Ryan Preece Pulls Away Late To Capture Tripoint Showdown 75 Win At Thompson Speedway
Story By: KYLE SOUZA / THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returned to oval track racing on Wednesday, September 14 and it was a familiar face in Victory Lane when the night was over.
NASCAR National Series standout and former track champion Ryan Preece returned to Connecticut in his own No. 40 Modified and pulled away from the field in the final laps to score the $5,000 prize in the Tripoint Showdown 75.
The final Wednesday night race for the Outlaw Open Modified Series included countless laps of tire conservation early, with more than a handful of drivers swapping the lead and keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
Ronnie Williams, Mike Christopher Jr., Chris Pasteryak and Tommy Barrett all joined Preece as leaders in the 75-lap race, one that only saw a single caution flag. For much of the middle stages of the race, it looked like it might be the night for Barrett to return to winning form. A pit stop during the only caution of the race for a quick adjustment set Barrett up perfectly for a charge through the field. He restarted at the tail and chased his way to the lead in just 20 laps, and was at the point from laps 38 through 53, before Preece was able to slide around.
Preece took the top spot and drove away to a comfortable lead until the field hit five laps to go, when Williams turned on the jets and tried his best to close the gap. Although he was able to knock some of the lead away, Williams had to settle for second, with Preece climbing out on top after 75 laps on the high-banks. Mike Christopher Jr., who had won the first two Outlaw Open Modified Series races of the season, settled for third. Pasteryak and Barrett finished the top-five in the feature.
“We had a really good car,” Preece said. “I want to thank Cris Michaud and everyone else involved for keeping this going. This is a new car that I built during the offseason and this is our fifth race and we’ve been getting closer and closer. I’m really happy with how it drove. I feel like I’ve developed something that has speed and drives well. Ronnie was coming – I guess it’s a good thing it was only 75 laps.”
The Thompson Limited Sportsman returned to the track for double feature races on Wednesday night and there were two different drivers celebrating. Zach Robinson avoided some late-race carnage on a restart to sneak away with the win in the first 20-lap race, while Corey Fanning jumped out front quickly and dominated the final feature of the night.
In the first feature, it looked like Jason Chicolas was about to roll to Victory Lane for the second time in 2022, but a late caution changed everything. Scott Sundeen restarted on the outside of the front row with four laps to go and the two made contact, sending Chicolas into the wall. Sundeen was placed to the rear of the field for contact, and Chicolas was knocked out of the race. That left Robinson out front, and he was able to hold off defending division champion Larry Barnett and Ryan Waterman for the win. In the second race, Fanning took the lead on lap five and essentially coasted to Victory Lane over Robinson and Al Stone. In post-race inspection, Robinson didn’t pass and was placed to the rear of the finish, moving Stone to second and Barnett into third.
The 25-lap feature for the Late Models went down to the wire, with Ryan Morgan and Derek Gluchacki renewing their battle to the finish. They made some contact, sliding around the high-banks of Thompson and swapping the lead multiple times in the second half of the race. In the end, it was Morgan who held off Gluchacki by .150 seconds at the line, with Matt Lowinski-Loh lurking behind for the full distance and finishing third. Brian Tagg and Jordan Hadley finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The 15-lap Mini Stock feature also went down to the final few laps, with Kevin Moore besting Steve Michalski with just three laps left to score another 2022 victory. Michalski looked to be in charge through much of the race, taking the lead from the green and running away from the field. However, handling struggles in the second half of the feature allowed others to close in. Michalski would finish second, while Ryan Pomposelli grabbed a podium finish in third.
Steven Chapman held off all challengers late in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature to add his own repeat win to the 2022 season. Corey Caddick jumped out front early, but lost the lead and dropped to the bottom of the top-five, allowing Chapman to get away out front. A late caution gave Caddick one more chance, but he had to settle for the runner-up spot. Meghan Fuller scored her first career podium in the SK Light Modifieds, finishing third.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will return to action for the 60th annual Sunoco World Series presented by Budweiser from October 7-9. The three-day weekend includes the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, a $10,000 to win Outlaw Open Modified Series Sunoco 100, the American-Canadian Tour, Pro All Star Series and many other divisions. A full division lineup and schedule will be released in the coming weeks.