STAFFORD – On June 24 at Stafford Motor Speedway Jon McKennedy felt like he let one get away.
Friday the Chelmsford, Mass. driver got his redemption.
McKennedy used a fast car and some timely luck at the end to score victory in the 80-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.
In the last series event at Stafford on June 24 McKennedy took the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 77 of the 80 lap event, but Christopher used a diving move a lap later to move McKennedy up and regain the lead and score the victory.
Friday McKennedy took over the lead when leader Woody Pitkat went to the pits with a flat under caution on lap 79. McKennedy then held of Rowan Pennink on two green-white-checkered restarts to win grab the win.
“It was a good run,” McKennedy said. “The car ran pretty well the whole race. We had a little bit of a help situation. [Pitkat] got the flat there at the end. It was probably his race. We were gaining on him, I got within a couple car lengths but at that point there was only a lap or two left. But we were able to capitalize on his misfortune.”
Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. was second and Jeffrey Gallup of Agawam, Mass. third.
“To get the win is great,” McKennedy said. “This is our eighth this year. A few months ago I felt like we should have won. Kind of lost it there [late] to one of the best around here. So it’s nice to come back and get a win.”
On lap five Pitkat moved past Pennink to take over the lead. On lap nine it was Christopher moving past Pitkat to take over the top spot.
On lap 28 it was Pitkat moving by Christopher to grab the lead again. Following a lap 33 restart it was Pennink moving back to second by Christopher.
Pitkat narrowly averted disaster when he nearly got into the spinning lapped car of Jimmy Dolan on lap 50. On the ensuing restart Pitkat was easily able to keep Pennink in check in second and quickly began checking out from the field.
On lap 60 Christopher moved past Pennink to regain the runner-up spot, with the caution flying a lap later to erase Pitkat’s big lead. On the next restart Pennink got by Christopher to move back to second, but the caution came right back out again on lap 63.
McKennedy moved to third past Pennink on lap 67 and the made the move to second by Christopher on lap 72.
From there McKennedy set out to catch the distant Pitkat out front. It looked like Pitkat had the race won, but just after taking the white flag Pitkat made contact with the lapped car of Colby Fournier going into turn one, just as Richard Savary ended up in the turn four wall after contact with Christopher in a battle for third.
The race restarted with McKennedy leading Pennink for a green-white-checkered finish. McKennedy held off the outside charge of Pennink on the restart, but after taking the white flag a wreck at the rear of the field set up the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.