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   The Chrome Horn - Valenti Modified Racing Series



A Wild Day of Racing
and Only the Strong Survived

by Denise DuPont

The Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) returned to Thompson International Speedway on Sunday May 20th with a field of thirty-five modified teams. Starting a field over the normal twenty-six positions may have been a challenge, the VMRS spring event may have pushed the limit a little too far. There were ten cautions and only eight cars on the lead lap at the end of the race.

Ted Christopher started on the pole but quickly settled into second pacing himself for 75 intense laps of racing. Rowan Pennink on the other hand started ninth in the stout field of competitors and took advantage of cautions and restarts to rocket his way to the front. With the race just shy of the half way mark, Pennink passed Christopher for the lead and then went forward to win the race.

The win was not an easy task for Pennink as he was forced to defend the lead while holding off the hard charges of competitor Richard Savary. “I want to thank Richard Savary for running me clean. He could have moved me out of the way there. I want to thank him for running a good race. He was fast and he almost got us there with us being a little tight at the end, but we were able to hang on. We just did not need those cautions at the end but we made it through them and won the race.”

The Roscoe Racing/Monks Hand Cleaner team prepared their #25 modified to run the 75 lap race without pitting and Pennink drove to conservative both gas and tires. The team’s strategy was not only keeping the car out there but to bring it across the finish line first.

“Gary’s (Casella’s #25) car was awesome,” said Pennink in victory lane. “It always is here at Thompson. With these tires and running long distance races without changing you have to conserve a little bit. But the #25 car was awesome all day. I actually got a little tight at the end where normally it would be that you get loose. But today that was not the case where I could hold on to it at the end for the win.”

Even though Pennink had the top spot as the laps clicked off, each caution meant another restart and new challenges for the lead. “At one point the spotter told me that I had almost a straight away lead, so I was just cruising around out there. “ Then the caution flags flew and cars were grouped together again.

“It always seems like when we are up front here at Thompson, the cautions just keep coming and coming. But we were able to fight through it. The car was tight at the end and Richard (Savary) was able to make a couple of good runs out of me, but we were able to hang on. “

The VMRS teams will regroup and head to Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, June 9th.

Race Notes from Thompson Speedway:

Was winning the VMRS race redemption for the bitter sweet loss of the Thompson Ice Breaker race?

Rowan Pennink
“Yes definitely, I love this place and I love racing here. We always run good here. To loose that one (win) at the Ice Breaker was a heart breaker, but it feels good to come back the next time after that race and win here again. It feels good. Hopefully it shows everyone who should have been in Victory Lane at the Ice Breaker.”

You always run well at Thompson Speedway. What is the key to your success?

Rowan Pennink
“This is a high banked, real fast track when you run on the top. I guess it is just my style of racing running here. I know a lot of people in this series are not use to running the high speeds into the corners so a lot of people from the MRS series seem to struggle a little bit. There were a lot of good people here like Preece (Ryan) and Teddy (Christopher) running here. And a lot of good cars here but we were able to do the job and get the win.”

During the last ten laps as Richard Savary worked to get under you what went through your mind?

Rowan Pennink
“It is real tough to get under someone at the bottom here with the momentum on the outside. Unless he got up under me and moved me out of the way he was not going to make the full move underneath me like that. He had a good car and put the pressure on me at the end. I am just glad that he raced me clean. I know that it is tough when you want to win the race but he did the right thing and ran me clean all night.”  “I prefer the top because it has so much momentum. But it is tough because you always run the risk that the person on the bottom could run you up when you get down into one. But you cannot take the top because you are afraid of that.”

When Ted decide to take the top groove on the race restart, as you sat next to him what were your thoughts?

Rowan Pennink
“I kind of knew he was going to take the top. I would never see why anyone would never take the top. That was why I was surprised at the Ice Breaker when Silk took the bottom. “

On to Seekonk next with the VMRS….

Rowan Pennink
“Hopefully we can have a good run at Seekonk. We have had some good runs before at Seekonk and we have had some not so good runs. So hopefully we will have the car running good and we will have a good race.”

Any thoughts on the points chase this early in the season?

Rowan Pennink
“We will just go out and try to win every race that we can. And we will see what happens from there. Hopefully we will have a good shot in the series and we will see what we can do in the other series.”

Source: Denise DuPont/ TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: May 22, 2012

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