Rowan Pennink had Ole Blue in the lead. But he lacked the grip to maintain it to the checkers.
Pennink was passed by Ryan Preece with 19 laps to go in the Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Wednesday night, finishing the race in second.
The #3 team made the decision to pit early, giving the car the fresh rubber it needed to get to the front.
“We were struggling a little bit there at the beginning. We were losing quite a bit of track position, so that’s why we ended up pitting early,” Pennink said.
But the advantage Pennink had early on was whittled away as his fresh tires became worn.
Those who pitted later in the race were the ones with the massive advantage. When those drivers on fresh tires, led by Preece, got to his back bumper, there wasn’t much Pennink could do.
“When he [Preece] got to me, he went right by me. They had a really good car,” said Pennink. “We were just a little tight towards the end of the race there.”
While he missed out on Victory Lane, Pennink was proud of his team. Remarkably, the team brought a brand new piece to race with.
“They brought a new car here, and especially after winning the last race here with another car, they still wanted to be even better and brought a new car,” said Pennink.
“The thing was really good for the first time out. They did an awesome job. I think we got another good car we can work with for the rest of the year. I think we’ll be even stronger.”