If it was his choice, Ryan Preece would be behind the wheel of a race car every day of the week. The Berlin, Connecticut driver has proved in recent years that he will race anything, anywhere, at any time.
When it was recently announced that Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) would be hosting a test for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams on Friday, June 12, Preece and his group of dedicated supporters jumped on the opportunity. Unfortunately, that scheduled test was later canceled due to the lack of teams confirming their attendance for the event.
Despite many teams asking for the test prior to the announcement, only a handful of teams actually showed interest to compete when push came to shove. But the lack of interest from other NWMT teams and the cancelation of the event will not stop Preece from turning left and right on the 1.7-mile Connecticut road course. The current NWMT points leader confirmed to Speed51.com powered by JEGS on Thursday that he will be testing at the track on Wednesday, June 17.
“It’s nice that (TSMP general manager) Josh (Vanada) was able to make that happen because we put a lot of time and effort into getting that car done to go do it,” Preece said in a phone interview. “I understand obviously from a business standpoint to pull the plug on Friday, but it’s good though. We’re going to go on Wednesday now.”
For the test session, which will be on a scheduled Member Day at the track, Preece will be piloting his family-owned No. 40 Modified with support from the TS Haulers team that he drives for on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The TS Haulers team, which is owned by Eddie Partridge and led by crew chief Tommy Grasso, has provided Preece with the transmission, motor and front end parts to compete in the test.
“We have everything on there,” Preece explained. “The amount of lead we have on the right side of the car is crazy. It took a lot of time to get it done, but it’s done and I’m curious to see how it goes. It’s all set up right. It’s not like it’s somewhat set up for a road course, its 100-percent set up for a road course.”
In one career NWMT road course start, Preece finished fourth at Lime Rock Park (CT) in 2010. He explained that he will treat the road course like any other race track he competes on.
“I have done a little bit of instructing and a lot of messing around like go-kart stuff,” Preece said about his experience road course racing. “I’ve always liked it; it’s just that I’ve never really had the opportunity to try it. Really, it’s just a race car and a race track. You figure it out as quickly as you can and then try to go as fast as you can.”
Throughout the day next Wednesday, Preece will receive 15-20 minute practice sessions in between sessions for members of the state-of-the-art facility. The Berlin, Connecticut driver is hoping to use the session to gain additional experience on a road course, and also have a little bit of fun.
“We kind of had a deal where it was like a joke that if we won Waterford then we would go do that test,” Preece said. “So, I won Waterford and Tommy said he’d hold up his end of the deal. We all worked our butt off trying to get that car done. Obviously it’s going to be a lot of fun for me. I’ve got all my Go Pro (cameras) ready to go. That’s something I’m going to want to throw up on YouTube, that’s going to be pretty cool.
“To go up there with a Modified, they’re going to fly. It’s going to be awesome.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com