The second race this weekend was just as nice for Jon McKennedy.
One day removed from winning the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC), McKennedy and the Tommy Baldwin team made the trip to Sophia, North Carolina for the Southern Modified Racing Series 2018 kickoff. The result was the same, as McKennedy dominated the 99-lap feature for the win.
“It felt really good,” McKennedy said in victory lane. “Took the pole, coming off the win last night at Myrtle Beach. It’s a tough race track, really. It feels good to go two-for-two.”
While McKennedy led the way throughout the race, it was not without close-quarter racing. For the majority of the race, Jeremy Gerstner closely followed behind McKennedy. However, McKennedy balanced aggression with conservation to take the win.
“A little bit of both, really,” McKennedy explained. “I’d try to cool them off a little bit when I’d get out to a lead. Fortunately, we were able to stay out front and get the win.”
For Gerstner, it was a strong run after losing some ground from the post-time trial redraw.
“We qualified fourth on these new tires, not the tires we’re used to,” Gerstner told Speed51.com. “They’re going to be a good tire once we get used to them. We re-drew fifth, so that put us deep in the field. Not deep in the field, but behind four really good cars. Once I got to him, I had something for him but the car got a little bit too free.
“You know, we’re running for a points championship,” Gerstner added. “Jon’s just going to run a couple here and there. To race second to him is like a win for us.”
Behind them, Burt Myers and Tim Brown fought tooth-and-nail for the final spot on the podium. Ultimately Myers prevailed, holding off Brown over the closing laps. Brian Loftin rounded out the top five.
Along with the two-for-two weekend, McKennedy protected another perfect mark this weekend. McKennedy made two previous Southern Modified Racing Series starts, both in 2016. McKennedy won both races that season, at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) and Ace Speedway (NC). With Sunday’s win, McKennedy is three-for-three in the SMRS.
The Southern Modified Racing Series will return next weekend at Concord Speedway, North Carolina’s half-mile tri-oval. They are scheduled for a 125-lap feature on March 24.
To look back at all the action from Sunday at Caraway, visit our Trackside Now page from the event, which also featured the Southern Modified Racing Series and 602 Tour.
Southern Modified Racing Series Unofficial Results
Caraway Speedway (NC) – March 18, 2018
Pos # Driver
1 7 Jon McKennedy
2 15 Jeremy Gerstner
3 1 Burt Myers
4 83 Tim Brown
5 11 Brian Loftin
6 78 Kodie Conner
7 12 Mike Norman
8 50 Michael Clifton