STAFFORD – Three races together, three pole positions.
Preece, of Berlin, set a track qualifying record Saturday in time trials on the way to winning the pole for Sunday’s Whelen Modified Tour Tech-Net Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
“It’s awesome,” Preece said. “I don’t even know how to describe the feeling right now.
“But me and [crew chief Stan Szaban] really want to win a race for [team owner Eric Sanderson] and everybody involved. So hopefully we can get the job done [Sunday]. I know we have a really good race car.”
It was the eighth career Whelen Modified Tour pole for Preece in 69 division events dating back to 2007.
Preece toured the half-mile oval in 17.924 seconds (100.424 mph), breaking the previous record of 17.965 seconds set by Bobby Santos III in 2010. Corey LaJoie of Concord, N.C, making his debut in the division, was second fastest 17.936 seconds (100.357 mph). Eric Berndt of Cromwell was third fastest at 17.948 seconds (100.290 mph).
Preece, 21, joined the Flamingo Motorsports team a week before the Modified Tour’s season ending event at Thompson International Speedway last October and won the pole in his first event for the organization.
He started this year by winning the pole for the Whelen Modified Tour season opening Icebreaker 150 on April 15 at Thompson. It marked the first time in Preece’s career that he had won poles in consecutive events.
While qualifying has been perfect with Preece and his Flamingo team, the races have been a different story. Preece has gotten caught up in accidents in both events with the team, finishing 26th in the October event last year and 16th in this year’s season opener.
“Me and [Szaban] were talking about [the three consecutive poles],” Preece said. “I had never gotten two poles in a row before and he hadn’t either. And neither of us has ever gotten three poles in a row. So we’re getting a lot of firsts for each other. Hopefully we can keep the good luck going and keep the momentum going and win some races this year.”
Preece has three career Whelen Modified Tour victories. His last win came in 2009. He drove full-time in the series from 2007-10, but ran a part time schedule last season, competing in 10 of 16 events for a number of different teams. He replaced seven-time series champion Mike Stefanik in the Flamingo Motorsports ride after Stefanik left the team with one race left in the season last year.
“I’m just happy that we’re getting along and we’re having fun,” Preece said.
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