When you ask those who compete in or follow Northeast Modified racing who the best Tour-type Modified driver is outside the full-time roster of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, many will say it is five-time and defending Valenti Modified Racing Series champion Jon McKennedy. Both last season and this season, he continues to flex his muscles all throughout New England and even down South on occasion.
Opportunities to compete at the front or at all in NASCAR competition have been rare over the years, with the Massachusetts driver competing with limited resources or having too busy a schedule with both non-NASCAR and Supermodified races. He told Speed51.com powered by JEGS last December that should the right opportunity come along to run a race or races on the Whelen Modified Tour, he would take it. And that opportunity has come as he will pilot the famous Brady Bunch Racing No. 00 this Wednesday night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT).
“Things have worked out here, the last few months we thought back and forth about potentially going to a race or two. But with the busy schedule we had it didn’t seem ideal, we couldn’t get a race that we could do. This Thompson race is a good race for everyone,” McKennedy said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity and working with all the guys on the car, some of them help with my own car that I’m familiar with. Scott (Anderson) runs the deal with the 00, he’s a guy that works down South and he’s really good with what he does.”
This is not McKennedy’s first time in this storied ride, as he competed for the late Joe Brady in July 2011 at Seekonk Speedway (MA). Now he returns to the team which continues to carry on under the ownership of Brian Brady.
“It’s neat, I drove that car a few years ago at Seekonk for the Open Wheel Wednesday show, we were a top-five car the whole race and ended up getting a hole in the radiator near the end of the race. It’s been a while.”
McKennedy’s list of race tracks with a victory is impressive, but currently Thompson is not on that list. While his Tour experience is light, he feels that this is as good opportunity to get that win at the “Big T”.
“I think we got a good chance, it’s a track I’ve never won at, but finished second there multiple times and had a lot of other good runs on the Valenti Series and Supermodifieds,” McKennedy stated. “I’m sure we can run well and go for the win, just got to be in position at the end and see what happens. Thompson is a place where track position is very important, it’s tough to pass, the outside is the preferred line. The whole day starts off with a good qualifying effort, that’s going to be key, to start up towards the front. It’s a good track, I like running there. We’ve got a good car with a good group of guys, it should be a good deal.”
For now, this will be a one-race deal for the driver-team combination, mostly due to McKennedy’s busy schedule, but if the team scores a good result Wednesday night, he is not ruling out another appearance.
“It’s just this one for now, there’s a possibility of more down the road. It’s looking at one race at time between my own stuff with the Modified and the Super. I have a busy schedule with 20 races with my own stuff. We’ll see how Wednesday goes and go from there.”
Be sure to follow Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage Wednesday night of the Thompson 125.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com