PHOTO: Jon McKennedy celebrates his Valenti Modified Racing Series win at Monadnock Speedway with representatives from David’s House at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson

WINCHESTER, N.H. — Early in the day at the Monadnock Speedway, a win may have seemed like a difficult task for Jon McKennedy. Shortly after the halfway mark in the 100-lap main event, it may have seemed like an impossible task. But McKennedy persisted and prevailed, and won the Valenti Modified Racing Series Firecracker 100 Saturday night.

With just three laps completed in the first practice for the Chelmsford, Mass., racer, the rear end in McKennedy’s Modified came apart. The two-time and defending championship team went to work replacing the entire rear end, completing it just in time for qualifying.

Perhaps though, that was the least of McKennedy’s struggles. After working his way into the second position on lap 52, McKennedy ran second to the Monadnock master, Kirk Alexander. Alexander, of West Swazney, N.H., had led since lap eight and seemed to be cruising to his fifth straight victory in the Fourth of July special at Monadnock.

A lap 61 restart told a different story though, as McKennedy was able to challenge Alexander. The two went side by side for a few laps before McKennedy completed the pass on the outside and pulled away.

“I didn’t know what to expect [on the restart],” said McKennedy. “Kirk runs pretty good here; his record speaks for itself. I could see running behind him before the caution, he looked like he was really tight in the center of the corner. On the restart, I was hoping I could keep my momentum on the top and pinch him down a little bit without him getting into me. Luckily it worked out.”

“There wasn’t much of a battle, he just drove by me,” said Alexander. “My car got tight. About lap 15, I knew it was getting tight. I figured we had something for Jon, but he was flying. His car was just perfect. [My car] lost stagger and tightened up on us. We just made the wrong call.”

“Today was a tough day,” McKennedy said. “The guys worked their butts off. It all paid off though, especially winning for the crew.”

Les Hinckley, of Windsor Locks, Conn., finished third. Series point leader Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., and Rob Goodenough, of Swazney, N.H., completed the unofficial top five.

Dwight Jarvis, Mike Holdridge, Chris Pasteryak, Jim Boniface, and Max Zachem finished the unofficial top ten.

It has been a tough season for the defending champion with two DNF finishes in four starts.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs this year,” said McKennedy. “More downs I think. It feels good to get the win tonight. We’ll have to see what we get at the next race at Lee.”

The Valenti Modified Racing Series travels to the Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H., on Friday, July 8 for their next event.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Firecracker 100
Valenti Modified Racing Series — Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H.
Saturday July 2, 2011


1. (7) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass.
2. (2) Kirk Alexander, West Swanzey, N.H.
3. (9) Les Hinkley, Windsor Locks, Conn.
4. (4) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
5. (3) Rob Goodenough, Swanzey, N.H.
6. (5) Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, Vt.
7. (11) Mike Holdridge, Madison, Conn.
8. (8) Chris Pasteryak, Jewett City, Conn.
9. (17) Jim Boniface, West Swanzey, N.H.
10. (19) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn.
11. (15) Todd Patnode, Richmond, N.H.
12. (1) Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, Mass.
13. (14) Norm Wrenn, Nashua, N.H.
14. (21) Shelly Perry, Westerly, R.I.
15. (6) Jacob Dore, Sanford, Me.
16. (18) Mark McClay, Charlestown, N.H.
17. (10) Russ Hersey, Swanzey, N.H.
18. (22) Joe Doucette, Framingham, Mass.
19. (12) Steve Masse, Bellingham, Mass.
20. (13) Tim Jordan, Plainfield, Conn.
21. (16) Adam Norton, Brookfield, Mass.
22. (20) Todd Annarummo, Swansea, Mass.
23. (23) Jack Bateman, Canaan, N.H.