Stafford Springs, CT — Jon McKennedy, of East Chelmsford, MA, started sixth in a 23-car lineup, dropped back in the field until near the halfway mark, then drove to the front to go on and win the Valenti Modified Racing Series 80-lap race at Stafford Motor Speedway, Friday night, Sept 2.
It didn’t come easy for the current point leader until the last two laps of the event.
McKennedy put on another crowd pleasing driving display to work his way to second position on lap-72. With eight-laps remaining, the three-time series champion made it interesting as he hunted race leader Woody Pitkat, of Sturbridge, MA, who appeared on his way to his first win of the season. McKennedy was two car lengths behind when the caution flag was waved for contact between Ted Christopher, of Plainville, CT, and Richard Savary, of Canton, MA, on lap-79.
When the Christopher/Savary incident happened, at the opposite end of the speedway, Pitkat made contact with a slower car resulting in a flat tire that forced the series champion of a year ago to the pit area for a new tire.
McKennedy, after a pair of attempts at a green-white-checker finish, rolled to his sixth win of the season, his 21st career series win, his second series win at Stafford, and a solid hold on the points race with three events remaining on the schedule.
Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, PA, finished a strong second, with Jeff Gallup, of Agawam, MA, a solid third for his best ever finish in a tour-type modified.
Portland, CT veteran Dave Etheridge was fourth and second generation driver Dylan Kopec, of Palmer MA, rounded out the top five.
Sixth through tenth place finishers were; Donnie Lashua, David Schneider, Pitkat, Branden Dion and Matthew Mead.
The race was slowed by six caution flags and was completed in 53 minutes flat. 18-cars finished on the lead lap.
Heat winners were Pennink (1), Etheridge (2) , and Pitkat (3).
Anthony Nocella was sidelined during practice with engine problems. George Sherman was a feature lineup scratch, also with engine problems during his heat race.
25-cars entered the 13th event of the season. 23 drivers started the feature race.
Next Up: Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, ME.
Sept 17, 2016
(17) Cautions: 6
Time of Race: 53:00.404
Average Speed: 18.802 (McKennedy)
Best Speed: 95.734 (McKennedy)
Margin of Victory: 0.377
Order of Finish: (1) McKennedy, (2) Pennink, (3) Gallup, (4) Etheridge, (5) Kopec, (6) Lashua, (7) Schneider, (8) Pitkat, (9) Dion, (10) Mead, (11) Richardi, (12) Meservey Jr, (13) James, (14) Willis Jr, (15) Fournier, (16) Pasteryak, (17) Doucette, (18) Seidell, (19) Christopher, (20) Savary, (21) Dixon, (22) Bakaj, (23) Dolan.
-Modified Racing Series Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen