TO WIN VMRS 80 AT STAFFORD
Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, took
the lead on lap-56 from Portland Connecticut’s Dave
Etheridge, and went on to win his first race of the
season in the Valenti Modified Racing Series 80-lap
race at Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford, CT,
Friday night. September 1.
The 2013 series champion scored his second VMRS win
at Stafford, and his 11th career win moving to fifth
on the all-time series win list.
Etheridge started on the pole when first heat winner
Ted Christopher, of Plainville, CT, was forced to
withdraw because of a motor problem.
The veteran driver led the main event until Pennink
passed for the lead. They were the only race leaders
in the 80-lap sprint.
“The guys gave me a really strong car under us
tonight,” Pennink explained in victory lane. “ The
last couple times we’ve been here (VMRS) we’ve had
probably the same type of car we just haven’t had
the luck to make it here to victory lane. Tonight we
did. I’ve got to thank all the guys on the Gary
Casella team and everybody that helps out. Awesome
The race was slowed for the eighth time (caution
flags) on lap-78 creating a green-white-checker
finish. Keith Rocco, of Berlin, Connecticut, made a
late race charge to finish (0.608) by Pennink.
Anthony Nocella, of Woburn, Massachusetts, fought a
recurring steering pump problem throughout the
afternoon practice session, started the race 17th
then worked his way to the lead pack to finish
third. Etheridge settled for fourth with veteran
driver Jeff Malave, of Manchester, Connecticut,
returning to racing after a 2-year absence because
of health issues, made his first start count with a
respectable fifth place finish after starting 15th
in the 26-car field.
Jackson, New Jersey’s, 17-year old Blake Barney made
an impressive showing in his Stafford debut mixing
it up early on with the lead pack, and checkered
sixth in his first VMRS start.
Donnie Lashua, Dan Meservey Jr. , Matt Galko, and
Mike Willis Jr, rounded out the top-ten.
Heat race winners: (1) Ted Christopher, (2) David
Schneider, (3) Rowan Pennink.
The race was slowed eight times by caution flags for
minor spins or incidents.
Stafford Motor Speedway
Stafford Springs Connecticut
September 1, 2017
Margin of Victory: 0.608
Average Speed: 40.920
Best Lap Time: 19.014 Pennink
Best Speed: 94.667 Pennink
Race Time: 59:28.469
Caution Laps: 25-30-34-55-55-55-56-78
Lap Leaders: Etheridge (1-56) Pennink (57-80)
Unofficial Order of Finish: (1) Pennink (2)
K. Rocco (3) Nocella (4) Etheridge (5) Malave (6)
Barney (7) Lashua
(8) Meservey Jr. (9) Galko (10) Willis (11) Trayner
(12) Ricci (13) Savary (14) Gernhard (15) Fournier
(17) Mead (18) Molleur (19) Flannery (20) Rameau
(21) Masse (22) Talman, (23) Richardi (24) Schneider
(25) Medeiros (26) J. Rocco
John Spence Sr. / Valenti Modified Racing Series
September 2, 2017