THOMPSON – With his race winning SK Modified preparing for inspection at Thompson International Speedway, Ryan Preece shook his head in disdain.
Preece took the trophy as the winner of the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature Sunday at Thompson International Speedway, but it was a muted celebration offered by the 21-year old driver from Berlin.
In Friday’s SK Modified feature at Stafford Motor Speedway Preece was penalized at the halfway mark of the event for hitting race leader Frank Ruocco and then after rallying back he was penalized on the last lap for spinning race leader Keith Rocco.
There was more last lap contact for Preece Sunday, though seeming the unavoidable type.
Preece stalked race leader Todd Ceravolo from lap 14 until the final lap. In turn four of the final circuit, Ceravolo’s car got sideways in turn four leaving Preece looking to take evasive action to avoid contact. The contact came, leaving Ceravolo spinning on the frontstrech and Preece taking the checkered flag as the race winner.
“I’m not even happy right now,” Preece said. “It just doesn’t seem to be my weekend. I couldn’t get a good run on him so I never even tried and he got sideways and I was right there. I even got on the brake, and I just tapped him and finished him off. I don’t want to win like that. I’d hand him the trophy right now because he won the race. If it didn’t happen the way it happened, where he got loose and I was right there, he would have won the race. I was settling for second and it was going to be what it was. It’s a shame and I don’t want my reputation to be like …, I’m just trying to stay out of trouble.”
Kerry Malone of Needham, Mass. was second and Keith Rocco of Wallingford third.
Ceravolo, of Gales Ferry, straightened out after spinning and settled for a fifth place finish.
“It was an accident,” Ceravolo said. “Same line I had taken the whole race. No one wants to win like that, I’ve been in the same shoes he’s in. … I’m sure he didn’t want to do it like, I’m sure he didn’t want to win that way.”
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