Lighting The Fire: Ryan Preece Tops Tour Type Modifieds At New Smyrna World Series

Ryan Preece celebrates victory in the Tour Type Modified feature Tuesday at the World Series at New Smyrna Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

For NASCAR Cup Series regular and former Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece, a 13th place finish in the season opening Whelen Modified Tour event on Saturday at New Smyrna Speedway left a bad taste in his mouth and fire to get things turned around at the half-mile oval. 

On Monday, in the first of five consecutive nights of Tour Type Modified features at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna, Preece was hunting down the bumper of race winner Ron Silk over the closing laps. 

On Tuesday at New Smyrna it was Preece leaving Silk chasing him. 

Preece went to the lead on lap 16 and never trailed again on the way to victory in the 50-lap Tour Type Modified feature Tuesday at New Smyrna Speedway. 

“Bad ass crew and a bad ass race car,” Preece said. “We’ve been really tuning on it. That [Whelen Modified] Tour show on Saturday for me was a real embarrassing moment for me. I don’t think I’ve ever been lapped in a [Whelen] Modified Tour race. So we put our head where it needed to be. We made great changes and we were able to beat [Silk]. He’s been fast all week. It was good to do that.” 

Silk ended up second, closing out a near perfect run for he and his Haydt-Yannone Racing team in Florida. In addition to his win Monday Silk also won the Whelen Modified Tour event on Saturday. Tuesday’s event was the last race at the World Series for Silk and his team. 

Ronnie Williams was third for the second consecutive night. 

Preece, who is in his second season racing for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, has time trials for Sunday’s Daytona 500 on Wednesday night, but is holding out hope to make it back to New Smyrna for the Blewett Memorial 76 for the Tour Type Modifieds after he qualifies at the big track. 

“It’s been a lot of fun getting to race with these guys,” Preece said. “I don’t get to do it much so whenever we can all come back and get to victory lane it feels really good. 

“I had a bet with my crew – because I go out fourth for time trials tomorrow for the [Daytona] 500 – that maybe I might try to sneak back here. This car has been so good, so maybe we’ll try to come back tomorrow night.” 

Craig Lutz used the outside lane at the start to go by redraw pole-sitter Teddy Hodgdon with Preece following to second place. Williams, who started sixth, was up to third by lap two. 

Silk, who was the top qualifier and started seventh with the qualifying invert, fell to ninth in the early laps. 

With Lutz leading Preece and Williams in third, the first caution of the event flew on lap 12 for the spinning car of Joey Coulter. Silk had clawed his way to fifth by the time of the caution flying. 

On the lap 12 restart it was Lutz holding the top spot with Preece and Williams battling for second. Behind them Silk went by Anthony Bello for fourth place. 

On lap 16 Preece used a low run off of turn two to overtake Lutz for the lead. On lap 17 it was Silk getting by Williams to move into third. 

With Preece leading Lutz by close to a second, and Silk in third, the second caution of the event flew on lap 38 for the stopped car of JR Bertuccio in turn four. 

With the choose rule in effect, Preece took the outside for the restart with second place Lutz going to the outside also, allowing Silk to move to the inside of the front row alongside Preece. At the green Preece got the jump on the field and Silk was able to get second place from Lutz. 

Preece quickly built a three-quarters of a second lead over Silk by lap 43.

Caution flew on lap 45 for the third time for a wreck in turn three involving Jimmy Blewett and Bello, who had been battling for seventh place. 

On the restart it was Preece clearing Silk off of turn two and Williams moving past Lutz for third. Preece was able to pull away from Silk over the closing laps. 

Results of the 50-lap Tour Type Modified Feature on Tuesday at New Smyrna Speedway


  1. And away we go

  2. Got the car figured out and dialed in.

  3. That was good to see. Vintage Preece in a sprint slicing and dicing setting them up and knocking them down on the way to the front. His battles with Pennink at SMS in his SK hay days comes to mind.
    I’d make a prediction. If he can make the race tonight or Friday he’s not as successful in the longer runs unless he qualifies in front. The allure of the short way around on the problematic bottom lane he can’t resist as the rubber melts away.

  4. While I’ll hope for the best, I’ll second that prediction. All or nothing.

  5. Marvin Walter Farmer says

    Been watching the Mod Squad since 1964 Ryan’s up there with the best 11-61-3-4-21-7-38

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