The Champ: Ryan Preece Clinches First Whelen Modified Tour Title With Podium Run At Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON – On Oct. 14, 2012, Ryan Preece stood outside the press box at Thompson Speedway with an angry fire in his eyes.

Ryan Preece celebrates his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Preece celebrates his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The Berlin driver had just finished second in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season finale at Thompson to clinch his second runner-up finish in the season standings.

While Doug Coby was already off celebrating his first Whelen Modified Tour title, a burning Preece lamented what had got away.

“I don’t think I ever wanted a championship in my life as bad as I wanted it today. I don’t want to never get this opportunity again,” Preece said that day.

It proved a day that set in motion a driven push to make sure that chance would come again, and quickly. Sunday the opportunity was back in his hands and Preece made sure he was the one celebrating when the season finale was over.

Preece finished third in Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson to win his first series championship.

At 22 years old, Preece became the youngest series champion in the 29-year history of the division. The previous youngest champion was 25-year old Bobby Santos III in 2010.

“We race all year long for this big crown,” Preece said. “Now I get to have a nice trophy in my room. … It’s just amazing right now. All the history that’s behind this, you can’t even describe. When I go home and whenever I get that trophy and I see all those names on that trophy, and I see mine, I’m sure it’s going to really sink in.”

Preece, who is in his seventh season on the Whelen Modified Tour, also finished second in the standings in 2009. He finished the 2013 season with four victories and 10 top-five finishes in 14 events.

“Finishing second for the second time, that’s what burned,” said Preece, who is in his second season running for the Flamingo Motorsports team. “It was what it was and Doug had a phenomenal year. This year we definitely had a phenomenal year. We had a little bit of bad luck and we just kept going through. To win it, finally I can say that I’m a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion.”

Preece went to the top of the series standings after winning his first event of the year at Stafford Motor Speedway on June 21 and never trailed in the standings again. He pointed to his second victory of the season on June 22 at the Waterford Speedbowl, when he passed Coby for the lead on the final restart, as the key point of the season. The Waterford victory was the second of three consecutive series victories in a three-week span for Preece.

“I was definitely determined this year to get out in a lead and those three wins in the middle of the summer really boosted us,” Preece said. “I think winning that race at Waterford with Doug, that green-white-checkered [finish], put a fire in me to get the job done.”

Preece finished the season with a 32-point lead over Coby, of Milford, who was second in the standings. Preece came into the event with a 26-point advantage over Coby, needing only a 22nd place finish to clinch the title. Nevertheless, there was no riding easily to the title for Preece Sunday.

He raced near the front for most of the event and was fighting second place finisher Donny Lia to the checkered flag. Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. won the event.

“I wasn’t going to ride around and do it, I was racing hard every single lap,” Preece said. “I’m not a sandbagger, I’m one that’s going to race hard until the end.”

After the race, Preece was ready to make the winter go away fast.

“I want to do it again,” Preece said. “I’m ready for next year, let’s go.”

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  1. Ryan should give back the championship becouse they cheated once so how many times did he really

  2. Really so your assuming that because he got caught once that he did it more than once… And while your assuming that you also are assuming no one else cheated at any point in time because they didn’t get caught… you can’t be that naive to think that…

  3. Fred he only lost six points for cheating look what happen to the 07 for the tire rule . So somebody wanted him to win the championship

  4. So let’s use your example.. how many points was the 07 docked..?? zero zilch nada.. the crew chief was penalized. Had coby not wrecked at riverhead. Those 6 points may have mattered a little more. Sorry but the only people in my mind that have tried to change the course of a season is MWR.

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