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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Rowan 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 NASCAR WMT.

"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 rundown.

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
Posted: August 2, 2010

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