Ryan Preece’s second NASCAR career win was twice as nice on Saturday.
Preece held off Justin Allgaier and a late-race caution didn’t prevent the Late Model star from winning Saturday’s Fitzgerald Gliders 300 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
The win is Preece’s second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing and he also collected the $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus. Preece was one of four drivers eligible for the bonus in the race.
Daniel Hemric finished third, Elliott Sadler was fourth and Spencer Gallagher completed the top-five.
Allgaier, Hemric, Sadler and Gallagher are now eligible to compete for the $100,000 bonus next weekend at Richmond, Va. Preece is not entered in the event.
After the race, NASCAR announced Hemric's No. 21 Chevrolet failed post-race inspection (mechanical measurement) and he would lose eligibility for the Dash4Cash bonus at Richmond. Brandon Jones, who finished sixth, will now take Hemric's place as of the four drivers who can win the bonus next weekend.
“I got to thank everybody last year for helping me make this all possible. Without last year, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Preece said in Victory Lane. “I wouldn’t would sitting in Bristol Victory Lane in an Xfinity Series car with Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words.”
Asked what the $100,000 may go toward, Preece said, “You know what? I’ll probably do something for my parents; do something for my brothers; do something for my wife and my team.
“We’re going to get something to drink later.”
Preece also praised his JGR teammate, Brandon Jones, who led the most laps of his Xfinity career.
“If that caution didn’t come out, he had (the win) in the bag,” Preece said. “He’s going to get there soon enough.”
With 18 laps remaining, Shane Lee hit the wall to bring out a caution, which ended the longest green-flag run of the race.
Jones was the first off pit road after a two-tire stop and held on the lead on the restart with 10 laps to go. He was followed by Preece, Allgaier, Sadler and Tyler Reddick.
Preece grabbed the lead back off Turn 2 with 9 laps remaining.
Preece passed Hemric off Turn 2 with seven laps remaining in the 85-lap segment and held on to claim the Stage 2 victory.
Allgaier ended up third, Lee fourth and Austin Cindric completed the top-five.
“I think tires kind of helped us there. When the money’s on the line, that’s when we’ll get it done,” Preece said during the break.
During the break between Stages 1 and 2, Cole Custer was penalized for speeding on pit road. When Stage 2 went green, Preece, Allgaier and Jones led the way (all elected not to pit) followed by Ryan Reed and Christopher Bell.
On Lap 102, Allgaier made contact with Brandon Jones on the backstretch which triggered a multi-car incident that also collected John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Majeski and Tommy Joe Martins.
On the restart on Lap 110, Preece was in the lead followed by Hemric and Reed. Hemric quickly made his way around Preece to take the top spot.
On Lap 140, Vinnie Miller spun between Turns 3 and 4. Mike Harmon got into Miller and then Bell could not slow down in time and slammed viciously into Miller’s car.
The race was red-flagged for seven minutes in order to clean the track for debris. Bell was one of the four drivers eligible for the $100,000 Dash4Cash bonus.
‘That’s the second time this weekend that I’ve crashed from guys going seconds off the pace. Can’t slow down whenever they spin out and it’s frustrating,” Bell said.
“We had a really fast GameStop Camry and I don’t know, just trying to get the top in pretty much all race long. That was our worst run of the day handling-wise and we were still up there. Unfortunate.”
Hemric led the way on the restart on Lap 150 but Timmy Hill and Dylan Lupton wrecked in Turn 4 to immediately bring the caution back out.
The race again returned to green on Lap 162 with Hemric in command.
Bell held off a furious charge from Hemric to come away with the Stage 1 victory as the four drivers eligible for the Dash4Cash drivers all finished in the top four positions.
Custer was third, Preece fourth and Cindric completed the top-five.
On Lap 5, Bell tagged the wall coming off Turn 4 and slowed on the track but the chain reaction of drivers reacting to his slowing car erupted into a multi-car accident near the start/finish line.
Also involved in the incident were Majeski, Chase Briscoe, Kaz Grala, Alex Labbe, Josh Williams and Jeremy Clements.
“I had no idea what was going on, you’re really going fast here, (Bell) had a problem and it just bottlenecked up from there,” Clements said.
Bell, apparently, had a right-front tire down o1n his No. 20 Toyota from a suspension issue and needed several pit stops to fix the problem.
On the restart on Lap 18, Allgaier led the way.
On Lap 46, NASCAR called a competition caution so teams could check tire wear. During the pit stops, Majeski was held a lap for passing the pace car before reaching pit road.
On the restart on Lap 55, Hemric held the lead but was quickly passed by Bell for the top spot on Lap 56.
Allgaier and Matt Tifft made contact on Lap 57 which sent Tifft for a spin and also collected Sadler. Both Sadler and Allgaier were forced to pit to check on damage.
Bell led the way on the restart with 29 laps remaining in the first stage.
Earlier in the day Saturday, the car chief for Majeski’s No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Zach Marquardt, was ejected from the track after the car failed pre-qualifying inspection three times.
Also, four drivers – J.J. Yeley (driver change), B.J. McLeod (backup car), Lupton (driver change) and Michael Annett (unapproved adjustments) – had to start the race from the rear of the field.
|13||42||John Hunter Nemechek||Chevrolet||299||1 lap|
|14||3||Shane Lee||Chevrolet||299||1 lap|
|15||38||J.J. Yeley||Chevrolet||299||1 lap|
|16||35||Joey Gase||Chevrolet||299||1 lap|
|17||0||Garrett Smithley||Chevrolet||298||2 laps|
|18||16||Ryan Reed||Ford||298||2 laps|
|19||15||Joe Nemechek||Chevrolet||298||2 laps|
|20||78||B.J. McLeod||Chevrolet||298||2 laps|
|21||5||Michael Annett||Chevrolet||297||3 laps|
|22||90||Josh Williams||Chevrolet||297||3 laps|
|23||98||Chase Briscoe||Ford||295||5 laps|
|24||52||David Starr||Chevrolet||295||5 laps|
|25||76||Spencer Boyd||Chevrolet||295||5 laps|
|26||8||Tommy Joe Martins||Chevrolet||293||7 laps|
|27||66||Timmy Hill||Dodge||257||43 laps|
|28||55||Stephen Leicht||Toyota||212||88 laps|
|29||20||Christopher Bell||Toyota||140||160 laps|
|30||74||Cody Ware||Chevrolet||140||160 laps|
|31||28||Dylan Lupton||Ford||133||167 laps|
|32||45||Josh Bilicki||Toyota||121||179 laps|
|33||01||Vinnie Miller||Chevrolet||105||195 laps|
|34||60||Ty Majeski||Ford||98||202 laps|
|35||2||Matt Tifft||Chevrolet||66||234 laps|
|36||40||Chad Finchum||Toyota||48||252 laps|
|37||39||Ryan Sieg||Chevrolet||47||253 laps|
|38||24||Kaz Grala||Ford||26||274 laps|
|39||93||Jeff Green||Chevrolet||25||275 laps|
|40||51||Jeremy Clements||Chevrolet||4||296 laps|