Jon McKennedy Knocks One Off His Bucket List

Scores First Whelen Modified Tour Win at Myrtle Beach
3/17/2018

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. —  Even though both Jon McKennedy and Tommy Baldwin have put together a long list of accolades in their racing career, both entered the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season looking to prove a point.

Saturday, McKennedy took the new pairing between the two veterans of asphalt modified racing right to the winner's circle.

McKennedy captured his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win in the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

“It feels great, I feel like this is way overdue,” McKennedy said. “Over the years, I was never really able to put 100 percent effort into the Tour. When Tommy called me, I just knew it was going to be a great deal. I've won races from Florida to Canada. It feels good to finally get the monkey off my back.”

Although McKennedy has a successful resume built in New England Tour-Type Modified racing, his first Whelen Modified Tour victory came in his 34th career start in the NASCAR modified ranks.

The Chelmsford, Massachusetts, driver started from the outside pole, but quickly backed up through the field, trying to save his tires for the final stages on the tricky half-mile surface known for eating at Hoosier rubber.

Following a pit stop for fresh tires during the final caution, McKennedy charged through the field and found himself staring down the back bumper of 20-year-old Chase Dowling in the final laps. On lap 139, McKennedy took his No. 7 Accell Construction Chevrolet to the bottom of Dowling, and took control of the race off turn two.

He never looked back.

“Tommy gave me a great opportunity to run this car, and I'm glad I could make the most of it,” McKennedy said. “We're really off to a good start together. It's great to be in good equipment and have some great knowledge behind us.”

Although Jimmy Blewett took second and inched closer to McKennedy in the final laps, he came up just short, and settled for second. Blewett was driving for Ed Partridge, the defending Whelen Modified Tour owner's champion, while Ryan Preece competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Auto Club Speedway.

“I can't thank Eddie and his wife Connie enough, I'm just happy to be able to come out here and help them,” Blewett said. “This is a car that Eddie and my grandfather own together. We came here in the dark, with no notes. But we got ourselves pointed in the right direction fairly quickly today.”

Matt Hirschman led 77 laps and finished third after winning his sixth pole award in qualifying, while Chase Dowling was fourth. Justin Bonsignore, who led 26 laps, was fifth in his debut with LFR Chassis.

Dave Sapienza was sixth, followed by Eric Goodale, Calvin Carroll, Craig Lutz and Rob Summers.

The Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the annual Icebreaker 150 on April 8.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race number 1 of 1
Saturday, March 17, 2018 at Myrtle Beach Speedway , Myrtle Beach, SC
150 laps on a .538 mile paved track (80.7 miles)

Time of race: 1:10:29
Average Speed: 67.676 mph
Pole Speed: n/a
Cautions: 5 for 24 laps
Margin of Victory: 0.711 sec
Attendance: n/a
Lead changes: 10

Fin St # Driver Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led
1 2 7 Jon McKennedy Accell Construction Inc.   (Tommy Baldwin) Chevrolet 150 running 12
2 10 6 Jimmy Blewett TS Hauler   (Ed Partridge) Chevrolet 150 running 0
3 1 60 Matt Hirschman Pee Dee Motorsports   (Roy Hall) Chevrolet 150 running 77
4 7 15 Chase Dowling 15-40 Connection   (Rob Fuller) Chevrolet 150 running 9
5 6 51 Justin Bonsignore Phoenix Communications Inc.   (Kenneth Massa) Chevrolet 150 running 26
6 8 36 Dave Sapienza Sapienza Enterprise   (Judy Thilberg) Chevrolet 150 running 0
7 11 58 Eric Goodale GAF Roofing   (Edgar Goodale) Chevrolet 150 running 0
8 22 25 Calvin Carroll Power with Prestige / Cruising w / Betty   (Joe Carroll) Chevrolet 150 running 0
9 19 46 Craig Lutz Riverhead Building Supply   (Russell Goodale) Chevrolet 150 running 6
10 4 64 Rob Summers Hoosier Tire East / Fast Track   (Mike Murphy) Chevrolet 150 running 0
11 16 14 Blake Barney * Atlantic Sprinkler   (Richard Barney) Chevrolet 150 running 0
12 5 16 Timmy Solomito Starrett Racing   (Eric Sanderson) Ford 150 running 0
13 12 97 Andy Seuss O.B. Builders   (Byran Dauzat) Chevrolet 150 running 1
14 9 2 Doug Coby Mayhew Tools   (Mike Smeriglio III) Chevrolet 150 running 1
15 18 77 Gary Putnam Curb Records   (Mike Curb) Chevrolet 150 running 6
16 13 1 Burt Myers Citrusafe / Dunleavy Truck & Trailer   (Eddie Harvey) Ford 150 running 5
17 26 26 Gary McDonald Lakeland Landscape / TRC Electric   (Sean McDonald) Chevrolet 150 running 0
18 14 75 Chris Pasteryak Dawley's Auto   (Charles Pasteryak) Chevrolet 150 running 0
19 24 99 Jamie Tomaino Atlantic Sprinkler / PSR   (Cheryl Tomaino) Chevrolet 150 running 0
20 27 23 Joe DeGracia * PJ DeGracia Contracting   (Paul Degracia) Chevrolet 150 running 0
21 15 21 Ronnie Williams Gershow Recycling / Empower Financial   (Joseph Bertuccio) Chevrolet 149 running 0
22 23 40 Frank Fleming Lewisville Motors / Smith Trucking   (Gina Fleming) Chevrolet 148 running 0
23 3 22 Kyle Bonsignore Snap-On Tools   (Kyle Bonsignore) Chevrolet 148 running 7
24 21 33 Wade Cole Perf. Engines / Kendall Oil   (Wade Cole) Chevrolet 141 running 0
25 25 01 Melissa Fifield Crowells Towing   (Kenneth Fifield) Chevrolet 141 running 0
26 20 18 Ken Heagy Buoy One Seafood   (Robert Pollifrone) Chevrolet 120 tire 0
27 17 82 Woody Pitkat Horton Avenue Materials   (Danny Watts Jr.) Chevrolet 115 running 0

Pos Name Nbr Sponsor Owner Car
Failed to qualify, withdrew, or driver changes:
WD Rowan Pennink 3 Cape Cod Copper / USNE Inc. Jan Boehler Chevrolet

Condition From
Lap To
Lap # Of
Laps Reason Free
Pass
Caution flag breakdown:
G 1 6 6
Y 7 8 2   #caution1 none
G 9 31 23
Y 32 36 5   #caution2 none
G 37 53 17
Y 54 58 5   #caution3 none
G 59 85 27
Y 86 94 9   #caution4 none
G 95 98 4
Y 99 101 3   #caution5 none
G 102 150 49
  Percent of race run under caution: 16.0%             Average green flag run: 21.0 laps

Leader From
Lap To
Lap # Of
Laps
Lap leader breakdown:
  Matt Hirschman 1 77 77
  Gary Putnam 78 83 6
  Burt Myers 84 88 5
  Kyle Bonsignore 89 95 7
  Doug Coby 96 96 1
  Justin Bonsignore 97 122 26
  Craig Lutz 123 124 2
  Andy Seuss 125 125 1
  Craig Lutz 126 129 4
  Chase Dowling 130 138 9
  Jon McKennedy 139 150 12

Rank Driver Points Diff
Points standings after this race:
1 Jon McKennedy 47  
2 Matt Hirschman 43   -4  
3 Jimmy Blewett 42   -5  
4 Chase Dowling 41   -6  
5 Justin Bonsignore 40   -7  
6 Dave Sapienza 38   -9  
7 Eric Goodale 37   -10  
8 Craig Lutz 36   -11  
8 Calvin Carroll 36   -11  
10 Rob Summers 34   -13  
11 Blake Barney 33   -14  
12 Timmy Solomito 32   -15  
12 Andy Seuss 32   -15  
14 Doug Coby 31   -16  
15 Gary Putnam 30   -17  
16 Burt Myers 29   -18  
17 Gary McDonald 27   -20  
18 Chris Pasteryak 26   -21  
19 Jamie Tomaino 25   -22  
20 Joe DeGracia 24   -23  

 

By Kyle Souza