WATERFORD – If someone had taken a quick look at Todd Szegedy’s Modified Racing Series ride following Sunday’s Blastoff 100 for the series at Waterford Speedbowl and not seen the race, they would have likely surmised that Szegedy must have finished somewhere near the back of the 24-car field.
Yet there was Szegedy’s mangled mess of a ride sitting on the frontstretch after the event, being celebrated as the third place finisher in the season opening race.
“It felt like a win to me,” Szegedy said.
Szegedy made his debut with Kevin Stuart’s Lowell, Mass. based team Sunday one to remember. Szegedy replaced Louie Mechalides in the ride after Mechalides had offseason back surgery.
Szegedy, of Ridgefield, has arrived in the Modified Racing Series to chase a championship and Sunday at Waterford he and his team had one of those bad-to-worse-to-good days that have been the recipes of so many championships built in racing.
In their first event together Szegedy and his team showed that the communication and chemistry needed to turn a bad day good is seemingly there for the newly formed grouping.
“Right away when we started we were really bad free so we came in and kept pitting and kept making changes and it was free in the worst way, [into the corners] and [off the corners],” Szegedy said. “I knew we weren’t going to last that way so we had to make some big swings. We finally made a big swing and felt like it was going to be good.”
Then Szegedy was involved in a massive turn three pileup with 58 laps remaining, triggered by a blown motor from Ted Christopher running in second.
It left Szegedy with a caved in right side that gave his car more of a look of heading to the junk heap rather than back to the front of the field. But even with all the pretty banged off his ride, Szegedy rolled toward the front and was battling to get on the podium in the closing laps.
“This is like a win finishing third,” Szegedy said. “I was happy with the guys, they kept their cool during the pit stops and got the car fixed. Every adjustment we made we got it better.
“It’s just nice that we were able to work together. Nobody got out of hand, I didn’t, the team didn’t. We were able to work on the car after getting wrecked, we were able to fix it, put it together and come out with a third place finish.”