Story By: KYLE SOUZA / NASCAR – HAMPTON, VA – In the midst of a Saturday night short-track shootout at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway, Ryan Preece made the right move, at the right time.
The Berlin, Connecticut driver passed Justin Bonsignore for the lead on lap 131, and he never looked back en route to his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory of the season.
The triumph was the 22nd of his career, and his first at the 0.396-mile Virginia oval. The 27-year-old has now been to Victory Lane in seven of his last 19 stars in Whelen Modified Tour competition.
“Justin’s car started to get tight, and my car just wasn’t at that point yet,” Preece said. “I knew I had to get by him as quick as I possibly could. Once I got in front of him, I knew I could get into my rhythm and drive away.”
When the caution flew on lap 103 for a planned mid-race break, Bonsignore, Doug Coby and Eric Goodale elected to stay on the track and take over the top three spots. On the restart, Coby lost positions, and eventually cut down a left-rear tire that ended his night.
On the following green flag, Preece began to hound the back bumper of Bonsignore’s No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet, and attempted to make the pass multiple times — but to no avail. Finally, on lap 131, Preece took the bottom lane off turn two, and cleared to the point down into turn three.
He was not challenged for the remainder of the race.
Bonsignore settled for second, with Matt Hirschman charging back up through the field late to finish in third.
“He was a gentleman about it, I was doing everything I could to block his crossover move up off,” Bonsignore said of the battle with Preece. “I could see in the mirror that he was most likely going to get me. That was a lot of fun. Good short-track racing. When we are bummed about second, that’s really good right now.”
Preece was out front in the No. 6 TS Haulers Chevrolet for a race-high 83 laps, while Bonsignore was out front for 25 laps.
Chase Dowling finished sixth, followed by Ronnie Williams, Rowan Pennink, Chris Pasteryak and Blake Barney.
Bonsignore holds a 23-point advantage in the championship standings over Dowling, while Timmy Solomito is 44 points back in third. Craig Lutz, who had his motor expire on lap 29, dropped to fourth in the standings.
The WhosYourDriver.org 150 from Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway will air on NBCSN on Thursday, June 28, at 7 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday, July 7.