The last time Rowan Pennink visited Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) was during the World Series last October. That race marked three years since his last NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. On Sunday, Pennink came back to Thompson and showed that he wasn’t going to let his winless streak go on any longer.
Pennink put on a spectacular late-race charge into victory lane for the first time since 2013. The win also ended a drought that dated back to August of 2009 for the Boehler Racing Enterprises “Ole Blue” team.
“The guys gave me an unbelievable race car,” Pennink said in victory lane. “The guys also gave me an unbelievable pit stop and we were able to blast through the field.”
Pennink restarted in the seventh position after pitting for new tires with under 25 laps go. The Pennsylvania driver quickly worked his way back up through the field as caution flag after caution flag waved to set up a three-lap shootout. Pennink at one point went three-wide into turn one with Bobby Santos III and Ron Silk and got the lead before a caution negated the move.
When asked about the wild move, all Pennink said was, “I had the lead the whole race and just wanted the lead back.”
On the final restart, Santos had the lead and chose the outside for the restart. Pennink was in second, first on the inside. Pennink drove deep into turn one, bounced off of the left side of Santos and then drove away. Timmy Solomito followed Pennink by Santos to take second.
Solomito tried to reel in Pennink over the final laps as Max Zachem hounded him for the runner-up position. As hard as Solomito tried, it didn’t matter as Pennink was able to beat Solomito to the checkered flag by 0.813-second.
Pennink led a race-high 109 laps en route to the checkered flag.
Solomito, Zachem, Santos and Patrick Emerling completed the top five.
Four-time series champion Doug Coby failed to even complete one lap after a poor showing at the season-opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Coby crashed hard on the backstretch on the first lap of the race and finished last in the 31st position.
“It’s just ridiculous. This is lap one of the Icebreaker,” said Coby over the Thompson Speedway public address system. “I heard from my spotter, ‘Caution is out. Hands up.’ That was at least three or four seconds after the caution came out and then I was slowing down and then I got hooked into the fence. It’s just a shame. We had a race-winning car and it’s junked.”
Two races into the season, Coby finds himself outside of the top 10 in points. Timmy Solomito unofficially leads the standings by four points over Pennink heading into the Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) on April 30.
For an on-demand replay of Sunday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Spafco Race Chassis and Parts and JRi Shocks, click here.
Speed51.com will have more from the Icebreaker including video highlights and video interviews still to come on the Speed51 Network powered by JEGS. If you would like to subscribe to the Speed51 Network and have access to thousands of videos, click here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Duane Canfield
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Icebreaker 150
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Thompson, Connecticut
|21||09||Brad Van Houten|
|22||78||Walter Sutcliffe Jr.|