A race that nearly ended early in disaster, turned into another triumph for Jon McKennedy on Saturday night as he took the win in the Valenti Modified Racing Series feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl’s Wings & Wheels night.
While running sixth on a lap 32 restart, Ted Christopher lost control of the No. 00 coming off turn two and slid in front of the field. McKennedy missed Christopher, but smacked the outside wall while a number of cars piled up behind.
After his crew checked over the car in the pits, McKennedy fought his way up through the top 10, eventually getting to fourth. A caution on lap 69 put McKennedy into the lead battle, first passing Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco on the outside on the restart, then taking over the lead for good from Richard Savary on lap 72 with another outside pass.
Despite having a winning car, McKennedy revealed just how wounded the car was in victory lane.
“We had a wheel that was pretty bad, I don’t know if we got something bent in the rear end,” said McKennedy. “It was kind of driving a little funky down the straightaway there. Obviously it was still good enough. We had a real good car. I wasn’t too sure what to think when we got gobbled up there in the wall pretty good. It looked like Ted (Christopher) just got loose and over corrected, I was right there. Looks like a lot of the nerf bar took the blow though I’m sure something is bent.”
The win is McKennedy’s fifth of the season in the MRS and seventh overall, it is also his third on the Connecticut shore. After splitting time between Tour-Type Modifieds and Supermodifieds in 2014 and 2015, McKennedy and the No. 29 team have put all their effort into Tour-Type Modified operation. That hard work has wielded much success in 2016, including putting him in the running for a fourth MRS championship.
“Just a lot of work at the shop, trying to take advantage of every opportunity I get. I’ve got a good group of guys. Raceworks built me a new car last year, we changed a bunch of stuff on it, got a good engine. It’s the whole combination now. You need everything to go your way, you need the whole package. This year things are certainly going well for me, we got seven wins now, it’s been a great year.”
The Valenti Modified Racing Series returns to action on August 20 for their third and final appearance of the season at Monadnock Speedway.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com