(Stafford Springs, CT)—With the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season drawing ever closer to its conclusion, fans are in the midst of one of the closest championship races in series history. Ryan Preece currently leads Woody Pitkat by a single point and Doug Coby is third in the standings, 25 points behind Preece. Only twice before in the 30-year history of the NWMT has the championship race been won by a single digit margin with Tony Hirschman beating Steve Park by 3 points in 1995 and Mike Stefanik beat Reggie Ruggiero by 6 points in 1989. Preece has won two races in a row at Stafford and he finished third in the NAPA Spring Sizzler and he is looking for his third consecutive win with the #6 T.S. Haulers, Inc. team at Stafford to boost his championship effort.
“So far this season I haven’t settled and what’s kept us in the points chase is winning races, so that’s what we’re going to try to keep on doing,” said Preece. “If we go out there and just try to finish races, that’s not going to win us the championship. I feel like Stafford has definitely been our strong track this season. We led a lot of laps at the Sizzler and finished third and then we’ve won the other two races. But at the same time, Woody has been strong at Stafford and Doug has been strong. I think we have a pretty legitimate shot at having another strong run and Tommy [Grasso] has a good setup for Stafford, hopefully we can continue down that path.”
Preece has not only been strong in the Whelen Modified Tour races at Stafford but also in qualifying. Preece won the CBYD 150 in August despite qualifying 15th, and he won the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 in June after qualifying second. While of those events were impound races where drivers had to qualify with their race setups in the car, Preece will be looking for a repeat performance of the NAPA Spring Sizzler, where he qualified on pole on Saturday and raced to a third place finish on Sunday.
“We can go for a fast lap on Saturday rather than tightening the car up and hoping for the best,” said Preece. “The strategy will be to lead a lap, lead the most laps, and try to win the race. Taking advantage of the bonus points and winning races is what’s going to win the championship. I’ve never really been a points racer. I try to not do anything stupid but it’s all about winning and that’s all you can do. The bonus points have been key for us. Without the bonus points, I don’t know if we’d be where we are.”
Preece and Pitkat have been running the full SK Modified® schedule at Stafford this season whereas Coby has not run any SK Modified® events this year. Despite the extra seat time, Preece doesn’t think that experience gives him or Pitkat a leg up over Coby when the Tour comes to Stafford.
“I don’t really think it gives us an advantage,” said Preece. “I think Doug, Phil Moran, and the whole 2 team just haven’t had the luck that Woody and myself have had this year. It seems like between Doug, Woody, and myself, we’ve all had three different types of seasons and these last couple of races are going to be crucial. All we can really do is keep on doing what we’ve been doing all year long.”
The Whelen Modified Tour cars will qualify for the NAPA Fall Final 150 on Saturday, Oct. 3rd before hitting the track for 150 laps on Sunday, Oct. 4th. Saturday’s racing card will also feature heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions along with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, DARE Stock, and Legend Cars divisions. Sunday’s action kicks off with the NAPA Pit Party from 11am-12noon with the SK Modifieds® taking the green flag at 1pm followed by the Late Model and Whelen Modified Tour feature events. Tickets for the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. All NAPA Fall Final tickets are good for admission on both Saturday and Sunday and ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Visit your local participating NAPA Auto Parts Store for discount ticket offers.
For more information on the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.