THOMPSON, Conn. — One of the top modified and stock car racers in the country is coming to Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this weekend.
Ryan Preece has officially entered the Outlaw Open Modified Series Icebreaker 125, scheduled for Sunday as part of the annual season-opening Icebreaker weekend.
Preece, who is in his third full season of NASCAR Cup Series competition, will drive the familiar Eddie Partridge-owned No. 6CT Riverhead Raceway tour-type modified.
He joins a list of more than 30 drivers aiming for the $10,000 top prize in the Outlaw Open Modified Series debut.
The 30-year-old immediately becomes one of the favorites in the Icebreaker 125. Preece is a former Thompson Speedway Sunoco Modified champion, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, and two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series winner.
Most recently, he won the SMART Modified Tour event at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway on April 3 and currently sits 18th in Cup Series points. Preece will run the same car at the Icebreaker that he used to win the South Boston event in dominating fashion.
The Thompson Speedway show is the finale of a busy weekend for Preece. He’ll be running the NASCAR Whelen Modified event at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway on Thursday, April 8, along with the Cup Series event there on Saturday, April 10.
Preece will then travel to Connecticut on Sunday for practice, qualifying, and the 125-lap main event.
“It’s because I like to try and win, and I obviously have Eddie and Connie Partridge as car owners that allow us to do it,” Preece said. “You have these cars because you want to go race them and hopefully win the money. We want to go compete. We aren’t going to just let them sit on jack stands.”
“I think we have a good chance (to win),” Preece added. “There are a bunch of different motor combinations and drivers, but we have strong race cars. We have the best you could ask for.”
Preece joins a long list of accomplished Modified racers coming to Thompson Speedway this weekend. Fellow NASCAR champions Doug Coby, Ron Silk and Bobby Santos III have entered the Icebreaker 125, as have many other tour-type modified champions and winners. The addition of Preece and Rob Richardi Jr. brings the official entry list to 31 drivers, with more expected on Sunday.
The event will be 125 green flag laps, as opposed to 150 laps with cautions counting as in past Icebreaker events. Preece doesn’t feel the green-flag lap strategy is going to be much different and says it will just come down to playing it out during the day.
“I think you just have to be aware of how the race is playing out with the strategy and just be there at the end of it,” Preece said.
Wherever he finishes, Preece gets to compete back home in front of the Connecticut race fans where he grew up.
Preece was raised a little more than an hour from the track and was a fixture at the track before successfully making the jump to the NASCAR national touring series.
“It’s really cool,” Preece said. “I think it’s awesome what Thompson is doing, having these open shows, and paying $10,000 to win is great. We need more of these (events) in Modified racing. Being home in Connecticut, I’ve been racing locally for a long time.
“Going to Thompson, it’s nice to see people you’ve been around for years and it’s great being with those who support you.”