.Teams and Drivers,
Submit your FREE profile
 for 2010
   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Championship Title To
Ryan Preece


Polly Reid

With a pass for the lead with seventeen laps to go, Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, PA pulled away from the pack and never looked back to do what everyone wants to do in the last race of the season, make a trip to victory lane.

Pennink held a convincing lead over Donny Lia, Ryan Preece, Bobby Santos and Ron Silk to score his second career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win in the Sunoco World Series 150 presented by Xtra Mart at Thompson International Speedway.

Ryan Preece, a threat for the win all day, crossed the line third to claim the coveted NWMT Championship title.

“We’ve had so many good cars racing here but pit strategy and cautions never fell our way but today we pitted a little earlier than some people and it finally fell right for us today,” said Pennink whose 93 Monk Mechanics Hand Cleaner sponsored Chevrolet is owned by his dad Mark with Don Barker as the crew chief. “We had a great pit stop, was able to get out in front of a bunch of people and bring this thing into victory lane.”

Pennink took the green 3rd but by the 15th circuit, was shadowing the leader, Coors Light Pole Award winner Bobby Santos. A restart after lap 42, Pennink was passed by Matt Hirschman then Mike Stefanik and Preece, the Monk Mechanic Hand Cleaner sponsored Chevrolet shuffled back to fifth by lap 45. As Matt Hirschman took the lead on lap 67, the caution waved for a spin in turns one and two. The majority of the field pitted including Pennink, Preece and leader Hirschman. Santos, who stayed out, inherited the lead and lined up with Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Eric Goodale and Doug Coby the top five.

The fresh tires began to prevail as Preece passed for second on lap 84, his sights on Santos leading. Preece made his move taking over the top spot on lap 93. The soon to be crowned champion led for the next thirty one circuits.

By lap 100, Preece continued to lead with Santos, Pennink, Ron Silk and Donny Lia the top five. A total of ten cautions kept the field close, every restart sort of jumbled the field as some cars moved forward, some back. Pennink settled into fourth behind Preece, Lia and Silk up to the caution on lap 120. With 30 to go, the restart had Lia passing Preece for the top spot. Pennink made his move for third then second by lap 128. Making his move low heading into turns three and four, Pennink got by Lia to become the newest and final leader on lap 133.

Lia and Preece settled the podium in the closing circuits while after a late pit stop Santos powered through the field for fourth and Ron Silk who started the Sunoco 150 dead last, crossed for fifth.

Donny Lia in the Bob Garbarino owned Dodge led several laps in the final third of the Sunoco 150 and after a hard battle with Preece finished second.

“We were just really, really tight at the end. It was worse out front, better when I was behind cars. Rowan was just too good at the end and we were struggling tight. We’ve been good even when we’re not good. We were a little bit off tonight and we still were able to contend for the win. The last half of the year, we’ve been good. Hopefully this continues on the next season.” Lia ends the 2013 season third in points.
Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT qualified his TS Haulers/Calverton Tree Farm Chevrolet 18th. But after time trials, the call was made to swap out engines. The call put Silk in the Ed Partridge ride dead last on the initial start but the effort by the Grasso’s and team was spot on as Silk was able to make his way through the pack and finish the World Series fifth.

“It was a good way to end. To start last and to be up in contention, it was good,” said Silk. “I wasn’t quite sure after practice and I didn’t think we had enough time before time trials,” said Silk about the decision to change the engine. “But during qualifying, I’m not sure, but something wasn’t right. The guys worked yesterday afternoon, put in another motor – it was at least worth the effort. This is probably my favorite motor, I knew after two or three laps we were in pretty good shape. Ted was behind me- we were kind of working together, passing a lot of cars together. We were a little free the first run, made a small adjustment at the pit stop and went a little over, ended up a little tight to race those guys. But it was a good day- we started last, finished fifth, it was good. Today was back to where you expect this car to run.”

Max Zachem of Preston, CT making his NWMT debut in the Mike Smeriglio team car finished sixth with Matt Hirschman seventh. Doug Coby, defending his title, rallied from early problems including being a lap down to finish a solid eighth, Todd Szegedy ninth and Justin Bonsignore tenth.

“As a lot of people know, this is my favorite track,” said Pennink. “We always run good here whatever we’re in. With the 93, things have not fell right for us with late race cautions while we had a big lead, when we flipped here a couple of weeks ago running in the top three. Finally things fell the right way for us today. Once I got in the lead I was able to run away a little bit, cautions didn’t come out- we made it to victory lane.” Pennink pulled off a second place finish the night before in the VMRS and was crowned the 2013 VMRS Champion. “We’ve won a bunch of races here in the 25 car but its real special to get one in the 93 here, especially on World Series weekend. This has got to be the best racing weekend of my career so far. Hopefully we can build off of this and keep the wins coming a little more often.”

“It was awesome,” said car owner Mark Pennink who was savoring the win with his wife Janice. “I know how hard Rowan works. As a family, we’re very happy for him. There are not very many family teams doing this and to be a successful family team is really, really hard and rare. Most of these kids are driving for other car owners. Rowan builds them, works on them, tows them- repairs them when they go upside down and races them. Rowan is really good here, he has been strong here, just hasn’t had the luck.” That changed today.

The World Series lived up to its billing. For those in attendance, they witnessed a season finale that was full of hard racing and a celebration in victory lane with Pennink earning a win at a track that he loves but has not had the luck and a championship title awarded to the youngest driver ever in the history of the NWMT. More to come on Preece and his championship run here on The Chrome Horn, for now, it turns to rebuilding and preparing for the Icebreaker April 6, 2014.

Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: October 22, 2013

©2013 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.