.Teams and Drivers,
Submit your FREE profile
 for 2010
   The Chrome Horn - Modified Racing Series



Pennink Wins First 2010 MRS Point Race
by Denise DuPont

The Modified Racing Series (MRS) returned to Thompson International Speedway on Thursday August 26th for racing that was hotter then the end of summer. There were thirty-three modified race teams that showed up to compete for the win. The caliber of the field included modified champions such as Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Dwight Jarvis, Ron Silk and Keith Rocco.

Lady Luck though was not very kind to some of the key competitors as one after the other developed engine problems and were eliminated from the starting field during practice. Among them were: Jack Bateman, Dwight Jarvis, Ron Silk, and Louie Mechalides.

When the green flag flew seven time modified champion Mike Stefanik charged to the front to take the lead. But he was also sidelined on lap 47 when he had to park the Eddy Marceau #66 because of mechanical problems. With Stefanik out of the race, the lead spot became a three way fight between Bobby Santos, Rowan Pennink and Ted Christopher. The three sliced and diced things up a little for an action filled race that had fans on their feet for a major part of the race.

Rowan Pennink was holding on for a second until he used a slick move to passed Bobby Santos to take the lead. The move Pennink used was very similar to the famous “cross over” move that TC used to pass Pennink earlier in the evening. TC then went on to win the Thompson Sunoco Modified feature event. “I was riding in second and I was just trying not to use up my car too early. Teddy was pestering and was right behind me the whole time. He was looking low and I was just trying to kind of ride there in second. Every time, Santos was lined of holding me up a little bit. So I kind of had enough of it and got a good run down the back stretch and just threw it underneath him there. When I got along side of him there was not much that he could do for his position. Once I got out front, it was just keep him in my mirror.

So Pennink who has been racing next to TC and looking to learn from the “King of Thompson Speedway” may have learned a move from the master of modified racing. Doing so, it must have felt good to Pennink to beat the master at his own game. “Yes, definitely”, said Pennink expressing his joy after the race. “We were racing hard with Teddy in the SK race and that was a racing deal, but it was nice now to come out on top. Everyone knows that Teddy is the master of this place. With that cross over move he does it only helps running against the best to get better at it. It was a big race tonight.”

After the Race Ted Christopher expressed his dismay on what he felt was not the best Joe Brady owned car for Thompson. During the race TC could make a charge or pass but he could not sustain his efforts. ” I do not know where he got that one (car). That thing (car) about half way down it did not go. I could just watch everybody pull away. I just needed that little bit (more power) to stay with him. That was all it had on the throttle.”

“It was a good run as far as I am concerned. I love Thompson. If we make it threw tech we will be OK.” So being second in the end was OK for TC, even though his competitive nature would have really loved a first.

At the end of the race, Bobby Santos had to settle for third after being ‘crossed over’ by Rowan Pennink for the lead. “That is pretty typical of the way that people pass here. He just put a good clean pass on me. We went away and maybe he got a little better. That just helped them.”

Just after thirty laps into the race Santos passed Stefanik for the lead on the restart. At that time he looked like he had the car to beat but the car went away as the race progressed. “We had a good car at the beginning. We kind of just got tight there. It is weird but it got a little tight. We started out good but we just faded a little bit. I think that came into their play a little bit.”

Santos had come to the race to have some fun while learning more about what he does best, race. “I am still happy. It was a great job by my dad and everybody. It is the first time that I have sat in the car this year so they did a good job.

Fourth place finisher, Les Hinckley, has to be the race competitor coming out of this race that should receive the hard charger award. His team made a good recovery after their car suffered major damage in a flat tire incident, hitting the first turn wall during practice. The team did not give up but gave it their all to get the Chuck Montville #06 back into the race. “I cannot thank my guys enough, all of them. And also the other guys that were hanging out from the Pro Stock days who had just came to watch and they just chipped right in.” Hinckley said after the race expressing his gratitude to his race team and friends. “

To what one team would have seemed they had a trashed car, the #06 crew and friends looked at the car as a challenge. “There was a lot of work done to that race car (#06) and there is a lot more work to do to it. It (the car) is pretty torn up. But they got the wheels straight and pointing in the right direction the best that they could. They gave me a good race car to go out there on the race track with.”

And to what some racers the car would have been a trashed car, veteran racer Hinckley looked at it as an opportunity to do his best on the track. “Once I got comfortable with it and built my courage up a little bit I started our march to the front. I just cannot thank them enough. Everyone was discouraged but nobody gave up. Good things happen when you do not quit I guess.”

As the MRS teams leave Thompson International Speedway with another race under their belt they really do not have a dominant Series point leader. After thirteen races, Les Hinckley is tied for point lead with 2009 Champion Jon McKennedy. And Series Champion Dwight Jarvis is not far out of their shadow being only one point out of the lead.

I believe that Les Hinckley had the best words to express the 2010 MRS Point Championship race: “It has been a weird year point wise because nobody seems to build. Once we our positions in the top three, no one has really been able to take hold of where they are and walk away with it. Everyone is just kind of got there and had their share of bad luck. I do not know if it is going to turn around and we are going to just finishing racing for it now or if it is going to continue to be a mess or what. But I hope we are done crashing and breaking parts.”

The MRS families and teams will regroup and come together again for another fun night of action packed racing back at Waterford Speedbowl Labor Day Weekend. Racers will rejoin ranks for more modified racing on Saturday September 4th at “The Bowl”.

MRS Notes from Thompson International Speedway:

Race Leader Rowan Pennink’s thoughts after the race end:

Rowan Pennink
It has been an up and down year for young racer Rowan Pennink. Across the board where ever he has raced, he has gone from the top to the bottom in a fast twist of fate when least expected. With his recent wins at Thompson and Riverhead maybe his luck is back on track.
“Every time that we come here (Thompson Speedway) with Gary’s car we are always almost running for the win. Last year we ran here we were leading the race, got put to the back. We came back and was about to take the lead again and ran out of gas. Last race here we were racing hard with Stefanik. It was hard racing and we just ended up having to go to the back after we got together. Every time we come here we run up front and then we are not able to close off the deal. So it is good to finally close off the deal and get a win for the #25 team here.”

“This season has been kind of crazy for me. We had terrible luck with the #93 team. We had pretty much everything that you could think of. Pretty much went form my first win with the #93 to the crew chief that I have been with for four or five years quit in the middle of the season unexpectedly. With the #25 team we have had so many good runs but we have one won one race when we probably should have had five or six. It feels good to finally get one for these guys.”

So what does a win mean for the Gary Casella team?

“A win will only boost everyone’s confidence. We have had really good cars at Waterford before so I think we will be good running there. Hopefully the #93 will be good up at Loudon and the rest of the season here and at Stafford.”

What are TC’s plans for competing with the MRS series going forward?

“We will try Stafford in another couple weeks.”

What were NWMT Point Leader Bobby Santos thoughts after the MRS race?

Bobby Santos
“We had a really good car to start. We just got tight on the long run. It (the car) just went away a little bit on the end. It is always different everyday. It is fun to drive my dad’s car. There is a little less pressure and it is a fun deal.”

Thoughts on competing in the MRS series at Thompson Speedway:

“It is fun. Everybody is great to race with. The officials and everybody was great all day today. This was a lot of fun hopefully we can do some more this year.

The Chuck Montville #06 Race Team won the last time they were at Thompson. Did they find the right magic formula?

Les Hinckley
“Oddly enough, we did not come back here with the same setup in the car. We changed our shock, spring, track and sway bar package. We pretty much changed everything in the car. We were trying different stuff and we were pretty happy with it so we came back different. We were better in practice today then we were hands down the way we were last time we were here. I think that we really would have had something at the end of the race if we the thing (car) was straight. It was really good in practice. I do not know what to say. I am just taken back on how hard everybody worked and how well it turned out.”

What went through Les Hinckley’s mind when he wrecked and then his fellow competitors were eliminated from racing after engine issues?

Les Hinckley
“In all honesty I felt bad for Dwight. He is my competitor but at the end of the day that is not any fun. Dwight is a decent guy. I have been through it. We broke a motor two weeks ago and we put a clip on the car two weeks ago. Now we have to put another clip on the car. You do not wish that on your friends or your competitors. You do not wish bad luck. That being said, we have had our share. And it cannot always be you. It just so happened that we had a whole handful of bad luck tonight. But we were able to preserver and make the best of it. You just keep working on it. Some days are better for you and others. What goes around comes around.”

The #06 race team themselves were plagued with motor issues a few weeks ago. What went through his mind when fellow competitors had their share of engine issues?

Les Hinckley
“We found that this motor broke just before we went to Waterford so we had another one that we ran for two weeks. Then we got this one fixed and put it back in. Fortunately enough we found it broken in the garage, which did not prevent us from missing a race. I do not really know what went on with Dwight’s motor but that is not good or what happened to Jon (McKennedy). Jon was struggling all day. I saw a big puff of smoke come out of it when he was involved in an incident on the backstretch. I do not know what happened to it.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: August 29, 2010

©2010 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.