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Ryan Preece wins Sunoco Modified race at Thompson

Paul Lambert/STS

It doesn’t look like Ryan Preece has forgotten how to race a modified in his time driving in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

After a spirited battle with Max McLaughlin, it was Preece standing in victory lane in the Sunoco Modified feature at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, driving the No. 31 car owned by the Moniz family.

“Big thank you to Albert and Cathy [Moniz] for getting the car ready,” Preece said in victory lane.

McLaughlin would take the second position. Third was Keith Rocco, followed by Troy Talman and Todd Owen. In the sixth position was Woody Pitkat. Ronnie Williams, Mike Christopher Jr, John Studley, and Timmy Jordan rounded out the top-10.

Kyle James started on pole, and led the first lap. Talman proceeded to take the lead on the second lap, and would take charge on the opening green-flag run.

A spin by Zachary Leone on lap 13 bunched the field back up.

On the ensuing restart, McLaughlin took the lead from Talman. Preece would follow him to second.

Despite Preece’s best efforts using the inside lane, he was unable to get by McLaughlin. That changed, however, with just four laps to go. Preece finally got alongside and made what would be the race-winning pass off of turn two. It was smooth sailing for Preece the rest of the way as he took the checkered flag.

“We got really loose really early,” Preece said. “I started searching for grip and I found some on the bottom and made it work.”

From there, McLaughlin couldn’t do much to hold off the Cup Series rookie.

“Just lack of experience on my end probably cost me that race,” McLaughlin said. “He’s probably the best in all of Modified racing. He just schooled me a little bit.” 

Preece will try for the modified sweep tonight, as he is also racing in the Thompson 125 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

The full results can be found below:

  1. Ryan Preece
  2. Max McLaughlin
  3. Keith Rocco
  4. Troy Talman
  5. Todd Owen
  6. Woody Pitkat
  7. Ronnie Williams
  8. Mike Christopher Jr.
  9. John Studley
  10. Timmy Jordan
  11. Adam Gada
  12. Kyle James
  13. George Brunnhoelzl III
  14. Corey Barry
  15. Joe Allegro Jr.
  16. Paul LaPlante
  17. Justin Albernaz
  18. Zachary Leone
  19. John Berchem
  20. Matt Gallo
  21. Josh Zentek

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Paul Lambert is an aspiring collegiate journalist. A writer and broadcaster, Paul's excited to cover New England short track racing in 2019. Paul has also been published in Speedway Illustrated and on Autoweek.com.

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