Breaking Through: Ryan Preece Wins Messy Whelen Mod Tour Mr. Rooter 161 Win At Waterford

Ryan Preece celebrates victory Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Ryan Preece celebrates victory Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

WATERFORD – It’s been a curse Ryan Preece feels like he’s had a hard time shaking over his career.

When the perfect cars ends up in his hands, bad luck always seems to follow.

Saturday though, in a seemingly perfect mess of a race, Preece made his own little piece of perfection standup in a race of survival.

Preece held off the late stage charges of Doug Coby, including surviving a green-white-checkered finish, to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Mr. Rooter 161 Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

“Usually when I get a perfect racecar like that I don’t end up winning,” Preece said. “To finally actually pull it off it’s awesome.”

It was the first victory of the season for Preece, the 2013 series champion, and his first Whelen Modified Tour victory for team owners Ed and Connie Partridge and their TS Haulers organization.

“That car was friggin’ awesome,” Preece said. “The best forward drive I’ve ever had here. It was a joy to drive, especially on a long run and even on restarts. … Man, to get the first Tour win out of the way, now we can start digging for more.”

Preece is in his first season driving for the TS Haulers team. It was the 12th career Whelen Modified Tour victory for the Berlin driver and his second at Waterford.

“To finally get that one win out of the way for the year and hopefully continue to carry the momentum into [the TSI Harley Davidson 125 at Stafford Motor Speedway on June 5] and [the Mr. Rooter 125 at Thompson Speedway on June 10] and have some good races, it really sets you up for a good summer,” said Preece, who took over the series points lead by one point over Coby. Woody Pitkat, who came into the event with the points lead and finished fifth, is two points behind Preece in the standings in third.

Preece held off Coby in a late battle for victory in the 2013 Mr. Rooter 161. Coby held off Preece in a battle for the win in the event in 2012.

“As soon as Doug got up there I kept thinking about 2012 and 2013,” Preece said. “I just wanted to be the one who had control wherever we went.”

Coby, of Milford, held on to finish second and Ted Christopher of Plainville was third in the crash marred event that saw 12 caution periods for 73 laps, including three red flag stoppages. The 12 cautions and 73 caution laps were both event records.

Preece went by Donny Lia for the lead on lap 48. Coby went by Keith Rocco for second place on lap 95. From that point it was the Preece and Coby show at the front of the field.

Coby led laps 128 and 129 during the span, but Preece seemed in control during the rash of restarts.

“To be able to do that that many times is nerve wracking,” Preece said.

Coby looked to have Preece shaken up on the final lap, but it wasn’t enough.

“My shot at beating him was him making a mistake, which he actually did make a huge mistake off turn two and then recovered,” Coby said of the final lap. “My thought was just rattle the hell out of him and see if he’ll make another mistake and push him up the track or something. But he did a good job and he had the best car all day.”

Both Preece and Coby were critical of constant wrecks and bad moves made during the event that led to the massive amount of cautions.

“It’s guys that race with us all the time,” Preece said. “I wish some guys, I don’t know why they’re tearing up their equipment. These cars take thousands and thousands of dollars to fix and I watch guys that shouldn’t be driving the way they do and they’re driving carelessly. It doesn’t really make much sense.”

Said Coby: “That’s the price you pay for starting 33 cars when they post 28 on the entry blank, you’re going to have a lot of extra cautions. I don’t think the fans deserve to see that. I think they deserve to have the best cars on the track and hopefully it would have cut down on some of the cautions. But that’s expected, they’re trying to keep guys coming back week to week so that’s how you do it.”

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Mr. Rooter 161
Unofficial Results
At New London-Waterford Speedbowl
Waterford, Conn.
Lap length: 0.375 miles
(Start position in parentheses)

1. (6) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 165 laps, 47.293 mph.
2. (4) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 165.
3. (20) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 165.
4. (33) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn., Chevrolet, 165.
5. (10) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 165.
6. (11) Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 165.
7. (15) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y., Chevrolet, 165.
8. (12) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 165.
9. (14) Spencer Davis, Dawsonville, Ga., Pontiac, 165.
10. (2) Keith Rocco, Wallingford, Conn., Chevrolet, 165.
11. (17) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 165.
12. (3) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 165.
13. (23) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 132.
14. (19) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 165.
15. (8) Derek Ramstrom, West Boylston, Mass., Chevrolet, 165.
16. (22) Jeff Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 165.
17. (29) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 165.
18. (27) Dave Salzarulo, Enfield, Conn., Chevrolet, 164.
19. (24) Shawn Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Chevrolet, 160.
20. (5) Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn., Dodge, 158, suspension.
21. (31) Troy Talman, Oxford, Mass., Chevrolet, 158, handling.
22. (1) Donny Lia, Jericho, N.Y., Chevrolet, 144.
23. (7) Brendon Bock, Franklin Square, N.Y., Ford, 139, accident.
24. (9) Tom Rogers, Jr., Patchogue, N.Y., Chevrolet, 137, accident.
25. (18) Steve Masse, Bellingham, Mass., Chevrolet, 137, rear end.
26. (16) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 132, accident.
27. (13) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass., Chevrolet, 111, accident.
28. (25) Johnny Bush, Huntington Station, N.Y., Chevrolet, 110, accident.
29. (26) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Pontiac, 101, accident.
30. (32) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 62, handling.
31. (30) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass., Chevrolet, 32, accident.
32. (28) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 19, handling.
33. (21) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 11, accident.

Race Statistics
Time of Race: 1 hour 18 minutes 30 seconds
Margin of Victory: 0.109 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: D.Lia (96.670 mph, 13.965 seconds)
Caution Flags: 12 for 73 laps.
Lead Changes: 3 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: D. Lia 1-46; R. Preece 47-127; D. Coby 128-129; R. Preece 130-165.
Standings: 1. R. Preece, 130; 2. D. Coby, 129; 3. W. Pitkat, 128; 4. B. Santos, 112; 5. E. Goodale, 110; 6. P. Emerling, 106; 7. R. Pennink, 104; 8. T. Szegedy, 101; 9. T. Christopher, 101; 10. D. Lia, 98.


  1. That was a decent race. Great finish. Took a long time to get there though. Starting all 33 was fantastic, IMO. Starting and not finishing is better than not starting at all. My only complaints are on the WMT officials. It took forever to get pit road open after each caution, typically 3-4 laps. It should be 2 laps. Also, don’t open pit road to un damaged cars if it’s been less than 10 laps since the previous caution. The Waterford track crew was great. People stayed to watch the whole race. The midway was packed. The stands were packed. The parking lot was overflowing. The support races were great and not messy at all like the Tour. And one more thing, the driver of the #3 needs to be banned for life from the tour. His move on that second to last restart was the stupidest move I have ever seen. That’s not a “well the track doesn’t have a pit road” problem. That’s a “This guy has 0 brain cells” problem. Overall I was very pleased with the night. Will be back for sure.

  2. So how did the 3 car manage to escape the pits just as the cars are coming off turn 4 for the late restart and not pile up the entire field. Was there no official with a paddle there or does that kid need to be parked forever for running it. That was pretty scary.

  3. Just as the cars were pulling into turn 3 for that restart, someone on the NASCAR frequency most certainly was saying they needed for the 3 car to get onto the track. It may not have been the series director, but it really did happen. However, afterwards the paddle official claimed he had the stop sign up, but the team claimed the official still had it on go. Now I would bet there would be a 0.0% the official would really admit he did not have the stop sign or it would probably be his last race. Since there is pretty much nobody else over in that stop and not video of it, people will likely never know what happened.

  4. Pit road exit should have been blocked when #3 was coming out. Still a stupid move on his part but not the only one to blame here. Also, kudos for the effort and being there every week, but the #01 car needs to be running in a lower division until she can at least keep up with the back of the pack. When you can predict the leaders will catch her within 10 laps of the start its time to realize you’re just a rolling obstruction. Thumbs up to officials for showing her the black flag instead of the passing flag. By the way, that is the only compliment I can muster up for the WMT officials for that race!

  5. Congrats to the 6, great car and very impressive driving.

  6. Purias85 says

    I was sitting in turn 4 and got a birds eye view of the event with the 3 car, and here’s how it happened.
    The 3 was driving quickly to try to get out of the pits before the field came around and the pit official waved him to speed up and then at the last second held up the stop sign. The 3 was going to fast and attempted to slow but was unable to and essentially rolled right past the pit official (who by the way practically had to jump out of the way). Thus his speed send him onto the track and there was nothing he could have done at that point. Only way to prevent that would have been for the officials to cut him off way earlier or possibly wave off the green flag?.. Both would have been preemptive decisions which also probably would have gotten criticism.

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing