Race car drivers always have more fun when they’re winning, and right now Berlin, Connecticut’s Ryan Preece is having a whole lot of fun. Piloting a brand new TS Haulers No. 6 car at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) on Friday night, Preece powered to the lead for the final time on lap 108 and went on to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour TSI Harley-Davidson 125.
“I think we obviously led the most laps and maximized everything we could today,” Preece told Speed51.com powered by JEGs. “On the long run, (the car) would start to slide a little bit and that would lose the forward drive. But on the short run, this car when I step on that peddle, it just drives off the corner and makes it a lot of fun for me.”
The win for Preece is his second straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win after picking up a win six days ago at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (CT). But it didn’t come easy.
After taking the lead from Doug Coby during the early stages of the race, Preece had dominated the majority of the race until the yellow flag waved on lap 101 of the 125-lap event. That’s when a decision had to be made. Pit or don’t pit? Two tires or three tires?
His TS Haulers No. 6 team led by crew chief Tommy Grosso decided to take the maximum three tires and it was a decision that later paid off. Preece would exit pit road fourth and use the fresh rubber under him to take the top spot back in just four laps.
“When we were under red flag, we were sitting there and Tommy, Eddie and I were all talking about if we should take two tires,” Preece explained. “I told (crew chief) Tommy (Grasson), I’m 100-percent with my crew chief and I’ll stand by him just like he’ll stand by me. I really didn’t want to take two and I’m glad we didn’t. There were only 14 cars on the lead lap. I felt like that was a great choice and Tommy made a great call.”
Woody Pitkat used a power move to the inside of Timmy Solomito in the final turn on the final lap to steal the runner-up spot, while Solomitio hung on for third. Former NWMT champions Todd Szegedy and Bobby Santos completed the top-five.
For Preece, Friday’s win is the latest example of why he’s happy with the decision he made in the offseason to join the Eddie Partridge-owned team. While he still remains thankful for all he accomplished with the Flamingo Motorsports team, he’s really enjoying the more intense racing schedule with his new team.
“It’s not that I didn’t enjoy where I was at,” said Preece. “It’s just that I’m a racer and I wanted to race. Unfortunately, the team that I was with was strictly the Tour. It was all great stuff. Eric was a great owner and a great guy and I love talking to him. It worked out like it was a better fit for me and I think it’s shown. “
Preece will continue his busy schedule over the course of the next week by racing four days at three tracks in two states. He will compete in next Wednesday’s NWMT event at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) before re-visiting Thompson on Friday for the NWMT road course test. After that, he’ll make his way back to Stafford for SK Modified action on Friday night and wrap up the weekend by competing in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series event at Monadnock Speedway (NH).
“That’s a lot of racing for a week, at least driving a race car and that makes it fun,” Preece stated. “It was so cool when Eddie came over the radio and said, “Man, I’m happy I hooked up with you.” We’re racing, we’re having a good time and times like this aren’t always happening. You’re not going to win every race and you’re not going to run well every race, but we’re going to try to and we’re obviously having a ball.”
For on-demand coverage of Friday night’s event, check out NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com