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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour


TS Haulers/East West Marine Race Team Captures First 2015 NWMT Victory at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl  by Denise DuPont

Ryan Preece in the TS Haulers/East West Marine modified held off a determined field including 2014 NWMT champion Doug Coby and Ted Christopher for a green-white-checker finale to score his first win of the season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Mr. Rooter “161” at New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

Preece of Berlin, CT, started the Mr. Rooter “161” sixth behind 2015 Icebreaker winner Doug Coby. The thirty-three car field quickly settled into a green flag run with only one quick yellow on lap 15 for a spin in turn two (Wade Cole and Chase Dowling). Then on lap 33 when Woody Pitkat spun with a flat tire after making a move on Derek Ranstrom for position. The field was under yellow then turned red for two additional incident cars that spun to avoid Pitkat – Chase Dowling and Anthony Nocella. Nocella was wedged in the turn three wall and it took time to dislodge the car to continue racing. NASCAR Officials held the field under red for a lengthy cleanup of fluid on the track. Several cars pitted when we went back to yellow including Pitkat. Racing resumed on lap 42 followed with another caution on lap 43. From this point on, there were several cautions that occurred until we established a new track record of twelve cautions in 73 laps.

Preece took the lead on lap 47 and went forward to dominate the rest of the race, including leading the most important lap, the last one, Preece earned his first win with the Ed Partridge team on the NWMT tour. “I think that we are having some fun here,” Said Preece from victory lane. “To be honest, I have not raced Waterford very much and it really suits me because I like running on the outside and this place seems like that becomes the preferred groove. When Doug got me on that one restart I just said “Screw them I am just going to take the bottom and I am going to make him go where I want to go”. Ever since lap 120 it was like a green-white-checker race of 2012 or 2013 over and over for every single restart. To be able to do that, that many times is nerve racking but to finally get that one first win out of the way for the year. Hopefully I carry the momentum to Stafford and Thompson and have some good races. It really sets you up for hopefully a good summer and hopefully I will win a lot of races.”

Pole sitter Donny Lia remained in third until he was a victim of an incident on lap 96 after driver of #37 modified, Dave Salzarulo, spun in turn four infield grass and pulled out in front of the lead pack. Cars backed up to avoid Salzarulo and Lia along with Timmy Solomito had nowhere to go. Both cars were crunched in the accident and pitted. Lia came back several laps later to finish the race 21 laps down in twenty-first.

A scarier incident occurred when rookie Troy Talman pulled the #3 ‘Ole Blue’ modified out of the paddock onto the track entrance during a lap 154 restart. Leaders were just entering turn four at full speed when they all of a sudden found the #3 among their ranks. Cars scurried to get around, make room and out of the way of the car. All were able to make it by. That was some real good driving and great saves but it definitely was a bad judgment call for the young driver. “I saw him real quick,” said Preece about Talman in turn four. “I was on the inside – so it was good that I did not chose the outside. But you know what, I won the race so I have nothing to complain about!”

Doug Coby who was running the outside of Preece barely missed Talman as he entered the track. “That just should have never happened.” Coby expressed. “They said they had the paddle at “Stop” but that is not going to stop a modified. There has to be a better way to do that. I was very close. I saw him coming and I was close to clipping Ryan in the right rear but Ryan got going. It was just ridiculous to do stuff like that. OI do not know whose idea was to send him to go.”

Coby of Milford, CT ran with the lead pack just waiting for the opportunity to take the top spot. He had a short window where he led for two laps with about thirty to go but cautions and the strong Partridge modified kept him at bay. “I thought that tit was a pretty good night,” confessed Coby. “We did not have a good car all day long. Even though we were fast in practice and time trials, we were concerned about what we had. We finally showed that we had something, but we did not have what Ryan had. We knew we had a nice shot at beat him if he made a mistake. And he did make a huge mistake off of turn two and then recovered. My thought was we just rattle him and see if he makes a mistake and push him up the track or something but he did a good job. He had the best car all day. And he pulled away from us on most of the restarts. We gained a little more but we did OK considering a new chassis and all that stuff.”

Coby summarized his thoughts on the Mr. Rooter “161” race after reflecting on his night. “First and foremost we come here to put a show on for the fans. The place was packed tonight and I hope everyone enjoyed the last few laps. I gave it my best. I really, really tried, but kudos to him (Ryan Preece) he did a really great job. They (#6 Partridge team) always have a good car here and they had the best car tonight. We were just a little snug and this is our first impound race with our new LFR chassis. We really did not know what to do for the setup and we were pretty close. So we are on our way. We have a win and a second in three races so we are on our way. A save is only as good enough as the car will allow you to save so we had a good car tonight and saved it when we needed to. “

Mr. Rooter sponsored both the race and the #13 modified of Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT. “It was a good run. And when Ryan opened the door I was “Come on Doug Fill it Doug Fill it please.”

Christopher started the race well into the field and leveraged the incidents/cautions to make his way up to finish third. Even though the cautions may have helped in in the long run, as the race wound down Christopher wanted a run at the end. “I wish that they did not have that many cautions at the end. Yes it is hard to get any rhythm going. At one point I had Doug beat they and then the stupid caution comes out and you go back and you spin the tires. So in one restart you are good and the other you are not. It sort of stinks with an end like that when you waste a lot of laps. It is a hard game sometime I think that we had a little bit better car and stuff than Doug. Congratulations to both those guys. From twentieth to third that was a good run for us.

Rookie Max Zachem held on for a strong fourth place finish while Woody Pitkat rebound to round off the top five.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be at Stafford Motor Speedway next Friday June 5th for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125. Woody Pitkat picked up the win the last time the tour visited Stafford for the Spring Sizzler on April 26. Will we see a new winner or can Pitkat pull off two wins in a row at his home track?

Notes from Mr. Rooter “161” at New London-Waterford Speedbowl:

With the 12 cautions was it tough to develop any rhythm?

Ryan Preece

“These are guys that race with us all the time and I do not know why some guys are tearing up their equipment. These cars take thousands and thousands of dollars to fix. And I watch guys that are driving the way that they should not be doing – carelessly. It is does not make much sense. I could not believe what happened in turn four where the guy was sitting in the infield and comes out. I knew where I was I was not going to touch him but I knew when I heard the caution, I knew a couple of guys were taken out. That is honestly ridiculous. I think that a fifteen year old kid racing a quarter midget would know better than to do that. It is unfortunate but we had a great day and a really fast car that showed a ton of forward drive. Usually when I get a perfect race car like that I do not end up winning. So to finally actually pull that off, it is awesome.”

Is starting a field of thirty-three modified too many for a small bullring track?

Ryan Preece

“I think that is why we had too many cautions. But it is a catch-22 because if you did not start them there are going to be guys that are thinking “Why should I show up if I am not going to qualify?” But for the same time for tracks like this it makes it really hard to get a rhythm going and to put some laps on. I do not know what the longest green flag run was. It had to be longer with Donny Lia and then is was followed by just cautions. It has not been how this race has been for the past few years though. It is usually a lot of green flag runs. It just seems like we could not get going tonight. Which is unfortunate.”

Doug Coby
“I do not like all those cautions a d restarts because those chances are where one little mistake from Ted or us and it just ruins the great race that you had. I am the type of racer where I would have rather see it go green for 40 or 50 laps at the end. I think I had a better car in the long run. I saw that when I was behind Lia and Rocco for a while that my car would come on about after 15 laps, but we just did not have too many 15 lap runs. That is the price that you pay for starting thirty-three cars when you post twenty-eight on the entry blank. You have a lot of extra caution and I do not think that fans deserve to see that. They deserve to see the best cars on the track and hopefully that would have cut down on some cautions. But that is expected because they are trying to keep guys coming back week to week.”
“First it was Sazarulo and that is what we have to deal with early in the season. Then on the other hand you need cars to support he series so you just have to have a better rein on how you are going to manage it. I do not think that any of us wanted the restarts at the end because you are just going just get at your best ad then there is a restart. Just when you think you gain on somebody there is a restart and you think you are going to beat him and then your car is all messed up. Battle one is not to spin yourself out on the restart and battle two is not to get put up in the fence when you are on the outside of Ryan or Ted.”

Ted Christopher
“It is OK with the little bit bigger tracks. They do not start that many at Riverhead.”

Your thoughts on three races in 12 days after a long layoff?

Ryan Preece

“We just had a good race. And we are racers. This is what we want to do. I see a lot of social media from people who do not have a lot to do with these races just talking down about things. But realistically it is not their money. These owners want to be here and want to race. So I really think that we go to road course racing again and we have two races that is going to be fantastic. And I would applaud NASCAR and everybody involved if we could do that. Because e14 to 15 races a year is great but I hear of days when they were racing 20 to 25 races and obviously that can be done because they were doing that back in the day. I am hoping that we get back to that at one point and I know Eddie is ready to do it. We are actually looking for races to run which is awesome. I am just having a lot of fun and it is great to win this Mr. Rooter 16 again. Grasso and I were talking about Thompson road course today and he said if we won today He thought we would go. We will see if he is still thinking that when I get back into the pits.”
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: May 31, 2015

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