Ryan Preece Puts On Show With Third Place XFINITY Series Run At NHMS; Christopher Bell Wins

Ryan Preece on pit road with his Joe Gibbs Racing crew Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

LOUDON, N.H. – Despite running part-time on the NASCAR XFINITY Series for the last year, Ryan Preece has served as an attention grabbing force in nearly every event he runs with the division.

And that fact was once again on display Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Preece of Berlin, finished third in the XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200 Saturday at NHMS, but on the track the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular was the show.

A little more than a year ago, a third place finish in a NASCAR XFINITY Series event would probably have had Preece ready to do cartwheels down pit road.

Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway the tone of disappointment was evident from Preece after his third place finish.

“It’s weird to say I’m frustrated to finish third,” Preece said. “Then I sit back here and think of July 12, 2017 where I had ultimately nothing. I had two races [scheduled] to show everybody that I could get a job done. When you look at it like that, third place isn’t all that bad. But at the end of the day, I’m a racer, I’m a competitor. If I finished third on the Whelen Modified Tour I’d be disappointed because I want more. I want to win. That’s why I race. So at the end of the day third place is great, but you always want more.”

Preece made his first career start for Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series at last year’s Lakes Region 200 at NHMS and finished second to Monster Energy Cup Series star Kyle Busch. In his next event with the team two weeks later Preece got his first career XFINITY Series victory at Iowa Speedway. He ended up making two more starts for the team in 2017, recording finishes of fourth and fifth.

Saturday at NHMS Preece ran the fifth of a scheduled 11 starts for the organization this year with the XFINITY Series. He got his second series victory earlier this year at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In nine starts for Joe Gibbs Racing with the series over the past two seasons Preece has seven top-five finishes and eight top-10’s.

The questions of if his performances can land the 27-year old Preece a full-time ride on the national level in 2019 are constant around the garage.

“Right now I have no contracts,” Preece said. “… I work really hard to be here and run up front and show all these people that I can run up front. At the end of the day, all I’m going to focus on is my next race … to try and win and show everybody that I’m going to be a contender every time I step into this garage. … I want to show people in this garage that I’m not going to be the weak link.”

Saturday at NHMS, Preece ran ferociously on restarts grabbing spots. He rallied from a mid-race pit road miscue that dropped him from second to 21and then battled for the lead in the closing stages.

Preece’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell won the event with Monster Energy Cup Series star Brad Keselowski finishing second.

Preece had a feisty battle for second over the closing laps.

“Restarts were in my favor,” Preece said. “I was kind of hoping for a green-white-checkered because we were so good. … Ultimately I was really good restarts, just too tight once we got racing, once I had to go up in that preferred groove.”

Said Keselowski: “I thought he did a great job. It looked like he had a done of short run speed. … But I don’t know, it looked like his car was probably falling off on the long runs. But on the short runs he was tough. I think if this would have come down to a two or three lap shootout at the end with him on the front row he would have been really tough to beat.”

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  1. Slapnuts says

    So happy for Ryan. The best thing about the hole race was the amount of time the TV crew was talking about Ryan and how fast he was on restarts. Even Jr. was impressed at his driving skills and the fact he made the race exciting to watch.

  2. Nice Ryan..great to see him and follow xfinity..good series it is !!!!
    Cant wait for indy!!!!

  3. This is all so very discouraging. The guy has got the skills and charismatic personality to be in the big dance on a full time basis. 30 years ago he’d already be there. But these days you simply have to bring a pile of money with you from what I understand. Preece brings little piles to run on a limited basis but can’t break through without a major patron. If you’re a young up and comer like Chase Dowing who has the mentor and is building the resume to take the next step. In his private moments what is he thinking his odds are of moving up eventually?

  4. Another stellar performance by Ryan Preece!!!

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