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   The Chrome Horn - News


“Preece Lightening” Captures 2016 World Series Modified Championship
by Denise DuPont

With a compressed race week the modifieds had two good shoot out race and two longer feature events. Ron Silk started the week off winning the inaugural Joe Brady 50 Memorial race. Eric Goodale then captured the ninth John Blewett III 76 Memorial race on Wednesday night. Ryan Preece finally broke his second place streak and won Thursday night’s 35 lap shoot out.

The coveted race for the World Series of Asphalt Stock car Racing has always been the 100 lap feature event that ends the modifieds race week. Over the years several different drivers have taken some the trophy and prestige rights to say that they have won the “Richie Evans Memorial 100” feature race. Among these are Jimmy Spencer, Tony Jankowiak, Tom Baldwin, Mike Ewanitsko, Rick Fuller, Steve Park, Jamie Tomaino, John Blewett III. Tonight’s winner, Ryan Preece, added his name to the impressive list as a repeat winner.

Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT was fastest in practice, fourth in qualifying and started the race fifth. He quickly made his move and was in the lead on lap 6. Preece ran in the lead from there until the first caution flag flew on lap 59 and brought the entire field into the pits. The yellow flag was thrown when Tommy Catalano spun the #54 modified in between turn one and two. This action ended his night.

With a fast turnaround in the pits, Justin Bonsignore was the first car out followed by Chuck Hossfeld, Preece, Jimmy Zacharias, Eric Goodale, JR Bertuccio, Gary Putnam, Austin Pickens, Tyler Rypkema, Ron Silk, Jeremy Gerstner, and Amy Catalano. (Cars on track.)

Preece wasted no time passing Hossfeld and then Bonsignore to recapture the top position. The race had only one more caution on lap 66 for debris in turn four. Lap after lap Preece continue to bring the filed around to the checkers to capture his second consecutive “Richie Evan Memorial 100” race win.
Once again car owner, Eddie Partridge was in Victory Lane with a smile as big as they come.

“Tonight was great.” Exclaimed Partridge as he soaked in all the victory activity around the #6 TS Haulers modified and his team. “We have a good car. The last two nights the car has been hooked up. The first two nights we struggled. We figured it out and when we did the car was good. I am glad that we won the championship. I am glad for Ryan and what this does to his stats.”

But winning the race week was not as easy as it seemed tonight. The crew of the #6 spent the entire week tweaking and adjusting an ill handling car. The team brought the car to Bronson Speedway on Saturday night and brought home the first modified victory ever there. Returning to New Smyrna Speedway, The crew just could not dial in the new TA2 Troyer chassis. “Earlier in the week the car was loose, then it was tight. That was the problem that we had last year and it was eating up the right rear tire. And we dealt with it once again with the first race this year.” Partridge stated. “And then the team figured it out. The next night they just went a little overboard for the second race. For the 76 lapper it was from the start too tight and the car was pushing. Then we just went in the middle and now the tire wear is perfect. We could have won the whole 100 lapper without changing tires. That is how good it (the car) was.”

Summarizing his experience at New Smyrna Speedway Partridge looked around at his team, the track, the grandstand and the crowd: “It is just really great. I have always loved New Smyrna Speedway. We have had bad luck here and we have had a lot of luck here. I just like coming here.”

In victory lane for the second time this week, Preece was soaking in all the activity around him with his signature smile. He had done what he had come to do – Capture the World Series Championship and “Richie Evan Memorial 100” race. “The strategy tonight was not to do what we did in the 76 lapper- Go to the back and find out when it is go time, the car was too tight.” Stated Preece. “So we kind of just left the car alone. Believe it or not we did not turn anything from last night to tonight for the 100 lapper. We did not change a thing. This car has been really solid. You could take it right out of the trailer and it would be solid like it was tonight.”

Once on the track Preece had a plan and he stuck to it. His first goal was to get to the front and then from there maintain the top position. “As far as getting to the front – I just wanted to get out to the front and leave the guys there. Then every fifteen laps or so drive hard for two to three laps and get away from the pack and then let them have to reel me back in. Then we had that pit stop. I came in and we changed rears and got right to the front. We just had tons of forward drive. The car was just awesome tonight and I think that is what the winning thing was.”

“This win feels pretty good. I almost thought that we were going to lose it there with the lapped car,” confessed Preece. Toward race end the leaders started to pass lapped traffic and a few cars did not drop to the bottom of the track. This allowed cars to catch up to Preece and reduce his lead on the field.

“It is pretty special to win this race.” Preece expressed about the Evans 100 lap race. “I did not grow up in the era, I was not fortunate enough to race with guys like them (Richie Evans), but I am racing with my own era. I am winning in it and hopefully I can make a name for myself. Maybe thirty years down the road from now kids that are my age now can say that they were looking up to me. And wish that they could race with me. The car is just hooked up this week. It is pretty sporty!”

Summarizing his week, Preece looked very solemn: “I have to thank Eddie and Connie Partridge and TS Haulers. It has been a great week and it has been fun. I won three race and had two seconds. The car was a tick tight at the end and it just had massive amounts of forward drive. I have to thank everybody particularly my crew that did a lot of hard work today when I was not here. We just had a flawless car. I cannot thank everybody enough and I am looking forward to Daytona tomorrow.”

Eric Goodale from Riverhead, NY was second in practice times, at the top of the chart in qualifying and at the end was one spot off to captured the 100 lap feature event. Goodale was not far behind Preece all night but just could not get the luck that he needed to get the top position. “Ryan got out in front of us in the pits. We had very similar cars and we did not have enough to get by him. We were running very similar lap times out there,” expressed Goodale. “In the end it is what it is. We had a fast car all week and I really would have loved to win this race. I gave it everything that I had the last fifteen to sixteen laps. I just came up a bit short tonight.”

JR Bertuccio from Centereach, NY had an impressively fast car all week. He was second in qualifying and started the race seventh after the invert. He did not remain back in that spot for long. He soon let the rest of the field know he was there to contend for the win. In the end though, he was just a little too short to capture that illusive top spot. “A third place finish in the 100 lapper feels good. We are happy. We brought a brand new car here and it did it’s job. I just came up a little short.”

With their racing done at New Smyrna Speedway, the teams will head back north and survive through the rest of the winter knowing that 2016 race season is just one step closer. Some teams though already are formulating their plans to return to New Smyrna for the 51st World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing competition. On Friday night, Robert Hart announced that the purse for next year’s Richie Evans memorial will be $5,000 to win. So packing up their modifieds in the haulers in the warm winter night, teams have 2016 World Series behind them and are already dreaming of 2017 and their visit to the beach again!

Notes from New Smyrna Speedway:

What are your thoughts after returning to a modified after practicing all day in an Xfinity car?

Ryan Preece
“Eddie has been joking with me that once you go to run stock cars you better not slow down and not drive as hard. I told him that I wouldn’t. I told him that I was going to drive twice as hard. And I think that it what we have been doing. It is really exciting to be part of this team. This is a brand new car that we brought down here and we had two wins and two seconds. I really feel that we have a really good handle on this race car. I am excited for the rest of the year and we will see what we have ahead of us.”

What are the plans for the #6 TS Hauler Machine in 2016?

Eddie Partridge
“Ryan has a full ride on the Xfiinity series. We are happy for him that is what he wants to do. And any modified shows that he can get to, he will run our modified. I know that he is going to the Ice Breaker and I know we are going to the Spring Sizzler at Stafford Speedway with somebody else qualifying the car. And after that I do not know because I do not think that he know his schedule because as far as what they have going on as far as practices and getting to tracks. So you do not really know. I think that we are planning on doing nine races.”
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: February 20, 2016

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