Ryan Preece celebrates after winning Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Dave Moulthrop Photo)
Ryan Preece celebrates after winning Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Dave Moulthrop Photo)

Preece Finally Masters The Magic Mile

LOUDON, N.H. — Ryan Preece finally got the win he’d been hoping for.

On a last-lap overtime dive to the outside in turns three and four, Preece sprinted around Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore to go from third to first to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s Whelen 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon.

Preece was showered in cheers by the crowd after the native New Englander put on an incredible show.

“I’m from Berlin, Connecticut, born and raised, and I have my local tracks in Connecticut,” Preece said. ‘But when it comes to the big three (national touring series) and the Cup Series, this is the only track that’s two and a half hours away. … But this is New England. and all of us New Englanders, we’re kind of our own breed. It’s just really cool to win in front of them all.”

The race was pushed to overtime when J.B. Fortin and Eric Goodale collided on the front straightaway with two laps to go, setting Silk and Preece on the front row for the final restart.

In a backup car following a crash in Saturday morning’s practice, Silk got the jump on the restart with a massive push from Bonsignore into turn one. The No. 85 of Silk shot to the lead but had the field strong in tow, thanks to the effect of the draft.

Silk led to the white flag, but Bonsignore had an outstanding run off turn two. He darted to the inside, but Silk hung a left to defend. Preece, meanwhile, held his line against the outside wall while the two leaders lost momentum.

Bonsignore jumped out to lead for a brief moment, but Preece rocketed around both drivers to launch to his first win at the Magic Mile.

“I can play it back in my head probably a billion times and probably do 10 different things off of turn two, but that’s the move you think you got to make,’ Bonsignore said. “And Ronnie did exactly what I would have done as the leader and probably stalled us both out too much and then Ryan got a good run.”

Bonsignore also elected not to take fuel when the caution fell at lap 74, choosing to take tires and track position instead. Off turn four on the final lap, Bonsignore said the engine stumbled, hindering any momentum coming back to the checkered flag.

In third place, Silk completed an impressive effort in a backup car that had zero practice laps on it and just two qualifying circuits before Saturday’s contest.

“All you can do at this place is put yourself in a position to win at the end and then it kind of just falls where it falls,” Silk said. “But yeah, to have zero laps of practice on this car and have a good run like that, it’s really good.”

Completing the top five behind Preece, Bonsignore and Silk were Ronnie Williams and Jon McKennedy. Andy Seuss, Dave Sapienza, Bobby Santos III, Kyle Bonsignore and Timmy Solomito rounded out the top 10.

The finish:

Ryan Preece, Justin Bosnignore, Ron Silk, Ronnie Williams, Jon McKennedy, Andy Seuss, Dave Sapienza, Bobby Santos III, Kyle Bonsignore, Timmy Solomito, Woody Pitkat, Samuel Rameau, Patrick Emerling, Eric Goodale, Ken Heagy, Anthony Nocella, Andrew Krause, Matt Galko, J.B. Fortin, Walter Sutcliffe Jr., Tyler Rypkema, Tommy Catalano, Bryan Dauzat, Ryan Newman, Chuck Hossfeld, Craig Lutz, Doug Coby, Melissa Fifield, Max Zachem, Max McLaughlin, Matt Swanson.

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