A week of ups and downs ended on a high note for Ryan Preece Friday night at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). Preece took the lead from Matt Hirschman on lap 65 and drove away for his third career Richie Evans Memorial 100 victory.
For Preece, the win this time around means even more given that this year’s race honored the late Ted Christopher.
“To win this race is a big deal because it’s named after Teddy and named after Richie,” Preece said on the FansChoice.TV broadcast. “Teddy was somebody I raced with and he never gave me an inch. He’s pushed me to be the racer I am today. To win this race down here where he used to come, this was his playground, so to win this 100-lapper with his name and Richie’s name means a lot to me. Obviously, I finished the race, so that’s even better.”
Preece’s victory comes after a rollercoaster ride during Florida Speedweeks. A week that began with his No. 6 going for a wild ride at Bronson Speedway (FL) included a pair of DNFs at New Smyrna before ending with a victory in the biggest race of them all.
“I was a little nervous there with about 10 to go,” Preece said. “The car really started to free up and had a twitch but apparently (Hirschman) must have been loosening up or tightening up too. We had a really good race car. (We) really haven’t had the best week here. We had to change a clutch earlier and we’ve had issues all week.”
After leading over half of the 100-lap race, Hirschman held on to finish second and win his first World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing championship. The championship was also the first for the Hirschman family.
“We had a good week and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Hirschman said of the championship. “All of the times we’ve come down here I’ve never left satisfied with the week we had. I’m still a little disappointed in what he had. We had a good solid week, we did some things that we never did before and checked some things off the list.”
Although Hirschman was slightly disappointed with his performance at some points during the week, he recognizes the difficulty of what he accomplished.
“I always say that the Turkey Derby is the hardest day of the year for racing, running the two classes we do there, but this is by far the hardest thing with the week-long racing here at New Smyrna,” he said. “It’s an experience for sure, but I’m still probably not going to leave here quite satisfied.”
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitor Timmy Solomito recorded his best finish of the week with a third-place finish. Ron Silk and Jimmy Blewett rounded out the top five.
For on-demand Trackside Now coverage of the Richie Evans Memorial 100, click here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Richie Evans Memorial 100 Unofficial Results
New Smyrna Speedway (FL) – February 16, 2018
|8||83||Mike Willis, Jr.|