Valenti Modified Racing Series Officials Dispute Information In Springfield Republican Story

The postscript of the 2012 Valenti Modified Racing Series season included a fiery and ugly war of words between series officials and the camp of series competitor Tommy Barrett Jr.

Tommy Barrett Jr. (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway)

The nastiness centered around the awarding of the division’s Rookie of the Year title, which went to Mark Bakaj of Lebanon, who finished ninth in the series standings for the 2012 season.

Now a story published by the The Republican of Springfield raises some question about just how things went down between Barrett and Valenti Modified Racing Series officials last year.

In November of 2012 Valenti Modified Racing Series operations manager Chris Rock said Barrett and those in his camp knew he was not eligible for the Rookie of the Year award during the 2012 season and that Barrett was never a candidate for the award.

A story posted online by The Republican Thursday evening stated that the Valenti Modified Racing Series did originally award Barrett with the 2012 Rookie of the Year title but then stripped it from him.

The story by Republican writer Jason Remillard read Barrett: “won three races last season and was originally declared the VMRS rookie of the year until it was deemed that he competed in too many races the previous year to retain rookie status in 2012.”

“That story is false,” Rock said. “That information is just not correct. He was never eligible for the Rookie of the Year award, he never filled out the paperwork to be eligible and he was never awarded anything by us. Nothing was ever taken away because he was never given anything. That story is not right.”

Rock said the information in Remillard’s story did not come from series officials. Remillard did not respond to an email request inquiring about the information in his story.

Those in Barrett’s camp loudly proclaimed that the then 17-year old Barrett got swindled out of the award by the series last Fall. Barrett, in his first full-time season in the series in 2012, won three events and finished sixth in the division’s final standings.

The problem was, Barrett had used up his rookie eligibility in 2011 by participating in seven series events that year. The division’s rules state that a driver who has participated in more than six events in a season cannot be eligible to run for the Rookie of the Year award any following years.

Barrett had an up and down first full-time season in the series. He was criticized by many early on for rough tactics on the track and at one point during the season was suspended for rough driving. By the end of the season he was seemingly a threat to win each week.

Despite the seemingly black and white nature of the rules, the Barrett camp was unrelenting in their criticism of series officials following the 2012 season. Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team owner Mario Fiore, an advisor to Barrett, called series officials “vindictive mf’n a-holes” in a Facebook post after the season.

“He’s a bigger star than anybody they’ve got in that field,” Fiore said of Barrett last November. Fiore at the time also called series officials “frauds.”

“They’re nobody’s,” Fiore said. “We’re looking to go race where the kid gets paid, makes money. Those people are zero’s.”

Rock said last November that neither Barrett or anybody from his team ever filled out the necessary paperwork to be eligible for the Rookie of the Year title.

“We would have thrown it out anyway because he wasn’t eligible,” she said.

Bakaj was the only driver eligible signed up to run for the award in 2012.

Barrett is expected to run full-time in the series again this year.

Rock said she believes the false information being portrayed in Remillard’s story is the story being spread by Fiore.

“Mario is just trying to stir up more crap,” Rock said.

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  1. George Buzzie Bogart says

    This for the most part is BS.
    Tommy has shown great talent and was denied Rookie of the Year unfairly !
    Comon’ He’s a kid ! He deserves recognition for his talent and achevements
    in the modified ranks.

  2. Sharpie Fan says

    He still has to follow the same rules as everybody else.

  3. This is the same kid that gets black flagged for passing too many cars like they’re standing still with no contact and in the same race Ted Christopher can do two laps on a flat tire and smoke everyone out with no repercussions. These tracks have favorites and they make it blatantly obvious.

  4. The 9 at Stafford was black flagged for leaking water, not for passing too many cars.

  5. Jack Handy says

    One wonders why Tommy Barrett is running in the Valenti series again this year–especially the whole series–if the disagreement between the two parties is so deep. If 2013 is a behavioral repeat of 2012 and someone stuffs him in the fence costing him the points championship, one has to wonder if the officials would punish the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the rules. I just don’t see the officials cutting him a break in any 50/50 racing accident or other minor rules infraction given what has transpired.
    Given what happened at Stafford last year, it’s like flipping the bird to a policeman and then asking him to give you warning for driving 20 mph over the limit the next time he sees you.
    For Tommy’s sake, I hope he’s eaten a whole lot of humble pie over the winter, so much that it shows permanently encrusted over his face because he really is quite the showman for the series.

  6. I think the issue is more with someone on the periphery of the team, than with the team and series itself.

    Neither Jason Remillard nor Fiore come off this thing looking professional (or even what they are talking about).

    The rules are pretty black and white, and I don’t know of any touring series that allows someone to run almost half the races one season, and then for RoY the next.

  7. kevin trageser says

    mario f. has nothing to do but cause trouble.he is the 0 in this.he just likes following someone he thinks will make it to the top.what a moron.

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