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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. scored his fourth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory of 2013 Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway when he executed an inside pass of Timmy Solomito with just 23 laps remaining in the Green Earth Technologies 200. The win was Ryan's third straight WMT triumph at the demanding quarter mile oval which ties his with Mike Ewanitsko as the only two drivers to score the Riverhead hat trick winning three WMT races in a row. Preece took home an estimated $6,000 in purse and bonus money for the victory.

Rising talent Timmy Solomito won the Coors Light Pole Award when he set the standard in pre-race qualifying with a lap of 11.849 and "The Natural" would be joined in the front row by Howie Brode, the 2013 NASCAR Modified champion for the Whelen All-American Series at Riverhead Raceway. When the green flag dropped over the 28 car field it was Solomito bolting out front with Brode tucking into second. However the first of what would be 13 caution flags during the race waved on lap 2 when Ed Flemke Jr. came to a stop in turn two with a left front flat. It would be a lap 12 restart that found Ryan Preece able to slide under Brode for second setting the stage for what would the fight for the lead between Solomito and Preece that would last some 165 laps.

Over that time Solomito, 21 and Preece 22 both youthful and talented wheelmen showed great poise and patience as they had to endure nearly a dozen or so double file restarts side by side with the likes of Brode, Justin Bonsignore and others all within striking distance. Some restarts saw Solomito with an edge off the fourth corner, while others finding Preece seeming to have a run on the outside only to be denied by the race leader. One restart after the halfway point of the race saw both drivers spin their tires just for a second before they could quickly gather their cars up and go back to the business of racing for the lead and win. In the process both drivers were racking up bonus money in the form of lap money as Timmy was earning Riverhead Raceway regular bonus money, while Preece was pocketing the leading WMT lap money raised by Jim Schaefer, aka "the LI Mod Maniac".

When Preece wasn't trying to take the lead on the outside of Solomito on restarts he spent many a lap tucked onto the rear spoiler of Solomito trying to slip under the leader off the corners. Persistence finally paid off on lap 177 for Ryan Preece as he saw an opening going into the third turn and squeezed his East-West Marine Ford under Solomito for the lead. Once out front Ryan was able to edge away from Solomito who suddenly found himself in a fight for runner-up honors with Justin Bonsignore who drove a smooth and steady race. Lap 194 saw Justin able to get around Timmy going into the first turn for the position while Solomito settled into third.

As the race came to an end Ryan Preece crossed under the checker flag not only as the race winner but as well increased his WMT championship lead over defending champion Doug Coby to 46 points with three races remaining. "I just love Riverhead" Preece boasted in victory lane, "I knew around lap 100 if I just stayed on Timmy I would find an opening sooner or later". Ryan furthered, "I can't thank Sophie's Restaurant enough for coming on board along with East-West Marine, I mean three in a row and to have my name mentioned with the great Mike Ewanitsko is just awesome. When pressed by Riverhead announcer Bob Finan as to what the future holds for him starting with next season Ryan said "right now I have no plans to be anywhere else next year and have had no talks with anyone, I'd like to be right back here though if nothing comes along".

Justin Bonsignore was runner up in his M3 Technology Chevy and was very upbeat about his race afterwards, "if you told me on Wednesday that we'd run up front all night long and finish second I would have told you I'll take it". However when he looked at what could have been Justin admitted, "we set our car up tight hoping for a long green flag run but that run never came and kind of sunk our game plan". Owner Ken Massa changed the engine program recently to which Bonsignore added, "we just had to many failures with our former engine builder but now we are using Keith Elssaser and so far so good".

"The Natural" Timmy Solomito of Islip was third in his Eastport Feeds entry and looked back on his day. "Just a great day for us, won the pole and then led 177 laps, I just didn't have enough to hold off Ryan but third is fine with me". Timmy added, "I can't thank Wayne & Joette Anderson enough for this opportunity and my Dad Jerry, he gave me a great set-up to put us in a position for the win".

Woody Pitkat of Stafford, Ct. was fourth in the Mr. Rooter Pontiac with Howie Brode of East Islip steering his Peter Clark Motorsports Chevy to a solid fifth place finish.

Eric Goodale of Riverhead, Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. Ted Christopher of Plainville, Ct., Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, Ct. and Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY completed the top ten

Green Earth Technologies 200: 1. Ryan Preece 2. Justin Bonsignore 3. Timmy Solomito 4. Woody Pitkat 5. Howie Brode 6. Eric Goodale 7. Rowan Pennink 8. Ted Christopher 9. Todd Szegedy 10. Patrick Emerling 11. Donny Lia 12. Shawn Solomito 13. Jamie Tomaino 14. Doug Coby 15. Wade Cole 16. Ron Yuhas Jr. 17. Ed Flemke Jr. 18. Glenn Reen 19. Gary McDonald 20. Ken Heagy 21. Bryon Chew 22. Ron Silk 23. Frank Vigliarolo Jr. 24. John Beatty Jr. 25. Bobby Santos 26. Mike Stefanik 27. Eric Berndt 28. Cole Powell

  Source: Bob Finan / Riverhead Raceway
Posted: September 15, 2013

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