With one race remaining on the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, silly season has arrived and a former champion is right in the middle of the rumors.
Following the announcement that Ron Silk will not return to the TS Haulers No. 6 in 2015, social media and insider speculation has indicated that 2013 NWMT champion Ryan Preece could be the driver replacing Silk behind the driver’s seat of the Ed Partridge-owned ride.
Partridge told RaceDayCT on Monday afternoon that Preece was one of the leading candidates for the seat and that he was “waiting to see what Ryan does” before making his decision.
In a phone interview with Speed51.com on Tuesday, Preece dispelled rumors that anything has been agreed upon with Partridge, or any other team for that matter, for 2015. Preece clarified that his only focus at this point is the Thompson World Series this weekend with the Flamingo Motorsports No. 16 team.
“I’m focused on going to the World Series and trying to win two straight to finish out the 2014 season,” Preece told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I really don’t have anything. It’s not that I can’t say anything. There’s nothing to report. A lot of it was all rumors and that’s pretty much where it is.”
As a member of the NASCAR Next program, the 23-year-old Connecticut native has his sights set on taking the next step in his racing career. Racing for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Preece scored a 14th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway earlier this year. He will make his next start for Tommy Baldwin Racing on Saturday, November 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (FL) and has hopes that the stars will align for him to make the jump to one of NASCAR top-three series in the near future.
“There’s quite a bit involved with this,” said Preece. “I’m trying to take the next step with my racing career, but at the same time if that doesn’t work out I’m still going to be racing around here. Pretty much after this weekend I’ll sit down and start figuring out what I’m doing for 2015.”
Preece did tell Speed51.com that “multiple people,” including Partridge, have reached out to him about 2015, but denied any sort of agreement between himself and another team. At this point, he plans on sitting down with Flamingo Motorsports owner Eric Sanderson at the end of the season to discuss their future plans.
“He (Partridge) talked to me about two or three weeks ago about possibly driving for him, but it’s just one of those deals right now where there’s nothing set in stone,” said Preece. “I’ve talked to multiple people and multiple people have reached out to me, but I owe it to the Flamingo Motorsports team and my car owner to give them my all.
“Eric has given me a great opportunity the past three years. For me to sign something up or do something behind Eric’s back wouldn’t be right of me, but it seems like other people like to stir up trouble. It’s unfortunate, but like I said Eric Sanderson and that whole 16 team has done nothing but great things for me. They’ve worked hard since day one and I wouldn’t expect any less and I know I’m going to give them all 110-percent this weekend.”
For Preece, who is coming off of his first win of the 2014 season with the No. 16 team at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT), the rumors and reports going around are simply that.
“Apparently a lot of people out there know more than I do,” joked Preece. “People try to manipulate you and turn it into something it isn’t, but that’s pretty much it. Right now I’m just focused on this weekend and just trying to win.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com