WATERFORD – A new relationship between car owner and driver blossomed in perfect splendor for Art Barry and Jon McKennedy Sunday at the Waterford Speedbowl.
In his first race driving for Barry, of Preston, McKennedy led every circuit on the way to victory in the 100-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series season opener Sunday at the Waterford Speedbowl’s Bud Blastoff.
Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. was second and Norm Wrenn of Nashua, N.H. third.
With Barry’s son Ken on the sidelines, McKennedy, the 2009 and 2010 series champion, has joined forces with legendary Modified team owner and chassis builder.
It’s unclear at this time of the tandem will be in it for a full season run. McKennedy is also running full-time this season in an ISMA Super Modified.
“I think we’re going to start off the season for the first handful of races and see how everything goes,” McKennedy said. “Obviously so far a great way to start the season.”
After the season opening victory Barry had championship chasing on the mind.
“I definitely enjoy working with Jon,” Barry said. “He’s incredibly good. My son was going to drive but he’s got a health problem with his ears and he gets dizzy driving and I don’t think it’s safe. He’s very proud to have Jon aboard and we’re looking to run for the championship if everything goes well.”
McKennedy went by pole sitter Rob Goodenough on the first lap and never trailed again through the caution-marred event.
“It wasn’t easy,” McKennedy said. “Sometimes leading from the front row is difficult. You don’t know how hard of a pace to set and how hard them guys are going behind you. 100 laps felt like 200 laps.”
Pennink came from deep in the field twice in the event.
“We’ve got to be happy with second place. We had a shot for the win, can’t ask for more than that.”
Wrenn started 26th, the final starting spot in the field and went a lap down early.
“I figured I’d just save my tires and pick my spots when I could and wait for at least the halfway point, which I thought would never get there,” Wrenn said. “They said ‘Go’ and I just went. I never expected to finish in the top-three. I was hoping for a top-10.”
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