It’s difficult to find a race car that’s been stronger at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) over the past few years than those owned by Eddie Partridge. He’s made the trip south to Florida with a variety of drivers, but one thing has always remained constant: his red and white Modified always manages to find its way into victory lane.
When Partridge heads south next week for the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing it will be with his new driver for this year’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, and that driver believes that with a little bit of luck they’ll be the team beat all week long.
“I think we have everything we need to win races,” Ryan Preece told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Eddie and Connie have given us everything we need. We’ve got the motors, the cars, everything. I definitely think we are a car that can win every single night, but we just have to have those situations and not tear anything up.”
Preece, the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, scored his first ever win in a Tour-Type Modified at New Smyrna back in 2008, but since then he hasn’t been able to break back into victory lane. Part of the reason for that has been the dominance displayed by Partridge’s team. Last year Partridge’s team won the World Series Tour-Type Modified championship with Ron Silk behind the wheel of the No. 6 machine. Silk scored three wins last year as well.
“It would mean a lot (to win again at New Smyrna),” said Preece. “Just because I’ve finished second to Eddie so many times, and now we are going down with him. The way Eddie talks about Speedweeks, this is the week he loves. So to run well for them would mean a lot.”
The Preece-Partridge combination was announced just after last year’s NWMT season came to an end. The duo immediately found success by winning the John Blewett III Memorial North South Shootout at Caraway Speedway (NC) last November. Preece believes that they’ll see a lot of success this year, and that it all starts with Speedweeks.
“It definitely plays a big part,” said Preece. “Anytime you’re racing if you run well, it’s always going to set you up to run well somewhere else.”
So what does one have to do to have a good week at New Smyrna?
“The hard part of Speedweeks is not tearing anything up,” Preece said.
That’s tough to do at the fast Florida oval that has a reputation for being a track of survival, though, isn’t it?
“It depends on who you are and your type of style,” said Preece. “If you’re somebody that is going to go for that hole that is a bit questionable, then yes it can be like that. But if you’re someone that is smart and thinks before you do it, it’s really just like any other track. The only difference is now you’re racing basically seven nights in a row instead of having a week off in between each race.
“But I think we are going to be in good shape. I’m looking forward to it. New Smyrna Speedweeks has to be the most fun you’ll ever have in racing.”
As excited as Preece is to head to Florida, there’s just one change he wishes he could make to his Speedweeks itinerary.
“I wish I could get a Super Late Model ride together to race twice a night, but I don’t think that’ll happen this year,” he said.
The 49th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing begins on February 13 and continues until February 21. Major Tour-Type Modified events during the week include the John Blewett III Memorial 76 on Wednesday, February 18 and the Richie Evans Memorial 100 on Friday, February 20.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.newsmyrnaspeedway.org.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com