Almost There: Despite Struggles, Ryan Preece Leaves Loudon Close To First Whelen Modified Tour Title

LOUDON, N.H. – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season comes to a close on Oct. 20 at Thompson International Speedway, but when the series rolls into Stafford Motor Speedway for the division’s penultimate event of the 2013 season the champion’s hardware will be in the house.

Ryan Preece (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Preece (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

The series championship trophy will be at Stafford and Berlin’s Ryan Preece has put himself in position to leave Stafford with his first title.

A 12th place finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour F.W. Webb 100 was hardly the result Ryan Preece was hoping for Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

But when all was said in done, in the big picture of the season, there was one driver more important to beat than any others Saturday and Preece accomplished that feat.

Preece’s closest competition in the Whelen Modified Tour point standings was 13th Saturday, meaning, despite the disappointing finish, Preece actually extended his lead in the championship hunt with two events remaining.

Preece will take a 41-point lead over Coby into the CarQuest Fall Final on Sept. 29 at Stafford Speedway. The most a driver can earn for an event is 48 points and Preece, by virtue of his four victories this year compared to Coby’s two, currently holds the tiebreaker advantage. If Preece can leave Stafford with a 48-point lead or better he’ll have the title in hands without even needing to start the final event of the year.

After starting third, Preece spent much of the first half of the race battling with Ryan Newman and Bobby Santos for the lead. Preece led four laps in the early going. But in the second half of the event he faded.

“I don’t know what happened,” Preece said. “It seemed like we kind of struggled being able to suck up to the draft the whole weekend. It kind of showed there in the second half [of the race] pretty bad. What are you going to do? Overall, big picture wise, I’m not much of a points racer, but it was nice that Doug had a bad day just like we did. Now we’ve got to go to Stafford and try and clinch it there, see what we can do.”

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