Ryan Preece started 12th out of 17 cars at Riverhead Raceway (NY) on Saturday night, but it only took him 66 laps to find the lead during the second running of the Islip 300.
Preece, the Berlin, Connecticut native, was the dominant car all night as he worked the outside lane for the 300-lap event on Eastern Long Island. He held off John Beatty and John Fortin Sr., who finished second and third respectively, throughout the race.
After the race’s fifth caution, the green flag waved with 30 to go, and Preece restarted from the inside row with Beatty on his outside — a decision he hadn’t made all night. But he shot out of a cannon when the green flew and never looked back.
“The track just went through a total change,” Preece said of the late run. “The VHT off the top groove wore out, and we were all running up there to keep fighting and driving our cars. At the end of the race, it was gone.
“You really had to work the right rear to free it up, and that’s what I just did.”
The victory was the 16th of Preece’s career at Riverhead.
“Ultimately, I finally hit on something to get [the car] back to how we used to run here,” Preece said. “I can’t thank these guys enough. I can’t thank Eddie and Connie [Partridge, track owners] for letting me prepare this car and nothing beats winning at Riverhead.”
Kyle Soper finished fourth, Dave Brigati fifth, and Howie Brodie, who endured a prolonged pit stop late in the race, sixth. Pole sitter Ronnie Williams finished 15th after falling off the lead lap midway through the night.
“When we went out for the first practice, it was just so awesome. I really didn’t know what to do,” Preece said. “Qualifying was a disappointment, but I knew we had a good race car.
“What makes me even more excited is the [upcoming NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour] race. For the first time, I feel I have a competitive car to come here and duke it out with guys like Justin [Bonsignore] and Eric [Goodale].”
Race fans can find on-demand coverage of Saturday’s Islip 300 by clicking here.
Islip 300 Unofficial Results
Riverhead Raceway – June 16, 2018
- 6 Ryan Preece
- 5 John Beatty Jr.
- 84 John Fortin Sr.
- 95 Kyle Soper
- 98 David Brigati
- 96 Howie Brode
- 25nj Calvin Carroll
- 34 John Fortin Jr.
- 82 Tom Rogers Jr.
- 88 Roger Turbush
- 07 John Baker
- 19 David Schneider
- 97 Artie Pedersen
- 49 Chris Young
- 2 Ronnie Williams
- 43 Eric Zeh
- 8x George Brunnhoelzl
-Story by: John Haverlin, Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com