chance consolation race, started 22nd in a 24 car field. The legendary driver raced at the back of the pack in the early stages of the 100 lap event. It was at about the halfway mark that Stefanik started to make his move to the front.
2006 TVMRS champion Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, VT., led the first two laps until Rowan Pennink, Northampton, PA.,worked his way by. Pennink was quickly the class of the field as he enjoyed the top spot until lap 49. Jarvis regained the lead at the half-way point with Pennink staying within striking distance.
Stefanik, who planned tire maintenance, was starting to make his strategic move to the front as he had worked his way to 13th on lap 50. While Todd Annarummo, Swansea, MA., Richard Savary, Canton MA., Rob Goodenough, W.Swanzey, NH., and Steven Masse, Bellingham, MA., diced for position, Stefanik was passing cars at will. He was ninth at lap 60, fifth at lap 70, third at lap 80, second at lap 85, setting the stage for a 15 lap shootout with Jarvis to the finish.
Stefanik took the lead on a lap 85 restart to give fans an exciting finish between two veteran racers with over 35 years experience running inches apart. Jarvis stayed with Stefanik lap after lap pulling up alongside the leader for the final go around.
With the checkered flag waving, the leaders crossed the finish line side by side with Stefanik holding off Jarvis by a 0.053 margin, less than a half car length. Another classic finish for the TVMRS at Seekonk.
33 race teams entered the event with 24 cars starting the race. 20 cars finished on the lead lap. The race was completed in 38:35:754. Five caution flags slowed the race on laps 11, 45, 68, 85, 95
The next event for the TVMRS will be Oct 24, 25 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, NH.
This will be the final race of the season. Jonathan McKennedy takes a slim 13 point lead into Lee over Rob Goodenough. Steven Masse is third 22 points back.