Feisty Duel Ends With Rowan Pennink Scoring First Career SK Modified Win At Stafford

STAFFORD – An opportunity to win went by the wayside last week at Stafford Motor Speedway for Rowan Pennink, when he was penalized for over aggressive driving following a battle for the lead with Doug Coby.

Rowan Pennink

“We definitely had a car to win,” said Pennink, who rallied to a ninth place finish last week.

Friday, Pennink made up for opportunities lost, and did it in dramatic fashion.

Pennink held off the charges of Sean Foster over the final 20 laps to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

It was the first career SK Modified victory at Stafford for Pennink, who was making his third start for car owners Bob and Kelly Hitchcock. Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., also runs full-time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the Valenti Modified Racing Series.

“I knew the team with Bob and Kelly and [crew chief Jimmy Fuller] was a strong team, but with me not running SK’s for a while and us being new to each other, I figured it might take a little longer than three races to end up in victory lane,” Pennink said. “But I’ll take it.”

Foster, of Ellington, was second and Glen Reen of Wilbraham, Mass. third.

Pennink went to the lead past Michael Gervais at the start and immediately showed he had the car to beat.

The race was slowed on the second lap when about half the field was caught up in a backstretch wreck. Included in the wreck was Ryan Preece, who had won the first two features of the season.

On a lap 13 restart, Foster went from fourth to second and set in motion a duel that would rage for the remainder of the event.

Lap after lap Foster desperately looked for any way by Pennink at the front. Numerous times Foster ducked low into the corners under Pennink but couldn’t make the moves work. Then Foster tried the high lane to get around but was stymied there too.

On the final lap Foster made a diving move off of turn four and got a wheel under Pennink but that was as close as he would get coming to the checkered flag.

“It was a tough race there,” Pennink said. “Sean had a really good car there behind me. I had to work my butt off to keep him there. … I was just driving the best I could defensively to keep him behind me.”

Said Foster: “It’s incredible how far we’ve come with this racecar, especially this year. We’ve made so many improvements, we’ve worked really hard this year. The car was just missing a little bit in the turns. … It had the power down the straightaways, but just a little more off the turns and we could have gotten him. We gave it all we had.”

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