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Ryan Preece wins John Blewett III Memorial 76

Luis Torres | STS

Ryan Preece was busy locking up a Daytona 500 spot at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

Less than four hours later, he was standing in victory lane after winning the John Blewett III Memorial 76 at New Smyrna, his first win of the week.

Preece didn’t even have time to change out of his NASCAR Cup Series firesuit, and was forced to start at the back.

No matter. Preece tore through much of the field in the early going, settled in mid-pack to conserve his tires, then made the race-winning pass on Eric Goodale with only seven laps to go.

“The whole reason I put myself through what I do is to win races,” Preece said. “Showing up here tonight, starting last and winning, it makes it worth that.”

Matt Hirschman made a charge to the front in the closing laps but came up one spot short for the second time in three nights. Third was Patrick Emerling, followed by Jon McKennedy and Ron Silk. Closing out the top-10 were Matt Galko, Eddie McCarthy, Chuck Hossfeld, Bobby Measmer, and Dave Sapienza.

READ MORE: Patrick Emerling wins Tuesday night Tour Modified feature at New Smyrna

Emerling started on the pole and led the opening 30 laps, before Goodale moved to the top spot.

For the third straight night, the race was littered with carnage, and struggled to get into a rhythm. Wednesday, however, took the damage to an entirely different level. Five red flags stopped the race.

Through it all, Goodale held the lead until a hard-charging Preece outdrove him into turn three in the final laps. Half a lap later, Goodale himself spun out.

Preece had to fend off Hirschman over the course of several restarts within the final five laps. Hirschman himself managed to rally after spinning in front of the field on a restart with 15 laps to go. Much of the reason he didn’t end up wrecked was because of Preece checking up behind him.

“Thanked him for not cleaning me out after I got cleaned out,” Hirschman said. “He was the first car I see when I spun around, coming right at me… I’ll go to bed and thank my lucky stars tonight that we have a race car.”

The full results can be found below:

  1. Ryan Preece
  2. Matt Hirschman
  3. Patrick Emerling
  4. Jon McKennedy
  5. Ron Silk
  6. Matt Galko
  7. Chuck Hossfeld
  8. Eddie McCarthy
  9. Bobby Measmer Jr.
  10. Dave Sapienza
  11. Amy Catalano
  12. Eric Goodale
  13. JR Bertuccio
  14. Craig Lutz
  15. Buddy Charette
  16. Chris Finocchario
  17. Tyler Rypkema
  18. Stephen Kopcik
  19. Chris Jensen
  20. Burt Myers
  21. Anthony Nocella
  22. Ronnie Williams
  23. Jeremy Gerstner
  24. Tommy Catalano
  25. Jimmy Blewett
  26. Danny Knoll Jr.
  27. Marcello Rufrano
  28. Tom Martino Jr.
  29. Tyler Truex
  30. Bobby Jones
  31. Chris Ridsdale
  32. Jonathan Laureigh
  33. Paul Hartwig
  34. Randall Richard
  35. Jim Gavek
  36. Brian Robie
  37. Ron Mullen

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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 2021. Paul has also been published in the Boston Herald, Speedway Illustrated and on Autoweek.com.

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