Whelen Modified Tour Notes: Ryan Preece And Rowan Pennink Find Ways To Channel Anger Into Positives At Stafford

Double duty. It’s a common occurrence for a host of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers when the series visits Stafford Motor Speedway.

Ryan Preece heads down the backstretch during Friday’s Whelen Modified Tour TSI Harley-Davidson 125 at Stafford (Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images for NASCAR)

This year six Whelen Modified Tour regulars also compete weekly in the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified division.

But what happens when a driver has to go directly from one race to the next without any time to cool down emotionally?

Friday at Stafford Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennink showed exactly how to not let the frustrations of one event ruin another.

Despite winning the 40-lap SK Modified feature Friday Ryan Preece was left seething after the event after Dan Avery hit him while the cars were on their cool down lap. Avery said he was unhappy with the way Preece drove him in a battle for the lead on lap 38 of the event.

Preece, of Berlin, wasn’t shy in displaying his anger over the situation after the event, but he didn’t allow that anger to take over when he strapped into his Whelen Modified Tour car just minutes later.

Preece rallied from a first lap spin in the Modified Tour TSI Harley-Davidson 125 to win the event.

Asked after the event what it’s like to be the anger from one feature aside before another immediately following Preece said it was something that’s not easy to do.

“But, it’s something you’ve got to do,” Preece said. “When you’re focused on a race, I’m not going to let my anger get the best of me and wreck [Whelen Modified Tour team owner Eric Sanderson’s] car. It’s a complete different race. And this race means a lot to me. I love racing SK’s, but the Tour, this is something where I’d trade five SK’s wins at any track for a Tour win. That’s how competitive it is and that’s how much it means to me.”

Pennink, of Hutingdon Valley, Pa., wasn’t as fortunate as Preece in the SK Modified race. His SK Modified feature ended with a mangled car after a he ended up hard into the turn two wall after a tangle with Tom Bolles. Pennink ended the night with a third place run in the Whelen Modified Tour event.

“You get in there a little pissed off when something like that happens,” Pennink said about going directly from one race to the next. “I just hate wrecking a car over something like that. One guy made a stupid mistake and I’m sure a couple other cars got wrecked in that deal too. … You get frustrated but you can’t let it get to you otherwise you’re just going to start making mistakes and heading to the back.”

Tight At The Top

Preece and Pennink came into Friday’s event tied for the standings lead and the battle remains tight at the top of the standings heading into Saturday’s Whelen Modified Tour Mr. Rooter 161 at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Preece left Stafford with a scant six point lead over Pennink. The top-nine in standings are separated by 21 points going to Waterford.

Pennink didn’t think he’s still be battling near the top of the standings when the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 began Friday.

“For a while there in the beginning I was thinking holy [crap] I hope we can just get a top-10 with the way the car was handling,” Pennink said. “We were able to come in and we put two tires on it and threw a bag of tricks at it and I went back out there hoping for the best. It still wasn’t where we needed to be to win the race, but it was a whole lot better. The guys on this 93 team did an awesome job making the car better for me so I could put it in the position to finish third.”

Smooth Ride For Silk

Ron Silk showed his team had fully rebounded from a 17th place in the Whelen Modified Tour Spring Sizzler at Stafford on April 28.

Silk, of Norwalk, led the first 106 laps of Friday’s event and hung on for a second place after being overtaken by Preece for the win.

“We needed to get a good run,” Silk said. “We ran like crap at the Sizzler and it’s good to get going in the right direction.”

Silk, the 2011 series champion, is seventh in the standings, 19 points behind Preece.

With a month and half between Whelen Modified Tour events because of multiple rainouts, Silk said his Ed Partridge owned team tried to stay busy visiting other venues.

“We’ve tried to be a little proactive,” Silk said. “We went and ran Riverhead a couple times. We went to Oswego and ran up there. But you’re constantly running different tracks that don’t run the same tires as we do so it’s very hard to translate the information. But anywhere is fun to go race.”

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