STAFFORD, Conn. — Ryan Preece has been nearly unbeatable of late when he straps behind the wheel of a race car.
Last weekend, Preece scored his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Iowa Speedway. He marked his return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Friday at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway with another trip to Victory Lane in the Stafford 150.
The Berlin, Connecticut, driver took the lead from four-time tour champion Doug Coby on a Lap 148 restart and didn’t look back. The win was the 18th career in Whelen Modified Tour action for Preece and also his seventh at the half-mile Stafford. He won the Spring Sizzler at the track on April 30.
“I would have liked the restarts lane to go more my way, but we had a really good car tonight,” said Preece, who started in the back after having his qualifying lap disallowed for failing post-qualifying technical inspection. “It was tough to have to start in the back, but my car was in the track all day. We’ve just had a great car all year long. I enjoy doing this. I enjoy showing up and knowing what I have and being successful.”
Preece’s No. 6 TS Hauler Chevrolet crossed the the finish line 0.302 seconds ahead of Coby, while Justin Bonsignore followed in third.
Although it looked like Coby was en route to winning for the 11th time at Stafford after leading 135 laps, a few late red flags allowed the rest of the field to close to his back bumper. After a multiple car crash on the frontstretch on lap 144, Preece got his chance at Coby, lining up to his outside on a restart with just two laps remaining. When the green flag flew, Preece used the outside lane and powered around Coby going into turn one. He never looked back.
“I think the biggest thing was I had a better left-rear tire to fire (on the restart),” Preece said. “Having both fresher rear tires helped me be able to get in front of him and have the right line going into turn one.”
Timmy Solomito took the championship points lead with a fourth-place finish, while Jon McKennedy completed the top five.
Rob Summers was sixth, followed by Dave Sapienza, Craig Lutz, Gary Putnam and Matt Swanson. Rowan Pennink, who held the points lead coming into the event, finished 17th and is seven points behind Solomito. Preece is fifth in points, one behind Eric Goodale and Bonsignore and 26 back of Solomito.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Wednesday night, with the running of the Bud 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. From there, the series will visit Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 16.
|1||27||6||Ryan Preece||TS Hauler Chevrolet||150||47||4||Running|
|2||2||2||Doug Coby||Mayhew Tools/Dunleavy/AJ Romano Chevrolet||150||44||2||Running|
|3||6||51||Justin Bonsignore||Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet||150||42||1||Running|
|4||10||16||Timmy Solomito||Starrett Racing Ford||150||41||1||Running|
|5||28||0||Jon McKennedy||Brady Bunch Racing/Copeland Toyota & Chevrolet||150||40||1||Running|
|6||20||64||Rob Summers||Hoosier Tire East/Fast Track Elect/Hughes Motors||150||38||Running|
|7||14||36||Dave Sapienza||Sapienza Enterprise Chevrolet||150||37||Running|
|8||1||46||Craig Lutz||Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet||150||36||Running|
|9||17||77||Gary Putnam||Curb Records Chevrolet||150||35||Running|
|10||19||89||Matt Swanson||Starrett Racing Ford||150||34||Running|
|11||13||44||Bobby Santos||Sully Tinio/Brendan Kelley Music Chevrolet||150||33||Running|
|12||18||24||Andrew Krause||Supreme Manufacturing Chevrolet||150||32||Running|
|13||15||58||Eric Goodale||GAF Roofing Chevrolet||150||31||Running|
|14||25||78||Walter Sutcliffe Jr.||Last Minute Racing Chevrolet||150||30||Running|
|15||7||21||Ronnie Williams *||Gershow Recycling Chevrolet||148||29||Running|
|16||22||26||Gary McDonald||Lakeland Landscape /TRC Electric Chevrolet||148||28||Running|
|17||9||3||Rowan Pennink||Cape Cod Copper/USNE Chevrolet||146||27||Fuel|
|18||11||7||Woody Pitkat||Bardahl Chevrolet||144||26||Accident|
|19||5||20||Max Zachem||Course Legend/Robert B Our Chevrolet||144||25||Running|
|20||3||29||Brendon Bock||Meadow Brook Collision Chevrolet||141||24||Accident|
|21||21||39||Calvin Carroll *||Power with Prestige/Cruising w/Betty Chevrolet||119||23||Running|
|22||4||66||Shawn Solomito||New England Gear/Natural Designs/Starrett Chevrolet||111||22||Accident|
|23||16||74||CJ Lehmann *||IGA Food Markets/Applebee’s/Baldwin Automotive||105||21||Accident|
|24||8||85||Todd Szegedy||Stuarts Automotiive/J&R Pre-Cast Chevrolet||54||20||Overheating|
|25||26||33||Wade Cole||Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil Chevrolet||44||19||Accident|
|26||12||82||Ted Christopher||Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet||37||18||Accident|
|27||23||38||Dave Salzarulo||Perf Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan’s Chevrolet||26||17||Mechanical|
|28||24||1||Melissa Fifield||Eastern Propane & Oil Chevrolet||21||16||Power Steering|
Time of Race: 1 hrs., 13 mins, 38 secs Average Speed: 61.114 mph Margin of Victory: 0.302 Seconds
Caution Flags: Laps 36-41; 46-54; 61-66; 100-104; 106-109; 111-114; 126-128; 141-143; 145-147. 9 for 43 laps.
Lap Leaders: Doug Coby 1-54, Justin Bonsignore 55, Doug Coby 56-62, Ryan Preece 63, Doug Coby 64-66, Timmy Solomito 67, Doug Coby 68-102, Timmy Solomito 103, Jon McKennedy 104, Timmy Solomito 105-109, Doug Coby 110-114, Timmy Solomito 115, Doug Coby 116-143, Ryan Preece 144, Doug Coby 145-147, Ryan Preece 148-150.
Total Laps Led: Doug Coby 135, Timmy Solomito 8, Ryan Preece 5, Justin Bonsignore 1, Jon McKennedy 1. 15 changes involving 5 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: Timmy Solomito 310, Rowan Pennink 303, Eric Goodale 285, Justin Bonsignore 285, Ryan Preece 284, Doug Coby 278, Max Zachem 272, Dave Sapienza 261, Rob Summers 249, Woody Pitkat 249
Top 5 Rookie Points:
Next Race: Thompson
*Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender