Thanking his father Dennis for giving him the opportunity to race since the age of 10, Jon McKennedy, of E.Chelmsford, MA., was officially crowned 2009 Modified Racing Series champion, Saturday night, November 21, at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, W. Springfield, MA. The banquet, held to honor series drivers for their accomplishments, officially closed out the 2009 season for the popular touring division. McKennedy joins Kirk Alexander, Dwight Jarvis, and Chris Pasteryak, as series champions.
McKennedy, winner of four feature races this season, captured his first series title finishing ahead of runner-up driver Rob Goodenough by 15 points. During his trophy presentation, McKennedy also thanked his race team, sponsors, and fans, for their support.
Steven Masse, Rowan Pennink, Jack Bateman, Jarvis, Pasteryak, Les Hinckley, Mike Douglas, Mike Holdridge Jacob Dore, Sean Bodreau, Ed Dachenhausen, Eddy Spiers, and Andy Seuss, finished in the top 15 positions in the point standings. All received plaques for their accomplishments.
Achievement awards, chosen annually by series officials, were also presented.
The SPAFCO Most Improved Driver Award was presented to Masse. The young driver in only his second time competing there won his first series race at Thunder Road International Speedbowl, Barre, VT in May. Masse was in the points chase early on in the season. Kenny Barry made the presentation.
The annual Sportsmanship award was given to the #18 R&S Racing Team. Veteran driver Eddy Spiers, car owner Richie Stevens, and their team were recognized.
The 2009 Mechanic of the Year Award was presented to Bob Hansen of the # 25 Roscoe Racing car. The car is owned by Gary Casella. Series official John “Chip” Pettengill presented the award.
The KOSZELA SPEED Rookie of the Year award was presented by Julie and Mike Stefanik to Jacob Dore. The Maine driver, a mechanical engineering student at the University of New Hampshire, won his first race last month at Twin State Speedway, Claremont, NH.
The annual Dedication Award was presented to driver Joe Doucette, while the Tough Luck award went to Kevin Ianarelli.
The DART Steel Head Engine Builder of the Year award went to Bateman while McKennedy was the recipient of the Hoosier Tire East award.
Veteran driver Jimmy Dolan was the recipient of the prestigious “7-11” award presented by New England Racing Hall of Fame member and modified legend Bob Polverari. Dolan was speechless when the announcement was made. “The choice was easy,” said Polverari. “Jimmy is a professional on and off the track and is a good representative of our sport.” Dolan joins Bateman, Jarvis, Dachenhausen, and Vinnie Annarummo, as recipients of the prestigious award.
John Spence SR. was presented the “Above And Beyond” award for his continuous and dedicated service to the series. Series head Bateman made the presentation. Spence handles press relations and is the series announcer. He has been with the MRS all six years.
The 2009 season will be remembered for being one of the most competitive years to date. Out of 15 races run, 12 different drivers visited victory lane including seven that were first-time winners. The last three races were nabbed by first time winners, Dore, Mike Stefanik, and Kenny Barry.
Bateman announced an 18 race schedule for 2010. The new campaign will kick off at the Waterford, CT Speedbowl, March 27 and 28. The tour will then move to Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, NY., for it's first ever appearance at the famed speedway.
The MRS will take to the high banks of Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, NH., on Saturday night, May 1.