By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
EPPING, N.H. -- Jon McKennedy charged by Chris Pasteryak on a restart with 35 laps to go and never looked back en route to his second career Tri Track Open Modified Series presented by All Phases Renovations win on Saturday at Star Speedway.
The Chelmsford, Massachusetts, driver broke a streak of bad luck to open his 2021 racing season with the checkered flag. McKennedy was involved in a wreck in April at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and destroyed a brand new car. The team immediately placed an order for a new ride, and they debuted it in Victory Lane with one of the most competitive fields Tri Track has seen at Star in many years.
The race was the second of six on the Tri Track calendar for this season -- named the Prelude To SBM X -- setting the stage for a big 10th annual spectacular when Tri Track returns to Star Speedway on July 24.
“Just off to a really bad start this year, tore up a lot of equipment, it seemed like we had a monkey on our back,” McKennedy said. “It feels so great to get a Modified win here at Star Speedway again. Great race, great competition. It feels great. Great to be back home at Star.”
Matt Swanson was second and Pasteryak third.
In a race that saw varying pit strategies throughout the field, Chase Dowling took the lead early and looked to have the dominant car. While McKennedy, Swanson and Pasteryak elected to pit early, Dowling tried the opposite strategy -- pit late and hoped to make his way through the field. It didn’t work out for the Roxbury, Connecticut, native, who finished 15th.
McKennedy failed to finish his qualifying race after contact and had to qualify for the race through a consi round. He started deep in the 28-car field, and drove his way to the victory. McKennedy also collected a $500 bonus courtesy of Green Construction Management LLC for being the Hard Charger of the race and gaining the most positions from start to finish.
A pair of No. 16 entries -- Anthony Sesely and Ron Silk -- finished the top-five in the feature. Cam McDermott was sixth, collecting a $500 bonus courtesy of Rameau Family Motorsports, while Ronnie Williams, Woody Pitkat, Les Hinckley and Anthony Nocella finished the top-10.
Matt Hirschman, who finished 13th after suffering from a vibration, collected the Jerico Performance Products Fast Lap of the Race award, worth $300. Max Zachem, Tommy Barrett, Pasteryak, Williams and Hirschman won qualifying heat races (Hirschman also won the consi), worth $300 each as part of the Pepsi Challenge.
“We had the car to do it but the driver left a little bit on the table,” Boehler Racing driver Matt Swanson said. “Three second-place finishes here in a row, we are bound to get one. I just can’t thank all of my BRE guys and my sponsors enough. They brought a winning race car to the track today.”
The Tri Track Open Modified Series returns to the track on Wednesday, June 30 at Seekonk Speedway for the annual $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday.
For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit TriTrackModifieds.com.
By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
SEEKONK, Mass. -- A large field of Modifieds is expected when the Tri Track Open Modified Series presented by All Phases Renovations rolls to Star Speedway this Saturday, May 22. Race two of six in the Tri Track season brings competitors to one of New Hampshire’s most difficult ovals -- a place that has seen a mix of veterans and rising stars go to Victory Lane in Tri Track competition.
Saturday’s Prelude To SBM X 100-lap contest is the first of two Tri Track races at the oval in 2021. The second event will be the prestigious SBM X on Saturday, July 24.
The entry list is stacked with drivers who plan on chasing the $6,000 winning prize, as part of a purse that rises over $40,000. Matt Hirschman, who is a multiple-time Star winner, leads the list in his quest for a sixth Tri Track championship this year. He’s joined by Monadnock winner Sam Rameau -- who leads the early standings -- Ron Silk, Justin Bonsignore, Jon McKennedy, Les Hinckley, Ronnie Williams, Woody Pitkat, Chase Dowling, Chris Pasteryak, Anthony Nocella and more. As of Thursday, May 20, more than 30 cars have already pre-ordered their Hoosier Racing tires.
Off a strong run at Monadnock, Rameau looks to open the season with back-to-back wins driving the family-owned No. 06.
“Star is a fun track but we need some work there,” Rameau said. “We need to improve. The last time we went there we went in blindfolded… but my crew chief Russ Hersey has plenty of experience there, so we’re looking forward to going back. I want to win the Tri Track championship this year. Even if it doesn’t go our way on Saturday, we need every position and every point possible.”
Hirschman looks to notch his first win of the year at a track where he is comfortable, while Hinckley and Bonsignore look for their first career Tri Track checkered flags. The list of talent continues to rise in the competitive series.
The Star 100 will also mark the third race of the season for the Call 811 Before You Dig Modified Challenge -- a separate championship that is a combination between the six Tri Track events and the four Stafford Motor Speedway Open Modified shows. Drivers earn points to finish inside the top-10, with 10 to the winner, 9 for second, etc. The driver with the highest total between the 10 events is the winner. Currently, NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece leads the standings by one point over Sam Rameau, MIke Christopher Jr., and Anthony Nocella, who are all tied for second.
Four different contingency awards are on the line for competitors to chase during the day. As part of the Pepsi Challenge, drivers that win a heat or consi race will receive a $300 bonus. Courtesy of Jerico Performance Products, the driver who posts the fastest lap in each feature race will receive a $300 bonus. Green Construction Management LLC has also posted a Hard Charger award, worth $500 to the driver that advances the most positions during the race. And finally, for the Star event only, Rameau Family Motorsports has posted a $500 award to the sixth-place finisher in the feature event.
The schedule for race day includes just one practice session from 11:50-12:50 p.m. for teams to dial in their rides. Heat races are expected to begin at 2:30 p.m., with the feature to follow. The Star Speedway Late Models, Street Stocks, Six Shooters and Slingshots are also scheduled to compete.
Tickets are $25 for adults in general admission, with seniors and juniors (11-16) set at $20. Kids 10 and under are free into the grandstands. For those who can’t make it to the track, the race will air live on Speed51.TV.
For more information on Star Speedway, visit StarSpeedwayNH.com. For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit TriTrackModifieds.com and follow the series on social media.
By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
SEEKONK, Mass. -- Wheeling the No. 3 “Ole Blue” machine, that is well-known in the Modified community, Matt Swanson will look to break into Victory Lane with the Tri Track Open Modified Series presented by All Phases Renovations next Saturday, May 22, at Star Speedway.
As a former Modified track champion at Star in 2014, Swanson knows his way around the New Hampshire oval. And, he’s been connected with the Webber family -- the owners of the track -- for many years. Still winless behind the wheel of the No. 3 for Boehler Racing, Swanson hopes the Star 100 will be the day to hold the checkered flag.
“I’m excited that Tri Track is going to Star twice this year,” Swanson said. “We have a good baseline setup at Star, and Star is that one track for me that if I could pick any track to have my first breakout win, it would be Star. With what the Webber family has done for me… I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
Last year, Swanson led laps in the SBM race at Star, but finished second after a late charge by Matt Hirschman. With his previous experience at the track, and the speed the team has shown out of the gate this season, he’s sure to be a threat in the Star 100. The upcoming event will help promote the 10th annual SBM, which is set for July 24, also a Tri Track show at Star.
“We try to go somewhere with something new every time as far as the setup goes, but so far this year, we’ve been trending in a bit of a different direction and it’s paying off for us,” Swanson said. “The cars have had speed everywhere.”
Swanson was impressive in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Stafford Motor Speedway on April 30 -- leading laps early before a mechanical failure sidelined him from the event. In the opener of the Tri Track season at Monadnock, Swanson was relegated to a 20th place finish after a late-race wreck -- but ran in, and around, the top-10 most of the race. The rising Modified star began driving for Boehler Racing in 2017, when Rowan Pennink, the driver of the car at the time, was sidelined with back injuries.
It’s developed into a five-year partnership that still is winless -- but the team has been so close -- and Swanson is hungry to knock that checkered flag off his bucket list.
“It’s a little bit of both, better preparation, and our chemistry is growing,” Swanson said of why the team seems to have more speed this season. “Over the offseason, we all sat down as a team and went over what we thought we needed to improve on and what we thought we were doing well. There wasn’t one thing that we said was perfect. We were fast, but we weren’t going places and dominating. The way the Tri Track Open Modified Series works, with all short-tracks, we went over our program and focused on short-tracks the most. We rebuilt all of the cars, made sure everything was 100%. This is the most prepared we have ever been going into a season -- whether it was with my family team, or Boehler Racing, we are really prepared. We were there every day of the week getting ready.”
Swanson would like to thank his sponsors and supporters, all the way from Jerico Performance Products, Ceravolo’s Auto, Cape Cod Copper, Island International Industries, Bob Bruneau Race Engines, Propane Plus, Syp Construction, ACG Construction and New England Race Fuels, to Complete Chassis Solutions, Boehler Racing and his father, John Swanson. He says without their support, he wouldn’t be in contention to win.
“I just like how Star is as a track, there are two distinctive racing lines,” Swanson said. “You don’t have to really root anyone out of the way to make a pass. The surface there has so much grip -- it just produces good racing, no matter what kind of car it is. We’re definitely going out there to try and win the damn thing. But at the same time, we will be taking notes for that day, and for what we need to do when we go back there in July.”
The schedule begins with practice at 11:30 a.m., followed by qualifying heat races at 2:30 p.m. The Ken Izzett Construction Late Models, Murphy Roofing Six Shooters, Woody’s Street Stocks, Mia’s Jewelry Slingshots and MLM Diagnostic Pure Stocks will also join the show.
Tickets for the Star 100 are $25 for adults, with seniors and juniors (11-16) set for $20 admission. Children ages 10 and under will be free in the grandstands. Pit passes are $40 for Star Speedway members, $45 for non-members.
For more information on Star Speedway, visit StarSpeedwayNH.com and follow the track on Facebook for the latest updates. For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit TriTrackModifieds.com and follow the series on social media.
By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
WINCHESTER, N.H. — Sam Rameau dominated early, restarted deep in the field after a pit stop, drove to the front, made a pass for the lead, and rolled to Victory Lane. The Westminster, Massachusetts, native, and driver for Rameau Family Motorsports, was victorious in the season-opener for the Tri Track Open Modified Series presented by All Phases Renovations at Monadnock Speedway on Saturday, May 1.
In the Wonder Casino 100, Rameau made a late pass on Ron Silk to score the $6,000 winning check — besting more than 30 cars that showed up to the Winchester, New Hampshire oval. Silk crossed the line second, with defending series champion Matt Hirschman third.
Rameau pitted from the lead, along with the rest of the field, during a caution period just after halfway. He restarted outside the top-15 and his chances of winning at that point appeared slim. But the rising Modified talent worked his way to the front.
“I was just going at my own pace early, and we came in and I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous over the radio,” Rameau said. “With 40 laps to go, I said there was no way we were winning the race. The car just rolled the outside great. We all come here for the same reason. It’s really cool. I just really can’t thank my guys enough. They do a great job.”
Two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore and Les Hinckley finished the top-five. Ben Byrne was sixth, followed by Woody Pitkat, Anthony Nocella, NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece and Joey Cipriano III.
Devin O’Connell advanced the most positions during the race, scoring the Green Construction, LLC Hard Charger award, worth $500. Earlier in the day, Justin Bonsignore, Woody Pitkat, Earl Paules and Ben Byrne won heat races, scoring $300 each courtesy of Pepsi and the Pepsi Challenge. Anthony Sesely and Brian Robie also scored $300 each from Pepsi with consi race wins.
The Tri Track Open Modified Series returns to the track at Star Speedway in New Hampshire on Saturday, May 22. For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit tritrackmodifieds.com and follow the series on social media.