WINCHESTER, N.H. – Ryan Preece has been good everywhere the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has raced this year, but bullrings are where the season points leader really excels. It will be a tall task for another competitor to derail his attempt to repeat in the Town Fair Tire Whitcomb 200 on Saturday at Monadnock Speedway.
Preece, from Berlin, Conn., has won the last three races in a row that the Whelen Modified Tour has contested at quarter-mile ovals, and led 70-percent of the laps en route to those checkered flags. In last year’s Whitcomb 200 he led green-to-checkered in the No. 16 Flamingo Motorsports Ford.
In nine career Whelen Modified Tour races between Monadnock and Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway – the other quarter-mile on the schedule – Preece has four wins and an average finish of fifth.
All of those numbers don’t bode well for the rest of the field heading to the rural Winchester bullring this week, but there will in fact be plenty of qualified challengers.
Ted Christopher won the Whelen Modified Tour’s return to Monadnock in 2010, and after being in contention to win in each of the previous two events this year, he and the No. 3 Boehler Racing Enterprises team are performing at their highest level so far this season. A 21-race winless drought also provides plenty of motivation for the third-winningest driver in tour history.
Like Christopher, there is another pair of drivers that have been successful at Monadnock in recent seasons that are looking to get off the schnied. Todd Szegedy has had a disappointing season to this point, compounded by a 22-race winless drought, but he won at Monadnock in 2011 and finished third there last year. Meanwhile, Justin Bonsignore enters the event following consecutive DNF’s, but he’s utilized his Riverhead roots to find success at Monadnock in the past, where he’s posted an average finish of fifth in the previous three events.
Then there’s defending tour titlist Doug Coby, who may have relaunched his bid to retain the crown when he won last time out at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and jumped to third in the standings behind Preece and Rowan Pennink. While Coby has yet to reach Victory Lane in 10 career starts on a quarter-mile track, he finished second at Monadnock last season, and has had a fast car the last two visits to Riverhead, just without the results to show for it.
One advantage the rest of the field has on Preece heading into this week is that, in the eight all-time Whelen Modified Tour races at Monadnock, there has yet to be a driver win more than once.
Stay tuned to see which trend continues.