Irish eyes were smiling Sunday afternoon as Kenny Barry won the race and Jon McKennedy won the series title capping off the season for the True Value Modified Racing Series, at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH.
For Barry, it was his first win with the New England based series as he bested a field of 25 competitors. The Preston, CT., driver was the fifth different winner of the “Oktoberfest 100.” Barry also became the 12th different winner in 15 races this year and the second first time winner in as may weeks that had veteran Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, VT., knocking on the door at the finish. The 2006 champion finished 0.173 behind the winner in Sunday's race.
With heavy rains forcing cancellation of Saturdays practice and qualifying races, speedway management was forced to postpone practice on Sunday as well, leaving TVMRS competitors with only three qualifying races to prepare for the 100 lap race. The first 10 lap race was won by 2005 Oktoberfest winner, Jimmy Dolan, Bethel, CT., Vinnie Annarummo, Swansea, MA., captured the second, with Jimmy Kuhn, W.Bridgewater, MA., a winner at Lee in July, nabbing the third race.
When flagman John Spence JR dropped the green flag, Dolan, from his pole starting position, led the first three circuits. Annarummo, a one time weekly competitor at Lee, took over the lead on lap four and set the pace until lap 26 when Dolan was able to grab the lead back, on a restart, following the first of seven caution flags.
Dolan, having one of his best runs of the season, led the parade from lap 27 to lap 34.
It was then that a former Lee weekly racer, champion, and TVMRS winner at Lee, became what appeared to be the car to beat. “Lightning” Lou Mechalides, Tygnsboro, MA., powered his car to the front on lap 35 and fast became the class of the field.
Mechalides looked to be on his way to victory until Barry invited himself to the party.
With a brand new SPAFCO modified mount, a car he drove to a solid second place finish at Twin State Speedway, Claremont, NH., Oct 4, Barry took over the lead on lap 66 and was never headed.
D. Jarvis was second, Mechalides third, Kuhn fourth, Jack Bateman, fifth, Sean Bodreau had a solid run to finish sixth, Joey Jarvis, in his first ever race at Lee, finished an impressive seventh, McKennedy was eighth, Rob Goodenough, ninth, and Joe Doucette, tenth.
(11) Ianarelli (12) Ordway (13). M Douglas (14) P. Jarvis (15) Dore (16) Baldwin (17) Spiers (18) Johnson (19) Cleary (20) Dolan (21) Vigeant (22) Fredrickson (23) Seuss (24 Annarummo (25) Grubisa (26) Masse.
21 of the 26 starters finished the race with 11 cars finishing on the lead lap. The race was run off in 53 minutes, 13 seconds.
In a post race interview, McKennedy was pleased with becoming the fourth champion in series history. “It really means a lot,” said the East Chelmsford, MA., resident. “It's the biggest accomplishment for me so far, the best one yet. It's a great series and a good group of guys to race with.”
McKennedy would have liked to have had a better run in the finale. “No practice was tough, we were loose in the heat race and struggling from the start. We always run good at Lee so it was tough not running better than we did”
McKennedy is a former 350 supermodified champion and ISMA Rookie of the Year.