Thirty-one cars entered Whelen 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), but the opening showdown of Doubleheader Saturday came down to just three, with Ryan Preece holding off a wicked fast Justin Bonsignore and Ron Silk to earn his first-ever points win at his home track.
” I feel like I won Daytona,” Preece said. “If you’re from this area, this place means a lot to you. Coming here since I was a little kid, Nascar my grandfather and I used to camp right back there. Since I started racing the modifieds back in 2007, this has been that one track that has really alluded me … Really, really friggin’ happy to win this race.”.
After swapping the lead throughout the white-knuckled 100-lap affair, a caution in the closing laps set up a thrilling overtime finish that saw Preece dive low into turn four to slingshot past Bonsignore and Silk to charge across the finish and capture the victory. After 14 years of trying to win at his home track, Preece showed patience at the right time as Bonsignore and Silk charged into the final turns but their momentum carried them high and opened the door for the Berlin, Conn.-native to get past.
Bonsignore finished second, followed by Silk, Ronnie Williams and Jon McKennedy.
In addition to being his first points win at “The Magic Mile,” the Whelen 100 triumph marks the first victory of the season for Preece in the NWMT and his 23rd career victory.
” I know lapped cars were giving him a bad time, but I was able to get to him, and it was going to be a heck of a race.”.
Penske teammates Keselowski, Joey Logano and Blaney ran third, fourth and fifth, respectively, with Logano recovering from a two-lap penalty incurred during the rain delay. Nicked for the two circuits when a crewman worked on his car during the red-flag period, Logano used two free passes under caution to his advantage.
Kevin Harvick finished sixth after winning the first stage and leading a race-high 66 laps, the first time since May 9 at Darlington the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford had been at the front of the field.
Ford drivers claimed five of the top six finishing positions, with Bell in a Toyota being the only exception. Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain, Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin completed the top 10.
Almirola’s victory set up a battle between Richard Childress Racing teammates Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon for the 16th and final Playoff berth. Nascar Both were comfortably situated in points before the race, but Almirola’s win reduced the number of available spots in the postseason from four to three.
Reddick currently leads Dillon by five points for the last Playoff-eligible position with four regular-season events remaining.