The 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season has become a season unlike any other from the past five years, with a different crop of drivers rising above the dominance that drivers like Doug Coby and Ryan Preece have shown in recent year. Currently, it is Rowan Pennink and the BRE ‘Ole Blue’ No. 3 team that tops the standings with a single springtime win and an unbroken streak of top-10 finishes.
“We’ve been putting together some good runs, always looking to be better. Everyone wants to be leading the points, the team is happy about that, but we are focused on the next month of racing,” Pennink told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Hopefully throughout this long stretch coming up we can have some good consistent top-five finishes and get a shot at some wins.”
Pennink has company from Timmy Solomito who is a mere seven points behind in the championship standings with still nine races to go on the Tour this season. The month of August is a difficult stretch for the Tour with three races packed into less than two weeks, starting off with Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) Friday night, moving to Thompson Speedway (CT) five days later and ending with a road trip to Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) the following Wednesday.
Pennink knows that a strong start at Stafford will be big for momentum over the following two races; however, it will be a challenge given not just the strong contenders, but also with the change and implementation of group qualifying at Stafford Friday.
“It’s pretty important, but we usually have good cars at Stafford. Hopefully we can keep up with the new format there; it will be fun to have a little change in the strategy and hopefully that can give us a shot for the win on Friday.”
Luckily for Pennink, he has made both Stafford and Thompson home tracks the past couple of seasons, running full-time in both track’s SK Modified division. He has adapted especially well to Stafford where he has won the SK championship the past two seasons and already risen to ninth on the Stafford SK win list with 18 wins since joining the division in 2013.
“You can always find little tips here and there with the SK. I’ve got an awful lot of laps around Stafford and Thompson which never hurts when you get behind the wheel of the Tour car,” Pennink stated.
For the nine races that lie ahead on the Tour, Pennink believes that while it is possible to win the championship with just consistency the rest of the way, it would be in the team’s best interest to snag more checkered flags. Not just to satisfy the winning desire, but also to hold other drivers like Timmy Solomito off, who have already recorded multiple wins over the season.
“It could be done with just top fives and stuff like that, but I know that we want to make sure and get at least one or maybe a few more wins this season.”
As the championship picture unfolds for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, be sure to stay tuned to Speed51.com for the latest news and updates.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA, RI & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com