NXS: Ryan Preece Wins Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300


Ryan Preece wins his second NASCAR Xfinity Series race for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Saturday’s 300 lap event was the first of four Dash4Cash races — events meant to highlight NXS regulars and incentivize a win with 100k in bonuses. Last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Preece secured his eligibility by being among the four highest finishing NXS drivers.
He says he’ll “probably do something for my parents my brothers my wife, my team. … we’ll probably go get a drink later.”
Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Daniel Hemric were the three other drivers to earn a chance at the bonus. Bell, Hemric, and Preece led before the end of the second stage of the race. Custer, who started on the pole, never led.
The race wasn’t smooth sailing for anyone on the half-mile of concrete. As soon as lap six, a nine car pile-up stopped the race.
Rookie driver for JGR, Bell, essentially instigated the calamity. Driving off turn-four Bell slapped the outside wall. He incurred minimal damage and was able to continue for the time being; however, on lap 142 Bell’s race came to an end with a jarring crash in the middle of turns-three and four. A red flag was displayed for seven minutes and one second while track workers dried oil from the racing surface.
The caution flag waved six times for on track incidents before the completion of stage-two.
Custer expected to have a better day than he did — he flourishes on tracks with progressive banking, namely Bristol and Homestead Miami Speedway — but an early penalty kept him from running up front.
“We were pretty fast at the start and I made a mistake speeding on pit road and that put us behind,” said Custer.
“We just didn’t have anything after about 40 laps. We worked hard and I thought we had a lot better shot at it, but we’ll move on to the next one.”
The rash of cautions and wrecks at the beginning of the race went by the wayside in the final stage of the race. A 91 lap stint ran from lap 193 through 284, Brandon Jones led each of those.
The yellow flag with 16 laps to the finish was not what Jones wanted to see. The 21-year-old driver had done a superb job of managing his tires while still managing to keep short track ace, Preece in his rear view mirror.
In the end, it was a tire call, not management, that regulated the Richard Childress Racing driver to a sixth place finish. During the lap 284 caution all lead lap cars pitted for fresh tires, but Jones’ team wanted track position more than grip. The No. 19 Toyota Camry took only right side tires. Jones faded as soon as the green flag went back on the air. From there it was all Preece.
After the race Jones said his team is “just so close right now and it breaks (his) heart.”
Justin Allgaier finished in second for his fifth top-10 in 2018. Hemric wound up third, after leading 61 laps (second, only to Preece), and wanted to congratulate Preece on his win, saying “he’s a hell of a driver.”
Elliott Sadler found the track to drive similarly to how it did under its old, higher banked, configuration. He leads the NXS point standings as the series heads to his home track, Richmond Raceway, this coming weekend for the ToyotaCares 250.
Four drivers will compete, again, for a 100k bonus next week. Tyler Reddick, Sadler, Spencer Gallagher, and Jones will be the eligible drivers. Initially Jones wasn’t among the selected drivers, but Hemric’s No. 21 South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet failed post race inspection. NASCAR awarded Hemric’s spot to the next eligible driver. Preece isn’t on the entry list for next weekend’s race, meaning he won’t be granted Dash 4 Cash eligibility.


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