STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. (WWLP) – Ryan Preece took down the victory in the GAF Roofing 150 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Stafford Speedway on Friday evening. The first 95 laps of the 150 lap event went caution-free. Preece came onto pit road for two new tires and fell back to seventh. Preece would then come back to pit road at a later caution for a third tire and would start seventh on the restart.
Preece took the lead with seven laps to go from Justin Bonsignore as he won the GAF Roofing 150. Preece led the most laps in the race at 115 laps. He talked about the win to 22News.
“We were a little tight there after we put that right front (tire) on which was kind of surprising. As we got going, the car the last five to eight laps finally got to where I wanted it to be 30 laps sooner. For a second, I thought Justin (Bonsignore) was finally going to win here and he had a really good car. Just as those laps starting clicking off. Having that extra tire over him, paid dividends,” Preece said.
Justin Bonsignore finished in second. He talked about his race to 22News, “We were good in practice and qualified upfront. Ryan (Preece) had the best car. He drove away and almost lapped us. We just missed it at the start of the race. These races are tough with smaller fields. There are less cautions, especially in the beginning. Everybody kind of minds their P’s and Q’s. Guys did a really good pit stop. Gained a bunch of spots.. Took rears (tires) there and we were worried if the car would be good or not and it was really good on rears. Ryan (Preece) just got through traffic so quick and that extra right front on top of having the best car just made it a little easier on him. I think we made big gains on the pit stop.”
Jon McKennedy finished in third. He talked about it to 22News, “Overall, it was pretty good. Qualified third. Just lacking long runs. We were loose. Kind of that issue the last couple of races. The car got speed. We’re back to running how we’ve been running the last few years. Consistently upfront. Things are going good. Just got to be a tick better. Overall a great day, everyone did a great job on pit road.”
Doug Coby finished in fourth. He talked about his race to 22News, “It was decent. Obviously, we were pretty fast on the long runs compared to everybody. I wasn’t thrilled with the car. Relatively speaking, I think we had a great car on that long run. Phantom debris caution changes the complexion of the race. I wasn’t catching Ryan (Preece). He had like six lap cars in between us. I was comfortable and it was interesting to see how many people had good drive and good cars in the beginning and just faded away and mine didn’t fade away as bad. After the pit stop, the car felt pretty strong for about 20 laps to maybe 25 laps. Definitely, the last 50 or so it lost drive compared to those guys. You need drive here. You’re just gonna never going to beat anybody.”
Silk finished in fifth. He talked about his race to 22News, “We started off way too loose. Got lapped at the end of that long run in the beginning. Got the lucky dog. Made some adjustments on the car when we were able to pit. Made it a lot better. The way it started. Fifth was a good result for us.”
Long-time car owner Don King was honored at the event on Friday night at Stafford Speedway. King passed away in June. Coby and Silk talked about what King meant to them.
“He was like a second father to me. People think about it at a racing level. I spent a lot of time with the family when I drove for them in 2002. You become best friends with people and they’re like a second family to me. We’ve had our ups and downs as a family. They’ve always treated me like a son. Probably the best way to explain my relationship with Don, he wasn’t just a car owner who took a chance on me. He literally was my second father. He was one of my best friends. Guy would do anything for me. We talked a lot about racing. We talked a lot about business. I lived with them for a year before I bought my first house. He helped me financially. It was always loan-based. I always came up with some deals and stuff. He was always there for me. After I got my feet going in real estate, then he started asking me for advice and that’s kind of like the ultimate compliment. Like when I first started driving for him, I depended on him for a lot and then he started to depend on me a little bit for some advice. When they moved to Florida, I sold three houses for them here in Connecticut. Most of the family is here. It’s just great to see everyone having fun being at the races because that’s what Don (King) liked to do. I am definitely going to miss him. Just gotta move forward,” Coby said.
“Don was a great guy. Basically was gonna be my father-in-law. Would’ve been my father-in-law. It’s hard to put into words what kind of guy Don was. Anybody needed something, he would be the first to help. Always treated me as if I was a part of his family before Christie and I were dating. Really good guy and was fortunate I got to spend time with him,” Silk said.
Stafford’s weekly divisions were in action. Todd Owen made it two in a row in the SK Modifieds. Michael Gervais, Jr finished in second and Doug Meservey, Jr recorded his best finish in the division with a third-place run. Dan Wesson out of Monson finished in ninth. Mikey Flynn out of Hampden finished in 10th. Tyler Leary out of Hatfield finished in 21st.
Kevin Gambacorta took down the win in the Late Model race. Andrew Molleur finished in second and Darrell Keane finished in third. Andrew Durand out of Chicopee finished in fourth. Tom Fearn out of East Longmeadow finished in 15th. Adam Gray out of Granby finished in 18th and Tyler Leary out of Hatfield finished in 19th.
Derek Debbis took down the win in the SK Lights race. Brian Sullivan finished in second and Steven Chapman finished in third. Alina Bryden out of West Springfield finished in 16th and Josh Carey out of Belchertown finished in 26th.
Jeremy Lavoie took down the win in the Limited Late Model race. Alexandra Fearn out of East Longmeadow finished in second.
Nickolas Hovey took down the win in the Street Stock race. Frank L’Etoile, Jr finished in second and Chris Meyer finished in third. Bill Cote out of Belchertown finished in 14th and Christopher Phelps out of New Salem finished in 17th.
The next event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be in the state of Maine at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough on Saturday, August 21. Justin Bonsignore will take a 12 point lead over Patrick Emerling.
Stafford Speedway will be back in action on Friday night.