Back It Up: Jon McKennedy Tops Tour Type Modified Feature At NHMS Northeast Classic 

Jon McKennedy celebrates victory in the Tour Type Modified feature at the Northeast Classic at NHMS Saturday (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

LOUDON, N.H. – When it came to playing defender, Jon McKennedy did it doubly well Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

McKennedy defended perfect on the final lap to make sure he defended his Northeast Classic triumph from 2022. 

McKennedy, of Chelmsford, Mass., held off a final lap charge from Anthony Bello to win the 50-Tour Type Modified event at the Northeast Classic Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

It was McKennedy’s second consecutive victory in the event at NHMS. 

“It’s cool to repeat,” McKennedy said. “Now we’ve just got to come back here and win a NASCAR [Whelen] Modified Tour event. We’ve been close. Once a runner-up, a couple top-five’s. We’ll see how we stack up in July.” 

The Whelen Modified Tour runs the Mohegan Sun 100 at NHMS on July 15. McKennedy is the reigning Whelen Modified Tour driver’s champion. 

Bello, of Newtown, was second Saturday and Matt Swanson of Acton, Mass. third. 

McKennedy, Bello, Swanson were in the mix near the front of the entirety of the event, which saw 17 lead changes. 

Anthony Nocella went by Matt Kimball for the lead on lap 1, kicking off a spree of 14 lead changes over the first 30 laps. Swanson went by Nocella for the lad on lap four. Swanson and Nocella would then swap the lead three times over the next four laps. Then Bello joined the fun at the front, going past Nocella for the lead on lap 10. 

Nocella went back out front on lap 11. Following a lap 12 restart it was Bello going back to the lead, but Swanson wrestled the top spot away from him on lap 13. Bello went back to the front on lap 15, with Swanson retaking the spot from him on lap 17. Bello moved the lead once again on lap 20, but Swanson reclaimed the top spot from him on lap 24. On lap 28 Bello moved by Swanson to the front again. On lap 30 Swanson had a spoiler brace break, allowing McKennedy to move past him to second. McKennedy took the lead for the first time when he went by Bello on lap 32. McKennedy briefly found some breathing room out front, but Bello wasn’t done battling, moving by McKennedy for the lead on lap 40. On lap 43 McKennedy grabbed the top spot back from Bello and then defended the lead the rest of the way. 

Caution flew for the spinning car of Woody Pitkat on lap 49 setting up a green-white-checkered finish. On the final lap Bello made a last gasp move low through the final two corners but didn’t have enough to beat McKennedy to the checkered. 

“Those last 20 laps [Bello] was all over me,” McKennedy said. “It was tough. I kind of wanted to be second on the last lap and make the move but then I was just way too loose behind another a car, so I decided I wanted to be in front and control the race. I thought I did a good job getting into [turn] three on the last lap. I was trying to stay low and block as best as I could. I did position myself up a little bit entering [turn] three to get a better run off the corner. Bello was able to get the thing down the apron. We kind of bounced off each other a little bit and it was a drag race to the line.” 

Said Bello: “Jon’s got a lot of experience here so I knew I was going to have to make some crazy move. He blocked me all the down the backstretch like is normal here. I’ve watched a lot of [Tour Type Modified] races here and that’s what they do on the last lap. So I figured in turn three I had to throw it in there really hard and just try not to wreck him. We kept out side-by-side and I just missed by half a car at the line. But I’m really happy with the performance.” 

After dropping back to fourth with the spoiler issue, Swanson was to claw back to the podium on the final restart. 

“I was pretty excited when I saw that caution,” Swanson said. “These guys gave me an amazing car. The beginning of this year really hasn’t gone the way we wanted to, but this team has no quit in them.” 

Northeast Classic Tour Type Modified Feature

1.         79        Jon McKennedy           Chelmsford, MA

2.         179      Anthony Bello             Newtown, CT

3.         25        Matt Swanson             Harvard, MA

4.         43        Matthew Kimball        Bennington, NH

5.         49        Chris Young                 Calverton, NY

6.         92        Anthony Nocella         Woburn, MA

7.         76        Kirk Alexander             W. Swanzey, MA

8.         45        Brett Meservey           Brewster, MA

9.         55        Ryan Doucette             Framingham, MA

10.       66        Woody Pitkat              Bellingham, MA

11.       52        Mark Bakaj                  Lebanon, CT

12.       27I       Kevin Iannarelli           Groton, MA

13.       17        Kevin Folan                  N. Attleboro, MA

14.       20        Vinny Marrone            Farmingdale, NJ

15.       31C      Andrew Charron         E. Greenwich, RI

16.       27R      Derek Robbie              Bellingham, MA

17.       02        Mike Collins                Deerfield, NH

18.       18M     Andrew Martell          Charlestown, NH

19.       47        Jacob Perry                 Pawcatuck, CT

20.       18B      Tyler Berry                  Griswold, CT


  1. Bigorange61 says

    What happened to santos? He practiced but didn’t race?

  2. Suitcase Jake says

    CONGRATULATIONS Jon and Dale the Crew really getting it figured out….

  3. Bigorange61,
    Motor issues on Friday.

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