CURRENT MONSTER ENERGY CUP SERIES STAR SET FOR SUNOCO MODIFIED & NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR RACES
By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
THOMPSON, Conn. – Current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece is returning to his racing roots next week.
The Berlin, Connecticut, driver will compete in both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 and the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature next Wednesday, June 5 right here at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
“It’s another chance for me to race, and I think that’s a huge part of it. I always enjoy going to this race,” Preece said. “Thompson and I have a love-hate relationship, where I have had some really good runs, but also a lot of bad luck, where things haven’t worked out.”
In 43 career Thompson starts in Whelen Modified Tour competition, Preece has three wins – one of them driving for Eric Sanderson and two for Ed Partridge. Next week, he will sit behind the wheel of the No. 6, owned by Partridge. He has been to Victory Lane in two of his last six Thompson starts, including the Thompson 125 back in 2017.
The car he will compete in for the Whelen Modified Tour race will be brand new for him on the track. He’s been working on the car down south to prepare it for action.
“It’s a place I enjoy racing at because it’s so difficult to position yourself at the end of the race to have the track position, but also have the speed,” Preece said. “It’s something I am looking forward to doing.”
In Sunoco Modified competition, Preece is no stranger to the front of the field. He has two championships in the competitive class in 2012 and 2014, and picked up a victory last year driving for the Moniz family, adding to a list of many checkered flags.
“The Sunoco Modified is still up in New England with the Moniz family, I’ve been running that car for about eight years, and it’s been a great relationship,” the JTG Daughtery Racing driver said.
Even though he will have just limited practice behind the wheel, the veteran of modified racing isn’t concerned about it.
“I feel confident in the setups we are bringing and the people that are preparing the cars. I have more than enough laps to know what I need,” Preece said. “It’s a tough place to race at, but I do feel confident that we will have some good cars.”
For Preece, one of the most important parts of returning to New England and his racing roots is coming home to see his hometown fans that have been watching him compete on the Cup circuit. In his first 13 starts this season, Preece has a best finish of third in Cup action at Talladega Superspeedway. He also was in the front draft at the finish of the Daytona 500 in February.
“I remember when I was younger and watching Tony Stewart come to Thompson and do a match race. Going there, from the Northeast, and from Connecticut, having raced weekly there and run the Whelen Modified Tour for many years, it’s something that I make a point to get back and show that I love the racing,” Preece said. “I want to continue to do it when I can.”
Preece isn’t going to be the only driver chasing the checkered flag in these two modified races next week. In the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125, Justin Bonsignore looks to make it six Thompson victories in a row driving the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet for Ken Massa. Names like Doug Coby, Timmy Solomito, Woody Pitkat and Ron Silk aren’t going to be far behind.
When the Whelen Modified Tour was in town for the Icebreaker back on April 7, Bonsignore beat Silk, Eric Goodale, Patrick Emerling and Coby to the finish line. The Thompson 125 is well known for the pit strategy teams will use during the race.
It will be important for fans to keep an eye on when cars pit early in the race, because it’s likely they will stay out in the second half while some of the leaders pit, creating thrilling final restarts. Bonsignore is the defending winner of the race.
In the Sunoco Modifieds, George Brunnhoelzl III adds to a star-studded field making a start for Justin Albernaz in a backup car. NASCAR K&N Pro Series East regular Max McLaughlin will begin to tune-up his Thompson driving line in the same feature, as the rising star will compete in a car for Keith Rocco Racing. Rocco and Ronnie Williams scored the first two wins of the year.
Drivers return to the track at Thompson on Wednesday, June 5, for the Thompson 125. The schedule includes qualifying and feature racing for all five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and the Whelen Modified Tour.
For more information, including the full schedule for this special event, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.com. To keep up with the latest Thompson news, follow the track on social media via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
Michael Jaworecki Myracenews Photo