Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race 28 of 33 – 125.4 miles, 55 laps
September 29, 2018
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Chase Briscoe*
2nd, Justin Marks*
3rd, Austin Cindric*
4th, RYAN PREECE
5th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
22nd, BRANDON JONES
24th, JOSH BILICKI
32nd, TIMMY HILL
35th, BAYLEY CURREY
TOYOTA PLAYOFFS DRIVER POINT STANDINGS**
1st, CHRISTOPHER BELL 2,132 points
2nd, Daniel Hemric* 2,099 points
3rd, Tyler Reddick* 2,090 points
4th, Cole Custer* 2,083 points
5th, Matt Tifft* 2,082 points
12th, BRANDON JONES 2,050 points
**unofficial point standings
· Ryan Preece (fourth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) debut at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course on Saturday afternoon.
· Camry driver Christopher Bell (fifth) also finished in the top-five after winning the second stage in the fourth and final road course of the 2018 season.
· Bell continues to lead the playoff standings after locking in a transfer spot to the second round with last week’s victory at Richmond Raceway while Brandon Jones fell to 12th in the standings following a 22nd-place finish.
· The first round of the NXS playoffs will conclude next weekend at Dover International Speedway.
RYAN PREECE, No. 18 Rheem Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
What do you think of the ROVAL here at Charlotte Motor Speedway?
“Physically demanding. I had a blast though. It was definitely it seemed like a track position race more than I thought it would have been, but P4, getting stage points for these guys to help us get a little higher in the owner standings definitely was what we were getting for. If I could’ve started up there a little more towards the front that last segment, maybe we could have done something. Really proud of this Rheem Joe Gibbs Toyota and Eric Phillips (crew chief) and everybody on this team. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but really pumped and hopefully we’re as fast as Xfinity internet next week at Dover.”
Did the race play out as well as you thought?
“Absolutely, I guess. It’s definitely the most physically demanding race track that we go to I feel. We went for stage points. We never short-pitted to try and get that track position and it definitely turned into one of the races. Really really happy. Really thankful to drive this No. 18 Rheem Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s been a rough three weeks, so to build some momentum is definitely going to be key going into Dover. Hopefully we can compete for a win and we’ll be as fast as Xfinity internet.”
What did you need to challenge the leaders?
“Everybody just seemed like – whoever could just not slip or struggle for grip was the biggest thing. I was just fighting that tight, loose, tight getting into a turn and just not having a lot of forward drive to get up off the corner. I just had to use raw speed and really take care of the tires as long as I could and we ended up fourth so it was a good day.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 GameStop Fallout 76 Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
What did you think of the first ROVAL race?
“It went green a lot more than what I expected. I really enjoy running the race track – it’s a really unique race track. The infield is really slow and slick so you have to finesse it and the backstretch chicane is really fast and you have to attack it pretty hard. You get the best of both worlds and I had fun. I wish it was a little easier to pass – a few more passing zones would be nice, but it was a lot of fun to turn laps on.”
How happy were you to see Chase Briscoe win the race?
“It’s cool, to be able to win on a road course is really cool. He (Briscoe) struggled throughout practice and they had a really good strategy and it worked out.”
Are you pleased to get a top-five finish?
“We had one goal coming into here and that was either to win stages or win the race. Our bed was kind of made there in the second stage whenever we decided to stay out and win the stage. We got our stage point, which will help us in the next round. We didn’t win the race, but that’s okay.”
Would you have believed that you could get a top-five finish when this race started?
“I think so, I knew going into this race that I’m not a road course racer and knew it would be difficult. I felt like our GameStop Camry had a lot of speed in it, especially at the end of runs, I felt like I was better than a majority of the cars that I was around. I’ll be honest, I had a lot of fun. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the infield portion was really slow and slick and you have to finesse it. By the time you get to the back straightaway, you really have to attack the chicane and have good speed through there. It’s a pretty enjoyable place to race at.”
Was this race smoother than you thought it would be?
“Yeah, absolutely. We ran way more green flag laps than what I expected. Like I said, that really paid dividends for the GameStop Camry because I felt like the longer we ran, the better I got compared to the field. Overall, to win a stage and run top-five is something that I’m definitely not disappointed about. We only had one thing to accomplish today and that was either win the stages or win the race. We got a bonus point off of it and that will help us in the next round and now we get to go to Dover and I’ve wanted a Miles (the monster trophy) for a long time.”
BRANDON JONES, No. 19 Juniper Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 22nd
How do you feel about how the race played out for you today?
“I think we came into the weekend and realized where we were position-wise and I understood where my driving style stood compared to this track. Our strategy was that maybe there was going to be a lot of carnage and to wait and let things play out and see who’s left to race at the end, but kind of turned out to be not a lot of wrecks and instead a lot of smooth racing. Honestly, a lot of people came out clean on the track so we’re sitting in a tough spot now points-wise, but we have the mentality that we left here without a torn up race car and I think there’s no reason why we can’t do it at Dover next weekend after sitting on the pole there last spring. We just have to go do it.”