For Renee, the 2016 season opened at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway. The Saturday, March 26 event – The Easter Bunny 125 – was the inaugural Southern Modified Racing Series (SMRS) presented by PASS event.
“Hickory is one of my all-time favorite tracks,” explained Renee. “It’s a long haul from New England – but it’s well worth the trip. History aside – and the place is steeped in history – I just really like the track. Modifieds put on a great show there – lots of nice two-lane, side-by-side action.”
The Ed Bennett Properties backed team participated in an open test on Friday afternoon – taking advantage of some extended time to shake off the long winter months for both car and driver.
On race day the team quickly found their groove – posting highly competitive lap times during official practice. Unfortunately an early draw for time relegated them to a disappointing 18th place starting position.
Undaunted, at the drop of the green flag, Renee quickly worked her way forward – marching all the way up into the top-five. Eventually she settled into the sixth, then seventh, spot.
“The plan was to get out of Dodge,” offered Renee. “We didn’t want to put the car in jeopardy by running in the back with the junk – but at the same time I couldn’t use up the car trying to accomplish that.”
“We got way up in the field and I found a spot where I felt comfortable with the guys I was running around. Then my spotter – Wayne Darling – came across the radio and said McKennedy