The inaugural season for the Modified Touring Series is in the books.
Rowan Pennink won the season finale at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT) on Sunday night and Eric Goodale was crowned the champion. Goodale also finished second in the race after starting from the back of the grid.
Pennink started the 125-lap feature from fifth and a daring move on a late-race restart led him to the victory.
With less than 40 laps to go, championship contender Tommy Barrett led the field to green with Pennink restarting on the inside of the front row. Pennink dove aggressively into turns one and two and took the lead from Barrett, who slid out of the groove and fell back to fourth.
Pennink said the move was justified because he felt Barrett didn’t give him enough space to race under green-flag conditions prior to that restart.
“Four or five times, I had a wheel to the outside of him while we were running under green and every time, he never gave me any room,” Pennink said. “After trying the outside that many times, I figured it wasn’t going to happen, so I tried the inside on that restart and got it done.”
Barrett wound up fourth when the checkered flag waved and was the second-highest finisher among the five championship-eligible drivers. Although he was the last title-chasing driver to not pit when the restart occurred, he felt clean air would have given him the advantage while leading over Goodale.
“If the 25 (Pennink) didn’t drive me off the track, I still think we would have been able to hold off the 58 (Goodale) possibly,” Barrett said. “It just didn’t work out in our favor, unfortunately. … I know how he always drives. I owe him another one now.”
Aside from the drama to earn the race win, the championship battle had a few chaotic moments as well.
On Lap 53, Woody Pitkat made heavy contact with the turn three wall, which ended his night and hopes for the MTS title. Three laps later, fellow title contender Richard Savary spun on the front stretch.
Savary was able to escape his Lap 56 incident unscathed, but on Lap 85, he and Les Hinckley were involved in a turn three accident.
Along with Goodale’s runner-up and Barrett’s fourth, the three other championship runners — Jon McKennedy, Savary and Pitkat — finished fifth, 13th and 21st, respectively.
Race fans can find full on-demand Trackside Now coverage by clicking here.
-By John Haverlin, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Pos # Driver
1 25 Rowan Pennink
2 58 Eric Goodale
3 15ct Chris Pasteryak
4 9 Tommy Barrett Jr.
5 29 Jon McKennedy
6 m6 Dylan Kopec
7 25ct Anthony Flannery
8 73x Andy Jankowiak
9 43 Kirk Alexander
10 84 John Fortin
11 36 Dave Sapienza
12 0 Mike Holdridge
13 99 Richard Savary
14 32 Tom Abele
15 88 Roger Turbush
16 78 Walt Sutcliffe
17 33 Bill Dixon
18 1 Dave Ethridge
19 21 Les Hinckley
20 58ct Shawn Thibeault
21 52 Woody Pitkat
22 35 Andrew Molleur