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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




After trailing Doug Coby by 55 points in the chase for the 2012 Whelen Modified Tour championship only three races ago, Ryan Preece and the #16 Diversified Metals team have clawed their way back into championship contention. Two third place finishes and a victory in the last race at Riverhead has seen Preece move into second in the championship standings, only 9 points behind Coby. Preece hopes to continue his momentum in the CARQUEST Fall Final on Sept. 29 & 30.

"It's pretty close now," said Preece. "I think it will come down to who the luckiest driver is at the end of the year and we'll see if our luck can keep on going the way it's been going the last couple of races. I've always tried to race and let everything else deal with itself. We're going to keep on trying to win races and keep the car out of trouble. That's pretty crazy that we've made up that many points. We had some bad luck to start off the year and it seems like now Doug [Coby] is running into some bad luck now. We've been really good when Doug has had his bad days and Doug was really good when we had our bad days."

Preece has been in a tight championship race before. In 2009, he finished only 16 points behind Donny Lia in what turned out to be the fourth closest championship battle in Whelen Modified Tour history. Preece will use the experience he gained from that championship chase and apply it to this year's championship fight.

"I'm very lucky that I'm always the underdog in the points," said Preece. "It's your championship to lose when you're the leader, while the guy in second is doing everything he can to win it. I'm going to do what I did last time in 2009. It didn't end up working out our way that year, but I'm going to try to do it for sure this year."

One factor that is sure to aid Preece is the fact that he has an extremely fast car in qualifying. Preece has won 6 pole positions this season, by far the most of any driver on Tour. Going back to the final race of the 2011 season, Preece has put his car on pole in 7 of the 12 races he has run thusfar with the #16 team. Preece has won the pole position for two of the three Stafford races this season, and he is hoping to continue that trend for the CARQUEST Fall Final.

"That's insane how many poles we've won," said Preece. "You don't have a year like this very often and we aren't getting used to it by any means. When I got into this car, I knew it was a good car, I feel like it's one of the best rides to be in, and I'm very fortunate to be driving this car. This is above and beyond what any of us expected. We were expecting to qualify well at Thompson for the Icebreaker and then after that it was like let's shoot for up front and we started clicking off poles. I think we've got 7 poles in the 12 races we've been together, so I'm not sure it can get any better than it's been this year. Our plan is to win the pole, lead the most laps and win the race. We're going to try our best and we'll see how it all works out for us."

With the championship race coming down to the last three races, Preece has a lot of momentum on his side with his win at Riverhead Raceway giving Preece and his team a confidence boost.

"The Riverhead win was good for the team because they deserve it," said Preece. "I wish I could win every race for those guys, but obviously we can't win them all. It was good to close in on Doug and it just goes to show how important it is to finish races and to win races with this points system. Every point is going to count in the end, so leading a lap and leading the most laps is going to be important."

With finishes of second, eleventh, and sixth in the three Stafford races this year, Preece feels like he and his team have hit on a setup that will allow him to be a contender for the checkered flag in the CARQUEST Fall Final.

"We've been tweaking on the car a little here and there," said Preece. "I think this time when we go back to Stafford we know what we need in the car because of what we did at Thompson. With the two thirds we got at Thompson, we feel like we have something that we found that we can go off of."

Tickets for the September 29th & Sept. 30th 40th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating will be priced at $42.00 for all ages. All CARQUEST Fall Final tickets are good for admission on both Saturday and Sunday. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax and Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.

For more information on the 40th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

  Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: September 20, 2012

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