Preece Wins In Style At Bowman Gray

Leads Wire-To-Wire For First NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Win

By Travis Barrett, Special To NASCAR Home Tracks
August 3, 2013

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – It took Ryan Preece 12 hours to get as far away from the disappointment of a 16th-place finish Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway. It took him just over an hour to erase that bitter memory entirely.

Preece, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour point leader, led every single lap from the pole Saturday night to win the Kevin Powell Motorsports 199 at Bowman Gray Stadium for his first career NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour victory. The member of the 2013 NASCAR Next class became just the second driver in history from the state of Connecticut to win at the historic quarter-mile, joining the late Ed Flemke Sr. in the record books.

“I don't think anybody here in the stands knows how much this means to me, to my family,” Preece said, holding back tears in Victory Lane.

Preece, of Berlin, Conn., ran inside the top five on the final lap of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event in his home state Friday before a flat tire dropped him deep in the running order. He then hopped in a van and slept – or at least tried to – on the floor of that vehicle as the crew headed for North Carolina. He pulled into town at noon, headed for the hotel where his parents had already checked in, took a shower and then headed to the track.

The reason he made the journey was simple: History.

“It's just the history. Obviously, we're not coming down here to make money; that's just not going to happen,” Preece said. “It's cool that NASCAR has an event here at Bowman Gray with all the history. A good friend of mine, Mike Herman Jr., said he really wanted to win this race.”

Preece, by virtue of his dominating performance, became part of the track's history Saturday.

LEADER STRUGGLES: NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour point leader George Brunnhoelzl III saw his shot at a fourth consecutive victory this season disappear when the panhard bar in his No. 28 broke just past the midway point of the Kevin Powell Motorsports 199.

“It just loosens up until it falls off,” said Brunnhoelzl, a three-time Tour champion. “Once it falls off, it's game over.”

Brunnhoelzl lost nearly 40 laps in the pits while the crew hurried to make repairs. He'd been running fourth when it happened, battling early for the lead before settling in line to let the race begin to play out through the middle stages.

“The car was great,” said Brunnhoelzl, who won this race a year ago. “It got a little hot, so I backed off of (the leaders) to just ride. It was still early, but the car was handling great.”

EBERSOLE CAN'T CAPITALIZE: The hit to Brunnhoelzl's point lead could have been much worse, had Kyle Ebersole not encountered late-race trouble.

Ebersole was challenging for a top-five finish when his engine mysteriously started struggling. He ended up finishing 11th and clipping Brunnhoelzl's point lead to 21.

“I really don't know what happened,” Ebersole said. “We had a caution there with 30 laps to go, and it started sputtering really bad. I thought we were out of gas. We came in and put some gas in it, went back out, and it just got worse. We've either got an ignition problem, or it's something else. I don't know. Something was amiss.”

It wasn't the only trouble Ebersole encountered. He ran just three laps of practice during the day after a problem in the transmission emerged. With just a few laps of practice at three-quarters speed, he still managed to qualify 12th.

A tooth in the rack and pinion in the rear end was chipped – likely an undiscovered residual from a wreck in a Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last month.

“This race and Bristol are probably the two biggest wildcards we have in the season, so it was an opportunity we could have had,” Ebersole said. “We just have to race our race and go for wins.

“I think we're knocking on the door. Our best shot (to win) is at Caraway – we've been really fast there, but we have a shot to win at every track we have left this season. We just need our luck to turn around a little bit.”

ALL NOT LOST: Burt Myers finished second Saturday night, and in the end he wasn't entirely unsatisfied with his effort. It came on the heels of a second-place finish in a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified race at Bowman Gray Friday night and his first career victory in a Sportsman car at the Madhouse to begin Saturday's event.

“We had a really good points night, so I'm not going to complain,” Myers said.

Myers moved to within 27 points of Brunnhoelzl atop the Tour standings. He had several restart opportunities on the outside of the front row in the closing laps but couldn't muster enough to get past Preece.

“It seemed like the longer green flag runs, I could mow him down,” Myers said. “But I'm a victim of my own speech. I've said for years – and Dick Berggren put it on the front of his magazine once – 'You slow down to go faster.' It's just so hard to do that. When your spotter's yelling, 'Ten to go!' and you see that you're gradually catching the man, it's hard to slow down to go faster.

“I think if we'd have had a long green run (at the end), we could have given him a run for his money.”

UNOFFICIAL

NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR-Kevin Powell Motorsports 199 Results

Saturday

At Bowman Gray Stadium

Winston-Salem, N.C.

Lap length: 0.25 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (1) #41 Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 199 laps, 44.310 mph.

2. (3) #1 Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Ford, 199.

3. (4) #73 Cole Powell, Mount Brydges, Ontario, Canada, Chevrolet, 199.

4. (10) #65 Danny Bohn, Freehold, N.J., Chevrolet, 199.

5. (8) #02 Tim Brown, Rural Hall, N.C., Chevrolet, 199.

6. (9) #25 John Smith, Mount Airy, N.C., Chevrolet, 199.

7. (17) #70 Jeremy Gerstner, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Chevrolet, 199.

8. (13) #40 Luke Fleming, Mount Airy, N.C., Ford, 199.

9. (19) #77 Gary Putnam, Concord, N.C., Chevrolet, 198.

10. (2)#11 Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H., Chevrolet, 195.

11. (12)#5 Kyle Ebersole, Hummelstown, Pa., Ford, 173, accident.

12. (11) #4 Jason Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Ford, 172.

13. (7) #80 Cody Ware, Greensboro, N.C., Chevrolet, 163, accident.

14. (6) #28 George Brunnhoelzl, III, West Babylon, N.Y., Chevrolet, 157.

15. (15) #12 Mike Norman, Lewisville, N.C., Chevrolet, 156.

16. (18) #2 JR Bertuccio, Centerrach, N.Y., Chevrolet, 152, accident.

17. (20) #97 Bryan Dauzat, Alexandria, La., Chevrolet, 149.

18. (16) #04 David Calabrese, Toms River, N.J., Chevrolet, 118, brakes.

19. (5) #79 Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Pontiac, 118, accident.

20. (14) #23 Brian Loftin, Lexington, N.C., Chevrolet, 57, accident.

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 7 minutes 22 seconds

Margin of Victory: 1.040 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: R. Preece (67.603 mph, 13.313 seconds)

Caution Flags: 8 for 49 laps.

Lead Changes: 0 among 1 drivers.

Lap Leaders: R. Preece 1-199.

Standings: 1. G. Brunnhoelzl,III, 256; 2. K. Ebersole, 235; 3. B. Myers, 229; 4. T. Brown, 223; 5. A. Seuss, 221; 6. J. Myers, 213; 7. G. Putnam, 208; 8. D. Bohn, 207; 9. L. Fleming, 204; 10. J. Smith, 201.

 

Points Standings / Event Photos

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