Rally Time: Ryan Preece Uses Late Move To Score SK Mod Victory At Thompson Speedway

By Travis Barrett ~ Special To RaceDayCT

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the season opening SK Modified feature Sunday at Thompson Speedway

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the season opening SK Modified feature Sunday at Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON — Ryan Preece opened the defense of his 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship with a return trip to victory lane.

Preece, of Berlin, survived a caution-marred event at Thompson Speedway Sunday afternoon, reeling in second place finisher Keith Rocco of Wallingford over the final laps to win a marathon 75-lap Sunoco Modified feature event.

The race took more than one hour to complete, and just 10 of the 23 starters were still on the track when the checkered flag flew.

Woody Pitkat of Stafford was third.

From his fourth-place starting position, Preece originally grabbed the lead on a Lap 12 restart — but he was soon overtaken by Rocco just four laps later during a rash of early-race restarts. It remained a two-car race throughout the rest of the event, with Rocco and Preece holding a full second advantage over Pitkat over the final 30 circuits.

After dropping back a couple of car-lengths, Preece began to close the gap on Rocco with less than 10 laps remaining. On Lap 69 he drove under Rocco for the lead in Turn 4, only to lose the drag race back to the start-finish line.

On Lap 70, he made the same move again into Turn 3 — this time emerging with the lead for good.

“We found something there on the bottom of the track when I started diving it in,” Preece said.

Rocco was unable to mount a challenge again after leading a race-high 53 laps.

The race was slowed by 10 caution periods — all in the course of the first 36 laps.

“All this success, all these wins in the past and today, goes to my car owners Albert and Cathy [Moniz], Petit Racing Engines and Mike Paquette with this Chassis Dynamics race car,” Preece said. “They’re the ones who put this car under me, and I’m very thankful for it.”

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  1. Pam Judkins says


  2. Thompson needs to do something to make sure that embarrassment of a race never happens again. Easily the worst modified race I’ve seen in 15 years, and probably the 2nd worst race I’ve seen behind an awful mini stock race at Thompson maybe 8 years ago. Time limits or reducing the field (how many solo spins from back markers?) they need to do something

  3. old observer says

    Not the worst race but a little less aggression might have been better, it was 75 laps not counting cautions. There was some good racing at the front & a lead change near the end. In the tracks defense, they did penalize or park 5 to 6 cars for for causing multiple or needless cautions.

  4. Ditto Daniel.Terrible is a kind word for this disastrous race.

  5. Evidently, Daniel you were not in attendance at The (old) Waterford Speedbowl on Icebreaker Weekend 2010. They spent not quite 2 and a half hours completing 12 laps, when the race was black-flagged. I left at the 2:05 mark, after watching 35 minutes worth of attempts to restart on lap 6. The back of the field junked in turn 3 coming to the green. Note: 12 laps = 4 miles…in 2.5 hours!!

  6. For the record says

    I wonder if that magical bottom groove would have for Preece if Keith was running on more than 7 cylinders?

  7. Yeah right!!! 7 seven cylinders. I watched that car go down the shute.It was hitting on all 8.He just got out driven.Ryan laid back cooled the right rear,then spanked Rocco.

  8. Keith was definitely on seven cylinders the last 10 laps, it flattened right out. We were sitting in turn 4 and you could hear it plain as day. He had that one in the bag.

  9. Always love to see Ryan in the front no matter how he gets there

  10. Shawn,
    Any idea what the issue is with the SK race? Thompson’s website reads “results are still waiting to be determined”.

  11. Rocco had a spark plug problem. Preece had nothing for him until then. Not the worst sk race I’ve seen but it was bad. People wonder why Thompson never has a big money big lap race. Well Sunday you got your answer. I think there were 12 cars on the track at the half way point. Also found out that it doesn’t matter who’s driving the 56, the 56 will put you in the wall.

  12. Does anyone know what the issue is or if there is one with the SK feature? Thompsons website reads “The results are still waiting to be determined”.

  13. Tom,
    I’ve been told there officials are going through a few things from different cars in the field before results are made official. That’s all thats being said right now.

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