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   The Chrome Horn - Modified Racing Series



Jon McKennedy Leads MRS Seekonk for all 100 Laps
by Denise DuPont

The 2010 racing season is winding down fast everywhere but it seems to be especially true in New England as fall settles in. The Modified Racing Series has only two races left and there is a point race that has continued to evolve and change as each race unfolds. 2009 champion, Jon McKennedy continues to lead the point chase.

At Seekonk Speedway on Saturday October 10th, McKennedy won his third 2010 MRS race. McKennedy started on the pole and lead all 100 laps of intense competition. “It was a tough race, one of the tougher ones. I had Todd Annarummo behind me at the end, who has thousands of laps here. We fought a loosened condition most of the race. I was able to overcome most of it by changing my line a little bit and dialing in some front brake. But it was a tough hundred laps that is for sure.”

Even though it was a challenging race for McKennedy, he managed to be at the right place at the end of the race, the lead. “I had not planned on leading all 100 hundred laps to be honest.” said Jon McKennedy. “At the beginning of the race I felt like I was leading and I still had plenty of car left and I was going not abusing the tires. If the case was reversed though where I was going really hard to hold the lead, I probably would have fallen back. I was able to hold the lead for most of the race without driving the car nor too hard probably about only 70%. Then at the end I opened it up and had some car left.”

During 2010, Todd Annarummo won the $10,000 Open Modified Race in July and followed that up with an MRS race win on August 21st. When the MRS teams returned to Seekonk Speedway, Annarummo’s home track, he was hoping for a grand slam. In the end though, he had to settle for a second place finish. “It is good to be home (Seekonk Speedway). It was a good top two finish. We have had bad luck the past two weeks and we have had to peel it off the wall so it is nice to finally regroup. Next week we are off to Twin State and I have never even seen the place so it is nice to have a good run. It is nice to end the year off strong.”

Annarummo was disappointed but also delighted that his race car handled better than the last few times out. “Compared to the cars that I have had the last few times, the car was just not a comfortable car to drive. We finished second. We were decent and quick but you could not put the car where you wanted it. It was not like we have had and not what I am use to. We man handled it today. “

Young Steve Masse came into the race with his sights on a victory. In the end he had to settle for a third place finish which was not what he want but it was OK. “It was a good finish in third place”, said Masse in post race inspection. “I cannot argue with a third place finish. I am happy with it but I was really gunning for first today. I wish I could have made one more small change to the car and it would have probably made it a lot better. It is what it is. I had to race back from thirteenth all the way up to third. “

The team did not have the car tuned in quite where they wanted it for the race, but they took notes and will be ready for the next race at Seekonk. “The car just did not have that forward drive coming off of the corner like I wanted it to. Hopefully we are going to be better the next time that we get here.”

Hard Charger, Ken Barry started the MRS race in tenth and started his move to the front. He got messed up a little bit during his charge and had to regroup. In the end he salvaged a fourth place finish. “I had a pretty good race. We got kind of messed up at the start. We got dragged way to the back and had to start all over. I lost my patience for a little while in the middle and I had to get my self reeled in. To come out of it with a fourth we have done pretty good. “

Veteran racer, Dave Berghman came in fifth rounding up the top five finishers. “The race was alright. We were lucky there. We got some track position in one of the wrecks. Then we just hung on at the end. We had not tightened the car up enough and I started to loose the right rear tire probably around lap 50. Then the car started backing into the turns. I was hanging on at the end.”

Berghman runs at Seekonk, his home track, when he can and enjoys joining the ranks of the MRS for a race when he can. “I always have fun running here. I would like to run more but it costs money. My daytime job takes me out of that.”

The MRS teams will regroup and prepare for a two day show at Twin State Speedway the Weekend of October 16th and 17th. This is a track where Dwight Jarvis has run and dominated in the past so it will be a chance for him to tighten up the point chase.

Race Notes from Seekonk Speedway:

Was the setting sun on the horizon a factor in track visibility during the race?

Jon McKennedy
“The sun was awful. There was zero vision what so ever. As soon as you got down the back straightaway all the way down into turn three. There was a problem with it yesterday and a lot of people were complaining. They said in the driver’s meeting if our race happened to go off at a certain time then they were going to red flag the race to let the sun settle down. They did a great job. It was a great call. The way that it was it was unsafe. You just could not see. So they red flagged us and they waited about ten minutes for the sun to move down.

Todd Annarummo
“We needed to throw the red flag out. You could not see. I mean the sun was just horrendous. I had mixed emotions on what the car was going to do. We had a long green run flag up until then, about a seventy lap run or so. My car had started freeing up so it was either going to get better or get worst. It tightened up the car so that helped to our advantage but it got tight. So the red flag worked in our favor.”

Steve Masse
“First of all I did not think that the sun was really all that big of a factor. My car was definitely was a little bit better after the red flag. During the red flag the tires cooled down. I had a little bit more grip in the nose and I was able to make the cuts that wanted to. I had everything but the last cut coming off of the corner to be able to get underneath Todd and Jon. The car was awesome. I just could not make the very last move that I needed to do to finish him off. So I do not think that the sun warranted a red flag. But it helped me. So, it did help me so whatever.”

Ken Barry
“The sun was definitely a danger. It still was when we went back racing a little bit. It was better but I think they probably should have waited another five minutes or so. It was almost like someone sticking two flash lights right about two inches from your eyes and you were blind for about a second going down into the corner”.
Then after the red:
“We were good all night. We were just not perfect. We were not as good as we needed to be.”

Dave Berghman
“I could not see anything going into turn three. It was absolute blindness.”
Then after the red:
“The car got better for a few laps. We had heated up the right rear real good and it kind of cooled it off. It gave us a little better run at the end so it worked out for me anyway.”

Point Race with two races to go:

Jon McKennedy
“It was a really good points night. We probably have a really good cushion now. But there are still two races left. Anything can happen. We will just play it race by race and we will see what happens. We will see where we are after Lee.”

Was the purchase of a new car with only five races left for the MRS teams the right thing for Jon McKennedy to do?

Jon McKennedy
“Absolutely, we had no choice. Half of the year we were struggling. I was driving it for all that it was worth and we were just struggling to finish in the top five. The competition in this series has stepped up incredibly. I feel that there are ten to fifteen cars that are really fast. I knew that we had to make a change. The other car was just not getting it done. So we got a new chassis, a Raceworks car. With just a few minor changes it has been a whole different car. It takes a whole lot off my shoulders. Eddie and Reggie did a great job building it.”

One of the main contenders in the point race going into the race was Dwight Jarvis. When there was 24 laps to go, Jarvis selected to pit. Was it the right move to make at that time?

Dwight Jarvis pitted with 24 laps to go because the car was wicked loose. They thought that they could pit and fix it and he came back out and saw how many cars were still on the track, he realized then that it was not a very good move. It put him too far back in traffic.

Did you think that Jon could go out there and lead all 100 laps?

Todd Annarummo
“He is definitely capable. He has a fast car. Since he has rolled this car out at Waterford, he has been real strong. And he is probably one of the best drivers in the division so he absolutely could have lead all 100 laps.”
“Typically you do not like to lead, but when you have a car that is capable of doing it and his talent then it can de done”.

Special Thanks to Long Island Maniac

Todd Annarummo
“I want to specially thank Jim as the track last night (Seekonk Grand Prix Slick Track, The Long Island Maniac. I want to thank him for supporting this division and supporting these drivers. And for his support of the modifieds in general. You cannot ask for a better person to support us like that. We appreciate it.”

Thoughts going into Twin State race

Steve Masse
“It is a weird little track. I mean turn one and two is really weird. You have to go up and there is really only one turn I think in that whole corner. I do not know if I am excited or nervous to go there. It is just a little bullring. And I tend to like those so we will just play it by ear and hope it is good.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: October 13, 2010

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