(Stafford Springs, CT)—For Rowan Pennink, the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway has been a race that has seemingly been within arms’ length from Pennink taking the checkered flag. Pennink has made 8 career starts in “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring” recording an impressive 4 top-5 and 6 top-10 finishes. Pennink’s best finish in the Sizzler was a second place effort back in 2011 and he had another podium finish with a 3rd place effort in 2014, both with his family owned #93. When the green flag drops on this year’s 45th Annual NAPA Spring Sizzler, Pennink will be with a new team and behind the wheel of one of the most famous rides on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the #3 “Ole Blue” Boehler Racing Enterprises Modified, with sponsorship from Cape Cod Copper and Bridgewater-Raynham Overhead Door.
“It’s really cool and I’m really happy about the opportunity to be driving the #3 Boehler car,” said Pennink. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel, the Sizzler is one of the biggest races of the year on the Tour and I’m looking forward to the race and hopefully we can get a good finish and put on a good show for all the fans. We’ve been so close so many times at Stafford, it would be nice to get that one extra spot and be able to put the #3 into victory lane. I know it’s been a while since the #3 car had a win and between that and me getting my first tour win at Stafford, it would be really cool.”
Pennink has driven his family owned car on the Tour since 2007 but it was a phone call from Michael Boehler at the conclusion of the 2015 season that got the ball rolling on bringing the two together for the 2016 season.
“We ran our Tour car out of Bob Hitchcock and Kelly Iverson’s shop last year and we had our struggles,” said Pennink. “When the season was over, Michael gave me a call and asked if we would be interested in setting up a deal. We ended up working out a deal and I’m really excited to be racing for them. We’re going to use the engines that we ran last year and they’ll work on the car and maintain it at their shop.”
The two parties will both be looking to end winless streaks. The last time the #3 was in victory lane was August 2009 at Stafford Speedway when Ryan Preece won the Stafford 150 and Pennink’s last Tour win was the 2013 season finale at Thompson Speedway. Pennink is hopeful that he can put an end to both streaks by winning this year’s NAPA Spring Sizzler and believes that his winning ways in the SK Modified® division could help him down that path.
“I sure hope we can win some races this season,” said Pennink. “Their team has been around a long time and especially at tracks like Stafford and Thompson, I think they might have more laps than anyone, so hopefully they have some good setups and I can take the #3 to the front. Stafford is one of the most technical tracks when it comes to driving and the more you can race there, the more it’s going to help you, no matter what type of car you’re driving. I think it helps a lot to run the SK races at Stafford. The cars drive pretty much the same, the only real difference is the distance. In the SK’s, you have 40-laps to get to the front and when you run well, you’re usually starting mid-pack or towards the back, so you have to get through traffic as fast as you can. With the Tour, you can be a little more patient and decide when you want to make passes and not take too many chances.”
Pennink is the defending SK Modified® champion at Stafford and he will have a new crew chief for the 2016 season with Kevin Crowley joining the #99 Van Wickle NAPA Auto Supply team. Despite the challenge of a new crew chief calling the shots, Pennink is confident that he and the #99 team can continue their run of good fortune that has seen them win 11 features over the last 2 seasons.
“I think it’s going to work out good,” said Pennink. “Kevin is a great crew chief and though I don’t think he’s worked with a lot of CD cars we have our notes from last year and a good team behind me, I think with him as our leader we can pick right up where we left off last season.”
Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 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. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 45th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.