Late And Great: Ryan Preece Wins In Dramatic Style In Whelen Modified Tour Event At NHMS

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Whelen 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

LOUDON, N.H. – Over his career in motorsports Ryan Preece has captured his fair share of marquee event victories in Modified racing. From the Spring Sizzler at Stafford, to the World Series at Thompson, to big time wins at New Smryna (Fla.) Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. 

But missing from the resume of the NASCAR Cup Series regular was celebrating victory in a Whelen Modified Tour points paying event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

Saturday the Berlin native finally got to check that box on the to-do list and he did it in ultra-dramatic style. 

Preece went from third to first through the final corner to win the Whelen Modified Tour Whelen 100 Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

Preece’s only visit to victory lane at the track came in the exhibition Whelen All-Star Shootout Modified event in 2017.

Before Saturday Preece had made 24 career Whelen Modified Tour starts in Loudon with five podium finishes, but no victories. There were a few days when he seemed to have the car to beat only to get outdueled on the final lap. 

“For 14 years I’ve been on the other end of it,” Preece said. “It’s great to be on this side now. 

“We just had a fast race car. That’s what it takes to win. I didn’t want to let this one slip away. I kind of positioned myself to get into third and pull off that win. Being the leader here is so tough. It’s not like any other race track where you’re in control. … It’s just insane.” 

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y was second and Ron Silk of Norwalk third. 

It was the 23rd career Whelen Modified Tour victory for Preece, the 2013 series champion. 

Preece took the lead from Silk on a lap 97 restart with Jon McKennedy moving past Bonsignore to third. On lap 98 Silk got by Preece for the lead before caution flew again on lap 99 when JB Fortin and Eric Goodale wrecked to set up the overtime green-white-checkered shootout. 

The race went back to green with Silk leading, Preece in second, McKennedy in third and Bonsignore in fourth. 

At the green flag it was Silk taking control with Bonsignore moving to second place. 

On the final lap off of turn two Bonsignore made a run low on Silk and Silk blocked the move. It sent both into turn three oddly. Silk and Bonsignore both skated up the track through turns three and four with Preece diving to the low lane off of turn four and winning the drag race to the checkered flag. 

“You’ve got to [block],” Preece said of Silk’s move on Bonsignore down the backstretch on the final lap. “If you don’t you’re giving up the win right? I had a huge run coming off of [turn] two. Justin had a run and he got to the inside of [Silk] and he blocked him. And it killed both their momentum and allowed me to get up top. … There was a whole bunch of stuff going on. Ultimately we had the car. The car had the ability to maneuver and do what I needed it to going through [turns] three and four and be able to cut under them … and go to victory lane.”

Silk was running a backup car after a practice crash. 

“I knew I was a sitting duck there in first,” Silk said. “You can get such good runs on the leader here. I came off of turn two and I saw Justin make a move to the bottom so I just aggressively went low to block him. I definitely slowed him down quite a bit. I kind of came back up a little it down the straightaway to kind of open my entry for [turn] three and [Bonsignore] got his nose in there and we just had a terrible angle going into the corner, we were both going up the hill. Ryan sitting third was able to just hang a left and drive under both of us. He was in the right spot at the right time.” 

Bonsignore, who opted not to take fuel when most of the leaders pitted, said he ran out of gas coming off the final corner. 

“It’s crazy,” Bonsignore said. “The whole race in general was just crazy. We had such a big lead and then the caution comes out, which you know it’s coming. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good start on the run right after we pitted. Nobody pushed me. I guess that’s what you do when you don’t want the best car to get the lead. Fell back to fourth. 

“For that green-white-checkered it was perfect. Pushed [Silk] and executed everything about the last one and a half laps perfectly. I knew what [Silk] was going to do and he knew what I was going to do. As soon as he saw my roof move he just hung a left. I would have done the same thing. … You have to do it. At that point it killed both of our momentums to get [Preece] back close enough to get a good angle to the corner. … I was able to throw the bottom shot in there and came off of [turn] four. As soon as I got back to the throttle it stumbled. We didn’t pit for fuel today. Just trying to keep that track position. Fortunately it made it back to the line.” 

The event got off to an ugly start. On the first lap Matt Swanson was battling McKennedy for third place through turns three and four. 

In turn four Tommy Catalano tapped the rear bumper of Swanson, who skated to the wall and then briefly rode two tires up the wall. In the midst of the wreck Max McLaughlin got turned and went head-on into the outside wall. 

After an extended yellow for liquid cleanup the race went back to green on lap 12 and Bonsignore and Preece set forth on a lead-swapping show out front. 

Over the next 30 laps Bonsignore and Preece swapped the lead 12 times and began to check out on the field. 

On lap 44 six-time series champion Doug Coby slowed while running in the top-10 and went to pit road with mechanical issues. 

By lap 48 Bonsignore had opened up about a 10-car length lead over Preece in second with Andy Seuss in third and McKennedy in fourth. 

By lap 70 Bonsignore had opened up about a one second lead over second place Ryan Preece. On lap 71 Bosnignore lapped Patrick Emerling, who came into the event at the top of the series standings, three points ahead of Bonsignore. 

The second caution flew on lap 74 when Bryan Dauzat had issues. The caution gave Emerling, running 17th, the lucky dog pass back on the lead lap. 

The break sent the field to pit road for mass stops. 

After the pit stops shook out it left Bonsignore leading with Anthony Nocella in second and Silk in third. 

On the restart it was Nocella and Silk getting by Bonsignore with Preece darting from sixth to battle near the front. The restart shuffle played out with Silk out front and Preece to second. On lap 84 Preece went by Silk to go back to the front. Silk to the lead back on the next lap, with Bonsignore stalking in third. 

On lap 89 Preece retook the lead from Silk in turn one, but it was Silk grabbing the top spot back on lap 91. Caution flew on lap 93 for an issue with Tyler Rypkema, setting up the late battle. 

Comments

  1. What an expert I am on picking top 5. I guess I better stick to my day job. But, I do love that preece scored the win, and mud in my face, not n my top five.

  2. Well, well, well… Like I said, someone that was long overdue was going to win.

    Golly!!!!! I was right again!!!!!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS to Ryan Preece and his crew. This one’s been a long time coming. Great job 👍👌

  4. donsuper says

    congrats ryan

  5. solsticeson says

    Didnt like seeing Max get taken out so early ,,,,,, Magic Shoes Jr needs a decent ride,,,, soon,,

  6. Steve C. says

    What happened to racing to the checkers it’s always blocking and crashing mike McLaughlin must shake his head . Great shirt he was wearing.

  7. Stephen Cunha says

    Checkers or wreckers someone is going to get hurt bonzi block by silk could have been trouble. No more racing just block at all costs. Mike McLaughlin must cringe watching his kid. By the way great shirt mike.

  8. Stephen C says

    Checkers or wreckers someone is going to get hurt bonzi block by silk could have been disaster. Mike McLaughlin must cringe watching his kid race with this group. Not like it used to be. By the way great shirt Mike.

  9. The Atomic Punk says

    Magic shoes Jr??? Not in this lifetime.

  10. Punk , You may want to go watch him race one of those big block dirt modified’s or even a super modified at oswego . Trust me, You’ll be Impressed !

  11. solsticeson says

    Mike was the very first to ever put a tear off on a windshield of any Nascar car,,,, way back,,,, on his 32 Busch car,,,,,,

  12. Well, well, well…

    Preece won. I picked Preece to win. I was right again. Like I said, it was going to be someone that was overdue.

    Doug… you see that???? Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, hate me because I’m beautiful and smarter than you. But then, being smarter than you is not much of an achievement, I do that without trying. Everyone does that without trying.

    JBon set a torrid pace early on, nice run.

    Super job by Silk getting in a “different” car and placing 3P. It was really his other car, or backup, so not a big deal. Plus it was his team car, ready to go, all shook down. Silk had a good run given the Stuart cars have not been that impressive this season. But then, the competitors go to Loudon loaded for bear.

    The 99 car runs pretty good with a different driver. Golly!!!! Is anyone surprised?

    The 77 also runs much better with a different driver. See the correlation????

    The 7NY finished, and in contention, something it rarely does. Congratulations!!!!!

    Andy Seuss… what can be said? Is he an idiot? A dive bomb move is hard enough to pass one car, but to repeatedly try to pass multiple cars? Idiot. And he wasn’t the only one to try, there were others. Idiots one and all.

    Very good to see Sapienza finish 7P. He’s had a string of bad luck.

    Bobby Santos III didn’t have the magic this time. Like I said, the team is running very infrequently, and that could be a factor. Perhaps a little rusty and cobwebs. I was right, again. More surprising to see he was out of the top 5, barely made a top 10. That rust and cobwebs I was talking about earlier.

    Only 13 cars on the lead lap.

    The 54 took out one of my favorite cars. Idiotic. The 54 ran into the 3 on the opening lap, got him loose and went into the wall. The 54 is a pinball, bouncing his way around the track.

    Lots of equipment and idiot attrition. Looks like a couple engines expired. That’s Loudon.

    Eighteen cars off the lead lap/dnf.

    Hey Liz, Missy was far from a top 15… 28th. Just not her day, again. During that long run, the 01 was getting lapped like a traffic cone.

    But what about those last 10 laps??????? Modifieds at Loudon are INSANE!!!!! Those last 2 laps were EPIC!!!!! Preece is a DRIVER!!!! Preece is FANtastic. NASCAR is lucky to have the Modifieds!!!!!

  13. The Atomic Punk says

    Carl I have seen him race. More than a few times.

  14. Fast Eddie says

    Santos bumped wheels with McKennedy at one point, possibly messing up the front end. He coudn’t use his traditional “way down low” groove to make progress.

  15. see if Doug has added up the points to see Who Won the R>D>Conn top5 Picks contest. I know it was’nt me .. LOL….Santos car wasn’t up to speed, i only had Silk & J. bonn in top 5 , Left out my favorite McKennedy why I don’t know and Didn’t see Dowling around ?? Coby had problems so my top 5 went South Fast… It was fun and Congratulations to the top points People ..We will do it again … Hopefully for the 300

  16. I did it right after the race it’s in another thread. Using your point system Liz Cherokee won handily picking Preece and getting three of the top five correct.

  17. 🌈🦄2020 says

    We don’t hate you because you’re beautiful dafella. We love you because you are beautiful. You’re even more beautiful than DJT. At least 3 times more beautiful.

  18. It’s now Tuesday and the NWMT results are finally updated.

    Thank you so very much Jimmy Wilson, you are so powerful. I hope you get promoted really soon, the sooner the better. You deserve it.

    The championship has been sealed already.

    JBon in the lead by 10 points, Emerling in 2nd. Plenty of races left for Emerling to do what he does and fall much further behind JBon. JBon just needs to stay safe, place well and the championship is his.

    3rd place is 48 points behind JBon and not enough races left to overcome as long as JBon/Stone plays it smart, no risk taking, no DNFs, and the championship is theirs.

    Hey, what chassis was Preece running at Loudon? What springs was Preece running at Loudon?

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