Ryan Preece Expecting To Run Bulk Of 2018 Whelen Mod Tour Schedule; Jimmy Blewett To Serve As Fill-In

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Bud 150 last August at Thompson Speedway

Despite missing two events on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule in 2017, Ryan Preece went to the season finale at Thompson Speedway in contention to win the series driver’s championship.

After a rough final event, Preece ended up sixth in the driver’s standing’s for the Whelen Modified tour, 42 points behind champion Doug Coby.

Preece ran 14 of 16 events in 2017 helping team owner Ed Partridge to win the owner’s championship for the Whelen Modified Tour.

In 2018 Preece is hoping he can somehow hunt down his second driver’s championship with the series despite another shortened schedule.

Preece will race 10 events in 2018 on the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. Preece told RaceDayCT Tuesday that with his current 10-race XFINITY Series schedule he expects to be able to compete in 14 of 16 Whelen Modified Tour points events in 2018.

“What’s great about working with Gibbs and [sponsors] Rheem and Ruud, is they’re letting me race the Modified as much as I can, which I feel is important,” Preece told RaceDayCT. “So I’m still going to be making a huge effort to be going to Stafford, Thompson, Riverhead, any short track and obviously Modified Tour races and open show races. I’m planning on being at as many as I can so that’s what’s cool also.”

Tentatively, Preece will miss the season opening Whelen Modified Tour event at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway on March 17 when he will be competing with the XFINITY Series at California Speedway. He will miss the second event of the year at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway on Sept. 8 because of his commitment to run for Joe Gibbs Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“So if I can have a good year like last year and maybe those guys have a little bit of misfortune, I think I might be able to try and get that driver’s championship in,” Preece said. “It’s going to take a little bit of luck, but I think if we run like we did last year I think we have a shot at it.”

Preece will have a driver familiar to team his team owner filling in for him at the missed events.

Jimmy Blewett, who has previously run for Partridge on the Whelen Modified Tour, will take over driving duties for Preece when he can’t make it.

“Jimmy is a great guy,” Preece said. “I’ve always enjoyed racing with him an being around him. He’s a fun guy. Hopefully he can go there and win for Eddie.”

“It’s always fun to do anything with Eddie,” Blewett said. “… I’m excited just to be back with him as a friend. Eddie and Connie have gone above and beyond for me in my career. I don’t feel like I would be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for him and Connie giving me the opportunity to learn at their expense early on in my career. I feel now I’m a little bit more mature than I was when I did drive Eddie’s car. Hopefully with that I can help them guys out with trying to win the owner’s championship.”

Hear more from Ryan Preece about his 2018 plans on the Jan. 2 edition of Unmuffled, the RaceDayCT Podcast

Hear more from Jimmy Blewett on his plans for 2018, including chasing an SK Modified title at a Connecticut track, on this Jan. 2 Unmuffled Quickast short 

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Comments

  1. wow!
    with this combination, i see a runaway owner’s title for Eddie Partridge!

  2. Good to see preece hasn’t forgotten his roots. Many times when a driver moves to the trucks or Xfinity they stop running in the division that got them there. Wonder if any SK races are in the cards

  3. Old Observer says:

    I think he is still running Thompson when his schedule permits.

  4. darealgoodfella says:

    This is gonna be great.

    Imagine being Mike Smeriglio… his driver wins the driver championship but he, the owner, loses the Owner Championship. It’s gonna happen again.

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