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NASCAR driver Preece pulls into local tavern

The line "a rising tide lifts all boats," made famous in a speech by John F. Kennedy, is associated with the idea that improvements in the general economy benefit all participants in that economy. To that point, the arrival of the popular Hop Haus restaurant on Farmington Avenue doesn't appear to be harming business at nearby eateries. According to Craig Lentini, owner of Tavern on The Trax, the arrival of Hop Haus has been a net positive. “We’ve been here so long, and we have so many regulars, that I don’t think anything will change that," Lentini said.

"But what has happened is their opening has brought more people to the area and brought more people here,” Lentini added.

"We are also open later than they are, and the kitchen is open later, so we can take care of people with our late-night menu.”

Tavern on The Trax pulled in a large crowd on its own Thursday, July 13 when it welcomed NASCAR driver Ryan Preece to the bar/restaurant. A Berlin resident, Preece came with his car and merchandise trailer, signed autographs and talked to fans. 

“We had more than 100 people here and they were faces I had not seen before. So hopefully they will become new customers,” Lentini said. “They were from 5 years old to I couldn’t guess the oldest."

This is Preece's first year with Stewart-Haas Racing. On Monday, he landed in 24th place in New Hampshire. 

Lentini and Tavern on The Trax go way back with Preece, and his family. "Ryan started coming here after working on his car when he was racing locally and now he’s on the biggest tour in the world," Lentini said. "When he was racing trucks, we were on the hood. And today when he raced in New Hampshire, Tavern on The Trax was on the rear quarter panel. You don’t get much better advertising than that on a national television broadcast.”

Preece has three Top 10 finishes this season and is currently 26th in driver points. 

“When he comes here, he’s just Ryan," Lentini said. "He is a low-key, down-to-earth kid. When he comes here he talks a little about racing, but he talks about all the stuff that young guys talk about. It is still weird for me to see him signing autographs, but he is just a good kid and easy to root for.”

As for Tavern on The Trax, Lentini said “Things are good.” He said the establishment is moving forward with plans to open a second floor. The new space will feature pool tables and darts, and will be available for private events. 

“I hope everybody does good," Lentini said, referring to the Farmington Avenue business community. “I do not wish bad luck on anybody, because I know hard it is.” 


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