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Third Night is the Charm for the TS Haulers/East West Marine Team
by Denise DuPont

This year at New Smyrna Speedway modified racing was shortened to Tuesday through Friday night events due to rain on Monday night. With a consolidated week of competition teams worked hard to dial in their modifieds all striving for the win. With the mixture of short shoot-out races one night and switching to longer endurance races the next night, teams had to switch setups and strategy for each race.

On Thursday night when the green flag flew, Ryan Preece from Berlin, CT quickly took the Eddie Partridge #6 modified from sixth to fourth. On lap 8, Preece proceeded forwarded and passed Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT. for the lead. Preece. From there forward Preece dominated the race as he pulled away from the field.

Car owner Eddie Partridge was all smiles when the checkers flew for the race winner – Ryan Preece. The #6 team came to New Smyrna with a brand new Troyer car and they had a hard time dialing in the correct setup for the track and driver. “I am happy with the win, it is good. Ryan did a good job out there from the back to the front of all the good cars.” stated Partridge. “Once again it is a new car. It is the same type of car we had here last year. We were struggling even last year a little bit and we finally got some ideas on what it needs to be good for the whole race. We went overboard a little bit the first night to free it then too tight the second night. The third night we were right on. And hopefully Friday we will be just as good. I think that we have the setup kind of close now for the 100 lap race tomorrow night. We know what to do so we should be all set.”

Preece had the fastest car in practice, topped the charts in time trials, and after the redraw to invert the field started the race sixth. The TS Haulers/East West Marine #6 team definitely figured out the cars setup on the third night so that their driver could bring the car to the front and keep it there. “We were really good tonight and we are finally getting a hold on it,” expressed Preece. “I am really liking what the car is doing – This TA2 modified was handling very well. Everything on this car is the best of everything and that is all because of the car owners Eddie and Connie Partridge. They give us everything to win these races.”

“Last year we had this type of car and we almost gave up on it and now I really understand why,” confessed Preece. “This time we have been working on it to find a way to make the car feel good. We were always loose before last year and then we got the thing tight enough. And now I am creeping up on what this car needs to go fast not just for 35 laps but 100 or 150 laps. I think we are really creeping up on that. So when we do these tour races I am going to be really confident that we have a really solid car.” So after days and nights of practice and tweaking, the #6 believes they have the car they need to go the long run and win the Richie Evans Memorial 100 race on Friday night.

As the laps clicked off and Justin Bonsignore and Ron Silk challenged Preece, Preece was able to pull away and make the win happen. “I never was really worried, I had a really good car. The only thing was that we got a little tight and that was what I was worried about.” Preece was worried that the car was going to revert back to the tight beast that it was on Wednesday nights 76 lap feature. “On the last restart we pulled away from Ronnie and I knew Justin was all over Ronnie so I was just curious to see what he had for us. But we had such a good car on entry and then on forward drive the car was flawless so I am really happy with the car when I am driving. And If I am happy with the car I am not too worried about the others.”

From Victory lane Preece expressed his delight to finally be in victory lane He was much more confident that the team had finally zeroed in on the magic combination required to the setup for the new Troyer. “It feels really good to finally be in victory lane. It has been a lot of work. We just have been fine tuning the setup and really learning this car. I have a pretty good handle on it now. If anything we got tight there. I was a little bit nervous about lap 20 to 25 that it was not freeing up. I think that we have a really good car for the 100 lapper tomorrow.” So Preece is now more confident that the modified is not far off from where it needs to be for the longer races versus the short sprints. “I wish that we didn’t have to change tires because we really got a hold of this thing. But I am really excited to get to victory lane, tonight. The car is really very sporty so we will see what happens tomorrow.” (Note: Preece will not be able to practice with the #6 modified Friday because he will be a Daytona practicing and qualifying for the Xfinity race.)

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y. was fifth in practice and qualified fourth so he had a solid fifth place car to start the race. After the invert he started the race in third and did not stray from the top three positions during the entire race. On the last restart Bonsignore was behind Preece in third and he remained here until lap 31 when he passed Silk for second. Bonsignore held on to his position and crossed the finish line in second. “I was going to give it everything that I had at the end, but I am not going to wreck the guy. If I could have gotten to him I may have move him up the hill a little bit but they have a really good car,” stated Bonsignore about the last restart. “We were not really happy after practice so we change a few things. I think that what we ran may be something for the long distance race. I did not have enough up off the corner to run with these guys in a short sprint. So it should be exciting tomorrow night. It should be a good race. Temperatures are seeming to get a little up there it seems but it is what it is and we will come back again tomorrow night and hopefully we will get the Richie Evans Memorial win.”

So what does Bonsignore think that he will need to finally capture a win at New Smyrna Speedway for the M3 Technology team? “We have a good package for the long distance races. And maybe Ryan is not as strong on the long races. We just have to do what we did tonight again tomorrow. Hopefully we can get a good pit stop and get some tires on it and then that will be our short sprint to the end. It will definitely be exciting that is for sure. It has been a good race every night, so we will try again tomorrow.”

JR Bertuccio from Centereach, NY, was second fastest in practice and qualifying. After the redraw he started fifth and definitely made his presence known in the top five during the race. He did a last minute charge he got pass Eric Goodale for third and crossed the finish line there for a solid night’s finish. From the podium position in victory lane Bertuccio summarized his night. “We had a problem with the left front here. We are just happy to have the night we had. It is a shame, we had a real good race car.”

After passing inspection the top three teams secured their race finishes. Now the tour type modified teams will prepare for the final night of racing capped off with the Richie Evans Memorial 100.

So join us back Friday night for more modified racing and great racing action from New Smyrna Speedway!
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: February 19, 2016

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