High Five: Rowan Pennink On Top Once Again In SK Modified At Stafford Speedway

Rowan Pennink  (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway)

Rowan Pennink (Photo: Stafford Motor Speedway)

STAFFORD – For the first half of the 2014 season at Stafford Motor Speedway it seemed if there was bad luck to be found on the track Rowan Pennink would be the first to find it.

Last year at Stafford Pennink finished outside the top-10 in his first five starts in the SK Modified division.

The 2015 season has been the absolute opposite for the Huntingdon Valley, Pa. driver.

And once again Friday Pennink showed how great speed and timely luck have been his best friends this season.

Pennink lost the lead with less than two laps remaining, only to get it handed back to him on the final lap as he won the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature at Stafford.

It was the fifth victory in 11 events this season at Stafford for Pennink.

“All those little small things that happen in races, you touch wheels or something, it seemed like last year if we touched wheels with someone I always ended up in the fence,” Pennink said. “This year, I don’t know what it is, but I’m able to race hard and – knock on wood – stay out of that bad luck.”

Matt Galko of Meriden was second and Woody Pitkat of Stafford third.

Pennink summed up the action succinctly though perfectly saying: “It was a wild one out there tonight.”

Joey Cipriano started on the pole and looked ready to grab his first victory in the division but the drama at the front started when Ryan Preece got to his bumper with 15 laps remaining.

After a lap 28 restart Cipriano and Preece set off on a side-by-side battle for the lead with Preece edging to the front on lap 31 and Cipriano grabbing the lead back on lap 34.

Following a lap 35 restart, Pennink took his first shot to make it three-wide for the lead under Cipriano and Preece going into turn three, but backed out. Preece went back to the lead in turn one on the following lap but Cipriano fought right back to the front in turn three.

On lap 38 Preece led at the line on the outside but the two remained side-by-side battling.

On lap 39 Pennink made it three-wide for the lead with another low move into turn three, but backed out in the corner. Coming off of turn four Preece was leading, but he and Cipriano made contact, sending both hard into the frontstretch wall.

“Those guys were running side-by-side for so long, if I was going to get a shot at the win, it just seemed like they were content with running side-by-side to the finish and I didn’t want to finish third so I gave it a shot three-wide,” Pennink said. “I almost had it made and didn’t want to wreck so I backed out at the last second.”

Preece indicated over the track PA after crashing that Pennink was at fault for the wreck that ended the night for he and Cipriano saying: “I think the guy that was forcing the issue there is still racing.”

“I know I stuck my nose in there a couple times, but when they wrecked I was a car length away from them,” Pennink said. “I don’t know what that had to do with anything.”

On the ensuing restart, Ronnie Williams got by Pennink on the outside off of turn two and looked to have the race won. But on the final lap, Williams spun off of turn two handing the lead and the victory to Pennink.

“It was crazy slick out there the last couple laps,” Pennink said. “I drove [into turn one] on the last restart and I was just sideways. He got around me on the outside. I don’t know if there was more grip out there. When he got down into turns one and two after the white [flag], he just completely lost it. I had a good run on him to begin with, but then he spun and I was just like ‘That makes it easier.’”


  1. Chris D. says

    That was pretty wild at times with Rowan making it 3 wide in turn 3 a few times. Look for some penalties to be handed out for the on and off track skirmish between the 13 and 17.

  2. observer says

    Pennink did not directly cause the wreck between the #84 and #6 and he didn’t cause the #59 to spin out all by himself if he was guilty of anything it was running #3 up in the marbles in turns 1&2 on the last lap but most anything goes on the last lap.

  3. race fan says

    Pretty disgusted with that one. Joey ran a great race only to be taken out by a driver with way too much talent to drive like that. None of the video shows Pennik hammering Cipriano lap after lap pushing him into 3. Rowan may not have caused the accident but he sure did get the 84 crossed up in the tun. Judging by the other fans reactions to Pennik after he got out of his car I don’t feel I’m the only one who feels this way. Rowan I think you lost some fans last night, myself included. I’d rather pee in my pool at this point than put a drop of Hitchcock water in it,

  4. Another edge of the seat SK feature! What I saw from my seat pretty much matched Observer’s post.

    Excellent short track racing… Can’t wait ’till next week!

  5. Joey Cip way overdue for his first win . He should have had a few already with a little luck on his side. It was a great race but when they attempted 3 wide everyone in attendance knew there would be a wreck.

  6. Really?!?!??!! says

    Racefan: you have no idea what was going on. the spotters between Pennink and Joey were working together, Pennink was trying to help Joey get by Preece. Pennink wasn’t just pushing Joey for the fun of it, he was trying to help!!!! Get a radio and listen to the different spotters and than you have a clue on what is going on.. Pennink didn’t cause the 6 and 84, Preece got a little loose and Joey came up the track a little, Pennink didn’t cause that… NOR did he cause the 59, the 59 did that all himself…

  7. Just my thoughts... says

    Racing for the lead against Preece at Stafford the last few weeks has proved to be a wreck waiting to happen. I do not believe Pennink caused that wreck or the spin by Williams, it appears the 59 of Williams is either win or spin, with spin winning out most of the time. I have observed that Pennick is not too smooth at times with some of his moves, but then again he has won 5 races this year, my concern if I were him would be, it appears he is pissing a few people off with some of his moves, if they choose to repay the favor the last few weeks of the season, could be a factor in deciding the Championship. On Friday night, the attempt at 3 wide in 3 and 4 was not too smart, but then again if it worked he would have been a hero, if he caused a wreck he would have been a zero. Time will tell and again, just my thoughts…

  8. I can’t think of a time when a credible 3-wide (and both Rowan’s attempts were quite credible) was done from the bottom in 3 & 4 at Stafford. It was something to see and another reason the best racing action anywhere happens on Friday night @ SMS.

  9. Sect.D Row25 says

    If you didn’t know, now you know. The Shoe in the 84 can wheel with the best of them. Yes he broke loose a bit out of four but so did Preece. Preece has a very shallow exit there for the type of racing that was going on and I don’t know how the 84 can get any lower. If Preece gives more room this thing may have run to the finish. My point is Cipriano passed every test with an A+.. With a proven Ace on your outside for multiple laps and another proven Ace dive bombing you it will never get more intense than that. You can take your pick of drivers to put in his position and they probably don’t make it that far before wrecking. I have zero problems with what any driver did, zero. If I am in Pennicks car (hypothetical pipe dream of course) you could bet your bottom dollar my nose would be in there too. Great race.

  10. Sect.D Row 25 says

    *Pennink. My apologies.

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