Todd Annarummo grew up around Seekonk Speedway (MA) and when he scored a victory in last month's $10,00-to-Win Modified Madness show there, [Click Here], it was like a dream come true for him.
Annarummo liked living the dream enough that on Saturday night, he scored his second victory in a Modified back at the same familiar track - this time in Modified Racing Series competition.
“We've got to make this a habit,” said Annarummo in victory lane. “Once you get here once, you want to be back. So I went into this race knowing it was my race to lose. That was a good attitude to have. It's nice to be back home and at a track that you know and you are comfortable at.”
So while Annarummo definitely had the experience around Seekonk to win, along with a car capable of going to the front, his attitude was the third important piece to the puzzle of winning again.
“My wife says that she can tell where I'm going to finish when I leave the house,” said Annarummo. “You have to keep your spirits up and going. When you are down, it just escalates. My wife has been right so far this year.”
Annarummo started fifth in the 100-lap race. Early on, he was content to watch Ken Barry and Jon McKennedy lead the event. That contentment only lasted until lap 28 however, as that was when Annarummo went by McKennedy's #73 Modified and into the lead.
“I was pacing myself a little bit,” said Annarummo. “I wanted to get in position at the beginning of the race. But I didn't want to race Jon over the last 25 laps. I wanted to race him when I had a car that I could race him with.”
That proved to be a wise idea, as Annarummo didn't feel that he had a dominating car as the laps clicked off.
“My car wasn't the way that it was during the last Wednesday show. I had to wheel it over those last 25-30 laps. We didn't have the car that we had last time. I knew early that the car was going a little bit too good and I wasn't going to have the same car at the end. So I had to make the moves when I could.”
But Annarummo didn't have it easy either. He might have disposed of McKennedy early, but late in the race he had to withstand a strong challenge from eventual runner-up Les Hinckley.
Annarummo's experience at Seekonk helped win that battle, along with a voice from above.
“It think that experience helped, but a big help was not having a mirror and having Wayne Darling up in the spotter's stand,” said Annarummo. “He kept me calm and I probably didn't know half of the stuff that was going on behind me. He told me where to put the car and led me through those last few laps.”
Hinckley finished a close second with Dwight Jarvis finishing a little further back to take the final podium spot. McKennedy and another hometracker, Jimmy Kuhn, Jr., rounded out the top five.
With the victory, Annarummo becomes the 11th different winner in 13 MRS shows this year. It was also his first career victory in the series.
“It's pretty cool,” said Annarummo. “I won the $10,000 show, but it didn't even get announced when I'm with the MRS.. So now they can say I'm a winner. I'm just happy to be here. The hard work has finally paid off.”
The Modified Racing Series returns to action this Thursday night at Thompson International Speedway (CT).
Hinckley's Wheels Are Rolling Again
Like his beloved Boston Red Sox baseball team, Les Hinckley's season started with plenty of promise and then settled into a bit of a slump. Hinckley is working his way back from those lows though and settled into a runner-up finish at Seekonk. This result leaves him currently ranked third, behind Jon McKennedy and Dwight Jarvis, in the MRS standings.
“The past month and a half, the ball of yarn has been unraveling on us and we just haven't been able to stop it,” said Hinckley. “Hopefully this turns it around.”
Although happy with a strong finish, Hinckley was still hungry for more after the Seekonk race.
“I would have liked to have gotten one more position. I think that last restart was the demise for us at the end because I had used the car up quite a bit. Todd looked like he was starting to back up a bit, but he did a good job and protected his spot. We had some good hard racing and that was fun, but I would have liked one more spot.”
Dwight Jarvis Also Finishes on the Podium
Seekonk was another race with another podium finish for Dwight Jarvis, who placed third in the event.
“The car was going good and we were real happy with it,” said Jarvis. “We had a little problem with it before the feature there. Brad LaFontaine from Northeast Race Cars came over and worked with my boys. I've got to thank Brad because he's always right. So it was a good car, it was a little loose in and tight out. I think I could have made it a little better if I had some more time. We've just got to keep on digging because these guys work hard and I want to do the best I can do for them.”
Pasteryak is Healed Up and Back in the Top 10
Earlier this summer, former MRS champion Chris Pasteryak broke his wrist in a heat race wreck at Lee USA Speedway (NH). Since then, he's healed up while sharing the seat of the #52 Modified with his father, Mod veteran Charlie Pasteryak.
At Seekonk, Chris was back in his old form - starting third and finishing seventh.
“I'm feeling good, but we were kind of a bomb since we unloaded today,” said Pasteryak. “We were okay, but we were never really good and that showed around lap 80 of the feature. It got really, really tight so all I could do was ride around and chatter the right front. But nobody had to go to the hospital tonight, so I'll call it a good night.”
Watching Charlie wheel the Pasteryak Modified while he was out of the seat was something that Chris might have to get used to from time to time in the future as well.
“Dad is going to drive the car at Thompson and the next race I'll run is Waterford,” said Chris. “We're splitting things up for the rest of the year. It's not hard to watch him. I have fun watching him and working on the cars. What did Roush call it, the Driver X Challenge? We have the Lisbon X Challenge (referring to the Pasteryaks hometown in Connecticut). The one who finishes better gets to paint his car blue next year.”
Two Weeks, Two Tours, One Winning Spotter
Over the span of two weeks, there were two big short track tours that visited Seekonk. The PASS North Super Late Models were there one week with the Modified Racing Series there the next Saturday night. While Dave Darling won the PASS event and Todd Annarummo won the Modified show, there was one guy who got to go to victory lane for both races - spotter Wayne Darling.
Darling spotted for both winning efforts and winning races is nothing new for him.
“He's won a lot of races here,” said Todd Annarummo. “He used to spot for my Dad [Vinnie Annarummo] for his wins here and whenever he's free, he helps me out.”
Weekly Winners Share The Spotlight
Former ACT regular and defending Seekonk Late Model champion Ryan Vanasse won his feature leading up to the MRS main event at Seekonk. Vanasse started deep in the field and made it up to third when leaders Robert Pelland, III and Frank Duquette tangled on lap 17. Duquette spun while Pelland, a teammate to Vanasse was sent to the rear of the field. Pelland recovered to finish fourth.
Multi-time PASS North race winner Rick Martin won the Sport Truck feature convincingly while Mark Henshaw, Jr. won a caution-plagued Street Stock feature.
- Joey Jarvis had a long day leading up to the MRS feature. In practice, he had to fix an oil leak, replace a dead battery and change out the steering rack on his #9NH Modified. Jarvis did all of that and ended up with a solid ninth place finish in the feature.
- Four drivers did not qualify for the MRS show at Seekonk. Those not making the cut were Don Fowler, Geoffrey Gernhard, Jimmy Dolan and Louie Mechalides.
Dolan and Mechalides had a heat race incident that left Dolan with a badly damaged racecar and Mechalides being penalized out of his heat race and to the rear of the grid for the last chance qualifier.
- Max Zachem had a frustrating night at Seekonk. The Legends graduate was quick and started within the top ten, but dropped out early with a leak on his Modified. Unfortunately, Zachem finished 22nd which was the magic spot pre-determined to stay after the race and go through post-race inspection along with the top finishers of the event.
- Vinnie Annarummo, a Seekonk legend and father of race winner Todd, drove Joe Brady's famous Brady Bunch #00 Modified at Seekonk. The elder Annarummo had a tough night that included a spin and a finish of 23rd.