Home Cooked: Mike Douglas Jr. Gets First Career Valenti Modified Racing Series Win At Lee USA

Mike Douglas Jr. celebrates his first career Valenti Modified Racing Series victory Saturday at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H.

LEE, N.H. – When Valenti Modified Racing Series flagman Tim Bennett handed Mike Douglas Jr. the checkered flag Saturday at Lee USA Speedway, the 37-year old veteran driver was immediately apologetic.

Douglas’ exit from his Modified was slightly delayed. As he slowly took his helmet off inside the car, Douglas apologized to those waiting for the celebration to start.

“I hope I don’t … wake up,” Douglas said as he caught his breath and took in the scene around him.

Douglas dreamed of winning a Valenti Modified Racing Series event and Saturday he got to live that dream at his home track.

Douglas, of Auburn, N.H., led every lap to win the 50-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature Saturday at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H.

It was the first career series victory for Douglas, who grew up watching his father race Big Block SuperModifieds at the track.

“This is a coming home for me every time I come here,” Douglas said. “We’ve been doing this a long time. … We’ve been working a long time for this and it’s just always some dumb crap that knocks us out. … It’s Lee. To me this is home. This is coming home to your mom on Thanksgiving or Christmas at your parents’ house. It’s like that.”

Richard Savary of Canton, Mass. was second and Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Mass. third.

“Granted, it’s a shorter race, but I actually felt like it was a more complete race for me,” Douglas said. “I was able to put all three segments of a race together and actually get it to go. I was more concerned with restarts. They waved off one restart. Then they told me to wait a little bit longer for the white line. So I waited longer then I got the old pounds on the rear end. I kind of picked it up and just drove and it didn’t feel any different than like a practice or anything else.”

Douglas ran away from the competition in his heat race, leading some to believe he may have used up too much tire at track where tire wear is a typically a huge factor in Modified events.

“It’s a powder keg,” Douglas said. “The tire wear is either going to be good or it’s going to be bad. I’ve seen guys save save save and then they’re junk in 30 laps. Then I’ve seen guys go [all] out right from the start and they end up like I am right now. I just went and just drove my own race and once I got out front I wanted to kind of dictate the pace that I wanted. … Even in the heat race, I guess I was … a straightaway [ahead]. I couldn’t believe it. I was backing off at the flag stand they told I was pulling away. The car was fast right off the trailer.”

Savary started eighth in the field and was up to third by lap 24. He got under Dana Smith for second on lap 32.

“My thoughts were that [Douglas] was going to slow up because he ran his heat so hard, and he did,” Savary said. “The only problem was my car got too tight. So he gave me plenty of room. Plenty of respect to the outside and usually here I can roll there. I couldn’t today because of my right front [tire]. We swapped the right side [tires] after the heat race and my right front was just sliding off. I could get in and roll the middle [of the corners] buy when I’d go to the throttle it would slide the nose. …

“He just played a very defensive, smart driving. He just hooked the bottom and slowed his car down enough. He gave me all the room if I wanted to go [outside]. I could have pulled alongside of him, but I never was going to finish the move. So I had to go in high and kind of cross and couple times I was close enough that I could have sent it, but I was like ‘No, I’ll wait, he’s slowing up more, I’ll get him clean.’ Then Anthony [Nocella] was [outside of me] and lapped traffic was there and it kind of threw me a curveball.”

Said Douglas: “I ran my race. If I heard inside, outside, whatever, then you give them the lane. There’s no use chopping someone. If they’re fast enough to get under you then give them the lane. That’s just how I ran and that’s how I always have ran.”


  1. Crazy in NY says

    Congrads to MD. Long time coming way to go!! Always love seeing first time winners. Nocella last race and a first timer on the ROC last time out at Oswego in Bryan Sherwood. Lee is a tough place to be sure and it looks like a well deserved win. Now on to #2.

  2. Fast Eddie says

    Nice to see a new face in the winner’s circle! Congrats to the #23 team!
    One question intrigues me… Where were all the Modified fans? I was amazed at how few people were there! They all missed a pretty good event!

  3. No body went because there is no talent in the field. And after sitting 2 hours at stafford for 80 horrible laps who would do that again.

  4. Re: Stafford, the SK races are so good, the VMRS pales in comparison.

  5. Nobody probably went because when was the last time Lee Speedway ran a Saturday afternoon race program? Likely never.

  6. Franky, you wouldn’t know talent if it slapped you in the face. Why don’t you try it and see how much talent you have? The only reason there weren’t many fans is because it wasn’t the sacred WMT. Lots of untalented drivers in that too. Some of the WMT events at Stafford and Thompson can be just as horrible.

  7. Bob, if you put me in the Doug Colby 2 car with no racing experience I could finish in the top 5 with no problem. There are only 3 guys that are descent. Savary, hickley, and nocela. Good run by Carl pasteryak. 11th. Not Chris or Charley but Carl.

  8. NH Mod fan says

    It’s too bad that the stands didn’t have more fans Saturday afternoon. The mods put on a pretty good show (23 cars). I know that Star ran that evening and the tracks are only around 10 miles apart. Probably hurt the attendance at both tracks. Congrats to Douglass on his first win. I was actually surprised the 23 didn’t burn up his tires considering the 1/2 track lead he had in the 25 lap heat. It was also fun to watch some passing as Nocella and Hinckley started in the back for the 50 lap race. I also liked that the undercard had less divisions so the afternoon show wasn’t too long. (somewhere between 3 to 4 hrs) The Waterford type legend cars (26 cars) put on a good show at Lee. Overall the Valenti show was pretty good, Yes, it would have been nice to have a few more well known names but the racing was clean and competitive and not follow the leader by having too many laps.

  9. Crazy in NY says

    Franky says:
    May 29, 2017 at 9:44 pm
    Bob, if you put me in the Doug Colby 2 car with no racing experience I could finish in the top 5 with no problem.
    What? No problem? It’s that easy huh? One of the more idiotic things ever written here.
    Deep pockets = talent ..yeah OK. Tell that to Ryan Preece who got beat at Riverhead by a 15 year old.

  10. The Riverhead deal boggles my mind. $7,000. to win and only 20 cars show.

  11. So any other comments on lee attendance?? Series wanted Saturday. Probably better on a Friday regular night. Did not see a lot of my regular modified fans there.

  12. Yes also riverhead 300 lap 20 cars????

  13. Whoever thought a Saturday afternoon race on Memorial Day weekend was a good idea should be fired. I saw that epic failure coming from a mile away. Everyone knows Lee is a Friday night track. They had the same issues with Tri Track a few yrs ago on Mother’s Day. Good car counts but no fans. Stick to Fridays. The Islip 300 was/is a good idea but I think running on a holiday weekend may have been a bad choice.

  14. Fast Eddie says

    Lee had 23 cars with a potential for $3500 for heat and race win. Hopefully they will elect to try it again next year. I thought it was a good show overall. O.K., no lead changes due to Mike Douglas having a “perfect” car. However there was good racing for position through the rest of the field. There was good racing in the Legends and Lites as well. And I never saw that many Bandeleros before at an event. Decent to good car counts across the board. AND… for the diehard fans like myself, there was just enough time to get to Star Speedway for the Small Block Super feature! Two tracks in one day is definitely my idea of a good time!

  15. NH Mod Fan says

    Fast Eddie,
    How many limited supers did they have at Star for a regular show?

  16. Fast Eddie says

    I think they had 14 of them. They seemed to be pretty evenly matched as well. Good racing!

  17. Fast Eddie says

    I think there were 14. Pretty close racing all throughout the feature. Positions 3-7 seemed to be the hot spot.

  18. Who cares
    This race is slow and boring
    Drivers are rookies too

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