April 23, 2017
Preece Lightning Strikes Again in MTS Opener at Monadnock
A www.speed51.com release
After nearly 18 months of work, the first ever points-paying race for the EXIT Realty Modified Touring Series took the green flag Saturday night at Monadnock Speedway (NH) with some of the best Modified drivers in the Northeast on hand. Throughout the night, it was two of the very best in the game who went at it in a caution-free 125-lap affair.
At the end of the night, it was “Preece Lightning” striking again with Ryan Preece besting 2016 Valenti Modified Racing Series champion Jon McKennedy for the victory.
McKennedy got the early edge, moving by polesitter Richard Savary in the opening laps after starting second. But Preece, the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, went on the attack, taking the lead from McKennedy by diving to the inside just around the lap-30 mark. From there, Preece would hold on for the win, but McKennedy put his full driving ability on display keeping pace and often pressuring the eventual race winner.
“Jon is no slouch; he had a really good car, but I felt we did too. I wanted to get out front and set my own pace, about lap 50 to 60 I could feel the right rear start to get a little hot, so I decided to back it off a little bit and started using some momentum,” Preece told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Sure enough we were lucky to have track position and keep that pace to where we’d have a good enough gap to stay in front of him and that’s what we did.”
McKennedy felt that Preece had the advantage on track, but it didn’t stop him from keeping pace.
“We had a good car most of the race, but those last 30 or 40 laps he was a little bit better and we were the best of the rest, second place. I knew going into the race he’d be tough like he is everywhere, he has that spec engine which helps a bit, the engine is aluminum which helps with handling and tire wear. Just have to work harder to overcome those differences next time.”
Naturally, many were surprised that racing on the tight quarter-mile yielded a race without a yellow flag. A handful of drivers, including Preece, were prepared to come down pit road to get the one fresh American Racer tire they were allowed to change.
“Right around lap 75, I told the guys to go to the pits and get ready for the tire change because I was ready to do it, even if the caution was at lap 90,” Preece explained.
One of the major topics of conversation throughout the event surrounded how the American Racer tires would perform over a long-distance event, but no one had counted on the caution-free event. In the end, the tires still had plenty left when the checkers fell, even for a hard-driving McKennedy.
“They are a good tire, they reheat really well, and really last. We ran 125 laps pretty much as hard as we could the whole run and there was still a lot of life left to them.”
The race also served as a successful full-season debut for the MTS which held its first race in May 2016 with the $15,000-to-win Winchester 200 exhibition at Monadnock, also won by Preece, who gave the series a thumbs up at the time, and gave another moving forward.
“I like their series. I like the format they have throughout the day, and their points structure how you can be a contender. That was cool.”
For more information from Saturday’s race, visit Speed51.com’s Speed Central coverage. The Speed51 Network powered by JEGS will have race highlights early next week.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, NY, MA)
April 9, 2017
Ryan Preece Crashes Victory Lane In SK Modified Feature At Thompson Speedway
A www.racedayct.com article
THOMPSON – The positives for Ryan Preece were many following Sunday’s SK Modified feature at Thompson Speedway.
His car came home in one piece, he started the season in victory lane, he walked away without a broken leg. Preece outdid the competition Sunday at Thompson Speedway and then avoided the disaster of a celebration gone wrong.
Preece, of Berlin, drove away from Keith Rocco over the closing circuits to win the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Sunday at the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway.
After a seemingly flawless race though, Preece’s signature victory lane celebration brought a moment of levity – and luckily no injuries – as he slipped and fell while standing on the car’s NERF bar in victory lane while saluting fans.
“My legs were shaking,” Preece said. “I was really driving it hard there those last five laps and my legs were a little shaky I guess. They didn’t want to hold me up.
“Knock on wood, I’ve been pretty lucky. I guess that would have been interesting if I broke my ankle. But no one would have known anyways, I probably still would have run the [Whelen Modified Tour race].”
Rocco, of Wallingford, was second. Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. was third.
Preece went by Ted Christopher for the lead on lap four and never trailed again.
“Towards August last year we really found our stride,” Preece said. “We got the car to work a little better and it’s carried over to this year. I’m not saying that we’re going to go out and win every race, but I feel like we definitely have a car that can contend. Definitely the competition is getting a lot harder up here.”
April 5, 2017
Ryan Preece Overachieved in an Apathetic Industry
A www.motorsportsanalytics.com article
Note: This is a free article from MotorsportsAnalytics.com. For access to premium articles, subscribe here for just $4.99 a month.
Qualifying is over, his car impounded. Ryan Preece sits outside the New Smyrna Speedway’s fourth turn on a concrete stoop near his race hauler, his face fixed with a thousand-yard stare reserved mostly for deer rocked to their souls by the sight of a rapidly approaching F-150. Preece isn’t in shock, though; this isn’t anything he hasn’t experienced before. The stare is apparently how he processes what’s already happened and how he will expertly craft his reaction.
“I tried something. It didn’t work,” Preece resigned. “I’ll just wait until the fuel burns off and then see what we have.”
Preece would start 12th for the evening’s Richie Evans Memorial 100, the crown jewel event in February’s World Series of Asphalt. Considering the driver, the starting spot is not ideal. Just one night earlier, Preece became what is believed to be the youngest Modified driver to score 100 feature victories, according to Aaron Creed of Speed51.com, a popular short track racing news hub. For Preece, any running position not near the front is an uncivilized foreign land prompting the formulation of a sound exit strategy.
Not surprisingly, a lot happens during the 100-lap Modified race on the gritty, banked half-mile oval, but Preece deftly plays the long game. His sleek No. 6 car is a restrained rocket on this night, as the 26-year-old driver is content to let others eliminate themselves. Some do. It is an exciting race, but Preece picks his battles, finishing fourth to wrap up the weeklong points title, and collecting another championship trophy for his mantle.
This is what Preece wants to be doing, but there is a strong sense that it isn’t what he should be doing.
Tour the nation’s local racetracks, big or small, asphalt or dirt, and you’ll hear a shared assertion.
Just give him one shot to show what he can do, and he’ll get the job done. He just needs one shot.
There is no shortage of local track patrons who have, in their back pockets, the name of a driver who deserves one shot. The claim has practically become scripture, a belief stiff-arming what is mostly cold truth. The list of former local track studs fortunate enough to rev a NASCAR Cup Series motor on Sundays is deep, so much so that guys like Landon Cassill, Reed Sorenson, David Gilliland, David Stremme, Travis Kvapil, Ron Hornaday and the late Dick Trickle—proven winners and dreaded competitors during their short track racing prime—have combined for zero victories on Stock Car racing’s biggest stage.
The game isn’t easy. And sometimes, it just isn’t fair …
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February 25th, 2017
Ryan Preece Wins New Smyrna Modified Title; Matt Hirschman Closes Series With Victory
A www.racedayct.com article
For the third consecutive Ryan Preece will bring the champion’s hardware back to Connecticut from New Smyrna, Fla.
Preece, of Berlin, finished fourth in Friday’s Richie Evans Memorial 100 for the Tour Type Modified division at the World Series of Asphalt Racing at New Smyrna Speedway to capture his third consecutive championship in the division.
Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. won Friday’s final event of the week for the Tour Type Modified division at New Smyrna.
The division ran four events from Monday to Friday. JR Bertuccio won the opener on Monday with Tyler Rypkema winning on Tuesday. Wednesday’s event was rained out. Preece won Thursday’s race.
Ron Silk of Norwalk was second Tuesday and Jon McKennedy of Marshfield, Mass. third.
February 24th, 2017
Preece Holds Off Hirschman for Blewett Memorial Win
A www.speed51.com article
Ron Silk led a majority of the 2017 running of the John Blewett III Memorial 76, but it was the Ryan Preece and Matt Hirschman show near the conclusion at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) Thursday night.
On the final restart with 13 laps remaining, Silk, a former winner of the annual event, was able to get the advantage. Nevertheless, Preece did not give up and drove his Tour-Type Modified in deep into turn three. The 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion made it stick and led at the line and the rest of the way for his first win during the 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
“I was definitely saving early on, probably around lap 35 or 40 when Ronnie was running hard and I was running hard, I started to go,” Preece told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I felt I was better on restarts. I’m still learning myself with adjustments I need to do with this race car, and I feel like I’m getting better with these long distances finding what I need in the race car.”
Preece was not in the clear just yet in his Ed and Connie Partridge-owned No. 6 ride, as Matt Hirschman was hot on his tail with Silk still ready to pounce behind them as well.
“I think everybody knows that Matt always has good forward drive there at the end,” Preece mentioned. “My thing was to try to roll the center the best that I could do and those laps were feeling pretty long. I felt like I was trying to keep the momentum going, trying not to stop in the center.”
Hirschman made every effort, a few nights after the two accomplished drivers collided at Bronson Speedway. The culprit for coming up one position short for the Northampton, Pennsylvania driver and the PeeDee Motorsports team could have partially been mechanical and something potentially critical.
“We were right there contending,” Hirschman said. “I don’t like to sound like I’m making excuses, but the right front tire was falling off the car. It was knocking the brake pads away from the rotor down the straightaway so when it got to the corner I didn’t have the brake I needed to have.”
“We were beating ourselves there and I’m not saying that was the difference of getting him or not, but you can’t make mistakes like that and expect to win races. It hurt our chances in the end.”
Silk held on for third over the closing laps, but the Danny Watts-owned No. 82 machine began to slightly fade when it came to having a car capable of winning once the caution came out when Jeremy Gerstner spun in front of the leaders.
“I think without that last yellow I would have been alright and easily just scoot away a little bit, but it just got too loose,” Silk admitted. “On the last restart I went into one and two and it drove in really good like it did all night, and I just started feeding it the throttle and it jumped loose sideways on me.”
“Didn’t have enough forward drive at the end, but it’s a new car for us and a new design and really just trying to figure it out. Made some big gains on it tonight and will try some more for tomorrow.”
Friday night will feature another marquee Modified event, the annual Richie Evans Memorial 100 for the impressive field of ground pounders on hand this week.
But tonight, it was all about the memory of a talented racer, which meant a great deal to the night’s winner.
“I have a pretty good relationship with Jimmy Blewett and John was somebody that I always idolized,” Preece said. “I didn’t get to talk to him much, but when you’re sitting back from a distance and you see how hard of a worker John really was and how good of a setup guy he was; when I was probably 17 years old I kind of idolized him. To win a name in his honor, we won a race in Richie Evans honor; I just want to keep on winning races and put my name in the history books. That’s really what I want to do.”
For on demand coverage of Thursday’s racing, visit Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Troyer Race Cars and AR Bodies.