Mike Willis Jr. Wins First Valenti Modified Series Event At Claremont Speedway

(Press Release from the Modified Racing Series)

Claremont, NH. – Who says home field advantage doesn’t apply in short track racing. It did for Mike Willis Jr Friday night, as the Grantham New Hampshire driver, notched his first Valenti Modified Racing Series victory at Claremont Motorsports Park, Claremont, NH.

Willis previously won at Claremont in a Tri-Track Series event. The VMRS victory Willis has been chasing the last four seasons. It finally came together in front of the hometown crowd.

“ It’s always good to win here and I love coming to this track I really want to win at another track to show we can win besides home but I’ll take what I can get.” said a smiling Willis. 

Willis added, “the car was great and I was thinking on lap-40 the cautions not coming out thinking we’re not going to have a good car at the end – it was starting to get real good though getting better and better and when it was go time it was there.”

The victory was bittersweet for the family team headed up by Denis Hardy after a rough outing the week before at Monadnock. Willis reasoned, “after last week some things not my fault- something’s definitely my fault.. this week we were pretty distraught and not racing this week at all and Dad said we’re committed and we’re going. We worked hard all week … the crew worked hard. 

Willis started on the pole in the Spirit of Alaska/Maurice Enterprise/Legacy Landscaping # 83 thanks to winning his heat race, and led the opening seven laps when Kirk Alexander took the lead briefly. .Claremont’s Jeff Murray, making his first start this season, took command on lap-10 and led for 70-laps when Willis slipped by on the outside and pulled away from the field. 

Willis was followed by a persistent Woody Pitkat, of Bellingham, MA, who finished second followed by Matt Swanson, of Acton, MA in the Gary Casella #25 who made a late race charge. Sunapee NH’s Brian Robie checkered fourth, with Kirk Alexander, of W. Swanzey, NH. 

Murray, Mike Douglas Jr, CJ Bolton, Donnie Lashua, Dylan Rock, and Cam Sontag,rounded out the field of eleven starters.

Willis joins Chase Dowling, Jeff Gallup, and Ronnie Williams as first time series winners this season. 

Only two minor caution flags were displayed on laps 49 & 51. The race was completed in 28 minutes. 

The next event for the Valenti Modified Racing Series is Saturday June 22, and Sunday June 23, at the 3rd annual New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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  1. Hillary 2020 says

    11 cars. What’s the all time low for the MRS?

  2. Fast Eddie says

    That might very well be the lowest car count for them. I would have thought more of the occasional VMRS teams from up north would have run. There were 5-6 teams that run VMRS at the Stafford Open event. I just saw on the VMRS site the Loudon winner gets $5000. Hopefully they will get a good field for that race, along with some spectators.

  3. NHMS entry list is around 20. It’s ok. Not great. I’ll pass.

    Weekend totals. MRS 11, Bullring postponed/cancelled, Stafford 23 +Preece, Islip 300 had 23 cars.

  4. I know I’m a broken record but it seems the hand writing is on the wall. Opens are the immediate future and the VMRS is just out of step. It’s not the low car counts so much as no one seems to care anymore about points accumulation. Or at least less do.
    The VMRS should do well at Stafford mainly because Stafford SK teams have 5 plus tour modifieds ready to contribute. Unfortunately that fact may be the main reason this year is the last VMRS race at Stafford unless they keep them out of pure tradition and loyalty.
    The weather was not ideal last Friday for a June race. The wind was annoying and below normal temps.. Nonetheless they had the best crowd yet. What’s the point in Stafford or any track for that matter splitting the pot if you can draw good crowds on your own. TTOMS being the obvious exception.

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