In the nights leading up to the John Blewett III Memorial 76, Ryan Preece was untouchable once he was able to find his way to the front. It looked to be that way yet again until the closing laps during the Wednesday edition of the 49th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL).
Preece and four-for-four fast qualifier Chuck Hossfeld had to climb from the fifth row after a 10-car invert, and it would actually take the two-time winner some extra laps to get his No. 6 Tour-Type Modified into the lead compared to past nights.
A yellow flag on lap 16 would bunch the field, in which Preece would shoot past Cole Powell on the restart for the top spot. Powell would hold the second position until the Canadian youngster dropped off the pace on lap 61. A caution would fly for an unrelated incident one lap later.
When the race resumed Preece pulled ahead once again, but would not stretch the advantage as much ahead of Long Islanders Justin Bonsignore and Eric Goodale. A few laps later Goodale would take second and set his sights on Preece.
The golden opportunity would come for Goodale with two laps remaining as he dove low in turn three and successfully made the pass out of turn four. The former Richie Evans Memorial 100 winner, who was only racing for the second time after spending some time at home with his wife and newborn son, pitted early for adjustments and did not think he necessarily had the best car for most of the race.
“I didn’t ever feel like we were going to pass very good throughout the whole race, but everybody else kept falling off and we kept catching them,” Goodale said on the FansChoice.TV powered by Speed51.com broadcast. “I’m not going to lie, Preece started to bobble there at the end and I was going to do whatever it took to get by him. I wasn’t going to let him win for the fourth night in a row.”
Bonsignore took advantage of Preece’s ill-handling machine to take over second in the final finishing order. Meanwhile, Preece was not overly disappointed and chalked it up as preparation for this Friday night’s race.
“It got loose in, it got loose in the center and I lost my drive up off,” Preece explained. “Once I lost my drive it was pretty much over. I think we know what we need to do for the 100 lapper to make it as good as it was early on so I think we’ll be alright.”
J.R. Bertuccio and Hossfeld had a good side by side battle going for much of the race and rounded out the top five.
All of the action on Thursday night can be viewed for free on the FansChoice.TV powered by Speed51.com broadcast. You can also check out the FansChoice.TV website for on-demand video beginning at 8 a.m. ET, as well as see a full on-demand recap on NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com by clicking here.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @Aaron_Creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
John Blewett III Memorial 76 Results
|4||2||J.R. Bertuccio, Jr.||76|
|18||73||Paul Hartwig, Jr.||15|