Driven: Ryan Preece Focused On Winning For Eddie Partridge In Islip 300 At Riverhead

Ed Partridge (right) celebrates a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win with Ryan Preece at Stafford Motor Speedway on Aug. 6 (Photo: NASCAR)

Having the ultimate drive to want to win races behind the wheel of a Modified is something nobody can question when it comes to Ryan Preece.

For Preece though, that ultimate drive will somehow reach a new level of desire when he hits the track Saturday for the Islip 300 Tour Type Modified race at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway.

It will be Preece’s first race at Riverhead since track owner Eddie Partridge passed away on Sept. 10. Partridge – and his wife Connie – were also the team owners for Preece’s efforts on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and in Tour Type Open Modified events. Partridge passed away within hours of celebrating a Whelen Modified Tour victory at Richmond (Va) Raceway with Preece on Sept. 10.

Preece is looking for his third consecutive Islip 300 victory Saturday. 

“My main focus right now is trying to win the Islip 300 for Eddie,” Preece told RaceDayCT Monday. “I’ve got to think about it like any other race, but this race to me means more than any other race that I’ve had in who knows how long. I want to go and win it really bad. I want to stand there in victory lane with that car that we won with in our last race together at Richmond.”

The 68-year old Partridge passed unexpectedly after leaving Richmond Raceway.

Preece started driving for Partridge late in the 2014 racing season. Even as Preece ascended to NASCAR’s top level Cup Series, he and Partridge continued to chase Modified victories together. The win at Richmond was Preece’s third in seven starts on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2021.

“It’s never going to get easy,” Preece said of losing Partridge. “I’ve been lucky enough to race with some really great people, and still talk to them to this day. But, it sucks to not be able to pick up the phone and called Eddie or just talk to him. When I go to Riverhead on Saturday it’s going to be different. It’s not going to be the same. But, it’s never going to get easy. It was so much more than him just owning a race car and me showing up to drive. He was just funny. He would shoot me text messages after races or call me during the week. We were always joking around. Whatever crazy idea I thought I might have I’d throw it off and he’d tell me if I was crazy and if I should do it or not. It’s tough. It really is.”

Preece recorded 14 Whelen Modified Tour victories since 2015 with Partridge as his team owner. Partridge won the 2017 Whelen Modified Tour team owner’s championship with Preece as his driver.

“He’s just given so much to so many people, both him and Connie,” Preece said. “They were great. I couldn’t imagine racing in Modifieds for another person because they were just as good as you’re ever going to get. It was just a lot of fun. The group of guys we had, it was a lot of fun.”

While Preece’s focus is laser sharp on Riverhead, the questions of his future at the top levels of NASCAR remain.

On Sunday at Phoenix the Berlin native drove his last race for JTG Daugherty Racing in the Cup Series. Preece has driven for the team since the start of the 2019 season. The team decided to cut back to one car for 2022, keeping Ricky Stenhouse and leaving Preece without a ride.

As of this week Preece is not sure what the 2022 season will bring or where it will take him.

“There’s been some options,” Preece said. “I continue to work through those things. But you just want to make sure whatever decision it is that it’s the right one. There’s no second chances. I’m lucky enough to have KHI Management and Kevin Harvick and everybody over there that have aligned me with some sponsors that have given me chances to go out and race. That certainly helps a ton. It’s all about building partnerships and your brand as a race car driver. And that’s what I’m working on doing. It’s not like there isn’t anything, it’s just a little bit more difficult if you’re in the situation I’m compared to some others, but it’s not impossible.

“I just want to have the ability to win. To have every tool to get me there at whatever level it is. I just want to make sure it’s there. Whatever decision I end up making for my path I want it so that the only thing that’s going to stop me from having a shot to win when I walk through the gate is me.

“That’s kind of it right now. It’s really no different than what it was at the end of 2016 or really what it was at the end of 2017. It’s not like I’m not familiar with not knowing what’s going to happen in the future. I will say, whatever it ends up being I’m looking forward to it and hopefully it all works out.”


  1. I see that Ryan has entered the Snowball Derby, do anyone know whose car he is driving?

  2. Chris,
    A car he is building.

  3. Just what the field needs… Preece with extra motivation.

  4. Sounds like Ryan has some different options at least. Let’s hope Harvick can guide him. I’m thinking Ryan is trying to land a top ride in Xfinity or Trucks rather than a back of the pack Cup car.

  5. Denise Latham says

    I think he deserves a chance no matter what direction he decides to go. He is a good driver and with the right direction he will go wherever he wants to go.

  6. Viva Race Fan says

    Maybe drive a JR motorsports car ?

  7. Denise Latham says

    I think he is a good driver and he will get wherever he wants to in this sport.

  8. Viva , I am also pulling for a ride with JR Motorsports……. It’s time for New Drivers at JR’s …

  9. JR Motorsports NEEDS a driver like Preece.

  10. NH MOD CHASER says

    I believe JR motorsports already has it’s 2022 line up set

  11. Michael Annett needs to go, Gregson is good shoe, Allgaier is good , Preece is Better than all 3 of them, They have Sam Mayer and Josh Berry in their Stable also …. So maybe their is no ROOM in the INN ….I just hope it’s a Car that can WIN.!! He can pull an Allmendinger & rebuilt his career out of the ashes I thought the Dinger was done after suspension for Adderall and let go by Penske , But He continued on and Kept fighting his way back to the top and Won on non- Road-courses . With 5 Wins this year He put Himself back on the map … Hopefully Ryan can Win in Trucks or Xfinity series in whatever he jumps in.. Maybe one off rides for Joe Gibbs with whom He has already Won with….???

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