Racin’ With Jason: Ryan Preece earns popular Modified Tour win at NHMS

  • Justin Bonsignore, front, leads the way during last Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CHIP CORMIE

  • Justin Bonsignore leads the pack during last Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CHIP CORMIE

  • Ryan Preece leads the pack during last Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CHIP CORMIE

  • Doug Coby, sponsored by Mayhew Tools of Turners Falls, competes in last Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CHIP CORMIE

  • Ryan Preece celebrates his victory in last Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CHIP CORMIE

  • Ryan Preece celebrates his victory in last Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CHIP CORMIE

  • Christopher Bell celebrates his victory in last Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/CHIP CORMIE

Published: 7/22/2021 8:13:03 PM
Modified: 7/22/2021 8:13:11 PM

It’s been a difficult past few years for Ryan Preece on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit.

The Berlin, Conn., native generally finishes races in the top 25-30 with JTG Daugherty Racing, which is a far cry from where he was accustomed to ending up during his career as a regular on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

That’s why Preece embarks on an ambitious schedule outside of the Cup Series, getting into Modifieds as often as he can on his off days. When the Modified Tour and Cup Series are at the same track, it’s a no-brainer.

However, for his whole illustrious Tour career, which included the 22 race wins and the 2013 championship, Preece had never won on his “home” Cup track — New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.

That is, until last Saturday.

Preece, 30, made a daring pass on the outside around Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore to go from third to first on the last lap following a green-white-checkered restart to claim the victory in the Whelen 100.

Preece’s excitement after the race was as evident as anything.

“I’m from Berlin, Connecticut, born and raised, and I have my local tracks in Connecticut,” Preece told NASCAR.com. “But when it comes to the big three (national touring series) and the Cup Series, this is the only track that’s two and a half hours away. … But this is New England. and all of us New Englanders, we’re kind of our own breed. It’s just really cool to win in front of them all.”

Preece’s win was very popular among Modified fanatics, even those with other favorite drivers. Preece moving up to the Cup Series was a stamp of validation for the Tour as a proving ground, and it’s seen as an honor when Preece decides to come back to his roots.

Preece’s winning move was par for the course for excitement in Tour races at Loudon. It’s often been said that the best place to be on the final lap is anywhere but first place, and Silk found that out on Saturday. Bonsignore and Preece also traded the lead several times during a 62-lap green-flag run.

With the Cup Series on a two-week break for NBC to focus on the Olympics, Preece will go trophy hunting this Saturday in the SBM 125 at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H., as part of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series.

Cup race musings

I admit I didn’t see much of last Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at NHMS, but that doesn’t stop me from having opinions on it.

First of all, Aric Almirola winning is almost as bad as Michael McDowell winning at Daytona. Almirola entered Loudon 27th in points and left 23rd. And he’s in a playoff spot because of the win. Yes, I know Almirola has been in the playoffs before, but that was when he was having better seasons.

On the topic of rain, I feel as though the race should not have started with precipitation on the track, even a fine mist. With the slick tires the cars run on, any moisture is a bad thing. Am I sticking up for Kyle Busch, who crashed because of the wet conditions? In this case, yes. Mark it on the calendar.

Finally, I was impressed by the ability of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte to carry the NBCSN broadcast on their own without normal play-by-play announcer Rick Allen. Credit to Earnhardt for being NASCAR’s answer to Tony Romo as the best analyst in the game, whose insights and the ability to deliver them are second to none. Letarte is coming into his own in the former crew chief role, and Burton is fine enough as the team’s second former driver. I didn’t miss Allen, to be honest. With the Manning brothers signing to provide alternate commentary for 10 Monday Night Football games a year, I think letting the former players shine in the booth is the present and future of sports broadcasting.

Jason Remillard is a copy editor and page designer at the Recorder. He can be reached at jremillard@recorder.com and followed on Twitter
@racinwithjason.


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