STAFFORD – Talk to Ryan Preece for any amount of time and its clear within minutes that there’s no shortage of optimistic giddiness coming from the 21-year old driver from Berlin.
Despite having the best car for most of Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Tech-Net Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford Motor Speedway and having to settle for a second place finish, Preece showed that there’s no way he’ll let disappointment in any event carry on past that event.
After Sunday’s finish at Stafford, Preece wasn’t lamenting what might have been but rather explaining how what he and his team learned Sunday in finishing second will serve as the lesson they need to come in confident they’ll win when the series returns to Stafford next month.
Preece is in his first full-time season competing for Flamingo Motorsports. He joined the team for the final event of the 2011 season after seven-time series champion Mike Stefanik walked away from the ride.
He won the pole in his first race with the team last year and followed that up with his second consecutive pole in the season opening Icebreaker 150 April 14-15 at Thompson International Speedway. This weekend at Stafford Preece made it three consecutive poles with the team, and set a new Stafford Speedway qualifying record in the process.
Bad finishes thanks to crashes marked Preece’s first two events with the team. Sunday at Stafford Preece had the best car for the first half of the race, leading a race-high 100 laps. After Preece regained the lead after a round of pit stops, eventual race-winner Doug Coby passed him for the top spot on lap 112 and Preece was left starting at Coby’s rear bumper the rest of the event.
After the race Sunday Preece took the blame for miscalculating changes needed to the car at the pit stop.
“The first half of the race the car was awesome and I told [crew chief Stan Szaban] ‘I think the track is going to get freer’ and he listened to me,” Preece said. “He put 100 percent trust in me and I feel like it was my fault. I think when we come back next time we should be able to lead the whole thing if we start from the pole again. We’re just having fun and that car was phenomenal at the beginning. It sucks not closing out races, but how can you complain about a second?”
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