Jon McKennedy Recovers from Late Crash to Win 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 27, 2022) – In a battle that came down to the final race – and final laps – of the season at Martinsville Speedway, Jon McKennedy came out on top to win his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship while NASCAR Cup Series regular Corey LaJoie won the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200.

A quartet of drivers – McKennedy, Ron Silk, defending series champion Justin Bonsignore, and Eric Goodale – were within 13 points of each other heading into the season finale.

The first shoe fell for a contender when Silk’s championship hopes took a hit shortly after being lapped by leader LaJoie. He then spun at the exit of Turn 2 to bring out the caution on Lap 130. Several leaders pitted during the caution, bringing McKennedy to the lead as Bonsignore restarted in third behind him on the inside row.

McKennedy and Bonsignore quickly jumped out ahead of the field, but a caution on Lap 147 allowed Silk to get back on the lead lap while Bonsignore was forced to pit with mechanical issues that ended his race, knocking him out of championship contention.

A late caution put McKennedy and Jimmy Blewett on the front row with LaJoie, who had the strongest car all night, right behind them. On the restart with eight laps to go, all three came together going into Turn 3, with McKennedy and Blewett getting the worst of it and LaJoie regaining the lead.

Despite damage from that crash, McKennedy was able to recover to finish 12th on the final restart with two laps to go, and prevailed over Silk, who finished 11th, by six points for the title. Goodale finished seventh in the race and third in the standings, while Bonsignore’s troubles relegated him to a 29th-place finish and fourth on the season.

McKennedy thought his shot at a championship was over after the late wreck.

“We came so close to winning one of the biggest races of the year, got wrecked, I thought it was over at that point,” McKennedy said after the race. “But luckily, we were able to still come through and win the championship. It’s just unbelievable, it’s an amazing feeling to be a NASCAR Modified Tour champion.”

McKennedy had one win on the season at Claremont Speedway (New Hampshire), but proved consistency over the course of the season wins championships. He ended the year with seven top-five and 13 top-10 results in the 16 races.

Courtesy NASCAR Media

LaJoie held onto the lead on the final restart to win his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race and the famed Martinsville grandfather clock, leading 110 laps.

The 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour owner’s championship went to the No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing modified that was driven by a trio of drivers this season – Blewett, Doug Coby, and Mike Christopher Jr. They started off strong and never let off the gas after winning back-to-back races at Riverhead Raceway (Long Island, New York) and Lee USA Speedway (New Hampshire) in May with Coby piloting the car. The team then won a third in a row to finish the month as Christopher became the third different driver to win for the team as he crossed the line first at Jennerstown Speedway (Pennsylvania).

Blewett (Wall Stadium – New Jersey) and Coby (Langley Speedway – Hampton, Virginia) would go on to bring the team’s win total to five of the season’s 16 races. The team also recorded nine top-five and 14 top-10 finishes on the season.

Austin Beers was crowned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year. The driver of the No. 64 had one top five (a third-place finish at Langley) and seven top 10s over the 16 races.

The remainder of the weekend at Martinsville Speedway will set the Championship 4 field for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series title battles the following week at Phoenix Raceway. As part of its 75th Anniversary season, Martinsville Speedway will host NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff practice and qualifying on Friday, Oct. 28 at 4:00 p.m., penultimate races of the Xfinity Series Playoffs in the Dead On Tools 250 on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 3:00 p.m. and the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs in the Xfinity 500 on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2:00 p.m.

Pos         No.         Name    Sponsor                Laps       Diff

1              53           Corey LaJoie       Curb Records     200

2              60           Matt Hirschman                PeeDee Motorsports       200         0.601

3              39           Ryan Newman   Pacematic/PSR Products                200         0.861

4              44           Bobby Santos III Harshaw Paving/Olivas Market   200         1.401

5              92           Anthony Nocella               Nocella Paving/K&D Associates/Airgas    200         1.741

6              24           Andrew Krause  Supreme Mfg. Co.            200         1.776

7              58           Eric Goodale       GAF Roofing       200         1.893

8              64           Austin Beers*     Dell Electric/Lumiere Electrical   200         2.237

9              54           Tommy Catalano              FX Caprara           200         2.672

10           34           J.B. Fortin            Red Camel Racing/Johns Fuel/John Tree Removal              200         3.003

11           16           Ron Silk Blue Mountain Machine and Future Homes          200         3.178

12           79           Jon McKennedy Middlesex Interiors         200         3.408

13           99           Jamie Tomaino  Dunleavy’s           200         3.722

14           20           Ed McCarthy*    McCarthy Marine Sales  200         3.748

15           02           Joey Coulter IV  SRI Performance/Air Shok/Race-Run/Molecule    200         3.796

16           22           Kyle Bonsignore Chalew Performance/MTT/Munn’s Auto 200         5.159

17           7              Jimmy Blewett   John Blewett, Inc.             200         11.265

18           2              Chuck Hossfeld  Gershow Recycling          199         1 Lap

19           50           Ronnie Williams                Empower Financial Services/RB Enterprises          199         1 Lap

20           36           Dave Sapienza   Sapienza Enterprises       199         1 Lap

21           29           Spencer Davis    Max Industrial   199         1 Lap

22           32           Tyler Rypkema   Northeast Drilling/MUSCO           199         1 Lap

23           82           Craig Lutz             Horton Avenue Materials              198         2 Laps

24           55           Jeremy Gerstner               Jerry Hunt SuperCenter/GMR Complete Lawn Care           194         6 Laps

25           26           Gary McDonald Lakeland Landscape Supply          194         6 Laps

26           77           Max McLaughlin               CURB Records    190         10 Laps

27           18           Ken Heagy           Buoy One Seafood Market & Restaurant 178         22 Laps

28           01           Melissa Fifield    Pine Knoll Auto Sales      175         25 Laps

29           51           Justin Bonsignore             Phoenix Communication Inc.       153         47 Laps

30           10           Doug Coby          Mayhew Tools   147         53 Laps

31           3              Ryan Preece       Propane Plus/ACG/Island International   111         89 Laps

32           97           Bryan Dauzat      Brother in Law Motorsports         82           118 Laps

33           17           Bobby Labonte  Pace-O-Matic     63           137 Laps

34           07           Patrick Emerling                Captain Pip Marina & Hideaway 55           145 Laps

35           78           Walter Sutcliffe, Jr.          Last Minute Racing          3              197 Laps

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR consists of three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series™, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour™), one local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series™) and three international series (NASCAR Pinty’s Series™, NASCAR Mexico Series™, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series™). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit http://www.NASCAR.com and http://www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).

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