Send It: Last Lap Pass Gives Tommy Barrett Jr. Valenti Mod Series Win At Thompson

Tommy Barrett Jr. in victory lane after Thursday's Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Thompson Speedway

Tommy Barrett Jr. in victory lane after Thursday’s Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON – It’s one of the most common clichés of motorsports, it doesn’t matter how many laps you lead, just that you lead the last one.

That was a philosophy that Tommy Barrett Jr. lived up to perfectly Thursday night at Thompson Speedway.

Barrett passed Todd Szegedy on the final circuit to win the 75-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature Thursday at Thompson.

Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. was second and Ted Christopher of Plainville third.

Barrett, who has run full-time with the Valenti Modified Racing Series the past two years, was making his first appearance with the division this season. The Millis, Mass. teenager is running full-time this season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Szegedy, a former Whelen Modified Tour champion, is in his first year running full-time with the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Despite leading the points coming into the Thompson event after the races this year, he is still looking for his first win with his new Kevin Stuart owned team.

Szegedy led the first 74 laps of the event.

“I went hard in the beginning and then I took it easy so I could save the tires and the car stayed very well and I moved around on the track, I found a nice groove,” Szegedy said.

Barrett, who started, second fell to the back of the field to save tires early then came back through the field in the late stages. Barrett went by Christopher for third on lap 67 and went to second when Keith Rocco spun out of the position on lap 69.

Barrett held to Szegedy’s bumper on the lap 69 restart but with four laps remaining drifted up in turn four and nearly got into the wall. Barrett then pedaled back to make up the lost ground and got back to Szegedy’s bumper coming to the white flag.

Going into turn one on the final lap, Barrett went under Szegedy. The two made contact in turns one and two, with Szegedy getting pushed toward the wall.

“I think there was four to go and I got up on [Szegedy’s] bumper and I almost got in the wall coming out of [turn] four and I lost a couple car lengths,” Barrett said. “I did what I had to do to get back to his bumper. I honestly thought we were coming to two-to-go and then I saw the white flag. I had a run on him and dove in and just sent it in. I did what I had to do.

“I’d expect him to do the same thing to me. We’re racing to win the race and I did what I had to do.”

Szegedy, who ended up finishing sixth, said Barrett “cleaned him out.”

“That’s the way everybody drives here,” Szegedy said. “But he slammed me hard. Hard enough that it bent the left front [suspension]. My wheels were bent in, I couldn’t even turn. He cleaned me out. I don’t know, if I was on the other end, I don’t know if I would have done the same thing. I don’t know. But that’s the characteristics of this track. Everybody buries it in and if the guy on the outside doesn’t life he gets smashed into. That’s basically what he did. I tried racing him and he just pounded me.”

Szegedy knew the final caution would likely make for a messy finish.

“I always know when you have cautions there’s going to be things like this,” Szegedy said. “You’re going to have guys that drive in over their head and slam into you and stuff, that’s just the characteristics of this race. I wish it would have went green, I would have liked to have won. We’ve got another one here. We’ll try to get it. We just want to get some wins.”

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  1. Anyone else surprised Scott Tapley didn’t take the win away? When the leader goes from first to sixth, maybe the contact was excessive.

  2. “Rocco spun out”.. No.. Barrett took him out also then teddy finished him. But hey, that’s racing I guess.

  3. vmrs sucks

  4. Terrible Tapley says

    So the race before at Thompson, mr. Consistency Scott Tapley threw out the 11 sportsman for hitting a car under caution. No questions asked, just automatic. In fact I believe he may of suspended him for this race. Now the 00 sk hit someone under caution in the first sk race and tapley responded with come on guys it’s a long night ahead. I don’t even think he gave him a warning. In the second feature, the same car hit a different car under caution. When tapley’s crew reminded him he just ignored them.
    In the VMRS race he did make it clear that the 9 car was out of warnings and better not touch anyone else. If you were there you saw him pound the 85 and maybe even break his left front. I get that it’s the last lap of the race. However Tapley set the bar in the consi when the 77 moved the 17 for the last qualifying spot. Grow a pair Tapley and call it the same across the board. If it’s boys have at it, call it the same for everyone. Don’t keep embarrassing yourself.

  5. “I did what I had to do”….no, he did what he WANTED to do. Anybody can sail a car in over their head and move the leader out of the way. Real race car drivers either find a clean way by or settle for second. The fact that the officials let this win stand is a blow to the credibility of the series.

  6. Dirty move by a dirty driver, shouldn’t expect anything less from a 19 year old punk. “Did what I had to do”, how about try passing clean or settle for 2nd trying to win respectably instead of the way you did.

  7. I’m already disgusted with this bs excuse for racing on the WMT. If the MRS is going to start allowing that crap to go on as well, maybe I won’t go to their races either.

    To answer Paul’s question, I was very surprised and disappointed that Barrett wasn’t penalized. IMO, he should have been placed behind Szegedy in the finishing order. So much for MRS officials having it in for him.

    “We’re racing to win the race and I did what I had to do.”

    No, jackass, you didn’t HAVE to do that. No one was holding a gun to your head. You CHOSE to drive like a douchebag.

  8. This young man is not making friends a lot of chatter in pits about him after the race..

  9. It was OK for Szegedy to drive Barrett to the wall on lap 73 When Barrett tried to pass him on the Outside a few times i was sitting in turn 4 and watched it happen twice. Szegedy was blocking like a semi truck in the road down town Boston and barrett “did what he had to”. The best part is all you people do is complain and i bet 9 out of 10 of you where not even there to watch. The kid tried to run him on the outside and he was blocked so he went inside to make a move and had to run him up. If that was one of you out there you would of done the exact same thing being faster and not being given the room to race. If you want friends at a race track bring your DOG

  10. Disappointed says

    I’m a TB fan who has never driven a racecar. But I know I have the talent to do what he did last night, because it didn’t take any! While Szegedy may have run him all over the place, that “pass” is what they all consider appropriate these days, (Szegedy did the same thing at NHMS). Anyone that was there knew what was coming, as that has become the norm at Thompson. The really pathetic part is to listen to the drivers, crew, etc defend that s%$t. The arrogance of some of these guys is incredible. Some of these guys are so impressed with themselves it’s a wonder how their heads fit through the pit gate. Maybe that’s why no one was there, because they wanted to see a race, not Bowman Gray Stadium.

  11. At the Ice Breaker Justin made that move without hitting anybody and WON!

  12. Sounds like I did the right thing and STAYED HOME!!! I do wonder what happened to the 00 on that last restart with Todd ? Anyone see ?

  13. I try not to comment on this stuff but it’s hard when many people make comments like they are drivers themselves. I’m sure Todd was trying to block the spot with less than 5 to go anyone would! I’m sure Barrett would of loved to have the room to get by completely clean as it sounds like he was faster at this point! Unfortunately racing comes with some contact some intentional and some not so, Drivers who don’t block with less then 5 to go never win and drivers who never use their bumper or move anybody well same result you never win so that being said if you aren’t willing to put up these fights to win why not just do us all a favor stay home cause it isn’t exciting to watch a bunch of follow the leader no contact permitted racing! And no I have never driven a racecar!

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