Last Lap Drama Gives Rowan Pennink Third Consecutive SK Modified Win At Stafford

Rowan Pennink

Rowan Pennink

STAFFORD – The hottest driver of late at Stafford Motor Speedway kept that heated roll going Friday, but it took some timely sparks flying to keep Rowan Pennink’s fiery streak burning hot.

When Ryan Preece got bumped in the final corner by Ted Christopher, Pennink was able to steal the lead away from Preece and win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature.

“I definitely got a little help with that one, but you’ve got to be up front to put yourself in position to win,” Preece said. “That’s what we did.”

It was the third consecutive SK Modified victory for Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

Joey Cipriano III of Waterbury was second and Preece, of Berlin, third.

It was the fifth victory in the last seven events for Pennink, who has been seemingly unstoppable 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 on Aug. 15.

Friday’s victory was keyed by some late race dramatics and a timely assist in the final corner of the event from Christopher.

Pennink and Preece were embroiled in a battle for the top spot for nearly the entire event. On lap 19 Preece went to the lead off of turn four, but a lap later Pennink went back by Preece to regain the top spot.

The battle heated up again on lap 27 when Preece used a low dive into turn three to go back to the front, only to see Pennink go back by him a lap later.

Preece use another diving move to get by Pennink on lap 39, but Pennink quickly retook the lead in turn one on lap 40, but the caution flag flew, giving Preece the lead for a green-white-checkered finish.

Preece held the lead at the white flag after the restart, but in the final corner, with Preece leading, Christopher tapped Preece from behind, sending Preece wiggling through the corner, allowing Pennink to power off the high lane to the win.

“Ryan had a great car, we had a great car too,” Pennink said. “We were dueling it out pretty good there. It came down right to the end and I stuck it on the outside. Teddy got into Ryan there a little bit which made me get some momentum and get to the finish line first.

“How about this SK [Modified] racing at Stafford? That’s some tight racing. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Preece said he got a “harpoon” from Christopher in the final corner.

“I hate to lose it like that but we’ll have plenty more to come hopefully,” Preece said.

Cipriano also took advantage of the late race fireworks to dive low and steal second away.

“We went into [turn] three and I thought we had fourth and we came out of [turn] and we had a shot to win the race,” Cipriano said “I’m not sure what happened. All them guys got all crossed up and I went to the bottom and there was a hole there. I just wish Rowan got a little slower off the corner, I might have been able to give him a run.”

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  1. Hold on to your hats all you TC fans. This is going to be a rough one. Actually, hats off to Ryan Preece. TC hit him so hard between turns 3 and 4 of the last lap that I don’t know how Ryan was able to keep the 2 on the track. He had the race won up until that point, so I guess he is very upset with TC.

  2. Although I am a TC fan, I was prepared to point the finger at TC big time with respect to last night’s incident with Preece. However, after watching the replay on the Stafford web site, I think it looked like a case of green/white/checkered close quarters/congestion mixed with a bit of aggressive (to be expected) driving. It didn’t look like TC did anything extreme. Coming on the heels of last week’s TC/Rocco dust up at Waterford (which I haven’t seen), TC certainly didn’t need any more controversy.

  3. I was there when Tc told Ryan ” sorry I got in to hard totally my fault ” . Ryan was ok with it . Just hard racing at the end . How many guys will admit when they make a mistake ? Have at it Tc haters !

  4. Nice story Jim. I wonder if TC would have had the same response if the shoe was on the other foot. I sit in the Richie Evens section at Stafford and let me tell you, there was the makings of a lynch mob in the stands around me. The “F U’s” were really flying. I don’t like that stuff especially when there are kids around. I am not a TC fan. That said, I don’t hate him either. I respect him as a race car driver. He made a mistake, a split second decision which was a bad one. I watched the video on the Stafford web site and it did not look as bad as I remember. Where is Sid’s View when you need him? Anyway you look at it TC cost Ryan the win last Friday night. I know that for sure.

  5. Joe I am just saying what I heard . TC tried to fill the whole and it didn’t work. If Ryan did complete that crossover move there is still a ways to go before the finish and you can’t say for sure what would have happened. I don’t care what type of racing it is drivers make mistakes it’s called human error. Look at what nico rosberg did to his teammate a couple of weeks ago Two laps into the race he cost Lewis Hamilton a possible win and possibly the world title ! Drivers make mistakes I don’t care who they are. JMO

  6. Jim, Ryan was not trying to pull a crossover move. He already had the preferred lane. You were not even at the track were you. Ryan was punted out of the lower groove by TC and ended up behind the 99 in the upper groove just trying to save his car from spinning out. Ryan had the preferred lower groove since the green flag fell on the last 2 laps. I think Ryan was not trying to pass the 99 purposely because he wanted the 99 in the outside lane where he could see it. If 99 got behind Ryan, 99 would have used the slingshot move up the back stretch and dove his car into the low groove at turn 3. That would have given 99 the low groove track position and most likely the win. Ryan wanted the low groove and he knew his car was fast enough to out drag race 99 to the checkered flag. The 84 and the 13 were racing close enough to the front two that 99 could not slow a bit and drop in behind Ryan. All was going good and according to Ryan’s plan until TC entered the equation. That is why I said that TC cost Ryan the win.

  7. Yes – Pennick is the driver who may have been considering a crossover move, not Preece.

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