For Immediate Release
Daely Pentico Racing Spring Crandon Recap
“The Rookie” off to a Strong Start in Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League
Crandon, WI – After a longer-than-usual offseason thanks to changes in the sanctioning body for Midwest short course racing, Daely Pentico returned to racing at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway for the 25th Annual Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run races on June 16th & 17th. After a cross-country journey from Arizona to the scenic northwoods of Wisconsin, the recently-graduated racing phenom arrived eager for seat time in his Roush Competition Engines-powered PRO 2wd truck.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature once again left her mark on the Spring Crandon race, as heavy rains through Friday forced the cancellation of all practices and qualifying. Rain continued into Saturday morning, causing a delay to opening ceremonies. Racing was finally able to begin and several sportsman classes did vintage battle on the extremely muddy track. Go time drew near for Pentico and he loaded his new helmet with extra tear-offs and began to prepare for staging for the day’s race.
But just before the PRO 2 race was slated to begin, the skies opened up once again and another round of heavy rain proved to be the death knell for Round 1 racing. Pentico and his competitors would have to wait until Sunday for their first bout of 2018.
Fortunately, the sun made a rare appearance in the midday on Sunday and began to dry out the hallowed dirt at Crandon raceway. Due to the Community Cup Challenge in the afternoon, the PRO 2 race was slated in the early part of the schedule. Because all practice and qualifying had to be cancelled, a random draw determined starting order for Sunday’s race. As luck (or, lack thereof) would have it, Pentico drew the last place starting position out of the stacked 15-truck field.
Despite his disadvantage off the starting line, The Rookie came out of Turn One running midpack. He stayed out of trouble off the start and was 6th across the line on lap one.
“I got a good jump on the guy next to me,” Pentico recalls. “So I just tucked in on the line that I knew, because the outside was way too muddy. Everybody on the inside had dry dirt, so they all faded in, and then I got snowplowed with dirt roosting me. I could not see all the way to the barn turn! I tried to hold my line, but I could not see… tear-off after tear-off after tear-off!”
After a caution, Pentico moved up to 5th place before losing traction and going for a spin in the treacherously slick Calamity Corner before the finish line. The incident dropped Pentico to 9th place, but the race was far from over.
Pentico battled hard with class veteran Kevin Hanegraaf for several laps, swapping positions several times. In the melee, Roush teammate Keegan Kincaid passed them both in a masterful move. Pentico had to settle for 9th place at the halfway mandatory caution.
Gaining confidence and experience in the truck, Pentico turned it up in the second half of the race. The stacked PRO 2 field experienced heavy contact throughout the restart, but Pentico kept his HumbleCock Clothing Company-backed PRO 2 pointed straight and on all four of his Radar Tires. He picked of class veterans one by one, systematically getting by Keegan Kincaid, Eric Ruppel, and Mitch Dorr. He settled into 4th place and ran clean and strong through the finish, narrowly missing the podium in his first seat time of 2018.
Though it was only his second time on the Crandon track, an interesting course adjustment gave Pentico an advantage over his competitors. Due to track conditions and the tightened schedule, the PRO 2’s ran an abbreviated track that even some of the most accomplished drivers in the class had never experienced.
“Everyone was saying, it’s never happened with the PRO trucks!” remarked Pentico. “But every class I’ve been in out here I’ve raced the short track… so I’m used to it. I knew where the line was coming out of that last turn that they usually don’t take.”
Pentico also participated in the weekend finale, a PRO 2 vs PRO 4 shootout known as the Forest County Potawatomi Community Cup Challenge. He took off with a head-start that the PRO 2s received and once again came through Turn One mid-pack. Unfortunately an incident in the barn turn set him back early:
“I tried to get on the inside, and I spun out. But I kept the momentum going – immediately threw it into reverse, as soon as it was uphill, so it would come down and not get stuck!”
Pentico spent much of the race gaining positions through the heavy PRO 2 traffic. But then things got a little hairy.
“The PRO 4s came up and they didn’t want anything to do with us,” laughed Pentico. “I got hit in the back and apparently broke the rear housing.”
Pentico came into the back loop of the track at 90mph and hit the brake pedal to prepare for the turn, but it hit the floor!
“Going through Turn One, tapped out… then jump… jump… knowing that I didn’t have brakes, was so sketchy! [My spotter] was like, ‘Use the cushion for brakes! Use the cushion for brakes!”
Despite the mechanical challenges, Pentico finished the race in seventh overall, and 4th among the PRO 2s, for his second top-5 finish of the weekend. Though the weather quashed much of the scheduled track time and kept everyone guessing, the weekend was a very positive experience for the DPR racing team.
“We’re pumped to be teamed up and hanging out under Kincaid’s pit; that’s a big deal for us. Overall, being in a PRO pit with all the people around it, and all the knowledge from Keegan and Jeff [Kincaid]… not used to all that attention!”
The Rookie’s first full season in PRO 2 continues on July 13-14 at ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minnesota. Pentico will look to build on their Round 1 success and get on the podium for the first time in 2018! Follow along as the action unfolds and stay tuned for more updates.
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.