THOMPSON – Make no doubt about it, the reason Ryan Preece has travelled back to Connecticut from North Carolina pretty much every other week this summer is to chase wins in an SK Modified at Thompson Speedway.
But there’s more to just grabbing trophies at the track driving for car owners Al and Cathy Moniz this year. Preece is doing all he can to help chassis builder Mike Paquette, owner of Chassis Dynamics.
Thursday at Thompson it was Preece using another data acquisition session to also celebrate victory, as he won the first of twin 25-lap features at Thompson.
It was the second victory in the last three events at Thompson for Preece, of Berlin, who has been living in Charlotte, N.C.
Keith Rocco of Wallingford was second and Ronnie Williams of Tolland third.
In his first full season on the NASCAR XFINITY Series this year, Preece has spent plenty of time testing at many tracks he’s never seen before. But for the Berlin driver, the returns to Thompson for events this year also mean a chance to help Paquette.
“Obviously we showed here tonight that we have a really good race car,” Preece said. “We found something here over the past few weeks … that we keep on working with and it makes me wish sometimes I could run Stafford [Motor Speedway] more than I can because it’s really something I feel that would help us there to get us back to victory lane.
“I feel that this is something that’s going to help all the [Chassis Dynamics] cars. All they’ve got to do is call Mike [Paquette] and just ask him what we’ve been doing and bring their car in. It’s little parts here and there that we’re kind of testing for everybody. That’s the whole point why I come back here. It’s for [car owners Albert and Cathy Moniz] but also I have a really good relationship with Mike Paquette who owns [Chassis Dynamics] and I want to see all the CD cars go fast. Everything we do is to help everybody. I feel like this car is moving toward the next generation of Modifieds that can make it that one step better.”
Rowan Pennink went the lead past Adam Norton on lap two. On lap five Rocco moved to second with Preece following him to third.
Rocco and Preece hooked up to chase down Pennink over four laps. But on lap 10, when Rocco looked to make a move Pennink, it was Preece pouncing to second when Rocco’s move was rebuked by Pennink.
“I feel like [Rocco] and I like to play mind games with each other,” Preece said. “I was pushing him trying to give him that big run to get Rowan and he pulled out and right out when he pulled out I had the run to help Rowan. And here I think we all know that we get a little rough. I tried to close that hole and stay as close to Rowan.”
On the next lap Preece was able to get under Pennink into turn three and come off turn four with a lead he would never relinquish the rest of the way.
“I pretty much did the slide job right there,” Preece said. “And a slide job is when you don’t hit somebody.”