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In an offseason full of change, Ryan Preece became the latest driver to find a home with a new team. BRE Racing recently announced that Ryan Preece has joined their NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team and will drive the tradition-laden No. 3 car in 2008.
Preece is a 17-year-old driver from Berlin, Conn., who ran his family-owned No. 40 as a rookie in 2007. In 14 starts he compiled three top-10s and finished 19th in driver points. Preece closed his first season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in strong fashion as he posted a seventh-place finish – his best of the year – and earned the Featherlite Most Improved Driver award at Thompson International Speedway to close the season.
Preece will now drive for the BRE team that is owned by Janice Boehler, wife of the late Len Boehler who was a 2004 inductee into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame. Their son, Michael, is the team president and a former driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. BRE Racing has captured six Modified Tour championships in its half-century existence with drivers Bugs Stevens (1967-69), Wayne Anderson (1994) and Tony Hirschman (1995-96).
“With the equipment they’ve got, and the notebook that have for each track, it’s definitely a real good opportunity,” Preece said.
Bobby Santos III had 11 starts during the 2007 season in the No. 3 and closed the season with a victory at Thompson. Other drivers who have been in the seat of “Old Blue” through the years include Fred DeSarro, Leo Clearly, Ken Bouchard, Tommy Cravenho and Jerry Marquis.
“To be in that car, with all the history that’s in it, just to be a part of that is a real good thing,” Preece said.
Preece will get behind the wheel of the No. 3 for the first time at the season-opening Icebreaker at Thompson on April 6. Qualifying and practice sessions for the first event of the season will be held on April 5.
The move follows the recent announcement that Chuck Hossfeld will take over for 2007 champion Donny Lia in Bob Garbarino's No. 4 "Mystic Missile" and continues the legacy the Boehlers and Garbarino have established in NASCAR's Modified division.