DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If history repeats itself, sign Ryan Preece up for that.
Preece enters Wednesday’s Mr. Rooter 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park as winner of the two previous events. The last driver to win three-consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races? That would be Preece. The year? It was 2013, his championship season.
While the order of events may be a bit different – in 2013 he won consecutive races at Stafford Motor Speedway, New London-Waterford Speedbowl and Riverhead Raceway while this year it would be Waterford-Stafford-Thompson – both streaks would take place in races No. 3-5 on the schedule.
If Preece is to match the feat, both streaks would be impressive from a durability standpoint as well. His three-consecutive 2013 wins came across 16 days while this year’s stretch would span just 13.
It’s been quite a run of late on the Whelen Modified Tour for the Berlin, Connecticut, native. Preece closed 2014 with victories in the last two events, which combined with his latest triumphs, gives him wins in four of the last six tour dates. That collection of checkered flags includes last year’s finale at Thompson.
It took 28 races across seven years for Preece to finally earn a trip to Victory Lane at the famed Connecticut oval. Doug Coby won the opener there this year, but if history does repeat itself, Thompson will become the fourth track where Preece has multiple wins.
The Race: The Mr. Rooter 125 will be the fourth of 15 points races on the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule, and the second of four events at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field per the official entry blank is 31 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 125 laps (78.125 miles) and is an impound event with three change tires allowed.
The Track: A .625-mile high-banked oval that opened in 1940, Thompson was the first entirely asphalt track in the nation, and was the largest in New England for five decades. Thompson has played host to 127 Whelen Modified Tour races all-time, more than any other track, and is one of two facilities to welcome the tour in each of its 31 years of competition.
Race Winners: There have been 34 different race winners at Thompson, led by Mike Stefanik’s 15 victories. Doug Coby won from the pole in the tour’s first visit there this year, the season-opening Icebreaker 150.
Pole Winners: There have been 43 different pole winners at Thompson, led by Tony Hirschman’s 13. Bobby Santos maintains the tour’s track qualifying record at 18.237 seconds (123.376 mph), set on April 10, 2011.
Mr. Rooter 125 Notes
History of 125-Lap Thompson Races: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park has a long history of playing host to 125-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races, but this week’s Mr. Rooter 125 will be the first one since 2005. From 1991-2005 the season-ending World Series was a 125-lap event, as were other dates through the years, including a few editions of the Icebreaker. In all, 26 of the previous events 127 events at Thompson were scheduled for that distance.
Icebreaker Winner Coby Looks to Rebound: Reigning Whelen Modified Tour titlist Doug Coby has set the bar so high in recent years that a finish outside the top 10 is notable. After a win in the tour’s first trip to Thompson this year – the season-opening Icebreaker 150 – Coby finished sixth at Stafford Motor Speedway and second at New London-Waterford Speedbowl, but a late-race incident last week in the return trip to Stafford resulted in a 13th place finish. It was just his second finish outside of the top 10 in his last 19 starts.
Pitkat Staying Consistent: Woody Pitkat had a breakout year in 2014 with his first two wins and a career-best five top fives, but it didn’t translate to an improved points finish as he dealt with an up-and-down season. Through four races this year, the consistency is much better. With results of second, first, fifth and second so far, he is tied with points leader Ryan Preece for the best average finish at 2.5. Pitkat enters Wednesday’s Mr. Rooter 125 eight points behind Preece in the standings.
Bit of a Breather: The Mr. Rooter 125 will end a run of three races in 12 days, which is tied for the busiest stretch on the 2015 schedule along with a run in August. The Whelen Modified Tour will now have 16 days off before the Riverhead Hoosier Tire East 200 on June 27 at Riverhead Raceway, and then another 19 days until New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s race weekend begins.
Home Tracks: Opener to Preece
To commemorate its 75th season of auto racing, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park opened its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program on Icebreaker 2015 weekend with a 75-lap Sunoco Modified feature. Ryan Preece, the reigning track champion out of the Sunoco Mod division, got off to a fast start in his title defense with a victory in the only feature race so far this year.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com