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   The Chrome Horn -  Modified Touring Series


Pennink Captures First MTS Victory
by Denise DuPont

The Modified Touring Series (MTS) made their second stop at Monadnock Speedway for 125 green laps of racing Saturday, August 19th. There were fifteen modified in the pits. Winners of the two heat races were Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon, CT. and Les Hinckley from Windsor Locks, CT. After drivers completed the series autograph session, the top ten qualifiers redrew for their starting position. Home track favorite, Kirk Alexander from Swanzey NH, selected lucky #1 which secured him the pole position. Eric Goodale of Riverhead, NY pulled two and started outside Alexander when the initial green flag flew.

The race tallied nine cautions which divided the race into short sprints. Alexander had a strong car and was at his home track. He dominated the front of the field for 92 laps. One lap later Goodale went under Alexander for the top position. Soon after Alexander spun out on his own on the front stretch. Alexander pitted for fresh tires and made his way back into the top five within a few laps.

Goodale had pitted before half-way and his tires were not as fresh as drivers running in the lead pack. Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, PA passed Goodale on lap 109 sealing the deal. Woody Pitkat of Sturbridge, MA. slid under Goodale and fell in line right behind Pennink to take second. Goodale had to settle for third.

There were only five laps in the books when Pennink and TJ Bleau of Troy, NH. came together as they ran for position. “We tangled up with the #15nh and had to come back up through the field.”

Pennink’s challenges did not end there. Just after hall-way Pitkat got into the rear of Pennink spinning them around in turn four. Both pitted for tires and adjustments. “The #52 got into us and we spun but it seemed then it was a good time to pit,” confessed Pennink. “So we headed to the pits and came back to pass Eric for the lead and then go forward for the win. All I was worried about that time was getting around him.”

The last fifteen laps of the race clicked off fast as no one was able to catch Pennink. ”It was a rough race out there tonight.” Stated Pennink. ”I am happy for the #25 team. Everyone was driving real aggressive out there. And when race is unfolding that way, you have to keep up with par and do what you have to do to end up on top.”

Pitkat and the #52 team went to Monadnock earlier this past week to shake out the car and prepare for the 125 lap race. They had the car tuned and ready to go racing when Saturday’s race came. “We came here this week and had a good car that was race ready.” Pitkat said after the race. “I said then that the car was a little tight and if we do nothing it will free up on its own.” The driver let his pre-race thoughts get the better of him and he changed his mind when the team arrived at the track. “When we arrived here today I had the crew do a whole bunch of stuff to the car. Then after practice I had them get the car back to where it was.” Pitkat had realized he had over thought things. “During the race we were just riding, biting our time trying to save our equipment. We came in and put a tire on the car and had them tighten the car. I really should have had them just go with the tire.”

The #52 team is still learning and pulling together for the MTS races. Pitkat has been trying to provide as much feedback as he can as a driver, but like us all, sometimes we think into things too much. “I am a little frustrated with myself. I am trying to give the crew the best feedback that I can and help them with the adjustments they need to make. I probably should just let them do their job. Then maybe I will start winning. Anyway we have been running consistent upfront and knocking on the door. Soon we will be there for the win. We will take the second place finish and go forward for the next one.”

Goodale had a strong enough car to get to the lead but multiple cautions and pitting before mid-race may have not fit into the team’s long term strategy. “I figured I ran a little too hard in the beginning and used the right front up. I just did not have anything for the #25 and nobody was able to get under Rowan at the end.” Exclaimed Goodale post-race. “With the last couple of weeks that this team has had I will take a third place finish. We needed a good run tonight to get back on track.”

Reflecting on what he could have done, Goodale expressed a little of his frustration. “We needed to pit at the end. We knew we did not have a car to win the race. We needed to come in and make an adjustment and change a tire. We had the car setup, but the way I drove the car I just used up the tires too much and I did not have it at the end.” Declared Goodale as his packed up the hauler. “I did not want Pennink to get me on the restart so I worked hard to stay in front of him. But I knew when we were side by side that he had better car than me and I had to use it up to keep ahead of him. So I got in front of him and just hoped for the best. I knew a cross over pass was coming and there was nothing I could do to defend it.”

It may not have been a win but a podium finish in this series, after a lot of cautions and restarts, is not a bad place to be.

Pennink took the checkers followed by Pitkat, Goodale, Richard Savary of Canton, MA and Alexander for the top five.
The MTS will have a break in action until their next race at New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday, September 9th.
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: August 20, 2017

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