Instant Classic: Last Lap Pass Gives Anthony Nocella Tour Type Mod Win At Northeast Classic At NHMS 

Anthony Nocella celebrates victory in the Tour Type Modified feature Sunday at the Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Anthony Nocella is making last lap drama at New Hampshire Motor Speedway his calling card. 

On July 16, 2022 Nocella celebrated one of his most triumphant days in racing, scoring his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory in the Whelen 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

The Woburn, Mass. driver went from fifth to first on a wild final lap that day in Loudon. 

Sunday at NHMS it was Nocella once again showing off some last lap prowess again. 

After battling with Jon McKennedy for the lead for most of the second half of the event, Nocella got by Jon McKennedy for the lead on the final lap to win the 50-lap Tour Type Modified event at the Northeast Classic at NHMS. 

“The guys gave me a great car,” Nocella said. “We worked hard all weekend. Kept changing, changing, changing on it until we got it pretty good there. We kind of struggled behind cars a little bit. That’s why a few times I wanted to stay with [McKennedy] and push him to get away from third, but I’d lose too much on him staying behind him. So I had to try to stay up front and stay to the lead there. That was my best bet to try to win the thing.” 

McKennedy, of Chelmsford, Mass., who had won the Tour Type Modified event the last two years at the Northeast Classic, held on for second. 

“Overall, still a good run,” McKennedy said. “A brand new team, a brand new car, our first time with out so overall happy.” 

Austin Beers of Northampton, Pa. was third. 

Pole-sitter Matt Swanson held the top spot at the start with Nocella going to second. On lap two it was Nocella moving past Swanson to take over the top spot. McKennedy got the run by Swanson on lap five to move to second. 

After sizing up Nocella for two laps, McKennedy drove to the lead on lap 16. It was a short-lived run out front for McKennedy with Nocella moving back to the front on lap 18. 

At the completion of lap 26, the scheduled competition caution came out to allow teams to head to pit road for a cold pit stop. The break came with Nocella leading, McKennedy in second, Swanson in third, Beers fourth, Woody Pitkat fifth and Doug Coby sixth. 

On the lap lap 27 restart it was McKennedy using the low lane off turn two to overtake Nocella for the lead. On the next lap it was Nocella diving into turn three to regain the top spot from McKennedy. On lap 29 McKennedy fought back, using the low lane in turn one to get by Nocella again. But Nocella used the same move on lap 30 to go back to the front by McKennedy. 

On lap 38 it was McKennedy once again using a diving move into turn one to take over the top spot from Nocella. Two laps later it was Nocella going back to the front with a low lane move into turn three. 

On lap 44 McKennedy got a run low through turn one, but Nocella was able to fight off the charge for the lead in turn two. 

On lap 45 McKennedy got low into turn three and overtook Nocella for the lead through turn four. 

On lap 48 it was Nocella uses a low move through turn two to go back to the front. But McKennedy was able to cross over off the corner and got back to the lead into turn three. 

With McKennedy low and Nocella high, the pair came to the white flag side-by-side. With Beers pushing him from behind into turn one, it was Nocella getting the advantage over McKennedy and powering off of turn two with an insurmountable lead. 

“It’s always tough to tell here,” McKennedy said. “I’ve been in both ends of the deal. the last few laps I’ve been leading, running second. Not really sure what’s right or wrong. You definitely need a little luck. We had a good car all weekend. We we were sitting in a good spot there for the last lap deal. We were side-by-side on the front straightaway. I thought as long as I could beat him into [turn] one we’d be Ok., but Beers came in the picture and was able to draft [Nocella] back by me and I knew off of [turn] two that our chance of winning was pretty much done.” 

Said Beers: “I didn’t have much strategy because I haven’t really run here much. Just lack of experience. I probably should have pushed [McKennedy] past [Nocella] and had them duke it out and maybe got a run out of [turn] four there.”


  1. Bigorange61 says

    Pretty sad only 15 mods

  2. Suitcase Jake says

    Congratulations to Nocella and TEAM they work really hard…!!! Great run for Jon McKennedy’s NEW TEAM & CAR…. !!!! what a comeback …. Jon has tons of Talent behind the Wheel & Tuning the Chassis …. Going to be real interesting at the Thompson Opens…. Jon will be strong at Thompson…. Another contender to add to the mix….

  3. Fast Eddie says

    SOunds like it was a good battle between two of my favorites, wish I didn’t have to miss it.

  4. I’m only guessing that this show was not put on by the speedway – this show is promoted and run by the same group that lease’s Thompson? It is not promoted well to attract cars or fans IMO. Do they even have a purse? I know what the purse is for the Sizzler because it’s all over social media- I don’t really know too much about this event

  5. Fast Eddie says

    Steve, I think it’s an ACT and PASS track rental. I think this is also a points race for both organizations. I thought 40 ACT teams and 25 PASS teams is a good turnout. Surprised they don’t get more Tour Mods and I don’t get the small crowds. I went to the first one they had and it was one of the best races I went to that year. I have not been able to make the others due to other obligations but it’s always on my “go to” list.

  6. Terry Mansfield says

    Pretty skimpy field for tours mods.

  7. I really don’t want to be negative because, the mod race was good but, I think the fan attendance is so bare and the field was so thin is a few things: 1. No NASCAR Cup because, we saw how when Cup left in September the Tour fan attendance even with 250/200 laps was low- Shawn I remember that, “for years people said if only mods were there it would draw 20k people” quote. 2. I’m in CT why would someone go to a race 2.5 hours away that is only 50 laps with really only 5 legit contenders with proven records to win with a car count sub15? 3. Car count was probably down because, why buy two tires at a track that doesn’t wear tires out -especially only 50 laps, need to buy fuel and a race purse with 1st place paying $7k but, very little from 2nd place-down? Honestly, I think people would rather just do something with their Saturday or Sunday than spend money and race. Even with less competition you’d think a Matt Hirschman would say it be an easy $7k payday- even though NHMS is probably the most expensive track to prepare a car for.

  8. I’d like to revise a bit of what I just said: there were more big names than I thought so around 8. I definitely didn’t expect Todd Owen to race in this but, I think if you gave entry lists before hand, have a few more big names and made it 75-100 laps then people would go especially myself. But, then some teams might say pass unless you raised the purse.

  9. The biggest field this open show at the Northeast Classic has had that I remember is 19. I think ACT and PASS do as good a job promoting this event as they do their other events- I saw it all over my social media because I follow ACT, PASS, Thompson Speedway, racedayct, etc. The tour mod race isn’t meant to be THE draw of the Northeast Classic but I certainly appreciate it’s there. I think in terms of big names the 2024 mod race was the best so far. I was really surprised to see Doug Coby, Ronnie Williams, and Austin Beers in addition to Anthony Nocella, Jon McKennedy, and Woody Pitkat. Both ROC and SMART were supposed to run the same day, and Thompson just did 2 races the week before, so it’s not too surprising the field wasn’t bigger. Also 50 laps is plenty for the modifieds at NHMS. The 100 lap race they do in July is usually a snooze fest until the last 20 laps. I like the idea someone threw out a couple years ago to make that race two 40-lappers bookending the Xfinity race.

  10. @Tyler- Matt Hirschman was scheduled to do the ROC race at Lake Eerie. When that was rained out he went to the SMART race in Hickory. For him I think it’s less about the payday and more about, “Which of my 3 teams do I want to run for this week?”

  11. Crazy in NY says

    Continues to amaze me the people that just throw out [ Matt should go here, I’m surprised he didn’t go there] …..Crew availability and car prep dictate much of how and when he races. As was mentioned he spent the week before preparing for the ROC in his own red 60. Didn’t work on Pee Dee to prep for anywhere. Took very little to change over the LE setup to Hickory. Remember people this isn’t stamp collecting or bird watching…the behind the scenes work that goes into racing (especially at Matt’s level) is far more work than most know. Also….Tyler….You think Matt actually thinks racing and beating Nocella and McKennedy or Austin Beers would be easy? I assure you..NOT.

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