It was an exemplary day for the Chevrolet teams as they claimed the top three spots at Talladega but it was especially meaningful for Ryan Preece.
Preece survived three multi-car crashes Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway to claim his best career finish. Driving his JTG Daugherty Racing No. 47 Chevrolet, he claimed the first top five of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career with a third-place finish in the GEICO 500.
It also earned him the title of Sunoco Rookie of the Race. His previous best finish was eighth in the season-opening Daytona 500. It was the rookie’s 15th start and only his second experience competing at Talladega.
“It was awesome,” Preece said. “I was only here one other time and that was in an Xfinity car in 2016 and I was running third with three to go and went for the hole and got flushed.
“So, I wasn’t going to do that today. Ultimately, it was a perfect situation for Chevy there on that restart, being able to line up and push each other and really not give the other manufacturers an opportunity to get by us. So, a great day for Kroger and a great day for JTG and hopefully we can use this momentum moving forward.”
Earlier in the week, Preece spoke with the media about his career and his expectations going forward.
“It’s been full of highs and lows for sure, but something that, you know, hard work and never giving up always prevail,” he said. “So we just have to keep heading in that direction and, I feel like ultimately by the middle of the season, towards the end of the season, we should be hitting our stride and be exactly where I want to be. It’s just, it takes time. We’re working on that and, obviously I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity that JTG Jody and Tad and, and Brad and Gordon that have given me, and Kroger being behind me 110%. I get those texts every single week from all those guys. It’s a good feeling to know that no matter what, at the end of the day, they’re proud of me and we’re just going to keep moving forward.”
If today’s result is any indication, Preece is ahead of schedule and definitely headed in the right direction.
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