Painful To Payday: Ryan Preece Scores Big Cash With NAPA SK 5K Victory At Stafford Speedway

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the NAPA SK 5K Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Stafford Speedway/Driscol MotorSports Photography)

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the NAPA SK 5K Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Stafford Speedway/Driscol MotorSports Photography)

STAFFORD – The frustration of not getting to victory lane in an SK Modified through the first 11 races of the 2015 season at Stafford Motor Speedway had clearly been mounting for Ryan Preece.

And for much of Friday at the track it only looked like the frustrations would only be growing for the Berlin driver.

But in storybook fashion Preece made the best out of an awful day and got the victory Friday he has so desperately been searching, and in the process overflowed his wallet with cash.

Preece rallied from practice issues, heat race issues and from the back of the field three times during the feature, then held off the charges of Justin Bonsignore and Keith Rocco over the closing circuits to win the 100-lap NAPA SK 5K Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.

“Nothing went right for us today except for that win,” Preece said.

In victory lane, Preece pulled the pill for winner take all as part of the Dunleavy’s Gambler’s Challenge, which added $7,500 to his purse. In the end Preece collected $12,800 for the victory, thought to be the biggest winner’s payday ever for an SK Modified event.

“I don’t even know,” Preece said. “Words really can’t describe it. … It wasn’t easy that’s for sure, and I really beat the crap out of it getting there. But it’s a team effort and that’s what these boys did tonight.”

Bonsignore, of Holtsville, N.Y. was second and Rocco, of Wallingford, third.

Multiple sources confirmed that Bonsignore will be dropped from his second place finishing position for being too light in post-race inspection. He is expected to be dropped to 9th in the running order.

Stafford director of racing operations Tom Fox could not comment on the situation. He said any penalty involving Bonsignore would be announced Tuesday.

The expected change will move Rocco to second and Ronnie Williams of Tolland to third in the official running order.

Preece’s litany of issues began right when he hit the track Friday.

In the first practice of the day Preece dealt with a power steering leak. In the second practice he had electrical issues. He was helped off the track during his heat race because of a bad distributor. After starting 25th in the 27 car field, a blown radiator hose sent him to the pits early in the event for work.

“It wasn’t easy by any means,” Preece said.

The early stages of the race saw Bonsignore, Matt Galko and Frank Ruocco battling for the top spot.

By lap 60 Preece was up to fourth and showing he was ready to be a player at the front.

On lap 86 Williams made a diving move to go under Ruocco for the lead, but a lap later contact from Ruocco sent both spinning in turn two.

The wreck handed the lead to Preece, but the drama was far from over.

On lap 88 Galko went under Preece for the lead off turn two, but Preece rallied back to laps later to regain the top spot. On lap 92 Bonsignore moved past Galko for second and began looking outside of Preece.

On lap 97 Bonsignore gave Preece a tap in turn three that got Preece wiggling and opened the low lane for Bonsignore.

Bonsignore got by Preece for the lead into turn one half a lap later, but Galko’s spin in turn three brought the caution out and gave Preece the lead back.

On the ensuing restart Rocco got under Bonsignore for second briefly. Bonsignore went back to second on lap 99 and gave Preece hard taps in turn three on the final two laps, but Preece was able to hold back the late assaults.

“I don’t know, there was a couple times when it got a little hairy,” Preece said. “Everything played my way because Justin would have won that race if that caution didn’t come out. I’ve been in those situations.”

Said Bonsignore: We battled hard for 100 laps there. That was a lot of fun. I just didn’t need that last caution. We had Ryan in a pretty good position there.

Said Rocco: “It was tough there. Ryan was running the bottom and giving nobody any choice but the top. Both me and Justin took our shot to try to root him from the bottom, but we couldn’t move [Preece] off the bottom.”


  1. speed kills says

    well a driver finally said it and rocco of all people.. he was only giving us the top … soooooooo instead of going to the top and trying to pass we both tried to move him from the bottom… thats racing??? give me a break. so stupid..

  2. That was a real good race ,and preece was ready for the challenge……best show all year…started to late but worth the wait……..

  3. I suppose if preece let them run outside of him, they both wouldnt of tried to root him off the bottom. That was the best race in a long time by the way.

  4. Andy Boright says

    Hell of a race!!! I think Stafford has a winner here with the NAPA 5K. Simply spectacular racing at the front of the field all night long!
    In 40+ years of watching races, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a driver lose a radiator hose in the feature, and still come back to win the race. Preece’s car to me looked even faster before he had the hose issue, he certainly passed a ton of cars.

    Great show!!!!

  5. I really enjoyed the 5k… I thought it was a better race to watch than your typical touring race. It was nice to see a few cars that don’t run every week. The Savage Brothers sounded great, too… Probably the best entertainment I’ve seen on the midway.

    Did anyone hang around for the last band? It was a little sad seeing them start to play, to a huge crowd walking away towards the gates.

  6. Barry,
    I don’t know how many people stayed for the second band, but I was working in the press box for the duration of their set and they actually sounded really good. They were packing up by the time I left the press box.

  7. Just my thoughts... says

    I could be mistaken, but I think Ryan Preece forgot to thank the one person that was most responsible for his big win this past Friday at Stafford, that would be Stafford’s own Race Director, Tom Fox. Did he really think no one was going to notice that instead of throwing the RED flag for the extensive clean-up, he made the cars go around under caution for I believe it was 28 laps??? This enabled the Preece crew to fix the radiator hose under yellow, if it was red flagged they would have had to wait to start the work on the car until after the red flag was lifted. Just another example of the “FAVORTISM” that exists at Stafford Motor Speedway, it would not surprise me at all if the safety crew was told to take their time with the clean-up. I know things will be kind of hectic this week with Ryan coming down from Loudon on Friday night, but I would think he would take a quick sprint up to the tower to thank Tom Fox, after all gifts like that don’t come along every week, it was like Christmas in July, with Tom Fox playing the role of Santa Claus! Again, just my thoughts…

  8. Just my thoughts... says

    Oops… my mistake, WMT is not going to qualify until Saturday morning in Loudon, plenty of time to thank Santa on Friday night at Stafford!

  9. Rumor mill says

    Hearing today that Preece was DQ’d from multiple sources. Can anyone confirm this?? Maybe stafford doesn’t play favorites after all??

  10. Rumor mill,
    According to Stafford Speedway race officials there are no further penalties from the SK5K beyond what was already announced today.

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