Mckennedy Nearly Steals the Show

Anthony Nocella dominated the Valenti Modified Racing Series hundred-lapper at Seekonk, starting third, edging Carl Medeiros out of second on lap 18, then hounding polesitter Dan Meservey over the lead, all the way to the race’s first caution on lap 38. After Kyle James spun out of turn one, Nocella took the restart on Meservey’s shoulder and they came out of the starting box nerf bar to nerf bar, but Nocella flew down the backstretch and into the lead but there was an accordion effect in the back and seven cars were tied in knots . . . all, however, were able to return to action. On the second try, Nocella galloped away from the gate but was a bit early and a second restart was called. Anthony nosed ahead on the outside while behind him Dick Houlihan was working under Woody Pitkat.
At last the race continued and Nocella dropped in ahead of Meservey. This installment lasted four laps before Houlihan’s Bob Hussey mod sent a blast of blue flame from under the hood and he pulled it into the grass off the backstretch. Red flags flew and an orange glow issued through the wheel well, speaking of overheated steel. Emergency crews and the Fire Brigade saved the moment an d the race shortly resumed.
Now Nocella had the pole under Meservey. Dan got caught on the outside as Nocella pulled away and Cris Pasteryak latched onto his bumper from the low spot on the second row. Pasteryak settled in as the pursuer while Meservey fought it out with them on the high side. Caution was out again on lap 49. Mckennedy had battled his way up from his start in eleventh to look under Meservey for position and passed him on lap 53, just three laps after Pitkat had eased Dan out of third. Richard Savary then eased him back one more followed by Chase Dowling. By lap 59, the field was stretched out in a long snake once again. But Geoff Gernhard’s back end snapped out leaving turn four, and he spun solo down the front, bringing a lap 60 restart. Meservey headed for the pits.
On the restart, Nocella was away quickly and Pasteryak dropped in. Pitgkat and Savary were running wheel-to-wheel but Savary edged up and Woody dropped onto his rear bumper. But Todd Annarummo nudged Mckennedy’s left rear tire with his right front and they spun, bringing a lap 61 caution. Both pitted and returned at the end of the field. Nocella was away again and Pasteryak dropped in while Pitkat had Savary’s bumper in his back. Attention was diverted to the rear, as Mckennedy’s determination sent him to the outside to take a longshot at making it back to the front. He began making up ground at the rate of a car per lap Lap 73 saw Pasteryak slow suddenly in turn two, come to a stop high in the curve then refire and make a run to the pits.
Nocella and Savary lined up for the green, with Pitkat and Dowling behind them. But McKennedy’s mad dash had him already back to ninth. Now, he was the center of attention as Nocella pulled ahead and Savary dropped in. Pitkat, Dowling and Todd Patnode separated McKennedy from the leading duo and he seemed set on making an upset. He danced his way under Patnode and then under Dowling into fifth.
By now, Nocella was four cars up on Savary and over the next couple laps he added one more length. Mckennedy wentunder Dave Schneider for fourth and started closing on Pitkat. Nocella was running into lapped traffic as did Savary while Mckennedy and Pitkat dueled. And then . . . Carl Medeiros spun in turn two, collapsing the field all back together with 13 laps remaining. Nocella on the pole, Savary on his outside and Pitkat in row two with the impatient Mckennedy on his shoulder. Schneider and Dowling followed.
Nocella, unheaded since lap 38, flashed away again with Savary in hot pursuit. Mckennedy stayed outside on Pitkat and ground out a tough pass into third over the ensuing lap. He stayed outside to attempt to hunt Savary down, good news to Nocella, who went out to a four-car lead in the clear air. Jon gave Richard a bumper tap to let him know the game was afoot and with ten laps remaining, he began a withering attack on his opponent’s position.
Savary hung tough throughout the firefight, finally choosing to make the hard run around the outside permanent. Savary used every trick in his lexicon to hold him off, But Mckennedy was adamant. They went wheel-to-wheel. Finally, in lap 97, Mckennedy was able to grind his way past. Five long lengths separated him from Nocella, who ran it hard and straight to the checkers as Mckennedy whittled away at the distance between them but was forced to settle for a runnerup spot at the finish. Savary took third, followed by Pitkat and Schneider. Sixth through tenth went to Dowling, Patnode, Kyle James, Russ Hersey and Annarummo.