By Kyle Souza

SEEKONK, Mass. — Ryan Preece, who drives for JTG Daughtery Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, is making a return to his Modified roots this weekend. The Connecticut native, who has since moved down south chasing his dream of racing at the Cup level, is set to compete with the Tri Track Open Modified Series at Star Speedway on Saturday, July 25. 

Preece is a former competitor with the series, a former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, and multiple-time winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His best career finish with JTG is a third-place effort at Talladega. He has 59 career starts in NASCAR’s top level. 

But he’s coming back to his roots to compete for his modified fans. 

“This was a good opportunity to hit the reset button,” Preece said. “Obviously there has been a lot of misfortune and a lot of things in 2020 that have been out of everyone’s control. This will be a good way to go somewhere, and race, and hit the reset button and get some moment built for us with the Cup car.” 

Preece, who has run the SBM at Star before, is no stranger to the tight, banked corners of the Epping, New Hampshire oval, and is looking forward to returning to compete with a field full of talent for TS Haulers, and Eddie and Connie Partridge.

“I remember the first SBM race,” Preece said. “I enjoy racing at Star. It’s something I’m looking forward to doing — I think it’s going to be exciting… the fans will want to see it.” 

Bobby Webber, the owner and operator of Star Speedway, was excited to find out Preece would be attending the annual SBM.  

“Ryan Preece being at the SBM 121 is huge for us,” Webber said. “I’ve always gotten along well with Ryan and his Dad. They were one of the original supporters of Kevin Rice and the SBM format. To have an off weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series, and have Ryan come support my family, Star Speedway and the Tri Track Open Modified Series, it means a lot to all of us.” 

This year’s SBM race is 121 laps instead of 125 – in honor of Tim Webber – the son of track promoter Bobby Webber, who is turning 21 during the month of July. 

Preece isn’t the only major name chasing the check on Saturday. Names like season-opening Monadnock winner Craig Lutz, defending series champion Ronnie Williams, former champion Matt Hirschman, veteran Les Hinckley and defending SBM winner Ron Silk are just a few of the top contenders expected. Names like Anthony Nocella, Tommy Barrett and Woody Pitkat have also entered. A full list of competitors who have pre-ordered tires will be released later in the week. 

“We look forward to adding Ryan to a stout list of drivers set for Star Speedway this weekend,” Wayne Darling, Managing Partner of the Tri Track Open Modified Series, said. “Ryan has quite the track record of success in Modifieds and we are sure he will be a major threat for the $6,000 check on Saturday night.” 

Due to restrictions from COVID-19 and the state of New Hampshire, Star Speedway is limited to 50% grandstand capacity for the race. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets ahead through Venmo (@bwebber19) to make sure they get their seat. There will be no pre-sales for pit passes.  

Tri Track teams who have registered for the entire season are good to go, while teams who need to register for just one event can do it on the website. Teams must also pre-order tires with Dan at Hoosier Tire East by calling 860-646-9646 as soon as possible. 

Tri Track Open Modified Series teams can practice on Friday from 4-8 p.m. and can sign-up by contacting the track directly, since spots are limited. On Saturday morning, the pit area opens for Tri Track teams at 10:45 a.m., while the first practice will go green from 1:15-1:55 p.m. There will be a second practice from 2:15-2:40 p.m., and a scuff session will take place from 3:05-3:15 p.m. Heat races begin for Star divisions at 3:30 p.m., followed by qualifying for the Tri Track Series. The feature is estimated to take the green flag around 7 p.m.