April 30, 2017
Hands On: Ryan Preece Scores First Whelen Mod Tour Spring Sizzler Win At Stafford
A www.racedayct.com article
STAFFORD – In a decade plus of racing on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Ryan Preece has developed a reputation as a driver who carries himself with a nature most would consider to be a recipe of cocksure swagger combined with cheery fun when it comes to celebrations.
Sunday at Stafford Motor Speedway though, a side of Preece never seen before after an event poured out as the exultation of victory set in.
The NAPA Spring Sizzler had the normally cheery-eyed and playful Preece breaking down in tears.
Preece, of Berlin, passed a dominant Doug Coby on lap 187 and then went on to victory in the Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 Sunday at Stafford Motor Speedway.
It was the first Spring Sizzler victory in ten starts in the event for the 26-year old Preece. His grandfather Bob Judkins won the event with driver Ed Flemke Sr. in 1973. Preece has been attending the event since he was child.
“It’s crazy,” Preece said, pausing to regain his composure as emotion took over. “This is about, like [winning the Whelen Modified Tour championship] back in . It’s crazy. A lot of hard work. This isn’t the normal Ryan Preece that’s usually up here. There’s just so many things I could say right now.”
Coby, of Milford, was second. Chase Dowling of Roxbury third.
For Preece the victory took on even more meaning for the fact that it was a truly hands on experience for him.
After the 2015 Whelen Modified Tour season Preece walked away from his full-time ride with team owner Eddie Partridge to take an opportunity running full-time with the NASCAR XFINITY Series, one step below the top-tier Monster Energy Cup Series.
He left the XFINTY Series ride at the end of the 2016 season looking for a way to get back to the Whelen Modified Tour full-time. The answer was to become the full-time mechanic on his own car for Partridge.
“Obviously everybody knows I left the XFINITY [Series] deal and to make that happen I needed a job,” Preece said. “During the offseason I talked to [Partridge] and I said to him ‘I’d really like to maintain the cars and keep them up and put them setups in them and that would be my job and that would make it easier for me to come home.’ And he believed in me.”
“I’ve been learning. … To be able to work on a racecar, put a setup in a racecar. Not me personally spending the money, but being able to go out and win races with my hard work, you know what, I don’t think anybody can really ever know. Winning this race, doing what I did, it means more to me than my first win in a Modified. It’s just so much hard work. I don’t think anybody really knows.”
Coby led a race-high 143 laps, but it was Preece that had the drive Coby was missing in the late stages.
Coby was second to Eric Goodale and Preece in fourth after the leaders pitted for the final time on lap 158. Coby went by Goodale for the lead on the ensuing lap 162 restart but Goodale grabbed the top spot back on lap 163. Coby then grabbed the lead back again on lap 167. Meanwhile, Preece was up to third by Justin Bonsignore by the time the caution flew again on lap 168.
On the next restart Preece got by Goodale for second. On lap 187 Preece was able to use a low move with a little contact in turn three to take the lead from Coby.
“As soon as I came out [of the pits] I said ‘This is going to be tough,” Preece said. “We got Justin [Bonsignore] and we got Eric [Goodale] and then I just had to kind of set up [Coby]. I had to help him move up a little bit. But that was the good old fashioned bump and run. I had a lot of fun doing that. Doug and I, we know we’re going to race each other hard and it’s going to be one of those seasons like it was in years past and I’m ready to have fun.”
Coby briefly took over the lead at the line on a lap 193 restat, Preece snared the top spot back almost immediately and then left Coby fighting for second over the closing laps.
It was the first time in three events that Coby, the three-time defending series champion, has finished and event.
“The right rear tire never came up on that second set so we were way shy on stagger,” Coby said. “The track had so much rubber on it, we were just never going to fight through that.
“Obviously a win would have been better, but the fact that we survived all those restarts at the end, that’s a plus. The series has proven in the first two races that late race restarts don’t really work too well with all of us.”
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.”
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.