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Thursday, May 24, 2018

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By: Kevin Rice

CHELMSFORD, Mass.- Jon McKennedy is ready to begin what could turn out to be a season to remember, as he competes, beginning this Saturday at the famed Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway’s 64th season opener, which is also the ISMA Supermodifieds first 2014 event. Then next weekend he will debut a brand new Modified for race one of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series at NH’s Lee USA Speedway.

McKennedy hopes to return to victory lane in both the Modified and the Supermodifieds this season. Michael Jaworecki photo.

McKennedy hopes to return to victory lane in both the Modified and the Supermodifieds this season. Michael Jaworecki photo.

The Chelmsford, Mass., driver has won numerous championships but an ISMA title is the one he wants the most right now, and a new engine program could be the final piece he needs to get it. McKennedy was sidelined in one Oswego event last year and slowed in a second one by motor woes.

McKennedy plans to run the full ISMA schedule driving a car owned by Paul Dunigan Jr., of Lowell, Mass., as he did last season.

“That was a big problem,” McKennedy admitted when asked about the motor woes. “Hopefully we’ve got that resolved. Paulie wanted to know what we could do to make the deal better. We told him we needed a better engine program.

“Long story short we got a brand new engine from Kevin Enders out of New York, so we should have plenty of power for the big tracks. Last year we ran really good, but on the bigger tracks we struggled a little bit.

“Our engine program was down a little bit on power. A few of those tracks we ended up breaking an engine. That took us right out of the points. We have a brand new engine and a spare for this year so we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it works out.”

While McKennedy’s primary focus will be with ISMA, he also has another championship to shoot for with the three race Tri-Track Open Modified Series, which has events at Lee on May 11, NH’s Star Speedway on June 14 with the running of the $41,000 plus SBM 125 IV, and the finale at Seekonk, Mass. on July 23 as part of their Open Wheel Wednesday traditional event.

All three races carry purses in excess of $40,000 and ending at Seekonk with an additional $10,000 point fund for the three races. The three events have no conflicting dates with ISMA, so it works perfectly for McKennedy, who is a multi-time Valenti Modified Racing Series Champion. He ran a part-time schedule in Art Barry’s Modified last season.

“On the off weeks with the Super we’re going to run some Modified stuff,” McKennedy furthered. “If sponsorship goes through we plan to run a few NASCAR Whelen Tour races as well.

“We’ve got a brand new Modified that has been sitting in our garage for the past three years. I figured it’s time to put it together and run in some races that pay good and make sense to run.”

McKennedy sent the Modified to the Raceworks Chassis shop to be completed with the latest equipment by Ed Flemke Jr. It is completely NWMT legal and race ready, with the first test coming in the Sunday afternoon, May 11 “Bullring Bash” at Lee.

The ISMA Tour has four events at Oswego this season. They also visit New England on June 20 at Oxford, Maine, August 8 at Lee, and August 9 at Waterford, Conn. The ISMA Classic at Star in Epping, N.H. is September 6 and the season finale is at Thompson, Conn., in October.

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