This time, Ryan Preece really did get a track record for himself.

Preece joined three other competitors at Stafford Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon in breaking the previous track record, earning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Spring Sizzler 200.

The pole award was the second straight for Preece, of Berlin, Conn., to open the 2012 season. He also won the pole for the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson International Speedway two weeks ago.

The Spring Sizzler 200 is scheduled for approximately 3:15 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s awesome,” Preece told The Hartford Courant. “I don’t even know how to describe the feeling right now... Hopefully we can get the job done tomorrow. I know we have a really good race car.”


Preece's lap of 17.924 seconds (100.242 mph) around the half-mile was just four-hundredths of a second better than the previous mark set by Bobby Santos III in 2010.

Corey LaJoie, who finished third in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Blue Ox 100 at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday night, qualified second for his Whelen Modified Tour debut. Eric Berndt and Mike Stefanik, who were also faster than the previous record, will make up the second row for Sunday's 200-lap event.

Justin Bonsignore qualified fifth. Ron Silk, the 2011 Tour champion and Icebreaker 150 winner, posted the eighth-fastest lap. Keith Rocco, the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion and a champion in Stafford's weekly Modified division, qualified ninth.

The pole was the third straight on the Tour for Preece, who also earned the pole in his debut in the Flamingo Motorsports No. 16 in last seasons' finale at Thompson.

Preece believed he had backed that effort with a track record at Thompson earlier this month, before it was learned that an error had incorrectly listed Preece's pole-winning speed for that event as a track record. Santos holds the track record at Thompson.

Either way, Preece just wants to continue rolling with Flamingo Motorsports. He has three career Whelen Modified Tour victories, but it's been nearly three years since his last one.

“Hopefully we can keep the good luck going and keep the momentum going and win some races this year,” Preece said.

– TB