STAFFORD, Conn. — Returning to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour full-time this year, Ryan Preece was itching to get back into Victory Lane.
He accomplished that goal Sunday in the 46th running of the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway.
He took the lead from race leader Doug Coby with 13 laps to go and drove away with his first career Spring Sizzler victory behind the wheel of his No. 6 TS Haulers Chevrolet.
The win was his first since August of 2015 at Bristol Motor Speedway and his first of the newly unified Whelen Modified Tour. Preece, who previously had won 15 times on the Whelen Modified Tour and three times on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour, spent last year driving full-time on the NASCAR XFINITY Series and made just 10 starts between the two tours.
More importantly for Preece, his sixth victory at the Stafford half-mile came in the track’s prestigious spring race.
“This means more to me than my first tour win, it was so much hard work,” said an emotional Preece in the press box after the win. “My grandfather has won this race. There are just so many things that come to my head right now. I started racing a modified when I was 12 or 13 years old.”
Preece led 55 laps. Doug Coby, who set the track record en route to his sixth straight Coors Light Pole at the track Saturday, led a race-high 142. But a late caution helped set up Preece’s pass for the lead. While Coby snagged the lead back on the Lap 192 restart, Preece quickly powered back to the front.
Chase Dowling finished third. The 18-year-old won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 40-lap SK Modified division feature earlier in the day.
Eric Goodale led three laps and finished fourth, and Ted Christopher was fifth.
Rowan Pennink, Craig Lutz, Ron Silk, Justin Bonsignore and David Sapienza rounded out the top 10.
Pennink took the championhip points lead by one over Timmy Solomito. Bonsignore is third, 16 behind Pennink and leading a pack of six drivers — including Preece in fifth — separated by just eight points.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, on May 13.
|1||4||6||Ryan Preece||TS Hauler Chevrolet||200||47||4||Running|
|2||1||2||Doug Coby||Mayhew Tools Chevrolet||200||44||2||Running|
|3||6||15||Chase Dowling||15-40 Connection Chevrolet||200||41||Running|
|4||3||58||Eric Goodale||GAF Roofing Chevrolet||200||41||1||Running|
|5||9||0||Ted Christopher||Brad Brady Racing Chevrolet||200||39||Running|
|6||8||3||Rowan Pennink||Cape Cod Copper Chevrolet||200||38||Running|
|7||13||56||Craig Lutz||Lutz Motorsports Chevrolet||200||37||Running|
|8||7||82||Ron Silk||Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet||200||36||Running|
|9||5||51||Justin Bonsignore||Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet||200||35||Running|
|10||16||36||Dave Sapienza||SAP Enterprise Chevrolet||200||34||Running|
|11||12||16||Timmy Solomito||Starrett Tools Ford||200||33||Running|
|12||17||46||Woody Pitkat||Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet||200||32||Running|
|13||15||64||Rob Summers||Hoosier Tire East/Fast Track Elect/Hughes Motors||200||31||Running|
|14||19||89||Matt Swanson||Starrett Tools Ford||199||30||Running|
|15||22||4||Gary Putnam||Curb Records Chevrolet||198||29||Running|
|16||21||17||Kyle Ellwood||First Data/Clover Chevrolet||198||28||Running|
|17||24||33||Wade Cole||Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil Ford||197||27||Running|
|18||26||78||Walter Sutcliffe Jr. *||Last Minute Racing Chevrolet||193||26||Mechanical|
|19||10||48||Shawn Solomito||Eastport Feeds Chevrolet||189||25||Running|
|20||18||28||George Brunnhoelzl III||Dunleavys Repair Chevrolet||186||24||Running|
|21||14||20||Max Zachem||MPZ Motorsports/Lu-Macs Chevrolet||175||23||Accident|
|22||11||7||Donny Lia||Bardahl Chevrolet||169||22||Accident|
|23||2||85||Todd Szegedy||Montanari Fuel/Stuarts Auto/J&R Pre-Cast Chevrolet||148||21||Brakes|
|24||27||1||Melissa Fifield||Eastern Propane & Oil Chevrolet||83||20||Mechanical|
|25||23||39||Calvin Carroll *||Power with Prestige/Cruising w/Betty Chevrolet||79||19||Overheating|
|26||20||24||Andrew Krause||Supreme Manufacturing Chevrolet||64||18||Mechanical|
|27||28||92||Anthony Nocella||Nocella Paving/Airgas Chevrolet||50||17||Mechanical|
|28||25||38||Gary Byington *||Perf Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan’s Chevrolet||5||16||Accident|
Fastest Qualifier: Doug Coby, Time: 17.896 Seconds, Speed: 100.581 mph
Time of Race: 1 hrs., 29 mins, 9 secs Average Speed: 67.302 mph Margin of Victory: 0.220 Seconds
Caution Flags: Laps 6-11; 42-47; 61-65; 74-77; 81-85; 155-160; 168-172; 176-181; 189-191. 9 for 46 laps.
Lap Leaders: Doug Coby 1-44, Ryan Preece 45-86, Doug Coby 87-162, Eric Goodale 163-165, Doug Coby 166-186, Ryan Preece 187-191, Doug Coby 192, Ryan Preece 193-200.
Total Laps Led: Doug Coby 142, Ryan Preece 55, Eric Goodale 3. 7 changes involving 3 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: Rowan Pennink 124, Timmy Solomito 123, Justin Bonsignore 108, Eric Goodale 106, Ryan Preece 104, Woody Pitkat 104, Max Zachem 103, Matt Swanson 100, Ron Silk 96, Rob Summers 92
Next Race:Langley Speedway, May 13
* Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender