CHARGES TO FIRST CAREER
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR VICTORY IN RIVERHEAD 200
Pennink of Huntington Valley, Pa finally grabbed the brass ring on
the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Saturday night. Pennink took the
lead of the Riverhead 200 on lap 136 from local product, Kevin
Goodale, to score his first career victory worth a cool $5,000.
George Brunnhoelzl III of W. Babylon won the Coors Light pole award
with a lap of 11.814, just edging out Justin Bonsignore who joined
George on the front row of the 28-car field. Both drivers are
products of the East End Kart Racing club that runs at Riverhead
Raceway on select Sunday afternoons and it must have seemed like old
times for the duo as they led the field to the green flag.
Bonsignore, the leading Rookie on the NASCAR WMT, jumped out front
to lead the first 25 laps of the race before Brunnhoelzl held the
advantage for a lap on the 26th circuit. Bonsignore looped back
around Brunnhoelzl for two laps (27 & 28), before George took back
the lead on lap 29. It was at this juncture of the race that
Brunnhoelzl was able to pull away from the pack as Bonsignore
battled for second with Kevin Goodale and others.
During an 80th lap restart the NASCAR pace car made a late exit off
the track in turn four slowing the entire inside lane led by
Brunnhoelzl. That allowed Kevin Goodale, who had raced by Bonsignore
for second just moments before the caution flag, to race his way out
front. Kevin then enjoyed a healthy 40 lap stint in the lead while
drivers jockeyed for second behind him with Rowan Pennink taking
over that position and Ryan Preece coming to third just laps later.
Pennink chased down Goodale and on lap 136 he made his way out front
with Preece making his way to second.
The closing laps were classic short track NASCAR Modified racing at
its best with Preece draped all over Pennink looking high and low
for a way by for the lead. A late race caution flag set-up a double
file restart with four laps remaining. Rowan Pennink was then able
to weather that final test to drive his Monk's Mechanics Hand
Cleaner Chevy to his first career victory in his 51st start on the
"Wow, this is just awesome, I have to thank my father for all he's
done to get me to this point" Pennink reflected afterwards. "Ryan
was giving me all he could to try and get by, but he never used me
up" Jim Schaefer who along with numerous other Modified fans raised
over $13,000 for the race handed Pennink $2,100 in one hundred
dollar bills in victory lane to which Rowan commented, "I have to
give a big thank you to Jim, the LIModmaniac for the extra money, it
just goes to show how great NASCAR Modified fans really are".
Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. threw all he could at Pennink trying to
win his second consecutive Riverhead 200 in his Mizzy Construction
Chevy. "After our first laps spin I thought we were in for a long
night" Preece noted. "We gave it all we had and my congratulations
go out to Rowan and his team, that's a great feeling over there"
Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Ct was third in the TS Haulers Chevy and was
happy with the result, "we were just too tight all race long, but
third here for Connie Partridge's birthday is a good result".
"Mighty" Mike Stefanik of Coventry, RI and George Brunnhoelzl III of
W. Babylon completed the top five.
Kevin Goodale of Riverhead after surrendering the lead on lap 136
had his tires go away dropping him to a 15th place finish in the
JT'S Lumber Chevy. Justin Bonsignore was in the mix for a top five
finish when he accidentally hit the kill switch on a double file
restart. He finished 17th in the M3 Technologies Chevy in the final
Dave Brigati of Calverton led the Riverhead Raceway regulars with an
11th place finish in his Integra Shocks Chevy after recovering from
a mid race spin in the first and second corner. The three other
Riverhead drivers who made the show had to drop out of the race with
front end damage. Chuck Steuer of Bohemia was 26th, Frank Vigliarolo
Jr. of Mt. Sinai was 27th and Howie Brode of E. Islip was 28th.
Riverhead 200: 1. Rowan Pennink 2. Ryan Preece 3. Ronnie Silk
4. Mike Stefanik 5. George Brunnhoelzl III 6. Eric Beers 7. Eric
Goodale 8. Jamie Tomaino 9. Bobby Santos III 10. Erick Rudolph 11.
Dave Brigati 12. Ted Christopher 13. Danny Knoll Jr. 14. Wade Cole
15. Kevin Goodale 16. Woddy Pitkat 17. Justin Bonsignore 18. Ed
Flemke Jr. 19. Tony Ferrante Jr. 20. Glenn Tyler 21. Chuck Hossfeld
22. Todd Szegedy 23. Richie Pallai Jr. 24. James Civali 25. Renee
Dupuis 26. Chuck Steuer 27. Frank Vigliarolo Jr. 28. Howie Brode
DNQ- Johnny Bush, Ken Heagy, Gary McDonald & Jake Marosz
Source: Bob Finan/ Riverhead Raceway