Whelen Modified Tour Mr. Rooter 161 Notebook: Busy Stretch No Issue For Ryan Preece

mrrooter1612014With the running of the Mr. Rooter 161 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Saturday, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour began a stretch of three events over a 12-day span.

The division will run the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 at Stafford Motor Speedway on June 5 followed by the Mr. Rooter 125 at Thompson Speedway on June 10.

The event at Waterford Saturday was added to the schedule late in the offseason after track ownership/management issues were settled after an Oct 2014 foreclosure.

Some followers of the Whelen Modified Tour have criticized NASCAR for scheduling the three events in such a short span.

For 2013 Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece, the busy stretch is a welcome time.

“We’re racers,” Preece said. “This is what we want to do. I see a lot of social media talk about people – that don’t have anything to do with these teams – talking just down about things. And realistically it’s not their money. These owners want to be here, they want to race.”

Preece, who won Saturday’s event at Waterford, is hoping to also participate in a test on the road course at Thompson Speedway on June 12. The series hosted 29 events in its first year in 1985. As recently as 1997, the division had 23 events on its schedule. Over the last 10 years the division has averaged just under 15 events a year. The division has 15 races on the schedule this year.

“I really think if we really do go to road course racing and we do have two races, that’s going to be fantastic and I would applaud NASCAR and everybody involved if we could do that,” Preece said. “Because 14-15 races a year, that’s great, but I hear of days when they were racing 20, 25, 30 races. And obviously it can be done because they did that back in the day. I’m hoping we get back to that at one point and I know [team owner Ed Partridge], he’s ready to go do it. We’re actually looking for races to run. It’s awesome. I’m just having a lot of fun.”

Coby Policing Costs Rocco

When Doug Coby made the decision during the Mr. Rooter 161 to slap himself on the wrist for jumping a restart on Preece, it cost Keith Rocco his place running with the front-runners.

Coby blatanly jumped a lap 120 restart on Preece and then made the decision to give Preece the lead back before he was penalized by NASCAR.

“They were going to post us and I know the rule is give it back,” Coby said. “And I gave it back and a caution came out so that worked. It’s difficult [at Waterford]. You’re picking the inside and the outside. The inside has got less grip but he knows he can wash me up the track on the inside so that was smart of him. But, he’s playing, not really big games on the restart because you really can’t play a game. The game is get the thing in gear and don’t spin the tires. It’s your own game. It’s not a game of me versus him on these restarts. It’s just how good of a grip can you get. I tried my best to give it back, but he certainly wasn’t coming in a hurry to get it back, so I was like ‘Where is this kid.’”

And as Coby tried to strategically hand the lead back to Preece without falling deeper in the field, Rocco – running third – ended up getting into Coby’s slowing car and cutting a tire.

“Everybody should know that’s what was going to happen,” Coby said. “Everybody goes to the driver’s meeting and everybody knows if the second place car jumps that bad then he’s going to try to give it back. I don’t want to get black-flagged so of course I’m going to give it back. I would assume everybody would have expected that.”

Rocco ended up coming back to finish 10th in his first event as the full-time driver for Our Motorsports.

Pick A Lane

Preece’s weekend of racing was punctuated by issues picking lanes for big restarts.

On Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway Preece lost the lead late to Rocco in the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature when he choose to restart on the outside.

On lap 69 of the Mr. Rooter 161 at Waterford, with Rocco running second, Preece chose the outside lane for a restart while leading. It worked fine then. But later in the event, when Preece chose the outside for a restart against Coby and Coby got the advantage, Preece decided to stop playing the inside-outside game on the multitude of late restarts during the caution-marred event.

“Last night all I was thinking about – when Doug got me on that one restart – was the whole Keith Rocco deal,” Preece said. “And I just said ‘Screw it, I’m just going to take the bottom and I’m going to make him go where I want go.’ [After that] it was like the [green-white-checkered’s] of 2012 and 2013 over every single time.”


  1. Chris D. says

    So now everyone who was complaining that TC caused Rocco’s flat knows what really happened.

  2. Chris D. says

    Not a Preece fan but I agree with his view on racing. Racers race, if you are too tired or can’t afford it, then go sit by the pool. There can’t be too many races, remember when Richie, Geoff, Eddie, Jerry, and Bugsy ran anywhere and everywhere, sometimes 5-6 races a week.

  3. Tour Fan says

    Chris D, I hope that you are working on a car or at least putting up some sponsorship money to help support a team for all these races currently on the tour schedule and then please add in the extra for each extra race you want to add in the schedule. Its a different time than when Richie was running. Adding the additional costs may put some of those people by the pool as you suggest and then you might just see only 15-20 car racing on the tour. I prefer to have enough to make a full field for each race track.

  4. Chris D. says

    I have been hearing about the impending demise of the modified tour for 30 years. Every year new teams/drivers come along. 34 entries for Stafford, so what’s the problem? More races at more tracks means more opportunities and more exposure. It depends on how you look at it I guess. Funny, I can name more than half a dozen chassis companies and 8 or 10 engine suppliers for the tour. Not bad for a sport no one can afford anymore.

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