Sometimes there is more to life than racing. Nearly everyone in the sport has a moment at one time or another when they elect to put racing to the side in order to focus on something bigger than just going fast. This weekend is one of those moments for 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece.
Preece will not be attending this Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Langley Speedway (VA) because he will be exchanging wedding vows with his fiancé Heather DesRochers. But that doesn’t mean that Modified fans making their way to Virginia won’t get to see the TS Haulers No. 6 that Preece normally pilots.
Long Islander and four-time champion of the late NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour George Brunnhoelzl, III will fill the seat in a one-off appearance for the Eddie Partridge-owned team.
“I’ve never driven for them before, spoken with them and Ryan plenty of times, but I’ve never driven anything of his before. We were up at Stafford last week, they asked if I was interested in filling in for Ryan and there we go,” Brunnhoelzl told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
“We were just talking there and he mentioned putting George in the car for the owner points and I’m going to do whatever Eddie wants to do for sure. We had him sit in it, he fits in everywhere and he’s very familiar with the car, makes it all that much easier,” Preece explained. “I’d say George has a pretty good track record (at Langley). I’m helping to finish up the car now and hopefully George can go win on Saturday.”
Brunnhoelzl has also found working with Preece to be beneficial.
“We’ve been talking a lot, going over setups. We’ve raced each other back and forth pretty hard, so we’ve got a good grip on what the other is like and how we run.”
Brunnhoelzl will be one of the drivers with the most experience at Langley, with seven starts in NASCAR competition, two of them wins including the last NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race held there in 2015.
“When I started out, I wasn’t so great there. Now we’ve won two of the last four there, so we’ve been pretty good,” he explained. “I am psyched. The car is a good piece, same motor/chassis combination I’ve run the past couple of years with the Troyer TA2 and the spec motor.”
Brunnhoelzl hopes that a good showing can get some backing for his own team and possibly get the attention of other owners, or raise the attention of his car owner for the weekend.
“Obviously, Ryan will be in the car rest of the year, it’s his ride. Hopefully we’ll have a good showing and it will open some more doors,” Brunnhoelzl said. “I’d love to do some more with Eddie in the future maybe if they want to run two cars or something, I’d love to do it. For now, take it a race at a time and see what happens.”
Meanwhile, Preece will be rooting hard for the team during the few down moments this weekend and also hopes Brunnhoelzl won’t bust on him too hard should he find his way to Victory Lane.
“I don’t know, maybe he will. Yeah, I guess so!”
Follow Speed51.com this Saturday for Trackside Now coverage of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Langley Speedway.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com