BY SOUZA MEDIA/KYLE SOUZA
SEEKONK, Mass. -- Austin Kochenash is one of many rising Modified stars who have selected the Tri Track Open Modified Series in 2021. Kochenash, who has been racing since the young age of just six-years-old, is a multiple-time champion in his rise through the ranks of the sport.
He’s raced all across the country, including previously with the Tri Track Series, where he has seven career starts. In 2020, during a shortened season because of COVID-19, Kochenash marked a best finish of eighth at Star Speedway in the annual SBM event. For this year, he looks to attempt to break into the top-five, and hopefully Victory Lane.
"The Tri Track Open Modified Series has probably the toughest competition out of all of the races and series I have ever run,” Kocenhash said. “We are still learning every race out. Not having a manufactured car has added to that learning process, but at the end of last season, I think we got it a lot closer.”
Tri Track confirmed six races for the new season last week, including two stops at Monadnock Speedway (May 1 & August 14), two at Star Speedway (May 22 & July 24) and two at Seekonk Speedway (June 30 & October 23). Kochenash is one of many drivers planning to compete in all six events, where a champion will be crowned at Seekonk as part of the annual Haunted Hundred. Tri Track has built a staple base at some of the regions most historic bullring tracks, where some of the top asphalt drivers in the country come together to thrill race fans.
“The smaller, short-tracks are what I like the most,” Kochenash said. “I feel like racing is better. It takes some factors out, and you have to concentrate more on your setup and tire management. I like all three of the tracks on the schedule because each one is a little bit different.”
Kochenash, a regular on the Race of Champion Modified Tour during this career, finished top-10 in two of the three races he ran with Tri Track last year. He was the youngest driver to compete in and win a Late Model race at Mahoning Valley Speedway at the time.
“Everyone’s goal on the team is to win, but if we could run top-five consistently, and go from there, that’s my goal,” Kochenash said. “I have to thank Wentz Auto Body, Loikits Oil, Loikits Industrial, Vince with Penske Shocks and my entire team.”
Registration for the 2021 Tri Track Open Modified Series season will open on January 28, where drivers will have the opportunity to either sign-up for a single race, or complete a form for the entire season.
For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit TriTrackModifieds.com and follow the series on social media. For more information on Souza Media, visit KyleSouza.com and follow Souza Media on Facebook.
BY SOUZA MEDIA/KYLE SOUZA
SEEKONK, Mass. -- Veteran Modified racer Jon McKennedy is planning to make a push for the Tri Track Open Modified Series championship in 2021. The former series champion (2014) took a few years away from full-time competition, but seems to have found the right combination to make a comeback and chase his second title.
As part of a deal with Tim and Sheryll Lepine, McKennedy plans to run all six Tri Track events, at three different New England short-tracks. He also is scheduled to compete in multiple other open modified races with the same team, and continue his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour tenure with Tommy Baldwin in search of the title. McKennedy is no stranger to competition at Monadnock Speedway, Star Speedway and Seekonk Speedway -- the three tracks Tri Track will visit in 2021 -- and feels the combination should be strong right from the drop of the first green flag.
“These are short tracks, finesse style tracks that I have a lot of laps on,” McKennedy said. “Between the Modifieds and the ISMA Supermodified laps there, I think we have a good chance to win the race at all of them. They are good tracks for me."
On top of his Tri Track title, McKennedy is a four-time Modified Racing Series champion and also has one ISMA SuperModified title and multiple series wins on that circuit. He certainly has proven that he knows how to get the job done behind the wheel of a variety of different cars. In the history of Tri Track -- formulated in 2014 -- McKennedy has one career win -- the prestigious SBM at Star Speedway in 2014. However, over 10 career Tri Track starts, McKennedy finished top five in nearly half of them.
Tim and Cheryl Lepine, the owners of Middlesex Interiors Inc., based out of Dracut, Massachusetts, are McKennedy’s major partners in his Tri Track effort for 2021. McKennedy is also planning to run select Open Modified events at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and Stafford Motor Speedway with the team as they look to become a major force.
“It just felt like it was a good time to do it, there are a lot of open shows planned this year,” McKennedy said. “Tim and Cheryl were interested in doing something with a Modified and it just kind of all worked out. With Tommy (Baldwin) being so busy with the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, he couldn’t commit to a bunch of the open shows. I thought this was a good time to get an open car and pick and choose the races we want."
McKennedy and the team will bring a new LFR car to competition for the six Tri Track events, with some help from Rob Fuller.
“Rob and I talked the last few months and I thought it was time for a little bit of a change,” McKennedy said. “His cars have proven to be dominant. We were able to put a good deal together and I look forward to running this new car and getting some wins."
In four races during the 2020 season, more than 70 different drivers showed up to the track for competition in the Tri Track Open Modified Series. The series results included four different winners and Matt Hirschman sealing his fifth championship. McKennedy (2014) and Ronnie Williams (2019) are the only two drivers to take Hirschman off the top of the championship pedestal.
"It’s a great opportunity to race the Modifieds, there is some really good competition with Tri Track,” McKennedy said. “It’s a good series. All of the Tri Track guys have done a really good job over the last couple of years to make it what it is today. The Whelen Modified Tour is a lot… the Tri Track Series is a good option to run. Tri Track is some of the best racing as far as open competition."
Tri Track Open Modified Series officials confirmed six dates for the 2021 season on Tuesday, including two stops at Monadnock (May 1 & August 14), two at Star (May 22 & July 24) and two at Seekonk (June 30 & October 23). All events will have a total purse of greater than $30,000. For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit TriTrackModifieds.com and follow the series on social media. For more information on Souza Media, visit kylesouza.com and Souza Media on Facebook.
STAPLE EVENTS, RETURNS TO BULLRING TRACKS HEADLINE NEW SEASON SLATE
BY SOUZA MEDIA/KYLE SOUZA
SEEKONK, Mass. -- Tri Track Open Modified Series officials confirmed on Tuesday six dates for the 2021 season. The series will compete at three different tracks in two different New England states, headlined by multiple staple events and the anticipated return to Massachusetts.
Fans can expect a return to Monadnock Speedway (twice), two stops at Star Speedway, including the 10th annual SBM, and two stops at Seekonk Speedway -- including the prestigious $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday and the fan-favorite Haunted Hundred.
The season begins back on the high-banks of Monadnock, in Winchester, New Hampshire, with a 100-lap feature on Saturday, May 1. The date will be part of Monadnock’s opening Spring Dash weekend, which will also include their NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series divisions and the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Tri Track will visit Monadnock for a second time on Saturday, August 14, joined again by Monadnock’s weekly divisions. The track has been a regular circuit on the Tri Track schedule -- one that places series regulars against the weekly competitors, which often come close to Victory Lane. Craig Lutz and Sam Rameau won events at Monadnock in a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season.
On May 22, 2021, Tri Track will return to Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire, for the first of two dates on the 2021 calendar. Star has also been well-known for the annual SBM event, which returns for the 10th annual feature spectacular on Saturday, July 24. Two dates at Star in the midst of their packed schedule will give race fans a chance to watch Modifieds tear up the quarter-mile again. Matt Hirschman, a five-time and defending Tri Track champion, went to Victory Lane at Star last year.
With two dates, the return to Massachusetts and Seekonk Speedway is highly anticipated by the series, teams, drivers and fans. Seekonk will host the annual $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday event on Wednesday, June 30, and also host the Haunted Hundred on Saturday, October 23.
Joining Open Wheel Wednesday will be the 350 S.M.A.C. Supermodifieds and NEMA Lites, giving fans a mid-week chance to watch one of the top Modified races of the year. As part of the Haunted Hundred -- for the first time -- all three races during the day will be 100 laps. Tri Track headlines the action, crowning the 2021 champion, while the stars of the Pro All Star Series (PASS) and American Canadian Tour (ACT) will also compete in their championship events during the season-finale, which will also end the 75th year of full-time racing at Seekonk in style.
The 2021 schedule is subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Registration for the 2021 season will open on January 28, to be completed by drivers and teams through the Tri Track website. More information will be released closer to that date. For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit TriTrackModifieds.com and follow the series on social media.
BY SOUZA MEDIA
HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. -- Justin Bonsignore continues to add to his 2021 calendar.
The Holtsville, New York, driver, and two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, announced on Friday he will compete for Jimmy Paige in the six Tri Track Open Modified Series events. Bonsignore will drive the same No. 00 he drove for Paige in the 2020 Tri Track finale at Stafford Motor Speedway, where the combination finished fourth in the Modified Classic 81.
“I am really excited for an opportunity to run the Tri Track Open Modified Series in 2021 and drive for Jimmy Paige and his entire team,” Bonsignore said. “I enjoyed racing with them at Stafford, and loved the family atmosphere.”
The combination will begin their tenure together at Monadnock Speedway in the Tri Track opener on Saturday, May 1. Bonsignore is no stranger to Monadnock -- having won the Whelen Modified Tour event at the track in 2020. Paige and the No. 00 team have also shown plenty of speed at Monadnock in previous events.
Bonsignore will also compete with the team at Star Speedway (May 22), Seekonk Speedway’s annual $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday (June 30), Star Speedway’s annual SBM (July 24), Monadnock (August 14) and Seekonk’s annual Haunted Hundred (October 23).
For more information on Justin Bonsignore, follow his new athlete page on Facebook and visit justinbonsignore.com -- where Bonsignore currently is running a deal on apparel. T-shirts are just $12 plus shipping, while every purchase of a Hoodie will come with a free t-shirt of the same size. For more information on Souza Media, visit Souza Media on Facebook, or visit kylesouza.com.