(Stafford Springs, CT)—For the majority of the 2015 SK Modified® season, Rowan Pennink and the #99 NAPA Van Wickle Auto Supply team have been in control of the race for the championship. They won the season opening NAPA Spring Sizzler feature and have been at the top of the points standings for all but a few weeks of the season.
While they have been the dominant team with 6 wins and 15 top-5 finishes, Pennink only has a 26 point lead over the #6 East West Marine / Sullivan & Sons team of Ryan Preece. Preece has been the most consistent driver with 17 top-5 finishes, but he trails Pennink in wins by a 6-2 margin and in top-5 finishes by a 15-13 margin. With a 26-point deficit to make up over the final four races, Preece knows that his team has to raise their game and get back to NAPA Victory Lane.
“I think we have to do something different since we’re behind,” said Preece. “We haven’t exactly been the dominant car this season so that makes winning races tougher, but that’s why we work every single week to make the car better. We know where on the racetrack we need to be better and we just need to figure out what we need to do to be a little bit better in that area. Hopefully this week will be the week for us to get things changed around and if we can do that, everything else should take care of itself.”
While Preece will be in search of getting his car better, the plan for Pennink and his team is to continue the dominant run that they’ve been on since getting their first win together in last year’s NAPA SK 5k. In the 28 races run at Stafford since that SK 5k win, Pennink has recorded 11 wins, 23 top-5, and 25 top-10 finishes.
“What we’ve been doing has been working pretty well with the exception of 1 or 2 races this year so we’ll stick with that and try to stay out of trouble,” said Pennink. “If we can keep on doing that we should have a good end to the season. We’re going to go for wins. Late in the season, a win is going to be the best points night we can have so that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Despite the difference between Pennink and Preece in the number of wins and top-5 finishes this season, both drivers feel like they’ve been pretty evenly matched throughout the course of the 2015 season. They also both recognize that they’re going to have to contend with the #59 team of Ronnie Williams down the stretch if they want to add to their season win total.
“It seems like we’ve been pretty evenly matched,” said Pennink. “Obviously we have a couple more wins than they do but it seems like lately whichever one of us gets ahead of the other first is going to have the better finish. The 59 car has been real tough to beat the last couple weeks so we’re ready to get back to the track and see if we can beat the 59 car and the 6 car.”
“I feel like right now the 59 car is the dominant car and there’s a lot of cars that are getting better and better each week where earlier in the year it was Rowan and myself that were the dominant cars,” said Preece. “That adds a lot to this championship chase and you don’t know what’s going to happen week to week. We’ve been consistent all year long and we have everything we need to win, we just need that little bit extra in the racecar and a little bit of luck.”
With 4 races left on the 2015 calendar, Preece needs to shave just over 6 points, which would be 3 or 4 positions a night, off of Pennink’s lead to overcome the 26 point deficit. As both drivers know, anything can happen down the stretch and with how close both cars have been all year long, it promises to be an exciting and thrilling conclusion to the race for the 2015 SK Modified® championship.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.