Ryan Preece had a no-quit attitude on Wednesday night at the historic Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The driver from Berlin, Connecticut received a penalty for over-aggressive driving on lap 10 and worked his way back to the front by lap 20 to win his second NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Sunoco Modified feature in two events held at the Thompson, Connecticut oval in 2015.
After starting from the ninth position, Preece and division rival Keith Rocco traded blows as they worked their way towards the front of the field. One lap after “receiving a shot” from Rocco, Preece sailed his No. 31 into turn three on lap 8 and made hard contact with Rocco sending him up the race track towards the wall. Rocco would lose a number of spots as a result of the contact, while Preece would continue on with a warning from race director Scott Tapley.
One lap later, while battling for the third position with Ed Puleo and Shawn Thibeault, Preece made contact with Thibeault sending him towards the wall to bring out the caution. He would be penalized by race officials and sent to the rear of the field for over-aggressive driving.
“I said it to (Spotter) (Shawn) Waddell, I feel really bad for Shawn,” said Preece. “When I get home, I’m going to go over to his house and give him five-hundred dollars to fix his car. I feel horrible for it. I feel bad. I misjudged. I didn’t know that Puleo car was going to lift as early as he did and I just whacked Shawn.”
Despite being apologetic for the contact with Thibeault, Preece said he had nothing to be sorry for when it came to the contact with Rocco.
“As far as the contact (with Rocco) goes, I feel like it was an even score,” Preece told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “He whacked me and my toe is knocked in. It was an even score and hard racing.”
Restarting from the tail end of the field, Preece sliced and diced his way back to the front while avoiding some of the carnage in front of him. He made his way to the second spot by lap 18 and took over the lead from early leader Cam McDermott on a lap 19 restart. A number of late race restarts would prove to not be a challenge for the defending Sunoco Modified champion as he pulled his No. 31 into victory lane once again.
“(The car) was pretty good. I’m just really upset about how I got into Shawn Thibeault there. That dampens the win right there, but like I said these guys gave me a great car.”
On a night that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was in town for the Mr. Rooter 125, fellow Tour drivers Woody Pitkat and Rocco finished second and third, respectively. Cam McDermott and Kerry Malone completed the top-five.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returns to action on July 28 for round three of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.
Sunoco Modifieds Unofficial Results
Pos. No. Driver Laps Completed
1 31 Ryan Preece 30
2 6 Woody Pitkat 30
3 16 Keith Rocco 30
4 5RI Cam McDermot 30
5 79 Kerry Malone 30
6 07 Bert Marvin 30
7 38 Nick Ladyga 30
8 8 Ryan Morgan 30
9 7 Andrew Charron30
10 52 John Catania 30
11 36 Jay Sundeen 23
12 1M Adam Norton 22
13 2MA John Studley 22
14 54 Joey Parker 17
15 71 Ed Puleo 9
16 56 Shawn Thibeault9
17 67 Jim Harrison 7