Hot Laps: Jon McKennedy Wins First Career Whelen Mod Tour Pole For Eastern Propane & Oil 100 At NHMS

Jon McKennedy celebrates winning the pole for Saturday’s Whelen Modified Tour Eastern Propane & Oil 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

LOUDON, N.H. – Today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Jon McKennedy will celebrate a milestone, hitting the track for his 50thcareer NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start. 

McKennedy started his day Saturday by making sure that milestone start was tagged with a memorable accomplishment. 

McKennedy captured the pole in qualifying for the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 Saturday morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

It was the first career pole for McKennedy, who has run part-time with the series since 2006 and has one career victory. 

“That’s cool,” McKennedy said. “I’ve had a lot of good qualifying runs, but could never get that pole. A lot of top-five’s, but we’re able finally to get it today here for one of the biggest shows of the year. Big thanks to [car owner Tommy Baldwin Jr.], he gave me a great car. Hopefully we can finish it off with a big win today.” 

McKennedy, of Chelmsford, Mass., toured the 1.058-mile oval with a fast lap of 28.864 seconds (131.957 mph). 

Reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore was second in qualifying at 28.887 seconds (131.852 mph). Patrick Emerling, winner of Friday’s 35-lap exhibition Whelen All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was third in qualifying at 28.961 seconds (131.515 mph).

McKennedy ran with the leaders during most of Friday’s exhibition 35-lap All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before finishing fourth. 

“The car was real good yesterday,” McKennedy said. “We were a little too loose. … We ran good, we were in the hunt for the lead. A little loose. What we learned yesterday we’ll apply for today’s race and we should be really good.” 

Friday’s event once again showed that the last lap roulette among the leaders for Whelen Modified Tour events at NHMS is a hard game to figure out. McKennedy said the team will talk strategy, but the plans are ever changing.  

“You try to, but there’s just so much that goes on through your mind,” McKennedy said. “Yesterday, mentally I was more tired than physically. There’s so much things running through my mind running second. And I thought we were in a great position there at the end, we just got a little bit too loose. My plan was to stay right behind [Bobby Santos III] to the last lap and make a move with one to go. Unfortunately I fell back to third and I wasn’t able to do that. But we learned stuff yesterday with the car and hopefully today will be better.” 

Tommy Catalano of Ontario, N.Y. (28.973 seconds, 131.460 mph) was fourth fastest in qualifying and Matt Swanson of Acton, Mass. was fifth during the session (29.980 seconds, 131.429 mph). 

Santos, five-time series champion Doug Coby, Chase Dowling, Rob Summers and Jimmy Blewett rounded out the top-10 respectively in qualifying. 

Former Whelen Modified Tour champion and current Monster Energy Cup Series rookie Ryan Preece of Berlin will start 19th. Monster Energy Cup Series regular Ryan Newman will start 15th

Full Qualifying Results Eastern Propane & Oil 100 At NHMS

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