Ryan Preece insists he will be more than “just a fan” when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour opens the 2019 season on March 16 at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina.
To be sure, the 2013 champion expects to make a handful of starts this season when his burgeoning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule allows him too, especially for the companion races at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
His return to Tour Type Modified competition will come on April 20 at the Bowman Gray 200 open event at the legendary stadium in Winston Salem, North Carolina. He also competed in a pair of races, winning one of them, during the World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway.
So even though he insists that he’s not a fan this year, he will be forced to watch from the sidelines most weekends, something made easier with the announcement that NASCAR will stream every Tour race on FansChoice.TV this season.
“That is a huge step,” Preece said on Friday in response to a question from Short Track Scene. “Something that I always looked forward to when I went to New Smyrna was being able to go and watch or tell people that they could go and watch it on FansChoice.TV.
“Now to be able to watch every single Whelen Modified Tour race on that … when I’m not there I’m still going to be there watching. I’m still going to be supporting it because I’m true to my #ModifiedsMainly mantra. I’m really excited, I’m really happy that NASCAR chose to do that and I’m happy for everybody that runs the tour to be able to have that.”
Obviously, Preece believes fans will instantly fall in love with the Tour’s brand of close competition, historic East Coast short tracks and gritty blue-collar personalities.
NASCAR in the middle of a short track revolution amongst fans who insist on having more tracks at less than a mile represented across all three national tours.
While this announcement doesn’t accomplish that, it is a sort of love letter to short track fans from the executives in the offices at Daytona Beach, Florida.
“I think a lot of people that watched or hadn’t really heard of them or a lot of people that have heard of Modfieds, but didn’t have any way to go watch, like if you’re out West or something, now they have a chance to watch it,” Preece said. “I think it definitely is going to take the Modifieds as far as building its fan base. The reason why we all love the World of Outlaws is because they are cool to watch.
“It’s the same thing when you watch Modifieds, they are cool to watch. Being able to hopefully have the West Coast and anywhere else be able to watch that is going to be big. Us modified fans, we appreciate all sorts of types of racing just like other people do. Hopefully, other people will feel the same.”
So which tracks is Preece most excited for casual fans to see this season?
“I have so many right now,” Preece said. “I hope they show the Bowman Gray 200 because of the atmosphere. That place at night is unreal. But Thompson and Stafford. I’ve got to lean on Tad (Geschickter) to let me run some of those races. Then you’ve got Riverhead, Monadnock, Oswego — the Steel Palace.
“I can’t name just one because I get so excited about them all. “
And now, you can see them all on FansChoice.TV.