LOUDON, N.H. —
It seemed like Ryan Preece would collect his first career top-10 finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Preece was running inside the top-10 and top-12 for much of the day behind the wheel of his No. 01 Mizzy Construction Chevrolet for JD Motorsports and it looked certain that he would collect at least a top-15, but more likely a top-10 finish. His lap times were extremely strong in the middle part of both the long and short runs and he was running against some of the best in NASCAR XFINITY Series competition.
“I was right there with the No. 48 (Brennan Poole) and I was definitely better than the No. 62 (Brendan Gaughan),” Preece said after the race.
In the final laps of Saturday’s AutoLotto 200, when Darrell Wallace Jr. spun off turn two, things changed for Preece. He had just got the lucky dog and got himself back on the lead lap at that point and was hoping to charge through some lapped traffic and collect a deserved solid finish. However, Preece committed to the outside lane in hopes of getting clear of the spin and contact ensued, giving Preece damage on the entire front end.
The team attempted to fix the car on pit road and actually kept him on the lead lap running 13th for the next restart. But then, things really went sour for the Berlin, Connecticut native. On the restart, Preece’s right-front fender was rubbing against the new Goodyear tire the team placed on the car and from then on, they say it’s history. Preece went straight, drew a caution flag because of some debris off the car and then just had to limp the car around the track and ended up crossing the line two laps down in 19th position.
“It’s really disappointing,” Preece said. ““I’m pissed off, there is some things you learn when you are growing up racing and I don’t think I would have been in that position (during the wreck) if something different had happened. I mean it was a good day, we ran good, but I’m still really disappointed.”
Even though Preece is obviously disappointed, the strong run that the team had will surely give him confidence going forward in the XFINITY Series. He was on pace to capture his best career finish and as upsetting as it is for the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, there is still plenty to look forward to for the rest of the season. They had speed and he showed he can run towards the front.
“We had a good run at Kentucky and we definitely carried it into here and I wanted to finish top-10 and I think it was going to happen here today,” Preece said. “Unfortunately, we just had no luck.”
The XFINITY race wasn’t the only action packed battle for Preece on Saturday. In fact, Preece competed in two other races, starting the day with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New England 100. He was leading in the early going of the event and then swapped the lead back and fourth with Doug Coby for much of the first 50 laps.
Then, a mandatory caution flag flew on lap 50 and all drivers were forced to come down pit road and change tires and get some fuel. Preece’s team elected to make some adjustments, but the car went to the tight side for the second half of the race. He dropped back a little bit through the field and battled hard in the final laps to get his sixth place finish, but he still knows it could have been better.
“It was a good first half, but we were just way to tight in the second half of the race and it took us out of contention,” Preece said. “We had a good day.”
The sixth in the Whelen Modified Tour feature was followed by the 19th from the XFINITY and then he got behind the wheel of the No. 31 Whelen sponsored car in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Preece came from the bottom half of the field early on and charged his way to the top-10, capturing a solid finish and ending a long, long day of racing in the New Hampshire summer heat.
Preece will be back in action next weekend, when the NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday.
LISTEN IN: Hear From Ryan Preece After His 19th Place NASCAR XFINITY Series Finish:
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
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