LOUDON, N.H. – As the sun set on New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday evening, Ryan Preece lamented a day that emotionally started high, sunk low, and jumped back to high by the end of his long competitive day at the track.
Preece was thrilled with his 14th place finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Sta-Green 200 in Loudon, but a fifth place run in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco 100 prior to the Nationwide Series event left him sour.
While there were plenty of folks offering their congratulations to Bobby Santos III after his thrilling last lap pass to win the Sunoco 100, Preece, the reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion, wasn’t one looking to give Santos a pat on the back for a job well done.
Preece, of Berlin, blamed Santos for costing him a chance at victory in the Modified Tour event. Preece, who started second in the race, led 30 laps in the event, second highest to Ron Silk’s 36 laps led.
Preece was leading the race on a lap 96 restart. When the green flag flew Ted Christopher got by Preece to take over the spot and then Preece ended up in a three-wide situation coming off of turn two. A knock from Santos down the backstretch put Preece in the wall.
“I was a little disappointed,” Preece said. “I know there were five laps to go or so, but, I try to treat everybody with respect and really I felt like we were all racing each other. Teddy and I were racing each other hard. I felt like I got used up a little and not really given any room when I got put in the fence.”
“It was definitely Bobby. I know we were three-wide and I don’t know any more than that. It’s very frustrating because that was probably the best car I’ve ever had at New Hampshire. I was just trying to put myself in the right place at the right time and unfortunately, the way that worked out, it completely took me out of the race. It was very frustrating.”
Preece said the move by Santos will not be easily forgotten.
“It’s something I’m going to remember,” Preece said. “I try not to be … , I don’t know how to put it I guess…, but I’m pretty disappointed.”
Preece left Loudon sitting sixth in the Whelen Modified Tour standings, 38 points behind leader Doug Coby, after six of 14 events this year.
Preece was making his second career Nationwide Series start for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the Sta-Green 200. He finished 24th in the same event for Baldwin last year at NHMS.
Saturday he started 22nd and recovered from some early damage to finish 14th.
“The Nationwide aspect of the day, I was happy with the 14th, that’s a top-15 in my second start,” Preece said. “I really felt like we could have had a top-10 if that deal in [turns] one and two didn’t happen where we got some damage. That really caused my car to get really tight coming off [the corners]. We were able to get some tape on it take make it better. But we all worked really well together. … We kept on making gains throughout the entire race and getting it better and better. I was extremely happy.”
Preece is scheduled to make his third career start in the series with Baldwin in the Sept. 5 event at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
“I can’t wait for Richmond to get back in and see what we can do and keep finding my limits with that car,” Preece said.