Stafford Springs, CT -- With only 4 races left in the 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season at Stafford Motor Speedway, the race for the track’s SK Modified® crown is setting up for an epic conclusion to a blockbuster season. Two former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour as well as SK Modified® champions in Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher head into the final month of competition separated by only 16 points, or 8 positions on the race track. How these two competitors have arrived at the current state of play in the SK Modified® division has been a stark contrast.
Preece has been the more dominant driver thusfar, with 3 of his division leading 5 victories this season coming in the first three races. To go along with his 5 wins, Preece also has 4 second place finishes, giving him top-2 finishes in 9 of the 13 SK Modified® features run to date and a season average finish of 4.4.
Whereas Preece has been the dominant driver, Christopher has been the more consistent of the two drivers. Christopher only has 1 feature victory thusfar in 2014, but he also has 4 second place finishes and he hasn’t finished lower than 9th in any of the 13 races, while Preece has recorded two finishes outside the top-10. Both times when Preece finished outside the top-10, Christopher recorded podium finishes, which is why the two drivers are so close in the standings.
“We’ve been a top-2 car for the most part and we’ve had some luck and sometimes we’ve run a little short on luck,” said Preece. “It’s going to be one of those deals where we go out and try to win races because I’ve never been one to go points racing. Teddy has had a couple of bad weeks but I’m pretty sure he’s going to be pretty good for these last few races. I think as long as we try to keep on winning races and running up front we’ll be ok. Running hard non-stop is how I won my first SK championship and with the team, car, and sponsors I have behind me, I’m looking forward to it.”
“We were running pretty well until a month ago and we’ve stunk the last month,” said Christopher. “We got it going better last Friday night and we’ll just go every week and see what happens. At the end it’s going to fall wherever it falls.”
Both Preece and Christopher aren’t strangers when it comes to not only racing for a championship, but winning a championship. Preece is the 2011 SK Modified® champion at Stafford and he is the reigning NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion. Christopher has won 8 SK Modified® championships at Stafford, he won the NWMT championship in 2008, and he was the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion in 2001.
“We both know how to win championships and win races,” said Preece. “Obviously I haven’t been doing it as long as Teddy has, but I’m going to try my best to win races and championships. The best way to do that is to beat the best driver at Stafford, so that’s what we’re going to try to do and have some fun with it.”
“Ryan’s won a championship, so he knows how to win one and he also knows how to lose one too,” said Christopher. “A bunch of years ago, I won 9 out of 13 features and we didn’t win the championship.”
Christopher’s 8 SK Modified® championships are already a Stafford record with the next closest driver to matching Christopher’s total being Ryan Posocco, who has won 6 Late Model championships. A championship this year would put Christopher one step closer to reaching double digits, but in pure racer fashion, Christopher is only focused on the task at hand.
“You have to get to nine first and then you can start thinking about 10,” said Christopher.
Should either Preece or Christopher falter in the final four races, Woody Pitkat, who is the defending SK Modified® champion, is third in the standings, 50 points behind, and Keith Rocco is fourth, 70 points behind. Last season saw Pitkat overcome a 36 point deficit to Preece with 4 races to go and claim the championship by 2 points at season’s end. While Pitkat and Rocco may be longshots for the championship, Pitkat proved that a deficit in the championship race can be overcome. With Rowan Pennink winning 4 out of the last 6 SK Modified® features this season, it shows that anyone can get on a hot streak and climb their way up the standings.
The race for the SK Modified® championship will continue each Friday through September and will conclude at the season ending NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend on Sept. 27-28. Tickets for the 42nd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. All NAPA Fall Final tickets are good for admission on bothSaturday and Sunday. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 42nd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
-Stafford Motor Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com