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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Green Earth Technologies 200


Polly Reid

Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT used patience carefully calculating his move and with just under 25 to go made a pass on the inside taking the lead from Timmy Solomito and never looked back as he went on to score a commanding win in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Green Earth Technologies 200 at Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, NY.

Justin Bonsignore made a late pass to cross for second with Solomito on the podium for third. Woody Pitkat and Howie Brode rounded out the top five.

It is Preece’s third NWMT win in a row at the famed Long Island short track, the victory tying Mike Ewanitsko’s record for the most consecutive Tour wins at Riverhead. “Mike Ewanitsko won three Tour races in a row and to be able to tie him that’s an honor in itself, I can’t even explain, it’s awesome,” said Preece in victory lane.

“In practice, we were better on older tires. I wasn’t worried when we qualified third, it was a great spot. I always want to try and qualify better but I knew we had a good car. I just wanted to get into second and hustle my way into the lead which I did on every restart. Everything worked out our way and I couldn’t be more happy.”

It is the fourth win of 2013 for Preece and the Flamingo Motorsports team.

Bringing the 28 car field to green, Coors Light Pole Award winner Timmy Solomito of Islip, NY in the Wayne Anderson owned, Eastport Feed/LLL Industries sponsored modified consistently held off the challenges of Preece and Brode again and again. As the cautions mounted, Solomito made use of his Riverhead Raceway experience with confident restarts leading the way after each yellow.

“Each restart got a little more interesting,” said Solomito. “Racing here weekly since 2008, you start learning a couple of little tricks here and there, I think that helped us prevail on a lot of those starts but Preece ended up getting us there, he saved a little more tire than we did- I’m used to running 35 lap features so to run 200, we did pretty good. We’ll take it, any day of the week.”

Thirteen cautions that included two red flags slowed the Green Earth Technologies 200 and as the field collected up for restarts, Preece continued to size up the timing of his move for the lead. It came on lap 177 when Preece moved his Sophie’s Restaurant, East West Marine sponsored, Eric Sanderson owned Ford low completing the pass on the inside out of turn four to become the second and final leader of the night.

“Timmy would get away a little bit but I wasn’t pushing to catch him,” explained Preece. “I could tell he was really driving hard to get away so I was sort of letting him use his stuff up a little more than I wanted to use my stuff up- we used it when we needed to and we made everything work. Timmy did a good job there finishing third, he drove a phenomenal race, we just had a little bit more at the end there.”

The longest green flag run of the night came in the final 32 circuits and while Preece made his successful bid for the lead, Justin Bonsignore the in Ken Massa owned, M3 Technology sponsored modified started fifth, settled into fourth then passed Brode for third with 75 to go. It was the closing circuits that Bonsignore found his opening, passing Solomito for second, the Holtsville, NY driver determined as he crossed the stripe the runner up in the Green Earth Technologies 200.

“I could tell Timmy was getting a little free all the way through,” said Bonsignore. “So, typical Riverhead, go in high and try to cross him over up off and we were able to get a good drive off the corner for the pass.”

“We came here expecting to win but to put ourselves up here in the top three, that’s good,” said Bonsignore who won earlier in the season at Monadnock Speedway in NH. “The car was tight all night, the cautions just killed us. We were set up hoping to go green for a while, it finally came to us but Preece was too far out at that point. It was a good run. We’ve had an up and down last couple of weeks on the Tour so it definitely paid off to come back and run weekly here the last few weeks and build up a notebook, we’re pretty happy with that.”

“Seat time is huge everywhere,” continued Bonsignore. “Look at Preece, everywhere we go he has a lot of seat time and that helps. So when I come here, my confidence level is high, I know we’re going to have a pretty good car, so the experience definitely helps. Little things- like not a lot of people know how to cross someone up late in the race on old tires- familiarity, it helps.”

Solomito was the class of the field for the first 176 circuits and had the home town crowd behind him hoping to be the first ‘Riverhead regular’ to score a Tour win since 1995. “If you told me on Wednesday last week that we would come here and qualify on the pole, run up front and finish third I would have said you were kidding me. All and all a great run. I can’t thank Freddie Kraft enough for coming up and spotting for me, he knows what he is doing, I miss that guy. We had a good car, just burned it up a little too early.”

Six tour starts now on his racing resume, Solomito will return for one more at the World Series at Thompson next month. “We ran there at the beginning of year and ended up in the top ten which was nice so hopefully when we go back there, do the same thing or even better, that’s the plan.”

This just doesn’t get old,” said car owner Eric Sanderson about the 16 Flamingo Motorsports trip to victory lane. “Timmy hung in there, we really had to work to get by him. I thought we had him earlier but the caution came out so we went back to second. Ryan, what a race he drove. He was patient, waited for an opening and when he got it he was gone. This is such a tough track to pass on- to get a position on somebody, it’s not easy. Ryan finally got the position and that was that.”

The win boosted Preece to 46 points ahead of Doug Coby with only three events remaining on the schedule. “Driving for points is one thing, but go out and win the race, we’re not going to hang back,” said Sanderson who is aware that it’s not over until the final checker flag waves. “One thing about racing, you never know what’s going to happen. You have to go out and do your best and whatever happens, happens. We’ll be trying to win the race in New Hampshire, we’re not going to back off just because we might lose a few points. We’re going out to win the next race and the next and the next race.”

Crossing the line for sixth was Eric Goodale with Rowan Pennink, Ted Christopher, Todd Szegedy and Patrick Emerling the top ten.
Starting 18th, Doug Coby, the closest threat to Preece for the title run, had made his way to 11th by the half way mark, the Milford, CT driver running a solid 10th with 75 to go. Making his way to 8th by the next restart ten circuits later, Coby suffered a right front flat on lap 138 and was forced to pit. Coby was able to rebound and finish 14th.

The NWMT heads to Loudon for the next event on Saturday September 21st for the F.W. Webb 100.

Source: Polly Reid / Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: September 16, 2013

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