The points battle between Tommy Barrett Jr. and Rowan Pennink has been raging of late on the Valenti Modified Racing Series.
Monday, despite there being no racing action on track, there was a major swing at the top of the standings.
Barrett, who was the points leader by two over Pennink following Saturday’s Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway, has been shuffled out of the lead in dramatic fashion.
Barrett, of Millis, Mass., was declared disqualified on Monday by the Valenti Modified Racing Series from Saturday’s event at Seekonk Speedway for using illegally tampered tires during the event.
Also disqualified from the event for the same tire issue were Steve Masse of Bellingham, Mass. and Richard Savary of Canton, Mass.
Masse, a two-time series winner this year, was second Saturday at Seekonk, in the event that was won by Todd Annarummo. Savary was third and Barrett, a two-time winner on the series this year, was fourth.
First year series director Scott Tapley confiscated tires from all three teams after the event after a portable testing device used at the track before and after the race showed evidence that the three teams had used chemicals to treat their tires. The testing device used Saturday detects the presence of flammable materials incorporated into the tire compound. Tire treatments can improve the extended durability of a tire.
“We did four testing procedures at the race track,” Tapley said. “Pre-race we checked every car with the sniffer [testing device],” Tapley said. “The same nine tires that went off with sniffer were the same nine that went off post-race. Then we dismounted them and visually and physically inspected them and found them to be visually and physically different than tires that were dismounted and did not register on the sniffer.
“We tested the entire field pre-race, all 24 cars. We tested seven cars post-race on the racetrack in front of everyone. The ones that went off pre-race are the same ones that went off post-race. The ones that were clean pre-race are the same ones that were clean post-race. And again, when we dismount them and we look at them and, understand that there was visual evidence of something and that was shown to members of the teams.”
“And in conversations with these teams, there were things said that led me to believe that this was also true in the conversations. That also is another part of the decision process.”
Said Masse: “We didn’t tamper with the tires whatsoever. We put them on the rims, put them on the racecar and went racing. After the race was said and done the gauge, that to me looked like it was about 20 years old, read positive on just about anything it was tested on. We were walking around the pits and it was just beeping on anything. I don’t know how they can just disqualify when your meter was going off just walking around and you haven’t even got the lab results back. They said they were going to send out the tires, they just bypassed that I guess. They don’t need any real results, they just use a gauge that could possibly pick up oil or anything that was on the tires from the racetrack. It’s a complete joke. The Modified Racing Series is out to get Tommy Barrett out of a championship and they’re dragging me down with them.
“I’m waiting for real results for a lab and if that doesn’t get done there’s going to be a lawsuit. It’s a complete joke. It’s [bull].”
Attempts to reach Barrett and Savary Monday were unsuccessful.
All three drivers were removed from the Seekonk results and none will earn any points or purse for the race. It means Lou Mechalides of Tyngsboro, Mass. will be moved to second place in the Seekonk results and Max Zachem of Preston to third. Pennink is recorded with a fourth place finish.
That penalty dramatically changes the complexion of the top-three in the standings after 10 of 17 events this year. The penalty drops Barrett from two points ahead of Pennink to third place in the standings, 51 behind Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Mechalides goes from fourth place in the standings to second place, 39 points behind Pennink. Savary falls from third to fourth in the standings with the penalty.
The series returns to action Thursday at Thompson International Speedway. Masse said he most likely is done with the series.
“I’ve raced against the officials before, it’s just not fun,” Masse said. “I show up and lose money every week. I put on a show and finish second for $1,200 and they take it away from me like that.”