King Of The Hill: Ryan Preece Looking To Break Away In Two Divisions Friday At Stafford Speedway

Ryan Preece is doing a lot of sharing these days. His hope after Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway is that he can get a little more selfish about what he calls his own.

Ryan Preece (Photo: NASCAR)

Preece goes into Friday night’s racing card at Stafford tied for the points lead in two of the division on the evening’s schedule.

Preece, of Berlin, is tied with Rowan Pennink atop the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings. The Modified Tour is at Stafford Friday for the running of the TSI Harley-Davidson 125.

Preece is tied with Sean Foster at the top of the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified division.

Preece had a third place in the Whelen Modified Tour season opening Icebreaker 150 at Thompson International Speedway on April 14 and was fourth in the most recent Modified Tour event, the Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford on April 28.

“Going into Friday, it’s pretty cool because getting a good start on the Modified Tour seems to be everything,” Preece said. “Whoever is usually leading early ends up leading late. I’m looking forward to going to Stafford and having a good night and possibly coming out of there with the points lead in both divisions. Or it could be a horrible night, who knows. I’m going to try to do everything I can to win that race. Bobby [Santos III] is coming on strong, and Rowan [Pennink] was strong the last race. We’ll see what happens.”

In his first full year competing for Flamingo Motorsports, Preece finished second in the Modified Tour standings last year to Doug Coby. He had two victories and eight top-five finishes over 14 events.

“Teams take time to come together and we worked well right away with everything,” Preece said. “It’s a process that takes time where the wins will come and we won two races last year. The way our car works now, we’re definitely making strides on making the car better everywhere we go. It’s only going to be a matter of time where we’re going to be one of those cars where if we don’t qualify up front, we can come from the back and drive our way to the front. I think we’re moving forward faster than many would have expected.”

In the SK Modified division at Stafford, Preece is looking for his second championship in the last three years. He won his first Stafford title in 2011. He won the first two events of the season, but was relegated to a 17th place finish last week in the third race of the year after getting caught up in a lap two crash that saw his car airborne before landing hard on the infield grass.

“You’ve got to take the good with the bad,” Preece said. “It was disappointing because I know how good of a car we had and it was lap two when it happened. But I’ve been very very lucky over the last two years. I probably shouldn’t have said this last week, but I really haven’t wrecked that racecar. And even last week, the thing that took us out of the race, when I landed – when I was like in Mario Kart jumping – when I hit the landing it pushed a bolt into the radiator. I didn’t break anything in the suspension. There was a lot of bent stuff, but the car was still able to drive.

“We had to change the radiator, but my crew got me back out there really quick. I only lost 10 laps. I was really proud of them. Those little things come into play at the end of the season. If I didn’t go back out on the track I probably wouldn’t be tied for the points lead right now, Sean might be leading right now. It’s all those little things that add up.”

Preece is staring down topping a fierce lineup of competitors this year in the SK Modified division. Preece is one of six Whelen Modified Tour regular competing in the division weekly. Other Modified Tour regulars racing weekly at Stafford include, Pennink, Doug Coby, Ted Christopher, Eric Berndt and Woody Pitkat. Beyond the Modified Tour talent there’s 5-7 other teams considering contenders for victory each week.

“It’s fun, it’s awesome,” Preece said. “You’re not just going out and beating two or three of the same guys you’re racing every week. You’re beating [five] Modified Tour guys along with a bunch of other guys that run weekly that are capable of winning too. It’s fun, but it’s also fun when we beat them. I’m sure Doug, Woody, Teddy, Keith [Rocco], Rowan, they’re all going to be strong this year. We’re definitely staying one step ahead with the car and we’re going to keep on moving forward.”

Preece is also running full-time in an SK Modified at Thompson and in the Modified division at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway. He’s tied for second in the standings at Riverhead. He was fourth in the only SK Modified event this year thus far at Thompson. He’s is currently 12th in the Whelen All-American Series short track national standings.

“My eye is not just on the Modified Tour championship but I really want to make a run at that national points deal,” Preece said. “That’s something that I’d really like to accomplish.”

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