After what he deemed to be a successful debut at Virginia’s Richmond International Raceway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece is going to make another start with fenders. This time it’ll be at the K&N East season finale on the high banks of the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware.
Preece will be driving the no. 36 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet owned by Ted Marsh. He raced for Mike Hillman at Richmond, but this won’t be the first time Preece and Marsh have worked together.
“I ran Ted’s car at Bowman Gray in practice,” Preece told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s funny how things work. He wanted me to run for him at Dover. I was waiting to hear back from Mike Hillman because I told them after Richmond that if he wanted to go to Dover I would. I didn’t end up going with them so I called Ted up right away. I’ve always wanted to race with Ted. He’s a really good guy and they’re a really good team. I’m fortunate enough to be going down with them.”
The 24-year-old Berlin, Connecticut native is in the midst of a tight championship battle with Woody Pitkat in the Modified division. Preece leads Pitkat by one point heading to the Fall Final at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway, the penultimate race of the season. He’ll be doing double-duty that weekend as the K&N East race at Dover is Friday, October 2, the same weekend as the Fall Final.
“Obviously in going to Stafford I have to try to win that race and lead laps for the championship,” Preece said. “That’s crucial so that’s what we have to try to do. It will be a successful weekend as a whole if we win that race (at Dover), and Stafford. That’s what I want to do. It’s going to be our first race together but I have complete faith in them to give me a great race car.”
Preece started 35th at Richmond as a result of qualifying being rained out and finished 13th in a rain-shortened event. He said he thought that he could have gotten into the top 10 if he got one more restart, but overall he was satisfied with is debut.
“I don’t feel like we got to show everything that we had that night because we didn’t get to qualify and started 35th,” he said. ” But I feel like we’ll be good at Dover. They seem like they have a really good group of guys and great equipment.”
He explained that he leaned heavily on former K&N East winner Corey LaJoie at Richmond, and he believes that he learned a lot about what to expect before going to the fast one-mile oval of Dover International Speedway.
“Aero is definitely involved with those cars whereas in a Modified it’s not,” he said. “Corey and I were talking about changes we had made during practice. Going back and looking at the experiences I had, we both agreed after the race that we wished we hadn’t made one of those changes that we made. It was definitely a positive learning experience. It’s totally different than a Modified in how they drive and how you want it to drive. But it was a very successful day.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com