Ryan Preece Looking To Grab First Whelen Modified Tour Championship In Style At Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON – As drivers and teams relaxingly mingled around the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour pit area following qualifying for the division Saturday Ryan Preece was sprinting – helmet in hand – across the Thompson Speedway paddock.

Ryan Preece (Photo: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Preece (Photo: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Preece was in a rush to get into his SK Modified division car for that division’s heat races. From one car to another was the game for Preece Saturday at Thompson and it was something the Berlin driver didn’t mind.

The focus for World Series weekend at Thompson for Preece is securing his first Whelen Modified Tour championship, but the 22-year old hardly minded having other competitive obligations to take care of Saturday.

In addition to competing in the Whelen Modified Tour season ending World Series 150 Sunday at Thompson and the track’s regular SK Modified division, Preece was also competing in Saturday’s Valenti Modified Racing Series event at the track.

It meant a lot of different seats to jump into Saturday. And for Preece, little downtime meant no time to let any nerves take over thinking about how much is on the line for him Sunday.

“I’ve got a lot going on so I don’t think there’s any time for me to be nervous about anything,” Preece said. “My mind is on one thing, just racing, and I’m ready to go.”

Preece is looking to become the youngest series champion in the 29-year history of the Whelen Modified Tour. He goes into the season finale with a 26-point lead over 2012 series champion Doug Coby of Milford. Preece needs only to finish 22nd or better in the 29-car Whelen Modified Tour field Sunday to clinch the title.

Preece has a series high four victories this season in 13 events and has had an average finish of 6.2.

“There really isn’t much pressure,” Preece said. “I’ve got to do what I normally do. It’s not like I’ve got to beat Doug by two spots or he has to beat me by 10 spots. It’s just one of those deals where as long as we don’t have a stupid really bad day where we’re out on lap three.”

Preece will start fifth in the World Series 150 with Coby starting 11th.

“I would have liked to have gotten the pole but I think we went out too early,” Preece said. “We’ve got a really good car and even [Sunday], I think we’re going to have a really good racecar. I’m going for the win. That’s my plan and that’s my objective and we’ll see if we can make that happen.”

Preece’s crew chief Sly Szaban said keeping his driver looking at the big picture is key for the team.

“Our first priority is obviously championship and our second priority is winning the race,” Szaban said. “I know Ryan wants to go out there and win and make it happen that way, but we just want to race a smart race [Sunday].

“I’m 55 and this would be like my fourth championship with a variety of teams so I look at it a whole different way. He’s 22 and I remember what I was like when I was 22. Yeah, Ryan wants to go out there and win it in big fashion and I’d like that too, but we have to think of the big picture and that’s what we’re focusing on. We’ve talked Ryan about it and he understands what’s at stake. So our plan is championship first and race winning second if we have a car capable of doing it.”

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  1. He should not be champion NASCAR should’ve taken more points away for the illegal drive shift look what happen to 07

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