CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- Final preparations underway for a new season, the reality of being the reigning NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion has finally sunk-in for Jon McKennedy.
After a 16-race schedule filled with ups and downs in 2022, McKennedy came out on top of a tight championship battle with names like Ron Silk, Justin Bonsignore and Eric Goodale, taking the No. 79 to title glory for the first time in just his second full-time season on the Whelen Modified Tour.
It was the first year as a team together -- with Tim and Cheryl Lepine as the owners. The Middlesex Interiors group battled hard, and even though they only won once during the season, they had enough consistency to seal the deal.
This year, McKennedy's overarching goal is to win another title -- but he wants to get some checkered flags along the way.
"Honestly I just want to go out and apply what we learned last year and run even better in 2023," McKennedy said. "We want to go win a few more races. Last year was our first year together as a team, with a new car owner and a lot of new crew guys -- it was just all new. It was definitely up and down but to come out of it with the title, it was great."
The 2023 season will mark a slightly different challenge, with 19 races planned. The amount of travel and pure time working on the cars will have to increase slightly for teams who plan to race for the title. And McKennedy is ready to defend his crown.
With help from Middlesex Interiors, LFR Chassis, Christopher's Towing, Wilwood Brakes, McKennedy Masonry, Robert Yates Racing Engines, Valvoline and John Young Landscaping, McKennedy is ready to fire the engine in Florida next week at New Smyrna Speedway.
"We have a good notebook to use," McKennedy said. "We're expecting to be better this year with our second full-time year on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. We just want to go out there and win some more races and see where the championship falls later on in the season.
McKennedy and the remainder of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams will begin their season at New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday, February 11. For more information on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, visit NASCAR.com/roots.