McKennedy Finally Scores At Waterford
WATERFORD, Conn. – Jon McKennedy has frequently been listed as one of the fastest winged supermodifieds on the ISMA trail this season, but up until Saturday night he had not been able to notch a feature win.
At Waterford Speedbowl, where he has been no stranger to victory lane in a modified, McKennedy etched his name in the record books with his first ISMA win there, and his ISMA career-second. The last few ISMA events had not been especially kind to the Chelmsford, Mass., driver, giving him the pole spot at Waterford after handicapping. His starting spot also helped him avoid a massive first turn crash which occurred behind him and after the cleanup, McKennedy took off in the lead never to be headed despite several other slowdowns during the 50-lap event.
It was a poignant moment for the 79 team when the Paul Dunigan Jr.-owned car pulled into victory lane. The Dunigan name had been an integral part of ISMA history until the passing of Paul Sr. in 2004 and the resurrection of his legacy was welcomed when Jon was chosen to run the Paul Jr. supermodified on a full-time basis this year.
“The crew worked really hard for this today. It’s been a tough year. We’ve had a lot of misfortune happen; a lot of mechanical issues. It feels good to win here at Waterford,” said McKennedy. “I had a good starting spot and the car was really good. It wasn’t as fast as the last time we were here but today was a little different weather. I’d like to thank Pauly Dunigan and family for giving me the opportunity to drive this car, the crew, and sponsors Power Mist Racing Fuels, Tower News and LH Wheeler Trucking. I lost a good friend recently and I’d like to dedicate this win to him. This one’s for you Bill.”
Following McKennedy across the line at the checkered was Ben Seitz who had moved past Mike Ordway Jr. in the 21 after a lap 36 restart.
“The car was awesome tonight. I’ve got to thank my car owner Dickie Bien, my sponsors. Sam Lorusso and family, the whole crew does a real nice job. I’m really happy when things are going well,” Seitz said.
Ordway Jr. answered the call to fill in for injured driver Eddie Witkum Jr. in the P&L Motorsports 21 and came home with a fine podium finish. He was elated with the results.
“It’s been a while since I’ve done this. They called me up and needed some help when Eddie got hurt. They needed someone to fill in,” Ordway said. “They’ve done a lot for me so the least I could do was help them out. The guys gave me a good car. To come home third – I can’t really ask for anything more. I’ll just see if I get to do it again; just wait to see what happens.”
After torrential Friday rains postponed the Lee USA Ollie Silva Memorial, the ISMA group was greeted with sunny skies at Waterford on Saturday. The 19-car field was decreased during practice when the brand new Wolf 7 driven by Jon Gambuti blew a motor and then the 65 of Tim Ice dropped a valve. The 61 driven by Mike Ordway Sr. after Ray Graham Jr. vacated the ride, was involved in a heat accident, the results of which may have caused his early demise in the feature. Heat flags went to McKennedy, Lou Cicconi and Joey Payne, subbing for Timmy Jedrzejek, absent due to a work commitment, in the Soule Racing 32.
McKennedy, as aforementioned, had the pole sitting alongside Ordway Jr.’s 21, when the 17-car field took the green. Unfortunately, before on lap was complete, a massive pileup occurred in turns one and two affecting Lou Cicconi, Danny Lane, Justin Belfiore, Jeff Locke and more. It was here Ordway Sr. stopped the 61 in the front. He exited the race and did not return while most of the others were able to make quick repairs and returned to resume the race.