Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion and current NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece will make his first career start at Franklin County Speedway on Saturday evening in the SMART Modified Tour portion of the Hannabass & Rowe Collision Center Kenny Minter Classic 110.
Preece, 30, from Berlin, Connecticut, won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship in 2013, has two career NASCAR Xfinity Series wins, an illustrious career in Modified racing, and drives full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series for JTG Daugherty Racing. This weekend, he will be racing at the high-banked 3/8-mile Franklin County Speedway on Saturday and then at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina on Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I like racing,” Preece said. “If I had a Super Late Model, I’d race that too. It doesn’t matter what it is. Modifieds are easily accessible. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was a kid. I enjoy racing and having the opportunity to win. I remember talking to Steve Park and asked him if he missed racing, and he said he missed winning. Every racer, when they think about it, that’s what they love to do so that’s what I continue to try and do.”
Preece has never raced at the high-banked oval nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is not sure what to expect. Earlier this season, he picked up a win in the SMART Modified Tour at nearby South Boston Speedway in his own car, but mechanical issues forced him to park his car for the weekend before he was able to team up with Joey Coulter’s Modified team.
“To be honest, I don’t know what to expect yet,” Preece stated. “I don’t know what to expect after lap one. I’m looking forward to working with Coulter Motorsports. I remember when I was behind him at South Boston, they had a fast racecar. Unfortunately, we found a broken valve spring in our car the other day. They got wind and it came about to where I could run their car so it’s a good deal.”
Preece’s goal in Saturday’s Hannabass & Rowe Collision Center Kenny Minter Classic 110 is the same as it is any time he shows up to a racetrack – to win.
“The reason I say I love racing is because I love winning, just like everybody who shows up,” Preece said. “That’s what we all want to do. That’s why we all race. We want the trophy and the money and everything at the end of the day. I’m going to show up, have some fun, and race these guys.”
After racing at Franklin County, Preece will head to Darlington Raceway to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series’ Goodyear 400 where he is chasing his first series victory. Like Franklin County, Darlington is a gritty and challenging track, but Preece is no stranger to doing double or even triple duty and is up for the challenge.
“To be honest, I just did it last weekend where I raced Friday and Saturday in the Modifieds and Sunday in the Cup car,” Preece explained. “It’s a pretty easy transition for me. I’ve been doing it on a regular basis. I think seat time in racing is one of the most important things.”
Preece is one of the headliners in a star-studded field competing at Franklin County Speedway on Saturday which also includes Bobby Labonte, Burt Myers, James Civali, Brandon Ward, and more. The Hannabass & Rowe Collission Center Kenny Minter Classic 110 will also feature Mini-Stocks, Stock-4s, and Any Cars. The green flag will drop at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the gate for $15 for adults while kids under 10 are admitted free.
For more information on the SMART Modified Tour visit their website at southernmodified.com or their Facebook page. For more information on Franklin County Speedway visit their website at www.FCSpeedway.com or follow them on Facebook or call 276.613.4208.
📸: Barry Cantrell / NKP / LAT Images