WATERFORD, Conn. – Ryan Preece saved his best for last.
The 21-year-old from Berlin, Conn., notched his second victory of the season in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour action on Saturday night, winning the Mr. Rooter 161 at Waterford Speedbowl.
Preece, third quickest in qualifying, ran near the front of the pack all evening, never quite being able to find his way around the race leaders. That changed late, however, as a spin out by polesitter Todd Szegedy on the 159th lap brought out a caution and a chance for a green-white-checkered finish. Preece took advantage of the late restart, passing Doug Coby en route to his second consecutive win and first at Waterford.
It marks the second time in his Modified Tour career that Preece has won back-to-back races. He first accomplished the feat in 2009, winning at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway and Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. The victory is also the 10th consecutive top-10 finish for the young driver.
Coby, last year’s Waterford winner, settled for second with Donny Lia in third followed by Justin Bonsignore and Bobby Santos. Szegedy, Eric Goodale, Rowan Pennink, Ron Silk and Bryon Chew rounded out the top five.
With the victory, Preece extended his season points lead to 17 over Pennink with reigning champ Coby up to third, 21 behind.