Stafford Springs, CT — Heading into the Final Friday Night Shoot-Out on Sept. 16th at Stafford Motor Speedway, Ryan Preece needed to finish 16th or better to clinch the 2011 SK Modified® track championship. Preece came home in the fourth position to become the 2011 Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified® track champion.
“It feels really good to be a champion,” said Preece. “It’s still sinking in that we won the championship, I don’t think it will really set in until the banquet. Anyone can win a race, but very few can win a championship, so it’s nice to b e able to add a championship at Stafford to my racing resume. My old crew chief on the #3 Tour car, Scott Richards, he had a saying that he told me all the time that ‘Drivers are a dime a dozen’ and he had another part to that quote that he was keeping secret from me. The next day after we clinched the championship, I had a text message from him saying ‘Drivers are a dime a dozen, but champions are few and far between’, which was pretty cool that he sent that to me.”
For much of the 2011 season, the SK Modified® title race was a dogfight between defending SK Modified® track champion Keith Rocco and Preece. Throughout the summer, Preece and Rocco were never separated by more than a handful of points. Preece began to take control of the championship fight after a change his team made on the night of August 12th during a practice session while Preece was in New Hampshire qualifying his Whelen Modified Tour entry. After Donny Travaglin practiced Preece’s car and his team made a change to the car, Preece went on to win 3 of the next 5 races and stamped his mark on the championship race.
“Once we made that change to the car, the car was really good and we were going to be tough to beat,” said Preece. “For a while it seemed like if Keith won, we were second, and when we won, Keith was second, so it was going to come down to who slipped first and luckily it was Keith that slipped. We figured coming into the season that we could be a contender for the championship and it wasn’t until around July that we thought it could be a possibility. But until that last Friday night race when we clinched, we never really thought it was going to be a reality. We came to the track every week and tried to win since it seems like when you back off and try to points race, that is when you get yourself into trouble.”
Heading into this weekend’s CARQUEST Fall Final feature, Preece has tallied 5 wins, 14 top-5′s, and 16 top-10′s and he will be looking to add another win to that total. Preece becomes the 14th different driver in the 30-year history of the SK Modified® division to have won the track championships at Stafford. Preece will officially be crowned the 2011 SK Modified® track champion at the 42nd Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 18 at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor.
The 39th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend kicks off on Friday, Sept. 30 with pit gates opening at 12:00pm with a practice session running from 2:00pm to 6:30pm for Stafford’s weekly divisions. The General Admission grandstands will be open to the public at no charge for the practice session. The G.A. Grandstands will open at 2pm.
Action continues on Saturday, Oct. 1 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars at 2:15pm, followed by heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions. Saturday’s events wrap up with feature events for Stafford’s SK Light Modified, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Closing out the Saturday feature events will be the Paradiso-Muska DARE Stock Shoot-Out, a special 8-lap shoot-out all-star race for this season’s DARE Stock feature winners and several wild card entrants.
The CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend continues on Sunday, Oct. 2 with the famous Stafford CARQUEST Belts & Hose Pit Party kicking off the day’s activities from 11:00am to 12:00pm, with the final SK Modified® and Late Model feature events of 2011 being accompanied by the Whelen Modified Tour 150-lap CARQUEST Fall Final.
Tickets for the CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend are available and on sale now at the Stafford Motor Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $35.00 for adult General Admission, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 & under are free. Reserved seating is $38.00 for all ages. All tickets cover both Saturday and Sunday admission to the Fall Final. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. Tickets can be ordered by calling the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783.
For more information, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
Sources: Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR