Heated Run: Rowan Pennink Wins SK Modified Feature At Stafford Speedway

Rowan Pennink

Rowan Pennink

STAFFORD – Last week at Stafford Motor Speedway it was Ryan Preece and Keith Rocco putting on the show at the front of the field in the SK Modified feature.

While they battled for the top spot, it was Rowan Pennink with best view of the show, running in third place as the heated battle for the win took place.

Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway, it looked for much of the event like it would be a carbon copy of the Rocco vs. Preece battle, until Pennink decided he was sick of playing spectator for their show.

Pennink, of Huntingdon, Valley, Pa., went to the lead past Preece on lap 35 and then held on through a lap 37 restart to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford.

“Last week we were a little bit too tight and this week we were a little bit too loose, but you can do a little more with a loose racecar so I was able to move my way up to the lead and hold off Preece and Rocco,” Pennink said.

Preece, of Berlin, was second and Rocco, of Wallingford, third.

It was the third victory in the last five events for Pennink, who has been on fire since winning the inaugural SK 5K on July 25. In his first five starts of the season before July 25, Pennink did not record a top-10. He followed up the SK 5K victory with another win on Aug. 1. He was sixth on Aug. 8 and third last week.

“The first time I took this car out for practice I knew it was going to be a fast car,” Pennink said. “We just couldn’t show it the first half of the year. Finally things are going our way. … I couldn’t ask for a better car and better team to work with. I’ve got a car that’s solid underneath me and I can drive it to the front.”

Preece went to the lead on lap nine and took Rocco with him to second place, and from there the two drivers put on more of the showcase racing they’ve been putting on together for much of the 2014 season.

From lap 10 to lap 31, Preece and Rocco traded the lead six times. But on lap 33 Pennink went by Rocco for second and two laps later he made a diving move to go under Preece for the lead into turn three.

“We kept getting in bad lanes at the beginning of the race,” Pennink said. “Midway through the race, finally things started to go our way and we were able to get up to the front and race for the win with Keith and Ryan. The guys did an awesome job.”

It was the second consecutive runner-up finish for Preece, who finished behind Rocco last week.

“It was a good race,” Preece said. “We’re making little bites at it. We’re getting there. We’re real consistent. We’ve won a lot of races and we’re finishing consistently. I’m happy with that. We extended our point lead. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”

Rocco was left steaming over a lap 23 restart when he lost the lead to Preece.

“We had a real good car and we were out front most of the race,” Rocco said. “They wanted to yell at me about the restarts and say I was going too early. Well, I went where they want and I got run over on the restart and lost the lead. They’ve really got do something about that start box, it’s terrible.”

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