June 16, 2019
Barnstormer: Ryan Preece Wins Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 In Surprise Visit To Stafford Speedway
A www.racedayct.com article
(Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)
STAFFORD – The usual norm when a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series driver heads to a local short track for competition is for much pomp and celebration of their celebrity status in racing.
Friday at Stafford Speedway Monster Energy Cup Series rookie and Berlin native Ryan Preece came home to Stafford Speedway not looking to be celebrated just for making a visit to his former home track.
All Preece wanted was to be the one celebrating when the night was over.
Mission accomplished for Preece.
Preece snuck into the pits unannounced Friday, but by the end night of all the fans on hand knew he was in the house for the Twisted Team Open Modified 80. Preece made his an unannounced visit to Stafford Speedway on Friday for the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 one that fans wouldn’t soon forget.
After pitting on lap 48, Preece rallied from 14thplace with a harried rush back to the front and then drove away from the field over the closing laps to win the Twisted Tea Open Modified 80 at Stafford.
“I didn’t tell anybody I was coming here because I … I just wanted to go race,” Preece said.
In the formative years of NASCAR the sport’s biggest stars often showed up unannounced at short tracks across the country looking to steal away paydays from the locals in what become know as barnstorming.
The explosion of NASCAR through the 1980’s and 90’s essentially made barnstorming a thing of the past. Preece wanted to bring those days back on Friday.
“I’m really happy to be here,” Preece said. “I didn’t want to publicize that I was coming tonight. I wanted to do it like they did it back in the day and just show up. With social media and everything these days it’s so hard to do it. I’m happy I did it and we won the race.”
Eric Goodale of Riverhead, N.Y. was second and Matt Galko of Meriden third.
“It’s special,” Preece said. “I put a lot of work, a lot of effort into this. … This is my week off. I was down south doing a lot of obligations and trying to get prepared for my next [Monster Energy Cup Series race]. And then I flew up late Wednesday night and worked. All day Thursday, until 11 o’clock, I worked all day [on the car]. I woke up early this morning and worked all morning. And I don’t complain about it because I enjoy it, but I put a lot of effort into this, so when I show up to the race track I want to win.”
Preece went to the lead past Chase Dowling on lap 22 and showed he had the dominant car in the event.
He pitted from the lead to make a tire change on lap 48. He restarted the race in 14thand the show was on with his frantic run back to the front.
By lap 53 he was up to sixth and he went by Keith Rocco for fifth on lap 55. On lap 61 he went under Todd Owen for fourth and three laps later he was up to third moving past Tommy Barrett Jr. On lap 68 Preece went by Ronnie Willams for second place and quickly got to the bumper of leader Matt Galko before caution flow on lap 72. On the ensuing restart Preece made quick work of Galko to go back to the lead. He went unchallenged the rest of the way.
“I had a lot of fun,” Preece said. “I love racing and I love winning.”
Said Goodale: “I’d rather finish second to Preece than anybody.”
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