LOUDON, N.H. —
For all of his career accomplishments, including championships, a long list of wins and a full-time ride in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, there’s still one thing Ryan Preece has never done. He’s never won a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Preece, of Berlin, Connecticut, will try and finally check that box on his personal wish list when the tour heads to the “Magic Mile” for the New England 100 on Saturday afternoon. It will be part of a tripleheader day of racing for the 2013 Whelen Modified Tour champion, as Preece is also scheduled to compete in the XFINITY Series and K&N Pro Series East events at NHMS on the same day.
In 19 career Modified starts at New Hampshire, Preece has never finished higher than third, which he’s done on four different occasions. By the same token, Preece has run up front and had opportunities to win — he’s led 25 laps or more in four races, including in this race a year ago when he finished sixth.
It won’t be easy for Preece and his No. 6 T-S Haulers Modified team on Saturday, though. Each of the drivers accounting for the last seven Tour wins at New Hampshire — including current point leader Doug Coby and defending race winner Todd Szegedy — are all entered in the New England 100.
The Race: The New England 100 will be the seventh of 17 races on the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule. It will be the series’ 64th visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The Procedure: The starting field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 32 cars will qualify through the two-lap time trial qualifying process while the remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 100 laps, spanning 105.8 miles.
The Track: This is the 64th race for the Whelen Modified Tour at the 1.058-mile slightly banked oval, dating back to September 1990. The Tour has held two races annually at the the track every year since 2001, with the lone exception coming in 2011 when three races were contested at the track.
Race Winners: There have been 20 different winners in the 63 Whelen Modified Tour races at Loudon. Mike Stefanik leads all drivers with eight career NHMS wins.
Pole Winners: There have been 26 different pole winners at NHMS, led by Jan Leaty with six career poles. Ted Christopher has three career starts from the top spot.
New Hampshire 100 Notes:
Whelen All-Star Shootout: The weekend for the Whelen Modified Tour begins on Friday afternoon with the third annual Whelen All-Star Shootout, a 35-lap competition featuring the 20 most successful drivers in both the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours. Multi-time series champions Doug Coby of Milford, Connecticut (three championships) and Andy Seuss of Hampstead, New Hampshire (two Southern championships) lead the field for the non-points race. The starting lineup will be determined by random draw at conclusion of Friday’s drivers’ meeting.
Hello, Newman: Two-time New Hampshire winner Ryan Newman of South Bend, Indiana, will be making starts in both the All-Star Shootout and the New England 100. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has made starts at NHMS in a Modified every season since 2008, and he also has two career Tour wins at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Szegedy Back To Defend: 2003 Whelen Modified Tour champion Todd Szegedy is back this weekend to make his first start since the Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway early this season. The four-time race winner at NHMS won this race a year ago, and he’ll be making a start for car owner Rob Fuller in the No. 15 15-40 Construction Chevrolet. In 27 career starts at the “Magic Mile,” Szegedy has 13 top fives and 18 top 10s.
Top Dog: Doug Coby has three career wins at New Hampshire, all since 2012. He has two wins this season, both at Stafford Motor Speedway, and won the most recent Tour start at NHMS last September. He holds a 17-point lead in the series standings over Max Zachem through six races.
Zachem Closes In: Max Zachem of Preston, Connecticut, came close to becoming the second first-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner of 2016, leading a race-high 43 laps before being passed by Bobby Santos after the white flag and finishing second in the Thompson 125. Zachem closed to second in the standings and is now just 17 points behind Coby. Timmy Solomito became a first-time Tour winner when he took the checkered flag in the Icbreaker 150 in the season opener at Thompson, and backed it up with a win on his home track at Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway last time out.
NASCAR Home Tracks: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Part Of Tripleheader
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East joins the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on a tripleheader schedule Saturday at NHMS, along with the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The Whelen Modified Tour will also be part of a special All-Star Shootout on Friday, a 35-lap non-points event.
CREDIT: NASCAR HOME TRACKS