Ryan Preece of and his TS Haulers team indeed had plans to run their NASCAR Modified on a quarter-mile race track Saturday, but that track was to be in New Hampshire, not Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. When the planned race Preece and his team hoped to run was rained out at the Monadnock Speedway they changed course and headed south and by the time the 67-lap NASCAR Modified race was completed at Riverhead the former NASCAR WMT champion notched his 16th career win at the historic quarter-mile oval.
Qualifying found Dillon Steuer turning in the fastest lap at 11.955 followed by defending champion Shawn Solomito’s 11,971. Solomito would draw the outside pole in the redraw while Steuer drew third with Dave Brigati picking the pole. At the throw of the green Solomito would lead the first lap on the outside before Brigati roared back on the inside to lead laps two through four before he was passed on lap 5 by Dillon Steuer for the top spot. After Brigati ran second to Steuer from laps five through eleven Solomito made his way under Brigati on a 11th lap double file restart. Solomito wasted little time in making a bid for the lead on lap 12 but he and Steuer would have momentary contact which allowed former three time champion Howie Brode to race his way the top two cars for the lead. Another former three time champion John Fortin Sr. moved to second when Brode took the lead but John was quickly under attack from Ryan Preece who raced his way to third after starting the race from the spot.
On lap 16 Preece dispatched of Fortin and quickly reeled in leader Brode who had pulled away from the pack. Over the following 18 laps Brode and Preece played a high game speed of cat & mouse with Preece sizing up Brode looking both high and low. Preece would seize the opportunity on lap 34 when he went high on Brode entering the first turn but by the time the duo raced off the second corner Ryan had crossed over to the inside exiting the second turn. By the time the tandem hit the third turn Preece would indeed be the new race leader, a lead he would not surrender for the remainder of the race.
“What can I say about my team,” Preece commented afterwards. “We were all ready to run the MTS race at Monadnock, but when that got called off Eddie & Connie Partridge called me and asked me if I’d head to Long Island. I looked at my wife Heather and she gave me the nod of approval and here we are.
“We hastily put together our L.I. team to do this deal tonight a big thank you to those guys”
As for his tussle with Brode for the lead, “Howie and I ran really hard but really clean, I knew if I could catch him off one of the corners I’d be able to get by.”
Howie Brode of East Islip was runner-up in the Petro Home Services Chevy while Shawn Solomito of Center Moriches placed third in the Eastport Feeds Chevy. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead back in his family car was fourth while championship leader John Fortin of Holtsville rounded out the top five.
NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Ryan Preece 2. Howie Brode 3. Shawn Solomito 4. Tom Rogers Jr. 5. John Fortin Sr. 6. Dillon Steuer 7. John Fortin Jr. 8. Chris Young 9. Dave Brigati 10. Jerry Solomito Jr. 11. Cory Midgett 12. Ken Heagy 13. John Baker 14. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 15. Vinny Biondolillo 16. Kyle Ellwood
-Riverhead Raceway Press Release. Photo credit: Ryan Preece Twitter