Kevin Stuart Pulling Team Off Valenti Mod Series After Series Suspension

2014 VMRS LogoA suspension by the Valenti Modified Racing Series has ended any hopes Todd Szegedy had for winning a championship, and his team owner Kevin Stuart has decided it’s time to leave the series.

Stuart said he was informed by Valenti Modified Racing Series founder and president Jack Bateman Tuesday that his team was being suspended from the series for the next three events because of Stuart’s tirade directed at series officials during a series event Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl.

During Saturday’s event at Waterford Stuart grabbed a radio from a series official and directed a tirade over the series radio frequency directed at Bateman. Stuart said he lost his cool because teams were being allowed to work on their cars in the pits under a red flag while Szegedy was sitting on the track.

When the red flag was lifted Szegedy was ordered off the track by series officials and disqualified from the event.

Bateman said Stuart’s team was being suspended because Stuart physically and verbally assaulted a series official.

Stuart said he apologized to Bateman for the incident and argued that his team served their punishment by getting disqualified from Saturday’s event.

“How do you get punished for the same crime twice?” Stuart said. “… I was found guilty Saturday night and he suspended us for Saturday night. Now he’s suspending us again? I’m being punished for the same crime twice. I take complete responsibility for it. My guys had nothing to do with it. You should be suspending me and not my guys.”

Said Bateman: “The infraction that he committed was to the degree that it requires a suspension. He physically and verbally attacked one of my officials. I think a three-race suspension is fairly lenient.

“He’s responsible for the team. For himself and his team. We never single out individuals in these situations. Usually it’s not the team owner that creates the infraction, it’s usually one of the pit crew or this or that or the other thing, and we make the car owner responsible for that. That’s been our policy right along. I personally like Kevin, but he’s got a very volatile temper and this isn’t the first instance we’ve had with him.”

Szegedy, a former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion from Ridgefield, is his first season driving for Stuart. He came into Saturday’s event fourth in the standings, 10 points behind Justin Bonsignore at the top of the standings.

Stuart’s team was suspended for events at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway (Aug. 16), Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. (Aug. 23) and Stafford Motor Speedway (Aug. 29). His team would be allowed to return to action for the series event at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. on Sept. 6.

Stuart said his team will now leave the series.

“He basically said ‘That’s the way it is, that’s it’s his game or no game.’” Stuart said of the suspension. “He said ‘I’ll see you in New York’ and I told him he can stick his whole series up his [rear]. If he thinks I’m going to spend $5,000 and drive all the way to New York so he can have a car count he’s [crazy].”

Stuart said the series, with Bateman overseeing competition and events, has been going downhill fast since former series director Scott Tapley left in early June.

“It’s wrong what’s going on,” Stuart said. “Everybody you talk to has had enough. Enough of his [bull] and his baloney. I’m the type of guy that if I have something to say I’m going to say it. … He’s such a moron. He says that he did not suspend Todd, he suspended the team. Does that make any sense? How do you suspend the team but not the driver? He makes no sense. I think the guy is senile and belongs in a nursing home.”

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  1. We suspend a driver from a track..but their crew can come in pits next week to watch..this is stupid.

  2. ::Sighs::

  3. Frank Franklin says

    Maybe Stuart has a future in writing a sequel to Carnegie’s famous work ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’…

  4. I think it is a great series . The only problem is it is run by an idiot . It’s to bad that’s a good car and team for the series lost . Nice job JACK A$$

  5. sounds like mr stuart should go back and learn some basic manners, right or wrong he has a less than professional approach, makes you wonder how he succeeded in the busy world with his charm school people skills, nice example kevin!!

  6. Does anybody know why the teams on pit road were able to work on their cars? What was Jack’s reasoning for allowing it to happem?

  7. Sharpie Fan says

    According to the MRS rulebook:

    2.16. RED FLAG:
    A. When a red flag is displayed, all cars will stop immediately when safe to do so.
    B. There will be no moving on the racetrack unless so directed by an official.
    C. The red flag does not affect cars already on pit road or in the pit area. Work may continue on cars that were in the pits prior to the red flag.
    D. Any car involved in the red flag situation that are cleared to move by a track official or a safety worker may move a safe distance away from the accident and stop. They are not to go to the pit area until the red flag is lifted

  8. I would bet Stuart went to an official and complained first. They probably would not do anything. So he flipped out because racing 101 you can’t work on the cars during a red. Racers don’t ask for much. Just enforce the rules fairly.

  9. Jimmy Milo says

    Bateman is an egomaniac. Makes up rules as he goes. Why do you think Scott left. Slowly but shurley he will destroy his dream.

  10. The guy apologizes after you DQ him, yet you hand down a 3 race suspension? I don’t blame Stuart.

  11. Andy Boright says

    Stuart is an idiot because he didn’t know the rules in the first place, and then attacked an official in the second place. It’s the Hudson mentality in him I guess. This isn’t NASCAR, and it isn’t racing 101. MRS allows teams to work on their cars under a red flag, so get your head out of your rear end and learn the rules before deciding to throw a fit.

  12. Andy,
    MRS allows teams to work on cars that were in the pits before the red flag working on their cars. The cars that were being worked on that Stuart had issues with had been brought in after the red flag had already been displayed. He knew exactly what the rules are.

  13. Big loss for a series that has really turned into garbage. I don’t really know the VMRS rules but if what shawns says is accurate and the cars in question were towed or pushed in AFTER the red and then allowed to perform work it would have only been fair to give the 85 a push and allow them the same courtesy. Yea the owner crossed a line in his actions but 3 races for the entire team for calling someone an a-hole? seems a bit harsh to me. Suspend him for attending and slap a fine on him, don’t destroy an entire teams and its driver season which had nothing to do with it. JMO but all Bateman has done here is show that he does not care about the integrity of his own series. Tossing a top car tht has supported a struggling series over a emotional outburst seems foolish to me from a race promoters stand. Heck now the guy is going to save a lot of money and headaches by not racing. While the series is going to lose race quality and fan interest but not having one of most competitive car and popular driver competing.

    This series seems to like to brag on its car counts for races but lets face it take out the CT races and all the other events are lucky to get 20 cars. how many were at Lee again?? How many are competitive enough to win? 4 maybe 5? Rocco and TC show up at the CT races and barring any troubles usualy destroy the field. This will only hurt the series but heck batemen said himself he don’t care if the 85 team ever comes back or not so if the series don’t care why should fans bother to care to go pay and watch anymore? Perhaps Mr Tapely left for good reason huh?

  14. NewtownJack says

    Folks – the suspension is for the physical abuse of an official NOT any verbal abuse directed at the official(s). 3 races is lenient.

  15. Rafter fan says

    We still haven’t heard Bateman’s explanation with respect to the Rocco + Savary(?) cars being allowed to go to the pits (and be worked on) after the red flag – correct?

  16. darealgoodfella says

    An owner doesn’t know the rules? Ignorance of the rules is no excuse.

  17. former MRSfan says

    1st things first. If Bateman went by the rules of not letting teams work on there cars during the red flag would we be talking about this at all.

  18. What I’m getting out of this is if you were in the pits working on your car before the red flag came out you could continue to work on them. If you came in the pits after/during the red flag you could not. Which doesn’t make any sense. Why reward some teams for being able to make it in the pits under caution but penalize teams that couldn’t make it in there before the red flag? To me it has to be one way or the other. If I’m wrong that’s fine but that just doesn’t make any sense.

  19. Ray Kelly Jr says

    While I’m not sure of the official protest rules on the VMRS, I’m fully confident that the first step is not to physically assault an official, rip off their headset and start a profanity laden tirade. Assault is against the law and profanity over radios is FCC regulated. Mr. Stuart is lucky that no one chose to press charges. He should have filed a formal protest after the race per the series rules.

    In regards to red flags, I say let the teams work on their cars. It’s an old racing rule that should be forgotten about forever. It takes one official per car to police properly police it. Removing this rule not only eliminates a nonsense judgement call, it allows teams to effect better and safer repairs and ultimately speeds up the show.

  20. former MRSfan says

    Ray kelly jr___ if Bateman followed the rule book that he made and that he has his officals go by then none of this would of happened at all. So start at the beginning were this mess was created not the middle.

  21. Ray Kelly Jr says

    former MRSfan: Two wrongs don’t make a right. To excuse an assault by Mr Stuart on a separate MRS race official on Mr Bateman’s previous actions is reprehensible logic.

  22. wmass_01013 says

    First off I think the rule of working on cars during red is dumb unless all cars not out of race can do that and if the 85 was on the track and not being able to do what others can is unfair, especially to a team in a points race!
    Bigger concern is a series director making a comment about a team owner during a race for all to hear over the radio, if I question was asked to an official on pit road to the tower, then a short explanation should be the reply, not a smart ass comment, and then when Szgedy goes to talk to him and he tell him see you later. Jack Bateman needs to understand that race teams owe him nothing and his series can go bye bye really quick with team owners and drivers being treated like that.

  23. Let me put in my 2 cents. You can’t make everyone happy some people get the raw end of the deal in racing but I still think MRS is still the best modified tour by far. Jack stood up to nascar an I thank him for that.

  24. Sean Normandin says

    first things first: the car owner should have never touched the official or grabbed and used his radio to bad mouth anyone. That’s a given. The series did right by parking the car that night in my opinion. Now suspend the car owner, dock owner points, put him on probation for the rest of the year and fine him for Bateman to park the whole team is childish and in my opinion he is making it personal. Jack is a horrible race director and an even worse series owner. How can he even be a team owner in the series that he owns and runs? either race or run the series it doesn’t work period. Just ask Ralph Nason (nepsa) or Tom Mayberry (pass) Mr. Bateman please step away from this series you are killing it and its sad to see. There are so many great people that race for you and you are killing their spirit. you may fail as a series owner and that will be on you but if /when you fail you will kill 15-20 teams that have supported modified racing for so many years. What’s truly sad to see that you make the Whelan tour look like they are superstars.

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