Preece cashes in at Thunder Valley

by Tucker White On Sat, Apr. 14, 2018

Ryan Preece celebrates winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Photo: Ed Coombs/SpeedwayMedia.com

*THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE NASCAR’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT DANIEL HEMRIC’S POST-RACE INSPECTION FAILURE WON’T RESULT IN A PENALTY.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The first thing Ryan Preece did after he climbed out of his car in victory lane was grab the oversized novelty check he received for winning the first race of this year’s XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash, which he promptly tossed to his crew standing behind his car.

“First off, this Rheem Toyota TRD Camry JGR car was awesome,” Preece said. “These guys right here, they work hard and they don’t get on TV and I want you all to focus in on them and this guy (Eric Phillips, crew chief) – I have to thank everybody last year for helping me make this all possible. Without last year, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now, I wouldn’t be sitting here in Bristol victory lane in an Xfinity Series car with Joe Gibbs Racing. To win here, it’s unreal. I guess I didn’t make Joey Logano look like a fool today.

“Words can’t even describe. My mom’s super happy, my dad’s super happy – I’m 27 years old and I’m not getting any younger. I’m looking for opportunities. We did it last year at Iowa and now we did it here at Bristol. I hope I don’t get labeled as a short track racer, I want to win on mile-and-a-halves soon. Nothing beats winning. That’s what I told somebody earlier today. They asked me what was the most exciting thing and I said winning – I hate losing more than winning. Today we did it.”

Preece made the winning move driving underneath Brandon Jones going into Turn 1 to take the lead with 12 laps to go, and set sail to his second career victory in 43-career XFINITY Grand National Series starts.

Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Elliott Sadler and Spencer Gallagher rounded out the Top-five.

Jones, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Ross Chastain and Ryan Truex rounded out the Top-10.

“That caution on right there on that long run just killed me and I just put my head down when I saw it ‘cause I knew we were so much better than the 18 (Ryan Preece) up off the corner, but all in all such a phenomenal day for Toyota, for Menards and for everybody at (Joe Gibbs Racing) JGR right now. Also, Turtle Wax is on board with us this weekend as well. Can’t say enough about the guys that support us the most and we are just so close right now. It breaks my heart just to see that, but we had a gamble right there at the end,” Jones said of the final caution. “We had to take the two tires to try to see what we could do. Just too much wheel-spinning on the restart to make anything of it.”

RACE SUMMARY

Custer led the field to the green flag at 1:15 p.m. Exiting Turn 2, however, Allgaier powered by him with ease to lead the first lap. Coming to the line to start the fifth lap, Christopher Bell shot up the track, a result of a right-front tire failure, and slammed the outside wall. As the field slowed to avoid hitting him, cars slammed into the back of others and the resulting accordion effect swallowed up nine cars.

Back to green on Lap 18, the field settled into a conveyor-belt run to the competition caution at Lap 45. Hemric exited the pits as the race leader, while Justin Allgaier exited third.

A lap after the restart on Lap 55, Bell powered by Hemric on the outside heading into Turn 1 to take the lead and drove on to win the first stage.

Preece exited the pits first and led the field back to green on Lap 99, as well as after he restart on Lap 109 (for a multi-car wreck on the backstretch). On the latter restart, however, Hemric shot past him on the bottom to retake the lead. Preece worked to the inside of Hemric on Lap 163, however, and won the second stage.

Chase Briscoe took the lead after he elected not to pit, along with Jones and Reddick, but had the lead usurped by Jones, who fended off challenges from Preece as the laps clicked away, with less than 60 to go. It was rendered a moot point by Shane Lee, who brought out the caution with 27 to go and set up the run to the finish.

CAUTION SUMMARY

There were four multi-car incidents. The first on Lap 4 (nine cars), Lap 58 (four cars), Lap 100 (seven cars) and Lap 140 (three cars), also brought out red flag for seven minutes and one second.

Four cautions flew for single or two-car incidents.

Three flew for scheduled reasons (competition/stage conclusion).

OTHER NEWS ITEMS

Hemric’s car failed post-race inspection, because one side of the rear wheel-toe alignment was off. However, the failure didn’t rise to the level of a penalty, because both sides of the rear wheel-toe must be off in the XFINITY Grand National Series. So not only won’t he be penalized, but he’ll be eligible for the Dash 4 Cash at Richmond Raceway.

NUTS & BOLTS

The race lasted two hours, 21 minutes and 57 seconds, at an average speed of 67.857 mph. There were 13 lead changes among eight different drivers, and 12 cautions for 93 laps.

Sadler leaves with a six-point lead over Hemric.

N1807_UNOFFRES
** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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