All posts by Kyle Souza

McKennedy Seeks Whelen Mod Tour Title To Complete His Bucket List

By: Kyle Souza / Photo: Tom Morris/My Race News

Jon McKennedy hopes a new year will bring another first in his racing career.

The Chelmsford, Massachusetts, native, who is no stranger to success in asphalt racing, has one glaring bucket list item left in his mind at just 33-years-old: win a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.

He plans to return to tour competition for another shot at the crown this year, with car owner and crew chief Tommy Baldwin, and Ultra Wheel as a returning sponsor. Baldwin, a former Daytona 500 winning crew chief, has returned to his Modified roots, and tabbed McKennedy to compete since the beginning of the 2018 season.

“I want to win the Whelen Modified Tour championship,” McKennedy said. “A few years ago, Tommy called me out of the blue to come run his car at New Smyrna Speedway’s Speedweeks — he gave me an opportunity and knew I couldn’t really bring anything but my helmet bag. I’m very thankful for the opportunity he has given me. I’ve met a lot of people through him, and I’ve been fortunate to drive his cars. He has faith in me and my ability.”

Over 62 starts on the tour, last year was McKennedy’s breakout year. In the midst of a shortened season due to COVID-19, McKennedy managed to finish inside the top-10 in all nine races. He scored four top-five finishes — with a best of second at Thompson Speedway in September — and a second-place points finish placed him ahead of six-time tour champion Doug Coby.

“If you look at last year, we proved pretty much every race that we were a top three, top-five car… we won some poles, led a bunch of laps and finishing second in points, it was really the first season I’ve had the opportunity to run all of the races. Now that we’ve been working together, we’ve learned a lot… I think last year and the previous year we proved that with a little bit of luck, we are a serious contender.”

McKennedy is especially looking forward to the 2021 Whelen Modified Tour schedule — one that has 14 races. But, it includes dates at tracks where McKennedy has previous success, and others where he feels like his team might have an advantage over others due to his ability to catch-on quickly. As a four-time Modified Racing Series champion, Tri Track Open Modified Series champion and ISMA Supermodified champion, McKennedy has proven to be a master of multiple cars and tracks.

“We’re going to a few race tracks that some of these guys are not familiar with, and with all of the cars and tracks I have driven, I think we will adapt to some of these tracks quicker than most,” McKennedy said. “We all went to Myrtle Beach Speedway with no notes a few years ago, I had a win, a second… tracks like Richmond, Martinsville, Beech Ridge this year… I think we will have a good chance at those.”

Outside of the Whelen Modified Tour, McKennedy is also planning a full Tri Track Open Modified Series schedule and a select amount of Open Modified races as part of a new team. McKennedy’s ISMA Supermodified owners, Tim and Cheryl Lepine, who are the owners of Middlesex Interiors Inc., have assisted to purchase a brand new LFR chassis. McKennedy is also planning on running select ISMA events again in 2021.

READ MORE: McKennedy To Make Tri Track Title Bid in 2021

“Certainly the last few years I’ve had some good people behind me,” McKennedy said. “You have to surround yourself with good people and sponsors to have some success.”

VISCONTI MOTORSPORTS ADDS MASON DIAZ TO DRIVER LINEUP FOR 2021

By Kyle Souza, for MyRaceNews.com & Souza Media

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Visconti Motorsports, and new driver Mason Diaz, are set to chase the ARCA Menards Series East championship in 2021. 

Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, the team announced on Monday the addition of Diaz as a full-time competitor in the ARCA East Series. Diaz will chase the championship driving the familiar No. 74, and as part of the ride, Diaz, and his family, will bring equipment and sponsorship to combine with the already established group at Visconti, proven to win races and run inside the top-five. Together, all parties are confident in making a championship run.

“Michael Diaz (Mason’s father) and I have the same goal in mind,” Visconti Motorsports team owner John Visconti said. “We want to give Mason the opportunity to be competitive and compete for wins as well as having some fun along the way. We look forward to our new venture together.”

The team also announced that former Daytona 500 winning crew chief and current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner Tommy Baldwin will crew chief the entry.

“Having Mason become part of our team is a huge step for us,” John Visconti, owner of Visconti Motorsports, said. “Tommy also helps bring us to the next level with engineering and technology. We’re excited for the season.”

Diaz is no stranger to competition in the upper levels of the sport. The Manassas, Virginia, driver, competed full-time in ARCA East last season, finishing inside the top-10 three times. He also has selected starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Camping World Truck Series, ARCA Menards Series and ARCA West Series, along with a full slate of pavement Late Model action. Diaz has already established himself as a competitive racer, and will now have the opportunity to showcase his talent against some of the toughest teams in the business — but Visconti and Diaz are ready for it. They are eager to hit the track at New Smyrna Speedway for race one.

“I think Mason was getting more out of his equipment than his cars were even allowing,” Visconti said of Diaz’s previous experience. “He wasn’t overly aggressive, but was good. He is excellent with the fans — has a good personality, and has a lot of experience… he has Xfinity starts, Trucks… he has a broad spectrum of experience… I was extremely impressed with his abilities.”

The goal for the season is simple: hoist the big trophy at the end of the eight-race slate. The season begins in February, at New Smyrna Speedway’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, and ends at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 16. The team will also compete in a select amount of additional ARCA Sioux Chief Showdown events.

“Absolutely, our goal is 1,000% championship, second will not be good enough,” Visconti said. “I feel as though with the talent and experience we have, we should be able to win races.”

Baldwin assisted Visconti in making the move to the ARCA Menards Series a few years ago, and now will join the team to turn the wrenches in hopes of contending for race wins and the title — bringing it full circle.

“I had no clue what went on in North Carolina, running our Modified seemed like the biggest and best I was going to do back then,” John Visconti said. “But speaking with Tommy, he guided me into the ARCA Menards Series, and that’s how iit all came to be.”

Outside of John Visconti (owner), Marie Visconti (owner), Tommy Baldwin (crew chief) and Mason Diaz (full-time driver), multiple other crew members and supporters will follow the team in 2021. On the sponsor front, Solid Rock Carriers, Prince William Marina, Grafix Unlimited, Bomber Eyewear and Visconti Motorsports will back the ride. The Reichert Group IGA Marketplace, which has been a supporter of Visconti’s effort for many years, will return.

Inside the shop, Steve Keller will return as car chief. Additional crew members include Glen Dixon (tire engineer), Austin Green (crew), Michael Visconti (crew), John Condit (crew), Bill Goffin (crew), Brad Roper (crew), Ryan Towels (crew) and Kevin Kowalkowski (crew).

For more information on Mason Diaz Racing, follow him on Facebook, on Twitter at @MasonDiazRacing and on Instagram at @masondiazracing.

For more information on Visconti Motorsports, visit viscontimotorsports74.com, follow the team on Facebook, on Twitter at @VMS_74 and on Instagram at @visconti_motorsports_74.

2021 Whelen Modified Tour Schedule Announced

By: Kyle Souza / Photo: My Race News

NASCAR officials announced on Friday a 14-race schedule for the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. The schedule begins with a stop at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday, April 8, and ends with a champion coronation at Stafford Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 25.

The schedule will bring drivers to nine different tracks across six different states in their seven months of competition. It includes a debut at Lancaster Speedway on July 31 and a return to Maine’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 21.

In the middle, teams will have breaks throughout the season, but will end the year with four races in the month of September in three different states.

After a 200-lapper to open the season at Martinsville, the tour heads to Stafford for the NAPA Spring Sizzler weekend on Sunday, April 25. It’s the first of three dates at the Arute-family half-mile in Connecticut.

The Tour will visit Riverhead Raceway for three dates — starting May 15 — and will visit two more times on June 19 and September 18. It marks the first time since 1987 that the tour visits the track three times in one season.

Whelen Modified Tour teams will unload at Oswego Speedway twice in 2021 — a Saturday night special on June 12 and their annual Bud Classic weekend on Saturday, September 4.

New Hampshire Motor Speedway returns to the schedule for their Cup weekend on Saturday, July 17.

As previously announced, the Whelen Modified Tour will visit Richmond Raceway as part of their 75th season on Friday, September 18. The schedule wraps with the final Riverhead date and the champion celebration at Stafford’s NAPA Fall Final on September 26.

My Race News will have more details surrounding the Whelen Modified Tour season throughout the offseason.