WINCHESTER, NH (WWLP) - Anthony Nocella used a late race pass on Todd Patnode to score his first win of the 2018 season in Saturday night's Valenti Modified Racing Series 100 lap event at the Monadnock Speedway. Nocella struggled during the day in practice as this is a new car in which he has never brought to Monadnock.
Nocella told 22News that he had a decent car in the beginning and ride around for a little while and still work his way forward. Todd Patnode is a veteran at Monadnock with many laps around the quarter-mile oval. Nocella knew Patnode was strong at Monadnock and would be good at the end of the race.
" That experiences pays off for him. Just slowly worked my way to the front and trying to save what I could." Nocella Said.
Once Nocella got to second, he was gaining on Patnode. On one of the restarts with 15 to go, Nocella was able to clear Patnode for the lead but called it back after a spin. It gave Nocella confidence knowing he could make another restart like that and be able to clear Patnode knowing they were both even. and knew whoever got out front they would be able to pull it off. Nocella was able to clear Patnode and set his own pace.
The cautions went for and sometimes and against Nocella. He did not want to see the last one come out and have it restart again but it worked out for him.
Nocella has had a great run to kick off the 2018 season after winning the championship last year in the Valenti Modified Racing Series. He finished third in the season opener at the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park two weeks ago.
Todd Patnode finished second in the event. Patnode told 22News that Nocella got in better then he did at the end. He thought they were pretty even coming off.
" We bumped wheels, I don't know lap 70 or something. I think we towed in a little bit so I think we went away a little quicker. I am happy with the car. He (Nocella) had the better car at the end." Patnode Said.
The cautions went against Patnode. He felt if there wasn't caution with 10 laps to go that he would of have not given up the lead.
" Sometimes it benefits you. Sometimes it don't. All in all, you gotta double them up. Sometimes this is what happens." Patnode.
Patnode is planning to race on a limited schedule on the Valenti Modified Racing Series.
Richard Savary came home third in the 100 lap race. Savary started in the back just because of the way the draw was with the heat. Savary told 22News that the car was good early on in the race and was trying to bind his time. When Savary got to the front, he thought he had something for Nocella and Patnode but after each restart, the heat in the tires for Savary went away.
Savary told 22News that the cautions hurt his chances.
" The longer runs early in the race before the bunch came out at the end. That's when my car was the best, the longer runs and then we had restart after restart after restart and my car freed up and these guys did at the end also but they had started closer to the front so they didn't have to pass as many cars but when I got to them. I thought this was going to be fun racing but I didn't have anything for either one of them.
Savary was trying to save his stuff and that's why he rode around for the first 50 laps and when Savary said it was time to go, he got a wheel under each of them at different times but there was no go.
Tony Ricci out of Westbrook, ME finished in fourth. Ricci is driving for Rick Czarnecki. Ricci told 22News Ricci has not raced at Monadnock for the last 10 years. He told 22News the last time he raced here, he said he was never coming back. He came back and was fast right off the trailer. He got into a couple messes and was in the back a couple of times. Ricci hung in there and finished in fourth.
Ricci told 22News that he cannot say enough about the race team he is racing for.
" I wouldn't be racing if it wasn't for Rick (Czarnecki). He's one of the hardest working guys in the pits. I appreciate this whole deal. We're having fun and having some good runs." Ricci Said.
The NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions kicked off their 2018 season Saturday night at Monadnock Speedway. Geoff Rollins doubled up by winning in the Sportsman Modifieds and Super Stock feature events. Mike Stebbins took down the win in the Mini Stocks. Richard Vincent out of Greenfield took down the win in the Thunder Stocks. Matt Gauffin won in the Lightning Stocks event and Sammy Silva took down the win in the Young Guns feature.
Monadnock Speedway will be back in action this upcoming Saturday with action beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series will be back in two weeks at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday, May 5.