Pennink tastes his first victory in Riverhead 200

Rowan Pennink of Huntington Valley, Pa. finally grabbed the brass ring on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on Saturday night. Pennink took the lead of the Riverhead 200 on Lap 136 from local product Kevin Goodale to score his first career victory.

The closing laps were classic short-track racing at its best with Ryan Preece draped all over Pennink, looking high and low for a way by him for the lead. A late-race caution flag set up a double-file restart with four laps remaining. Pennink was then able to weather that final test to drive his Chevy to his first career victory in his 51st start on the tour.

“Wow, this is just awesome,” Pennink said. “I have to thank my father for all he’s done to get me to this point.”

Preece of Berlin, Conn., threw all he could at Pennink in trying to win his second consecutive Riverhead 200. “After our first-lap spin I thought we were in for a long night,” Preece said. “We gave it all we had and my congratulations go out to Rowan and his team. That’s a great feeling over there.”

Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Conn., was third and happy with the result. “We were just too tight all race long, but third here … is a good result,” he said.

Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I., and George Brunnhoelzl III of West Babylon completed the top five.

Goodale of Riverhead, after surrendering the lead on Lap 136, had his tires go away, dropping him to a 15th-place finish.

Justin Bonsignore was in the mix for a top-five finish when he accidentally hit the kill switch on a double-file restart. He finished 17th.

Dave Brigati of Calverton led the Riverhead Raceway regulars with an 11th-place finish after recovering from a mid-race spin. The three other Riverhead drivers who made the show had to drop out of the race with front-end damage. Chuck Steuer of Bohemia was 26th, Frank Vigliarolo Jr. of Mount Sinai 27th and Howie Brode of East Islip 28th.

TURBUSH, LANGDON SHARE SPOTLIGHT Chris Turbush of Riverhead pocketed his fourth charger feature event win of the season on Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway and Ron Langdon of Wantagh won his first blunderbust event of the year. Both victories came in 30-lap, double point contests. Turbush claimed his 23rd career victory, with his father, Dan Turbush of Riverhead, second. Chris McGuire of Shirley rallied for a third-place finish and remains the points leader in the class by six points over Kevin Orlando, 614 to 608. Langdon, a veteran driver, set a new Riverhead Raceway blunderbust track record with a lap of 14.987 seconds in pre-race time trials.