Celebrating 25 years, 1995 - 2020

William Wall Wins at Thompson Speedway Motor Park

Puts BFR Chassis Late Model in Victory Lane

By Marc Allard

mallard@norwichbulletin.com, (860) 425-4212

Posted Jun 5, 2019 at 9:59 PMUpdated Jun 5, 2019 at 10:55 PM

THOMPSON – Ryan Preece made a promise last year after learning he had a full-time ride on the Monster Energy Cup Series.

He would be back.

The Berlin driver lived up to that promise on Wednesday.

Preece returned to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and ran in both the Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 in his familiar No. 6 car and the 30-lap Sunoco Modified event in the No. 31.

He hasn’t forgot how to drive a Modified either.

Preece drove the No. 31 to Victory Lane, but failed to make it two-for-two when Justin Bonsignore captured his sixth straight Whelen Modified Tour win at Thompson.

Bonsignore took the Thompson 125 checkered flag under caution, holding off Doug Coby who has three Whelen Modified Tour wins already this season.

Craig Lutz finished third.

Preece, however, was back at home.

“I’ve only been doing this Cup ride with JTG Daugherty for 13 or 14 races and I still love racing. I still love short tracks,” Preece said.

That was seen in the pits at Thompson.

Preece was not only driving his two cars, but instructing his crew, which had, obviously, little experience working together this year on what he wanted for each of his rides, often making the adjustments himself.

“I remember six years ago, racing three or four nights a week to get to the point that I’m at. I’m not going to forget about everything. I’m going to keep doing this, too, every now and then, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the main goal and that’s the Cup deal,” Preece said. “At the end of the day, these are my roots, this is where I come from and you never forget that.”

On the Monster Energy Cup Series, Preece is currently 25th in points.

His best finish was a third at Talladega on April 28.

He was also eighth at the Daytona 500.

“Getting there,” Preece said with a smile when asked what is most satisfying about racing in the Cup Series. “It’s the goal. Right? There are only 36 or 40 of us every week from the entire country. You show up at this place and you have a lot of people who are content with where they are at and others aspiring to either be in Cup or a Modified Tour car. There are always goals.”

Sunoco Modified

Preece battled another non-regular, Dirt Modified driver Max McLaughlin, in the 30-lap feature.

McLaughlin jumped into the lead following the only caution of the race.

McLaughlin got under leader Troy Talman and dived down right in front of Preece coming out of the second turn on the 14th lap.

The two of them drove to the front together.

“We got really loose, really early,” Preece said in Victory Lane. “I started searching around for grip and I found some on the bottom and made it work.”

Preece took the low road and McLaughlin ran the high, holding on to the lead but watching Preece gaining on him on every lap.

Preece finally pulled a nose ahead on the 27th lap and took the lead for good coming out of the first turn on the next lap for the win.

Keith Rocco finished third.

Mini Stocks

Scott Michalski hasn’t run at Thompson for about three years prior to this season.

The Danielson driver brought his No. 51 car to the track for the Icebreaker.

“It was total junk,” Michalski said with a shake of his head. “The shocks were bound up, the struts were bound up, really struggling. We made wholesale changes.”

Those changes worked.

Michalski just held off Sterling’s Jared Roy by 2/1000th’s of a second to win Wednesday’s 15-lap Mini Stock event.

“I wasn’t sure,” Michalski said as to who crossed the stripe first. “They didn’t announce it over (the radios). I was looking at Jared. He was looking at me.”

Dave Trudeau Sr. finished third.

Other races

Due to the threat of rain, three features took place after the Whelen Modified Tour race. William Wall captured the 25-lap Late Model feature; Brent Gleason of Griswold captured the 20-lap Limited Sportsman feature and the 20-lap SK Lite event went to Bryan Narducci of Colchester who won his seventh straight race at Thompson.