For Immediate Release
Daely Pentico Racing ERX National Recap
“The Rookie” Rolls Twice But Records First Professional Truck Podium
Elk River, MN – After a strong Crandon debut cut short by inclement weather, Daely Pentico and the Humblecock Clothing sponsored DPR team headed to Elk River, Minnesota to do battle at the Midwest Short Course League’s shortest but most punishing track: ERX Motor Park. The three-year-old world-class one-mile short course track features a split lane, sandy traps throughout, and so many jumps you could swear you spend more time in the air than on the dirt. These features combined with major elevation changes had drivers battling the course just as much as the other drivers, and fuel pressure struggles proved to be a recurring theme for PRO 2 competitors throughout the weekend.
Once again, Mother Nature threatened the schedule for Rounds 3 and 4, as several bouts of rain forced the cancellation of Thursday’s badly-needed practice round. Fortunately, Friday morning’s storms ducked south of Elk River and conditions were hot and sunny for the rest of the event, allowing the rest of the event to proceed as scheduled.
On Friday morning, Pentico qualified 6th fastest out of a stacked 12-truck field in his first time on the track in a PRO 2. A favorable inversion draw had The Rookie starting on the pole in his #36 Humblecock PRO 2, alongside the #9 of Chad Hord. Taking advantage of his inside position, Pentico powered his Roush Competition Engine to the inside of turn one and seized the holeshot. But it was unfortunately a short-lived lead, as Pentico caught the dirt entering Turn 2 and rolled the truck all the way over!
“I had clean air, all I had to do was run with it!” Pentico recalled. “I came into Turn 2, and then I just dropped into all the loamy dirt. There were a bunch of ruts because we didn’t blow any if it out yet. So I just grabbed it, and it started to roll. Upside down in midair I threw it back in to 2nd gear, hoping it would come down on all fours. When it did and I felt it come past the balance point, I hammered it!”
Daely spectacularly completed a full rotation smooth enough to keep his truck intact. He ended up facing forward right on the back bumper of his teammate, Keegan Kincaid.
“I went through the dust cloud, and I saw ‘Traxxas.’ I was like, ’Sweet, right behind Keegan, we’re good to go!’” Pentico said.
Pentico came out of the incident in 5th place and settled into the race, chasing the leaders for multiple laps. Round 1 winner Mike Vanden Heuvel had an incident and fell back, and a multi-lap battle ensued between him and Pentico. Eventually Vanden Heuvel got by and Pentico remained in 5th at the Competition Caution.
Shortly after the restart, Kincaid pulled off with fuel issues and Pentico moved up to 4th place. He ran strong and gave Chad Hord a run for 3rd place, but had to settle for one spot off the podium.
“I started having fuel issues [towards the end of the race,]” Pentico said. “We were sitting waiting forever in staging before the race because of so many yellow flags in the UTV race. I almost ran out of fuel – if I had run one more lap I would have run out.”
With some track time under his belt, Pentico posted the second-fastest time of Saturday morning’s qualifying. After the inversion he started on the second row for the main event. Right off the start he tucked ahead of Kincaid and roosted Chad Hord on his way by, settling into 2nd place in the first turn. He caught up to the leader Mike Vanden Heuvel and was pushing for the lead when a caution brought the race to a pause.
Shortly after the restart, Pentico once again hooked a rut and found himself up and over on the “k-turn” before the finish line. A caution flag was waved and safety crews got Pentico back on all fours. He was able to race on, and he caught up to the field for another restart.
“They were like, ‘dude, you need to keep it on all fours today!’ And I was like… ‘no promises!’” Pentico joked later. “They said, ‘we’re going to use one body for the whole season’ and I said ‘that’s not gonna happen.’ Seems like I have to get one flip at every track. I don’t know why, that’s just how it’s always been. I got crazy side-bite, my Radar Tires were hooking up, so I can’t blame them!”
Pentico found himself at the back of the pack but didn’t lose determination. Over the next few laps he took advantage of mistakes and systematically made his way around his competitors. With three laps to go, another caution brought the pack back together and gave Daely, who was running 5th at the time, the chance to make a late push for the podium.
Pentico was shuffled into the roost on the restart, but quickly regained ground and made a double pass in the “Talladega Turn” to move up to 4th. He passed Mark Peterson to move into 3rd, but then Keegan Kincaid crashed hard off the blind jump in front of the crowd. Pentico had to react quickly to avoid hitting Kincaid and making a bad situation much worse.
“I’m bummed about Keegan, my teammate, that was a gnarly crash,” Pentico said. “I just hear ‘yellow, yellow, yellow’ while I’m in the air – and I was like “Where’s this yellow?” I nose-dived down and I saw him flipping – I was like “oh no!” Had to drift out of the way – it was crazy.”
The field was reset to the last completed lap, so Pentico was up to 3rd but back behind Peterson. With one lap to go, Pentico ran out of time to make passes but scored his first podium of the season in come-from-behind fashion.
“I’m really stoked to be up here; I haven’t been up here since last year in the super buggy,” Pentico celebrated on the podium. “I got a win and a second then, so I’m pretty pumped to come home with hardware this season. I powered through all the way from the back to the front and had good battles with everyone, these guys are the best in the business.”
“I don’t know what didn’t happen in this race: carnage everywhere, dust, dirt, I was short-shifting… it was erratic. I was having so much fun!”
Despite the calamity so far this season, Pentico has strung together three consistent finishes. Consistency wins championships, and Pentico’s early season success has him sitting 2nd in the PRO 2 championship points! He’ll look to improve his position when the Midwest Short Course League heads to the U.P. for Rounds 5&6 at Bark River International Raceway on August 10-12.
Daely Pentico Racing would like to thank their 2018 partners: HumbleCock Clothing Company, Radar Tires, Roush Competition Engines, Ultra Wheels, Xcess Industries, 2X Motorsports, Real Time Reviews, Kincaid Motorsports, & Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Phoenix, AZ.