Whelen Modified Tour returns to action in Icebreaker 150
After scoring a surprise win at Myrtle Beach Speedway last month Jon McKennedy goes for his second win while Rowan Pennink returns to action Sunday.
Rowan Pennink missed the season opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway in March due to offseason back surgery and returns to competition Sunday in his No. 3 Cape Cod Copper/USNE Inc. Chevrolet for Boehler (BRE) Racing.
The native of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., is also the defending winner of the annual Icebreaker 150, the first of four NASCAR Whlen Modified Tour events annually held at Thompson (Conn.) Speedway Motorsports Park.
Pennink, who also won at Thompson in 2013, is ready to get back on the track.
“We had a really good Icebreaker, winning the race, and then the rest of the races at Thompson last year we had some really good cars,” Pennink said. “The No. 3 team always gives me a good car to drive when we go to Thompson. It makes me even more excited to get back behind the wheel.”
Although missing the season opener puts Pennink behind a race in the point standings, he’s optimistic about an opportunity to win the championship. Last year, Ryan Preece missed two races and still entered the season finale with a chance at winning the title.
“It definitely makes it a lot tougher, but we just have to focus really hard on making every race count and staying out of trouble,” Pennick said. “If we finish all of the races and make all of the finishes at least top-10, I think there is a chance we could still be there in the points towards the end of the year.”
Another driver looking to make his first NWMT start of the season is Preece, the 2013 series champion. Like Pennink, Preece missed the season opener while he was competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Auto Club Speedway for Joe Gibbs Racing.
The Berlin, Conn., driver hopes to be able to give veteran car owner Ed Partridge a second consecutive car owner’s championship.
Preece won two in a row at Thompson last June and August for Partridge.
Defending NWMT champion Doug Coby last won at Thompson in 2015 when he swept all four races at the track and returns as only one of six drivers to take four in a row at the 5/8-mile facility since the track began hosting the NASCAR modified tour in 1985.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans was the first to accomplish the feat sweeping all four races in that first season.
Coby finished 14th at Myrtle Beach Speedway as he continues his quest for a fifth consecutive NWMT crown and sixth in the past seven seasons.
Coby has an average finish of 10th in 54 starts at Thompson with five victories.
A strong field of cars is expected for the race on Sunday with over 35 entries already received. Former NASCAR modified champions joining Coby and Preece in the field include Burt Myers, Bobby Santos, Andy Seuss and Ron Silk.
Hailie Deegan: More barriers can be broken in post-Danica era - video
Justin Bonsignore slips by to win Icebreaker 150