Just a few hours after coming up two points short of Ted Christopher in the 2014 SK Modified championship standings at Stafford Motor Speedway, Ryan Preece was out for revenge when the two drivers took to the track for the 150-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour feature on Sunday afternoon.
When it came down to a green-white-checkered restart, Preece wasn’t about to be the bridesmaid once again. After battling side-by-side for the final two laps of the race, the Berlin, Connecticut driver inched up in front of Christopher coming off of turn four on the final lap and powered under the checkered flag as the winner of the 2014 NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final.
“It’s a hell of a way to almost end the season,” said Preece. “We were pretty good in the first half. Obviously Bobby (Santos) was the class of the field in the first half. We came in and my pit crew got me off first. They got me a lot of track position. My crew chief Sly Szaban and I discussed what the car was doing. He made the decision and we won the race. The car was pretty damn phenomenal.”
On the final restart, there was slight contact made between the two leaders on the white flag lap. Christopher didn’t get very worked up about it, but did make a note that he thought eight wheel worked better than four at the end.
“We probably had the two best cars, the both of us,” said Christopher. “He hasn’t won in a while, so it is what it is. I got the championship from him, so I guess he didn’t want me to get the race, too.”
Ron Silk, who didn’t make his pit stop for tires until lap 138, made a late charge to grab the final podium spot. Tommy Barrett, Jr. and Patrick Emerling completed the top-five.
Preece’s win on Sunday afternoon puts an end to a winless streak that dated back to his last NWMT win at Riverhead Raceway (NY) on September 14, 2013. To get the win and prove that his team can still get the job done gives Preece motivation heading into the final race of the season and looking forward to 2015.
“To win on the Whelen Modified Tour is not easy,” said Preece. I think guys can tell you that. There were guys that were dominating at the beginning of the year and they’re now struggling to run in the top-five. When you’re sitting around and it’s beating at you, and you’re not racing a lot on the tour, it is like, ‘am I going to get to victory lane this season?’”
Earlier in the day, Preece scored the checkered flag in the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature but came up two points short of Christopher in the championship standings. He was hesitant on his answer when asked if revenge was on his mind during the green-white-checkered finish in the NWMT race later in the day.
“No,” Preece answered at first. “Well yeah (it was) but I did everything I could in that SK deal. That was probably the most bittersweet victory lane I’ve ever had. As much as I really wanted it, pulling up to victory lane in the Tour Mod with all of the stuff we’ve had go wrong this year and everybody looking at us like what happened from last year, to pull in there kind of trumped everything.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action for the final time on October 18-19 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) for the World Series. Doug Coby, who finished eighth on Sunday, will enter that event with a 28 point lead over Christopher in the championship standings.
For a full on-demand replay of Sunday’s event at Stafford, please visit NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com coverage by clicking here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
NWMT NAPA Fall Final Official Results
September 28, 2014 – Stafford Springs, Connecticut
|4||22||Tommy Barrett, Jr.|