SPARTA, Ky. — This weekend, Ryan Preece has more than one motivator pushing him to find victory lane in Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
While its his last shot to put another XFINITY win in the results column for his own career this season, Preece will have someone riding along with him, as he carries the famed initials of late New England modified superstar Ted Christopher above his passenger’s window for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300.
Christopher lost his life tragically last Saturday, in a plane crash en route to Riverhead Raceway for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event that night.
Now, Preece is looking to win not only to help give the modified community a bit of healing, but also in honor of one of his fiercest rivals.
“For those (who knew) Teddy, winning is what mattered,” said Preece. “This weekend, TC’s name is riding on the roof with me and winning is the only thing that matters.”
Preece also shared a story via Instagram on Wednesday, regarding Christopher’s philosophy of winning and their final conversation at Oswego Speedway earlier this month.
“Teddy said to me, ‘Heyyyyy, your missing New Hampshire to race at Kentucky? Really??’ I said, ‘Yep, I’ve been trying to get to this level and (team owner) Eddie (Partridge) is okay with me doing it. I’m willing to give up (a shot at) the driver’s championship to try and win again and show these guys I can do this.'”
“He looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, I guess you’re right, but that still sucks, hey.'”
Because for Christopher, it wasn’t just about winning, but about winning against the best.
This season, Preece has been the best on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, winning a series-high five races and leading the points entering the Loudon race weekend, despite missing a race in April at Langley Speedway to marry long-time girlfriend Heather.
But now, he’ll put that to the side to focus on improving his XFINITY record, which holds a win at Iowa Speedway and a runner-up finish at Loudon so far this year in just two starts.
Preece competed twice at Kentucky last year for JD Motorsports, finishing 15th in the track’s summer race in July.
“I’m really excited for this weekend at Kentucky,” said Preece. “With our last race being a win for us at Iowa, coming back with these guys and going to Kentucky should be a lot of fun. It’s a race track I like. The repave treated me pretty well last year and I’m definitely looking forward to getting back there this year with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing.”
“Hopefully we can put the No. 20 Hurricane Relief Camry in victory lane for Teddy.”
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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