(Stafford Springs, CT) — When the Valenti Modified Racing Series returns to Stafford this Friday, June 24 for the VMRS 80, Rowan Pennink will be hoping for a repeat performance of the May 20 VMRS 80 that notched his first touring division modified feature victory at the CT half mile facility. Pennink not only won the VMRS 80 feature but also drove to NAPA Victory Lane in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event.
I’m hoping it goes just like it did last time the MRS was at Stafford,” said Pennink. “We won the MRS race with the 25 car and the SK race with the 99 car. It was a pretty good night for us and hopefully the track will be the same as it was and we can have another good show.”
Pennink’s victory in the VMRS 80 was a methodical drive, leading the first 10 laps of the race before surrendering the lead to Keith Rocco. Pennink then fell to fourth in the running order and slowly worked his way back up to second before a late race caution flag came out with 20 laps to go. Pennink took the lead from Woody Pitkat on that lap-60 restart and led the final 20 laps to take the checkered flag. Pennink credits an early season test with the #25 Gary Casella owned team as a leading contributor in the successful race strategy.
“We went and practiced at the start of the season with the 25 car and I knew after that practice that the guys on the 25 team did their homework because the car was the best it’s ever felt at Stafford,” said Pennink. “I think we proved that we are the car to beat in the race back in May. The Modified Racing Series races have a lot to do with tire conservation and we were able to do what we needed to do in that department, hopefully we can do everything the same as last race because that worked out for us.”
With a third and sixth place finishes in the 2 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races held at Stafford to go along with his VMRS victory, Pennink is looking for more trips to NAPA Victory Lane in touring modified events.
“I’ve been real close to winning with the 93 Tour car when I ran with that team and I’ve been real close before with the 25 but wasn’t able to actually get a win until that last race in May,” said Pennink. “The 3 car has been good at Stafford in the 2 Whelen Modified Tour races so far this year and we usually have a good car at Stafford so hopefully the wins will start coming a little more regularly.”
The VMRS 80 back in May at Stafford saw a podium sweep by weekly SK Modified® drivers and Pennink thinks that advantage will come to the forefront once again in the race.
“We certainly hope we’re among the cars racing for the win but I think that Stafford is a pretty technical track and it’s definitely an advantage for the guys who run there every week like Teddy [Christopher], Keith [Rocco], and Woody [Pitkat],” said Pennink. “I think they’re going to be the tough ones out there but there’s also some strong teams in the Modified Racing Series that could be among the contenders for the win.”
In addition to the VMRS 80, Pennink is looking forward to the 3rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k that will be held on July 8th. Pennink won the very first SK 5k and is eager to repeat the feat after not being able to properly contend for the win in last year’s edition of the $5,000 to win race in the #99 NAPA Van Wickle Auto Supply machine.
“Things have been going pretty well for us so far this season,” said Pennink. “We have a couple of wins so far and I think we needed a couple more laps last week to get up there and race for the win with Eric [Berndt]. Those guys put a great car under me every week and hopefully we can keep on finishing up front. I’m really excited about the NAPA SK 5k. We won the first race and then last year we had some issues and weren’t able to contend for the win. It seems like the 99 car only gets better and better as the race goes on and with that race being a longer distance event, I think we’ll have a really good shot at winning it again.”
The June 24th VMRS 80 will be the second of three Valenti Modified Racing Series events to be held at Stafford during the 2016 season. The VMRS returns on September 2nd. Tickets for both VMRS events are available and on sale now. Tickets are priced at $27.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Reserved seating is $30.00 for all ages.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.