Rolling Out: Ryan Preece Closes Hot With Whelen Mod Tour Sunoco World Series 150 Win At Thompson

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco World Series 150 Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco World Series 150 Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

THOMPSON – Thompson Speedway was the beast that proved for so long unbeatable to Ryan Preece.

That is until Sunday. Preece finally got the the Whelen Modified Tour victory he’s been trying to get for so long at the track, and did it in dominating fashion.

Preece led 137 of 151 laps on the way to winning the Whelen Modified Tour season ending Sunoco World Series 150 Sunday at Thompson Speedway.

Preece, of Berlin, was making his 28th career start at Thompson in Whelen Modified Tour action Sunday. He had four second place finishes and four third place finishes at the track before Sunday.

“It was great to finally win at Thompson,” Preece said. “I said under the red flag [on lap 141] to my spotter and [crew chief Sly Szaban] ‘You know how many times I’ve finished second here? I’m not finishing second again.’ … This seem to be the place that I couldn’t say I was a winner at and now I can say it.”

Donny Lia of Jericho, N.Y. was second and Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. third. The race was extended to 151 laps because of a late caution.

Doug Coby of Milford finished 17th to clinch his second Whelen Modified Tour championship.

Preece, won the series title in 2013, closed out his reign as champion in style, winning the final two events of the season. He won the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway on Sept. 28. They were his only two victories of the season.

“To pick up two milestones like this, we got the Fall Final and we got the World Series,” Preece said. “Those are two really prestigious races. I’m just the lucky guy to be able to do it.”

Preece started second and went to the lead past pole winner Woody Pitkat on lap nine.

Preece gave up the lead to Tommy Barrett Jr. when he pitted under caution on lap 73. Preece was ninth on the ensuing lap 76 restart but made a meteoric charge back through the field to regain the lead from Pennink on lap 79. From there it was clear the battle was on for second place.

“I didn’t realize I would be able to get to the front as quick as I did,” Preece said. “That really shocked me. … I wasn’t even trying. … [My crew] got me off pit road where I came in, they did a phenomenal job on that pit stop. Sly did a great job setting this racecar up and I was just the lucky guy that got to drive the inside line here.”

Preece came into the event sixth in the standings, but jumped to second to end the season. He finished the season 22 points behind Coby.

The victory may have proved a winning goodbye for Preece and his Flamingo Motorsports team. Preece joined the organization prior to the 2012 season and he finished second in the standings that season. He has spoken with Whelen Modified Tour team owner Ed Partridge about his open ride for next season. Preece said following Sunday’s event that he’s unsure what his plans are at this point.

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  1. darealgoodfella says

    Something has to be done about the SPEC motor cars. If the 13 and 88 didn’t wreck out, it would have been just about all SPEC motor cars and one built motor car occupying the top finishing spots. The SPEC motor cars have a HUGE advantage, and that was shown clearly, irrefutably and conclusively today.

  2. what do you think the 16 had for a motor that dominated the race and won?
    A Spec motor

  3. I did not waste my time or money going so i did not witness the performance but im pretty sure that was his point about the spec motors having an advantage

  4. Rafter fan says

    Pitkat’s spec motor was built by Billy the Kid, and TC’s spec motor was built by Robert Yates Racing, I believe.

  5. I believe nascar has done exactly what they wanted to do with the spec motor. They massaged it until it was better than the built motor .

  6. Jastafella says

    $ 25k for a turn key motor that’s compitive …. Why not

  7. darealgooodfella says

    NASCAR needs to be mindful of the investment the owners have in built motors, so all those built motors out there are not rendered worthless. Right now, all those built motors are worthless if NASCAR allows the SPEC motor car to continue as it was at this race. That is a shame! NASCAR mandates and controls the sourcing of the SPEC engine, SPEC engine parts, and the tools to maintain the SPEC engine. Again, that is a shame. If this is supposed to be a true cost saving engine, the engine package should have a list of parts and manufacturer part numbers that can be sourced competitively on the open market. Monopolizing the SPEC engine by mandating the source of the these SPEC engines, parts and tools to maintain them from a NASCAR insider is shameful. It is no wonder there is rumbling of a new modified series.

    The competition between a built motor car and SPEC motor car has to kept equal, to respect the built motor cars and the investment of the owners. After all, the owners fund the existence of the Tour. Just look at the difference in what it costs to run a car in a race and what is awarded. No owner goes into season realistically expecting to take first place money from every race to minimize the cost of running the car all season.

    At this Thompson race, it was as if there were two classes of cars on the track: the SPEC motor cars and the built motor cars. The SPEC motor cars dominated, by far. That is very bad for the Tour.

    So the SPEC motor is supposed to be a low cost option to improve car counts… well, the only cars running the SPEC motors are the top well funded teams. I was expecting all the lesser funded teams to be the first to deploy the SPEC engine to get the same performance of a built motor car for a lower cost. But that isn’t happening, the well funded teams are the only teams running the SPEC motor, because they are the only teams that can afford the performance advantage of the SPEC motor. Because the SPEC motor car has a HUGE performance advantage over the built motor cars. The SPEC motor car was given a HUGE performance advantage. So the bottom line is that the divide between the well funded teams and shoe-string budget teams was made bigger by the SPEC engine. Until the shoe-string budget cars are running the SPEC engine, and many more cars come out of storage and fitted with the SPEC engines, this SPEC engine experiment is a pure disaster. Was that the objective?

    Decades and massive funds have been spent developing, procuring and maintaining built motors from numerous builders that support the series, and NASCAR has laid that all to waste with the SPEC motor, while mandating that the SPEC motors, parts and tools come from THEIR supplier.

    So Shawn, any news on that new modified series that you can report?

  8. darealgoodfella,
    Nothing more to report on the possible new series at this point.

  9. Like I said they did exactly what they wanted, And if you don’t like it they really don’t care . After all it’s there sandbox and if you want to play be prepared to spend money like water. Where is art Barry ? Where are the pasteryaks? And all the other diehard nascar car owners . Gone because they figured it out . Good luck to the new series cause nascar could care less about a series that blows away there top dogs when they are racing on the same track . No wonder the mods don’t go to Richmond we can’t have them making the sprint cup look bad. You have one guy on the tour who had 2 built engines to start the year until a few races in he realized He needed a spec motor to be competitive and by loudon he had one .

  10. Isn’t the spec motor debate old news? I don’t believe Santos or Preece run spec motors, but they won multiple times on the Tour this year??

  11. justafella says

    Preece had a brand new spec motor that his father bought in the 16 @ Thompson this past weekend

  12. darealgoodfella says

    Preece had a SPEC motor at this last race at Thompson.

    The teams are figuring out how to set up the SPEC motor car, and that became obvious at this race, with the way the SPEC motor cars ruled this race.

    The built motors are now completely worthless. Rules are going to have to be changed to save the built motors and the investment the owner’s have in them. That also means that the lesser-funded teams have to buy a new SPEC motor, and really, at least two. And the lesser funded teams do not have the funds to do that. The lesser funded teams bought used for cheap.

    The lesser funded teams buy predominantly used equipment, and before the SPEC motor came around, a used built motor could be bought for less than a new SPEC motor.

    The SPEC motor was supposed to be a program to make an allegedly affordable engine available to the lesser funded teams to increase car counts. Well, that program is a total failure. Only the top well funded teams are running the SPEC motor, making those cars run even better, increasing the divide between the haves and have-nots.

    We are not seeing, nor will we see, cars that have been in storage getting fitted with a new SPEC motor and go racing. It just isn’t happening, it is not going to happen, and that was the objective. The SPEC motor program is a total failure, and has ended up making the problem worse.

    What will probably happen is there will be a bunch of built motors for sale as owners try to salvage what they can, as in pennies on the dollar, as they walk away, and the lesser funded teams can use those built motors for a while until they are no longer serviceable, before they have no choice but to leave modified racing because they can’t afford to buy a couple SPEC motors.

    People, THINK. The SPEC motor program was supposed to provide an affordable and competitive engine to the lesser funded teams to increase car counts. Only the top funded teams are running the SPEC engine. This is very bad for modified racing, this is making it harder for the lesser funded teams.

    So NASCAR is now in the engine business. What’s next for NASCAR, chassis? Transmissions? Wheels?

  13. I believe the spec motor has been available since 2008, with Silk’s pole at NH in July 2012 drawing the first prominent attention related to its use on the Whelen Modified Tour?? It appears that teams have had plenty of time to adjust to spec motors. Did Preece use a spec motor when he won the Fall Final at Stafford in September?

  14. darealgoodfella says

    Although the SPEC motor might have been available since 2008, I think it was first used in the NWMT in 2012 with the 6, and/or maybe another car I seem to recall. The SPEC motor cars have been impressive, even though accidents prevented them from finishing well numerous times when they were running near the front. This series just doesn’t do the quantity of testing that is needed to fine tune an engine-chassis package at all the different tracks, and that learning is done during the season, so it takes longer to get the results.

    But the results were obvious at Thompson… SPEC motor cars ruled the day, by far.

    I feel sorry for the lesser funded teams, they are getting screwed, and this SPEC engine was supposed to help them. The engine builders that supported the series for decades are getting screwed.

    NASCAR has formed a monopoly for the SPEC engine. All SPEC engines, parts for SPEC engines, and tools to maintain the SPEC engine must come from NASCAR’s appointed SPEC engine supplier. The parts are marked to make sure NASCAR’s SPEC engine supplier gets all the business. NASCAR has granted themselves a monopoly, competition has been eliminated.

    Go read the SPEC engine section of the rule book.

    The SPEC engine can be bought assembled or as a kit from the NASCAR supplier. If bought as a kit, the owner can have it assembled however s/he chooses. But all parts have to come from the specified NASCAR supplier.

    And per the rules, the SPEC engine cars can be 25# lighter. See rule 20D – 2.2 C. WOW!!!

    Advantage: SPEC engine car

  15. I believe the 16 had a Bruneau Ford built motor

  16. While I agree with most of the comments here, you still need someone to wheel the car and Setup has to be good. If you were to put a SPEC engine in the 01 does that make that car an instant contender? Absolutely not. You have teams while, well funded, have the better crop of drivers also. It mainly has made the faster guys faster and the slower cars seem slower.

    One other thing, what happens with this new mod series? Do they allow SPEC, MRS, TOUR built, ROC, or other series engines? There are to many different options/ opinions on what a tour motor should be built like. If this new series should happen, I expect it will be an open tour type modified division that allows for multiple series cars to maximize there potential. Otherwise it’s just another division with a set of rules that don’t match anyone else and it won’t survive. Just don’t understand why people can’t communicate and keep there egos in check to join forces with each other versus competing with each other.

  17. darealgoodfella says

    Fred, very well said. If you put a Doug Coby or a Bobby Santos in the 01, will that make the 01 a contender? No. Not being a wiseguy. And that goes to another problem with this whole SPEC engine experiment. It’s not like horsepower deficiency was the only thing separating the field into contenders and the others are just folks out for a night of fun. It’s more than the engine, much more. Most if not all of those teams from around 10th – 12th place and down would be no better with a SPEC engine. Many of the cars that have been in mothballs will be no better with a SPEC engine. It is not exclusively about the engine. NASCAR blamed the problems with the Tour on the engine, and that was just wrong. Their solution, being the SPEC engine, is not just a failure, it has turned into a serious detriment to the Tour.

    It takes a whole package: driver, equipment, talent, etc.

    The SPEC motor has made the better cars better, and that goes against what the SPEC motor was supposed to be all about. The SPEC motor has not done anything positive for the perennial non-contending cars, nor does it appear that the SPEC motor will bring cars out of storage and into contention. What was the point of the SPEC motor?

    And in doing so, the SPEC engine has annihilated the value of the built engines, investments in built engines by the owners, and destabilized the engine builder community.

    BTW, the 16 had a Bruneau built SPEC motor.

    If the people involved in this new modified racing venture can make it happen, and do what needs to be done so that the only competition happens on the racing surface, we’ll see some awesome modified open tour type racing.

  18. darealgoodfella says

    Fred, glad to see that someone else sees that the SPEC motor made the faster cars faster. That can’t help the Tour, only hurt. That will not entice more teams to buy the SPEC motor, it will make more teams leave or stay away from the Tour.

  19. Bottom line-if u can’t afford a 25k engine then you don’t belong on this tour… I know it is sick…but that is a fact, you need to consider running a weekly division or MRS but only tracks less than a half mile which btw used to b MRS MO

  20. the spec motor dominates on one track and all of a sudden it has an advantage?
    What about all the other tracks?
    If You look Santos was top of the speed charts pretty much every track without a SPEC motor! At the end of the day its gonna come down to the complete package and the talents gonna rise to the top no matter what engine they have.Plus you can get to SPEC motors for the price of one built engine so stop complaining!

  21. The same issue could arise if the LFR chassis is successful – everyone will “need” one. But, will it be less expensive than a Troyer chassis?

  22. darealgoodfella says

    bigsmoke, the SPEC engine has been very impressive, but the cars fail to close the deal… accidents, failures, bonehead driving, etc. Look at the 13 and 88 at Thompson… those cars were fast but took themselves out. There are things that the SPEC motor can not remedy. And when the 6 ran the SPEC at NHMS in 2012, that raised eyebrows. It was way fast. He won the pole, and dominated that race until he took on tires. Those new tires sucked and the 6 couldn’t run as it did before the tire change and Stefanik won. It looks like the teams are figuring out how to get the SPEC motor car to work, and it makes life for a built motor very tenuous.

    Now you are focused on the initial acquisition cost, but think about maintenance costs. A SPEC engine block is not going to last as long as a built motor block. So when you have a SPEC motor refreshed, be prepared to change the block too. There are teams running built motors with the same block for many, many, many years. So add the cost of new SPEC blocks to the refresh costs of a SPEC engine. And there is only one place to get those new blocks.

  23. By my count, cars with spec motors won 6 Tour events (Bonsignore – 3, Pitkat – 2 and Preese – 1?), while cars with built motors won 7. So, it’s hard to see that built motors are obsolete.

  24. darealgoodfella says

    And what was the SPEC motor vs built motor tally in 2013? Wait until Icebreaker 2015… there will be far less built motor powered contending cars… wonder what the car count will be? It’s already happening.

  25. Rafter fan

    3 cars won 6 possibly 7 races, I don’t know if preece had the SPEC engine at Stafford. 3 cars of an average of 25.. I don’t know how many other cars run the SPEC engine so it’s hard to say what it really looks like, but that says something when 3 cars win 50% of the races.

    I don’t keep track of the southern tour, but I’d be interested to see what cars run it and how many have been successful.

  26. derealgoodfella says

    Steve, good point. Apparently the $25k SPEC engine price point is still too steep to get former teams and new teams to participate. Built motors sell for far less than that on the secondary market and are plentiful.

  27. darealgoodfella says

    Looking over the results pages from 2104…

    The SPEC motor won most of the last 7 races. Not sure if the 16 had the SPEC at the Fall Final or the 22 had the SPEC at Bristol. If so, the SPEC won 5, 6, or 7 of the last 7. Winning just 5 of the last 7 shows an increasingly dominating trend.

    So like I’ve been saying, the SPEC motor cars are getting figured out and they are dominating the built motor cars.

    The SPEC motor has not helped the lesser funded teams, has not brought more cars to the races, only made the already fast cars better, increasing the gap between the contenders and non-contenders. Way to go NASCAR!

    And as mandated by NASCAR, the SPEC engine and its parts and tools can only be procured from the NASCAR selected supplier. How would you like it if you were told you must buy whatever from the supplier mandated by someone else?

    Robert Yates Racing engines, the exclusive supplier of the NASCAR approved SPEC engine.

    If the SPEC engine was open to being sourced from many engine builders, it would cost far less. Let the SPEC engine become the low cost commodity it was intended to be by specifying the parts, part numbers, etc. and let the motor (a GM LS2) and its components be sourced competitively on the open market by the established engine builder base.

    Shawn, any word yet on the new Modified organization?

  28. Nothing new that I’ve heard in the past week or so.

  29. Mod Tour Fan says

    Darealgoodfella, Your post on 10/23/14 has me questioning if you really know what you are talking about ? You say that the 13 and the 88 had spec motors but took themselves out of the race, as far as the 13 goes that may be true, however rewind to the MRS race at Stafford Motor Speedway this summer, the 9 car of Tommy Barrett took the 00 car of TC out, did he really think TC was going to forget that? TC does NOT forget. As far as the 88 goes, the lap car of Gary McDonald spun in front of him , instead of staying put he so cars could go to the inside and outside of him, he rolled down in front of the 88. Were you in the men’s room during this incident?


  30. darealgoodfella says

    Mod Tour Fan, what does what happened between the 9 of Barrett and the 00 of TC at some other race have to do with the 13 of TC driving into the RR of the 4 while entering T1 at the latest Thompson race, which ended up putting the 13 in the T1 wall? Baffling.

    And as far as the 88 goes, it gets into too many accidents.

    I did not mean that the 13 and 88 were in contact together, but accidents, independent accidents, took them out. And if they were not in accidents, it would have been two more SPEC motor cars extending the leaderboard already filled with SPEC motor cars and one built motor car.

    So, what do you think of the SPEC motor?

  31. I just watched the Fall Final Victory Lane comments by Ryan Preece and he referenced a “Bruneau built Ford motor”. So, Thompson was the first time Preece used a spec motor?

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