For the second straight year, Ryan Preece found himself celebrating in New Smyrna Speedway’s victory lane after dominating the Richie Evans Memorial 100 to close out the Tour-Type Modified portion of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
However, for a little while in the closing stages on Friday night, it started to seem as though Preece might lose the lead to Eric Goodale, similar to how Ron Silk scored the win earlier in the week.
Preece came off of turn four with just a handful of laps remaining and decided to go to the inside of the lapped Jeremy Gerstner machine. He and Gerstner almost made contact, and that allowed Goodale to close in to just a few car lengths behind.
“I almost thought we were going to lose it there with that lapped car,” Preece said on the FansChoice.TV broadcast.
Goodale tried to close in on Preece after receiving the assist from Gerstner, but couldn’t close enough and had to settle for second. JR Bertuccio, Jimmy Zacharias and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five.
“We had very similar cars there at the end,” Goodale said. “I would have really loved to have won this race. I gave it everything I had there at the end of those final 15 laps, but I just came up a little bit short there tonight.”
The 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion skipped the first practice session on Friday afternoon to practice for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway. While he was at the big track, Preece’s TS Haulers team owned by Eddie and Connie Partridge continued to work to get the car ready.
“It was a tick tight there at the end, but it just had massive amounts of front end drive,” said Preece. “My crew put in a lot of hard work when I wasn’t here today and we just had a flawless car.”
The win on Friday night, the second of the week for Preece, clinched him his second straight Tour-Type Modified championship at New Smyrna Speedway.
This is the second victory in a row for Preece in the Richie Evans Memorial 100, who said this one is just as special as the first time he won the race named in memory of arguably the greatest Modified driver in history.
“It’s pretty special,” he said. “I didn’t grow up in that era. I wasn’t fortunate enough to race with guys like him. But I’m racing with my era and winning in it and hopefully I can make a name for myself so 30 years down the road from now kids that were my age can say they were looking up to me and wish they could have raced with me.”
For an on-demand recap of Friday’s NASCAR Hometracks Race Central Live coverage, click here.
Full replays of Friday night’s racing can be seen on Saturday on FansChoice.TV.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Richie Evans Memorial 100
New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna Beach, Florida