Jon McKennedy Scores Whelen Mod Tour Clash At Claremont Victory; Matt Hirschman Takes Granite State Bonus 

Jon McKennedy celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Clash at Claremont 150 Friday at Claremont Motorsports Park (Photo: Rachel O’Driscoll/NASCAR)

It was a second and a first Friday at Claremont Motorsports Park for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Jon McKennedy. 

The Chelmsford, Mass. driver dominated on the way to victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Clash at Claremont 150 Friday at Claremont (N.H.) Speedway. 

It was the second series victory for McKennedy, but his first driving for first year team owners Tim and Cheryl Lepine. 

McKennedy got his first career series victory on March 17, 2018 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway in his first start for team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. McKennedy drove for Baldwin through the 2021 season. The pair parted ways after last season and McKennedy began work building the a new team for the Lepine’s. 

“This was way overdue,” McKennedy said. “My last few years I had a real good deal with Tommy Baldwin and the 7NY group. It’s a been few years since we won. We had so many seconds with Tommy … I think we had eight or nine seconds. We were always in contention. Just couldn’t get that W the last years. But we’re back here. We won tonight. This is awesome. We’ve got a great group of guys. They worked really hard today. The last few months really switching cars back and forth. It’s a team effort. Big thanks to them. My car owners Tim and Cheryl Lepine, it’s the whole package.” 

McKennedy came into the night sitting second in the standings, 10 points behind Ron Silk. 

“This gives us some momentum going into the last few Tour races,” McKennedy said. “We’re in a point hunt here. We’re only a few points out of the lead so this was really big. We’re heading to Thompson [Speedway on Aug. 17] which is a really great track for me.” 

Silk, of Norwalk, was second. Nineteen year old rookie Jake Johnson of Rehoboth, Mass., coming off a win last Saturday in the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series SBM 125 at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H., was third. It was a career best Whelen Modified Tour finish for Johnson, who was making his fifth series start. Johnson won the pole for the event, his second pole of the season.

McKennedy became only the second full-time series driver to win this year over the first 10 races of the season. Reigning series champion Justin Bonsignore (two wins) is the only other full-time driver to win in 2022.

Other series winners this year include Doug Coby (two wins), Hirschman, Mike Christopher Jr., Kyle Soper, Jimmy Blewett and Anthony Nocella.  

Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. used a fourth place finish to clinch the inaugural Granite State Cup. The Granite State Cup was comprised of the JDV Productions series events held at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. (May 21), Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. (June 19) and Claremont. Hirschman edged Silk to capture the $5,000 bonus. Hirschman was third at Lee and second at second at Monadnock. Silk was fourth at Lee and third at Monadnock. 

“I’m glad they tied them all together, JDV Productions and Josh Vanada,” Hirschman said. “Probably would not have gone to all three races had it been tied together with a bonus that we were eligible for. I appreciate that.” 

Friday’s event marked just the third Whelen Modified Tour event at Claremont and first since James Civali won at the track in 2007. Richie Evans won the only other series event at Claremont in 1985.

Kyle Bonsignore of Bay Shore, N.Y. was fifth Friday. Justin Bonsignore, Tommy Catalano, Brian Robie, Doug Coby and Matthew Kimball rounded the top respectively at Claremont. 


  1. David Mac Donald says

    Great race and a great job in promoting the event. Also a stellar job done with the track at Claremont ! Kudos all around !!!

  2. NWMT Clash at Claremont 150 Pick 6 Results says

    NWMT Clash at Claremont 150 Pick 6 Results

    AlJ…. 60 16 79 7ny 125 (06) .(qual=3)..4+2+1+7+8=22(-1 Bonus)=21
    Earl….79, 7ny, 16, 60, (58), 51……0+9+2+4+3=18
    Ken L…. 60-7ny-51-16-3-(92)…….4+9+6+2+3=24
    Eddy….16, 92, 60, 79, (12), 3……..2+19+4+1+3=29
    Bobf….60,(92),16,7ny, 51,79……..6+2+9+6+1=24
    csg….. 60 16 (92) 7 51 79…. ……..4+2+9+6+1=22
    Jake….60 7NY 58 16 (92) 51………4+9+12+2+6=33
    L Traf… 79, (7NY), 60, 16, 51,3…..0+4+2+6+3=15 WINNER!!!
    wmass…7ny (06) 79 51 58 22……..9+1+6+12+5=33


    Lapped Traffic 15
    Earl 18
    AIJ 21

    Remainder of the field

    Doug 22 (Tie Breaker Score 34)
    csg 22 (Tie Breaker Score 41)
    Ken L 24 (Tie breaker score 43)
    Bobf 24 (Tei breaker score 43)
    Fast Eddie 29
    Suitcase Jake 33 (Tie breaker score 52)
    Wmass 33 (Tie breaker score 55)

    Fast Eddie……2
    Suitcase Jake……2
    Get serious……1
    Viva race fan…1
    Rafter fan……1
    Big city………..1
    I wanna play….1
    Lapped Traffic….1

    Suitcase Jake…7
    Fast Eddie………5
    Bigcity ……..…..3
    Lapped traffic ….2
    Rafter fan……….2
    Liz Cherokee…..2
    Ken L………….2
    Viva race fan…….1
    Get serious……1
    Mike H………..1
    I wanna play…1

  3. Roger brenton says

    I was never warned on Facebook or this site before I got banned. Sit banning involves your up address which the site owner can ban

  4. Thank goodness!!!!! 😅 I think the whole racing community just took a huge sigh of relief. Great to see McKennedy get this one.

    Jake Johnson + Ole’ Blue = Made in Heaven

  5. Bill Realist says

    That was a very well run show. I was expecting the worst based on what I have seen the rest of my visits there this year. The usual management should take note.

  6. Roger Brenton,
    Do you get how ridiculous it appears that you’ve now left three comments in the last three days – that have all been moderated and approved – in which you say you’ve banned from the site?

  7. Jimmy King says

    I really enjoyed the show as well. Props to JDV. Was worth the 3 hour-one way trip. Good, clean racing in the top 10. Few yellows to interrupt the action. I’m super impressed with Jake Johnson in the 3, the 15, or with fenders. His multi lap battles with the 51 and 79 early and the 60 late were worth the price of admission alone. As a teenager he already has shown the talent and maturity to race without the bumper and nerf bars. I hope it continues and look forward to watching him more in the future.

  8. It’s a good time for this…

    When you are dead, you don’t know that you are dead. It is only difficult for the others. It is the same when you are stupid.

  9. Fast Eddie says

    ‘Bout damned time McKennedy got one! 🙂 Seriously, great job by the whole 79 team, way overdue! Jake Johnson, won SBM125, 3rd in PASS $10K race at Seekonk Wednesday, & 3rd in Ol’ Blue…Pretty good race week!

  10. Rafter fan says

    Did Muffy say anything after this race?

  11. Suitcase Jake says

    SO VERY HAPPY for Jon and team.!!!!! MUCH too talented to not Win ……..He’s been my pick to win it ALL since pre-season poll….I kept him out of my picks so i wouldn’t jinx Him..
    Looking forward to the HIGH BANKS of THOMPSON !!!!! Best venue to witness the MODIFIEDS hands down…. Did not see Muffy on track after the Win …. ? ? Jake Johnson is the real deal , Now Everyone knows how talented He is….!!!! I agree … Match made in Modified Heaven … Jake & OLD BLUE …. Local Boy Local Team….!!!

  12. Oh thank God, McKennedy won. His considerable fan base elated and McKennedy himself, poor guy just seemed relieved. 2018 the only other win, a long time between brass rings. That’s a pretty good team he’s heading up with high expectations and a lot of pressure one would think. This was the 79’s night, they could easily have taken over first place were it not for one problem. Mr. Consistency in second place. Yuppers it will be a dog fight to the end between the 16 and 79 but at least so far this is the year of TBR leading the owners points by a few dozen.
    McKennedy wins which it appears fans are thinking was special. Claremont, under rated in my view sparkled. A return of the Tour after a long absence so the unknown factor was off the charts and the 3 fast from qualifying to the checkers. All that said was it that good a race? Question, if this was a regular stop on the schedule mightn’t the race seem a little humdrum? The NWMT brings the glitze for sure but schematically it sure looked a lot like and MRS race. The 79 races briefly to get to the front then it’s tire conservation city. McKennedy, Silk, Johnson, Bonsignor, Robie, Hirschman mostly in the same orbit from qualifying to the race finish. Kyle Bonsignor credited with having the best move up the charts going from 11th to 5th.
    Just stick with me for a second and ponder this. NASCAR not the type of organization to view another series and copy what they’ve done but imagine for a second they used the SMART model with a mandatory frozen field pit opportunity. I’m thinking specifically of the 7ny. Didn’t qualify well, moved up from 17th to just barely the top 10 but got used up and hit a wall. Imagine they get a chance to change some rubber and make adjustments could that make a difference? Imagine all the top teams get a chance to change things up. Frozen field or not would that change the calculus on how the race played out and make it more exciting?
    Nope I’m thinking the MRS model is not the type of event you want to be repeating too often. The leader out in front conserving rubber, restarts his only real challenge and since he’s got less wear then someone like Johnson who was working his ass off it can never be a fair fight. Seeing a long suffering one time winner cruising and the kid returning Ole Blue to front runner status can only take you so far.
    The three race Granite State title on the other hand is something you’d think worth repeating. I don’t know if JDV Productions got the three race results they were hoping for but it did get Hirschman and Pee Dee incentivized to participate in all three. It’s thinking outside the box like the New Smyrna opener. Maybe next year consider re-jiggering the mix to include Thunder Road, White Mountain and/or Seekonk. The Granite State hook was nice but watching Star die a slow death may indicate New Hampshire may be more hat then cattle with regard to it’s racing hot bed status.
    Now it’s over a two week break and they’ll need the rest After the triumphant return to the greatest short track in the history on mankind according to some, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, the teams go long distance to Langley and Oswego before returning to Riverhead. The 79 breaking out a new car for Thompson. Moran/Silk equally up to the challenge new car or not. We’re in the home stretch now with 10 down and 6 to go. The top car hands down the 7ny but as for the drivers you’d be hard pressed to say either of the top two cars has an advantage.
    No Virginia it was not the 51’s championship to lose after all.

  13. “I kept him out of my picks so i wouldn’t jinx Him..-”

    So exactly how does this jinx thing work? Under the new Pick 6 format you’ve included the 79 in all your picks excepting the Buzz Chew 200 at Riverhead a race McKennedy came in 4th. Not bad but not a win.
    Well now you’re clearly on the hook. You’ll be obligated to exclude the 79 from your Thompson picks or risk the guilt of jinxing him should he not win. A heavy burden to carry indeed.
    Speaking of the Pick 6 a thought on the upcoming Speedbowl MMTTS race. Any thoughts on including the csg pole bonus once again. A big field with no current record of who will be fast and it worked out so well for the Claremont gig.
    Feed back requested please.

  14. Suitcase Jake says

    Sounds good to the Board of Directors…. pole bonus is good … I am thinking now He has gotten the Win the Jinx is Over and I can put Him back in the top # 3 easily …

  15. Fast Eddie says

    I had my own jinx issue with McKennedy, was picking the 79 regularly and he wasn’t doing well. Skipped him for RIverhead and I hoped his good finish there broke the cycle so I had him at Claremont.

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