Berlin’s Preece a Young
Racing Star on the Rise
Ryan with his Grandfather Hall of Fame
Car Owner Bob Judkins at
New Smyrna Speedway
|By Brian Danko, Staff Writer
The New Britain Herald & Bristol Press
CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR FULL
Berlin, CT----Ryan Preece of Berlin may look like a
rookie, but this veteran on the NASCAR Whelen modified tour is no
rookie and figures to be a threat again to win the title this year.
This 21 year old has a fantastic racing DNA and it shows in what he
has done so far this year and in his brief career on the modified
tour. His grandfather, Bob Judkins, owned modifieds for years and was
a crew chief for some of the biggest names in racing and his father
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a family involved in racing and who
support me in what I am doing and want to do.” Ryan said recently.
Ryan Preece is off to a great start for the 2012
season as he’s posted Coors Light Pole Awards in each of the first two
events this year and set a new track record last time out at Stafford
(Conn.) Motor Speedway.
Getty Images for NASCAR
So far in three modified tour races, the speedster has won all three
poles, finished second in the Stafford Spring Sizzler, one of the premier
events on the modified tour schedule and then followed that up by leading
all 200 laps and winning the Whitcomb 200 at the Monadnock Speedway in New
Hampshire. It was his first win of the year and his fourth career win.
This year, he is teamed with car owner Eric Sanderson and with crew chief
Sly Szaban, he feels that they can and will compete for the NASCAR Whelen
tour title, something he did in 2009 when he was just 18 years old, losing
the title by just 16 points.
“I am really looking forward to working with them. Sly is very good at
listening to me and what the car needs. He has kept notes of all the
previous races at the different tracks and I feel that we will be in
victory lane again soon.”
Last night the modified tour was scheduled to race at the Stafford Motor
Preece joined the Flamingo Racing team for the last race of last year and
it seemed that they clicked from the time he slid into the seat. Preece
has captured the pole in all four races in the #16 dating back to the last
race last season.
While the modified tour is the primary goal for the young driver, he also
plans on running the Sk modified full time at the Thompson Speedway on
Thursday and the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday as well as events at
the Riverhead Raceway and Waterford Speedbowl when his schedule allows.
“With the modified tour schedule at just 14 races, it’s important for me
to stay sharp and race as much as possible and with the different teams
that I will be racing for I hope to have a chance to also compete for the
NASCAR Whelen All American series title.”
The Whelen All American series features every tracks premier division from
all NASCAR weekly tracks across the country for the right to be called the
‘national champion’. It only takes a drivers best 18 finishes so the more
you race; your worst finishes get replaced with higher finishes.
Ryan Preece celebrates his win in the Whitcomb 200
May 12th at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.
Photo By Fran Lawlor for NASCAR
Last weekend was a series of highs and lows for the
young driver as he was disqualified from the SK modified race after
spinning out the leader on the last lap at Stafford and then on
Sunday, he was credited with the win after again making contact with
the leader on the final lap of the race at the Thompson Speedway.
Today if a racer is 15 years old and hasn’t signed on with a
developmental team; it seems that they are too old, especially if they
have aspirations on competing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.
“I am not one of those kids who if they don’t make it to Cup racing they
don’t want to race. For me I am a racer and want to race as much as
possible but if the chance to move up came along, I’d take a look at it.”
Ryan said, “There is a lot in my career that I would love to accomplish
before I am through racing. One is to win the NASCAR modified tour title a
couple of times and also win the Whelen All American series title.”
While a lot of the younger drivers like the big wide tracks which produce
a lot of speed, Ryan likes the bullrings like the Riverhead Raceway on
Long Island. “I like Stafford and New Hampshire but I like to get on the
smaller tracks and mix it up a little.” That is one of the reasons why he
will compete at Riverhead when his busy schedule allows him.
When asked if there was anything about the tour and its rules that he
would liked to see changed it would be to have two tire companies
competing against each other.
“When you have that you have companies making deals with drivers to run
their tire, right now we don’t have that but other than that I like the
tour and the rules.”
Preece also plans on running races on the Valenti Modified series, a
modified based series for teams who can’t compete on the modified tour
because of the cost.
Preece has shown that he has the maturity to win the modified tour this
year, armed with a new team and crew chief, this young driver is looking
to become the youngest tour champion in NASCAR’s oldest division.
With this driver’s pedigree, it could be the start of many championships.