The Chrome Horn - Modified Racing Series


Jon McKennedy Crowned Series Fourth Champion
by Denise DuPont

   The Modified Racing Series (MRS) ended their sixth season on Saturday, November 21st with an awards banquet in West Springfield, MA. MRS founder, Jack Bateman, did a brief recap of the series over its six years of racing. “In the last six years our series has steadily grown to a level that I never thought was possible. Teams that race in this series are the most competitive racers in the northeast. The evidence is clear. In the past six years there have been four different champions. I believe that everyone that participates in our series has the capability of winning. There are no un-competitive teams. Just watch one of our qualifiers.”
   The series came into this year not knowing what the year would bring them. 2008 was a year of higher than ever gas prices and people traveling less. There were questions if the series would attract both teams and fans alike or even survive. In the end the local touring series survived, stabilized and even grew a little. “As we entered 2009, we had high hopes for another great season,” said Bateman. “Our national economy was and still is in rough shape. Race teams of our series were not deterred. Our car counts were improved over 2008. Experts say that 2010 will be better. We all hope this is true.”
   2009 will go into the record books as one of the most competitive seasons for the MRS.
John Spence Sr, MC and Series announcer summarized the series year end statistics: “There were fifteen races, twelve different winners, but the number that stands out to me that I like the most is seven first time winners out of fifteen races. The last three races of the year were captured by first time winners. Seventy-three race cars registered and received points this year.”
   Runner up to the 2009 championship season was veteran Rob Goodenough in the 1nh modified. Rob won the opening race at Monadnock and had a strong season but at the end he was fifteen points short of wining his first MRS championship. “I want to thanks to True Value for this year of sponsoring. I hate to see them go. It has been a lot of fun through all the years of racing and hopefully many more years to come.”
   At the 2009 the series crowned their fourth champion in six years. Jon McKennedy added his name to the books as the top point man to join the ranks of those that followed him in previous years: Dwight Jarvis, Kirk Alexander and Chris Pasteryak.
   After a rough week of racing at New Smyrna Speedway, Jon McKennedy started the 2009 MRS race season with a new Racework’s chasis and hopes to achieve his first ever championship. He had a strong car and drove competitively all season striving to reach his goal. Overcoming setbacks and bad luck, in the end McKennedy was the champion when the checkered flag flew ending the series sixth season at McKennedy’s home track, Lee USA Speedway. “First let me say wow what a season it was. Winning this championship is one of the biggest accomplishments of my young racing career. I have won a bunch of championships but to me this stands out the most. I have raced in many forms of race cars and touring series over the years. This year was by far the most fun in all my years of racing. All the competitors that I race with and the officials are the series. When I show up at the track it is like I am part of one big family. I want to thank the people that made this year possible for me, my crew and everyone that supported me.”
   Banquet activities honored the top fifteen competitors and car owners in the series. Here were the top drivers competing in the series in 2009: Jon McKennedy, Rob Goodenough, Steve Masse, Rowan Pennink, Jack Bateman, Dwight Jarvis, Chris Pasteryak, Les Hinckley, Michael Douglas, Jr., Mike Holdridge, Jacob Dore, Sean Bodreau, Ed Dachenhausen, Eddy Spiers and Andy Seuss.

   Special series awards were given to the following:
DART Steel Head Engine Builder of the Year – Jack Bateman
Hoosier Tire East Award – Jon McKennedy
SPAFCO Most Improved Driver – Steve Masse
Tough Luck Award – Ken Iannarelli
Sportsmanship Award – Eddy Spiers
Dedication to Racing Award – Joe Doucette
2009 Mechanic of the Year Award – Bobby Hanson
KOSZELA Rookie of the Year Award – Jacob Dore
Bob Polverari 7-11 Award – Jimmy Dolan

   Jack Bateman created a new award for the series to honor a person that has worked hard to make the series successful. The award was called the ‘Above and Beyond Award’. The individual selected to receive the award this year was the voice of Modified Racing Series, John Spence, Sr.
   So now that this year has ended, what are the plans for the series for 2010?
Bateman officially unrolled the new race schedule at the banquet which included one new race surface “The series has put together a schedule to try to keep it fresh by adding new tracks. Our latest endeavor is the Albany-Saratoga Raceway, which has just changed from dirt to asphalt. After testing there last Thursday, I think that we will have a great race there.”

   Here is the complete 2010 Modified Racing Series schedule:

2010 Modified Racing Series Schedule
March 27-28 Waterford Speedbowl
April 17-18 Albany –Saratoga Speedway
May 1st Monadnock Speedway
May 30th Thunder Road Speedbowl
June 4th Twin State Speedway
June 12th Seekonk Speedway
June 17th Thompson International Speedway
July 3rd Monadnock Speedway
July 9th Lee USA Speedway
July 17th Oxford Plains Speedway
July 24th Canaan Fair Speedway
August 7th Beech Ridge Speedway
August 14th Waterford Speedbowl
August 21st Seekonk Speedway
August 26th Thompson International Speedway
September 4th Waterford Speedbowl
October 9-10 Seekonk Speedway
October 23-24 Lee USA Speedway

   So the racing series will start earlier in 2010 and has more weekends off than in previous years. This will allow teams and fans alike to re-charge between races, spend time with families or attend other racing or sporting events.

   Waterford Speedbowl starts the WRS 2010 season:
   Terry Eames from Waterford Speedbowl was present at the series banquet to address drivers about the series 2010 opening event now officially moved to CT. “Trust me, it is really warm in March in southern New England. We could not be more please to announce that our season and 60th consecutive year of competitive modified racing at the shoreline oval. We thank you very much for making this commitment. We cannot think of a series that exemplifies competitiveness more than your series does.”
   Eames also announced that this year the series will be the premier modified series for the tracks Labor Day event. “We are proud to announce that you (Modified Racing Series ) is now the keynote on Thunder on the Sound event, weekend of September 4th , Saturday, Labor Day weekend. Trust me it will be warmer in September than it will be in March. Thank you very much for numerous racing seasons and eight different winners in eight races.”

   What is the biggest change for the series in 2010?
   When the Series goes into their seventh year it will migrate away from its True Value identity. Series Announcer, John Spence, Sr., summarized the series roots best. “When Jack Bateman took the series out on the road six years ago he had a version and seriously a novel idea. That was to bring a great name in the hardware industry into the racing game and our series. Six years later, I think he did a pretty darn good job of it. It was a great idea. Like the Featherlight and Winston Series, ten or fifteen years from now, people will sit around a fire with a cold beer in hand and toss some Modified Series questions around. This series will always be remembered for its roots as the True Value Modified Racing Series.”

   So there is a lot of racing planned for 2010 for the WRS teams. So rest up, enjoy the holidays and get geared up and ready to head to the track when spring comes to the Connecticut shoreline in March!

Source: Denise DuPont /
Posted: November 22, 2009


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