WINCHESTER, N.H. – As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Monadnock Speedway this week, a pair of drivers stand as favorites to either continue a historical trend or make their own mark on the record books.
Although the competition is nearly too close to call across the board, Whelen Modified Tour co-point leaders Rowan Pennink and Ryan Preece lead the tour contingent into the Town Fair Tire Whitcomb 200 at the quarter-mile oval on Saturday in rural Winchester, N.H.
Pennink will look to continue the historical trend at Monadnock that has seen a different driver win each of the previous eight all-time Whelen Modified Tour events at the track. Conversely, last year’s Monadnock winner Preece will attempt to become the tour’s first two-time victor there.
Although he’s averaged a finish just outside the top 10 in his first two career Whelen Modified Tour starts at Monadnock, Pennink has run second and fifth in two races so far this season. In addition to bringing that momentum to Monadnock, where he’s already registered a Modified win this year, Pennink has had plenty of success through the years at the other quarter-mile bullring on the tour schedule – Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway – including his lone career win.
Meanwhile, Preece was the best Whelen Modified Tour bullring driver a year ago when he won at Riverhead in addition to Monadnock. Add to that his first Riverhead win in 2009 and three of his five career triumphs have come in bullring races.
Pennink and Preece may enter Monadnock atop the points and the list of favorites to win, but they’ll have plenty of competition for the checkered flag. Veterans Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher – at one and three tallies behind in points, respectively – both have career wins at Monadnock in addition to their hot starts to the current season.
Additionally, Justin Bonsignore, who groomed his early racing career at Riverhead, is just five points back of the leaders and has finished in the top five the last two years at Monadnock.