Short Track Scene

Ryan Preece wins Richie Evans/Ted Christopher Memorial 100

Cassie Fambro/STS

A second-half charge by Ryan Preece saw the Berlin, Connecticut native claim his second win of the 2018 World Series of Asphalt as Preece was first to the checkers in the Richie Evans/Ted Christopher Memorial 100 Friday night.

It hasn’t been speed that Preece has lacked all week, nor as he made any mistakes behind the wheel.

Preece’s biggest arch-nemeses throughout the 2018 World Series have been untimely and rather frustrating mechanical failures. A dominating performance on Monday was wiped out thanks to a suspension problem in the final laps of the race. The gremlins reared their ugly heads yet again on Thursday, when Preece had to retire from the race for the very same part failure. A stuck throttle and heart-stopping crash at Bronson Speedway over the weekend certainly hadn’t helped morale.

To Preece, however, many of these problems were, in hindsight, rather avoidable.

“The throttle deal [at Bronson], that was just an oversight,” Preece told Short Track Scene. “The other problems we were having were really self inflicted, I would say. Just stuff that I was trying.”

“Ultimately, my science projects didn’t work out.”

It appeared as if an electrical failure would keep Preece out of Victory Lane on Friday. This time, however, even Preece himself was bewildered by what happened.

“One of the screws backed out of the ignition power switch,” said Preece. “It’s frustrating. I don’t come to a racetrack unprepared, and when stuff like that happens, it really frustrates me.”

Preece, however, was determined not to let bad luck ruin the biggest night of the World Series for the modifieds. In the blink of an eye, he was in the top-10. Another blink and he was in the top-five. All of a sudden, Preece found himself in second place behind Matt Hirschman. Preece slipped by Hirschman on a late-race restart and didn’t look back.

While the trouble with the ignition switch had hurt Preece in one way, it may very well have aided him in another, more psychological manner.

“This is a hundred-lap race,” said the three-time World Series champion. “Some people, they were going gung-ho like it was a twenty-lap race right at the beginning, and that wasn’t my strategy. [The switch issue] helped me go back there and just work my way through and let people burn their stuff up.”

While Preece may not have won what would’ve been a fourth consecutive World Series title, he won a race that, especially for this year, was near and dear to his heart.

“I’m just happy to win it with [Teddy Christopher’s] name on it,” Preece said. “You know, Teddy and I, we would never hang out… But, what I’m going to say is, as a race car driver I respected the hell out of him. From when I was 14 years old, I’d been racing against him.”

“In the end, we’re all going to miss him.”

It wasn’t a championship, but for Ryan Preece, the victory in the Richie Evans/Ted Christopher Memorial 100 was one he will not soon forget.

Full results:

  1. Ryan Preece
  2. Matt Hirschman
  3. Timmy Solomito
  4. Ron Silk
  5. Jimmy Blewett
  6. Calvin Carroll
  7. Jimmy Zacharias
  8. Mike Willis Jr.
  9. Patrick Emerling
  10. Kyle Ebersole
  11. Chuck Hossfeld
  12. Tyler Ripkema
  13. Amy Catalano
  14. Timmy Catalano
  15. Kyle Trayner
  16. Joe DeGracia
  17. Jeff Gallup
  18. Eric Goodale
  19. Nikki Carroll
  20. Tommy Catalano
  21. Ronnie Williams
  22. Jeremy Gerstner
  23. Matt Montineri
  24. Craig Lutz
  25. Austin Pickens

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