Change Of Scenery: Todd Szegedy To Run For Kevin Stuart Owned Modified Racing Series Team

Todd Szegedy was looking for a ride and Valenti Modified Racing Series team owner Kevin Stuart was in need of a driver.

Todd Szegedy celebrates a Whelen Modified Tour victory in September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Todd Szegedy celebrates a Whelen Modified Tour victory in September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Szegedy, the 2003 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, will replace Lou Mechalides with Stuart’s Lowell, Mass. based team for the 2014 Valenti Modified Racing Series season.

Mechalides, of Tyngsboro, Mass., continues to recover from offseason back surgery. Szegedy, of Ridgefield, will drive the full 17-race Valenti Modified Racing Series schedule for the team and also the three Open Tour Type Modified shows that make up the new Tri-Track Series.

“With 17 races with the series and the three open races, that’s 20 races on the schedule so far,” Szegedy said. “That’s more than I’ve raced in a while. I’m definitely looking forward to that. If we can go out and try and win a championship, that’s great, that’s the ultimate goal. I think the priority is going to be go out there and start racing and have a good time.”

The Valenti Modified Racing Series opens its 2014 season on March 30 with the Blastoff 100 at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Szegedy’s arrival is a welcome sight for series organizers.

“Having a legendary modified driver and champion like Todd Szegedy join our series full-time is really huge for the fans and supporters of the Valenti Modified Racing Series,” series director Scott Tapley said. “Todd is not only an accomplished driver but he’s also one the most respected people in short track racing for his professionalism on and off the race track.”

Szegedy has made three career Valenti Modified Racing Series starts, all coming in 2012. He won in his second series start at Monadnock Speedway on July 7, 2012.

“I have raced with these guy before,” Szegedy said. “What I’ve seen is there are some guys that are really good and then there are some guys that are really far off. But the guys that are good, they race me clean. I can’t speak for everybody. But I was able to run side-by-side with guys and it was good. When I won at Monadnock I made passes on the outside and never got used up. I felt like there was a lot of respect out there.”

After finishing sixth in the Whelen Modified Tour standings in 2013, Szegedy was released from his ride with Mike Smeriglio Racing following the conclusion of the season. He had been driving for Smeriglio since the start of the 2006 season. He was replaced on the team by 2012 Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby.

Over 10 full-time seasons on the Whelen Modified Tour, Szegedy never finished worse than seventh in the standings and was only worse than fifth in the standings twice. He was the series runner-up in 2007 and 2011 and had a third place finish in the standings in 2008. His last Whelen Modified Tour victory came in the F.W. Webb 100 last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Mechalides is ninth on the Valenti Modified Racing Series’ all-time starts list with 92, from 2005 to 2013. He is tied for fifth on the series’ all-time win list with seven victories. He had decompressive Laminectomy surgery for spinal stenosis, a procedure done to relieve pressure on spinal nerve roots.

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  1. Steve St. Jean says

    Great driver and great guy. I worked with him for about ten years on the 2 car. Glad to see he found a seat-good luck Szeg.

  2. am I blind? says

    ” a legendary driver and champion “……..???….I must need an eye transplant.

  3. Andy Boright says

    …same here. Ray Hendrick, Richie Evans, and Geoff Bodine were “legendary” modified drivers, Todd Szegedy is not in that class of driver.

    Not even close.

    The problem with a lot of series and track officials today is that too many go overboard on hyperbole to the point of insulting people’s intelligence.

  4. Joe Friscia says

    He will find success early. I welcome.e addition to the series.

  5. He is a great driver and as clean as they come!! He would have had a 2nd championship a fww years ago if there wasnt 12 cautions in that last race to give silk 6 lucky dogs and 6 laps back.. insane that happend, so ill take that.

  6. Jim anderson says

    Worked with Todd at MRS 2011-through part of 2013 , awesome guy, awesome driver! This could be big for VMMRS!

  7. Jim anderson says

    I meant VMRS

  8. Nice! I see a championship in his future.

  9. Andy Boright says

    He better win a lot more championships & races than he has to his name right now to earn the billing of “legendary”.

    Good driver, but there is a (big) difference between good and “legendary”.

  10. gary duprez says

    Todd Szegedy and Justin Bonsignore in the Valenti Series, save me a seat!

  11. Gerald Stearns says

    I’m sure Todd is a great guy, but, he can’t drive in traffic when the heat is on. Far too often the car ends up on the hook. He’s always had great equipment with the “2” car, but far too often he couldn’t bring it home. I believe that’s why Smeriglio let him go. When ever there’s a wreck in front of him he automatically panics, stands on the binders, and slides right into the wreck, instead of trying to drive around it. If you watch him it’s so obvious. He does it again and again and then always blames somebody else . He should do better in the VMRS. The competition isn’t quite as tough as in the whelen tour. I just hope Kevin Stuart can afford to keep fixing the car.

  12. Szegedy in a Kevin Stuart prepared ride will do well I’m sure, but he will have his work cut out for him. Last season the MRS had 11 different winners with 23 different lap leaders and a record number of entrys. It’s only going to get better. Hope Louie can make a come back.

  13. During his tenure in the #2 car no team spent more money to field a car and the results they got back were way below par.

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