By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
In his first of just two scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, Ryan Preece finishes second in the Overton’s 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Preece impressed in both qualifying and the race, starting up front and finishing up front. In fact, he was one of only six to finish on the lead lap.
Preece ran up front all day long in the No. 20 Mohawk Northeast Toyota Camry. He even challenging his teammate, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Kyle Busch, as well as Cup driver Kyle Larson for the lead after restarts.
The moment of the race for Preece came on a restart late in Stage 1. His crew chief, Chris Gabehart, called him to pit road. Preece lined up 15th and sliced through the field in the final 11 laps of the stage. With three laps left in the stage, he found himself second, car lengths behind Larson.
Preece said the race was like a dream come true,
“Something I dreamed about to be honest with you. I didn’t know how today was going to go. Got a limited about of time in practice, qualified sixth, was a little disappointed in myself, but I told Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) before the race started I usually get better in the race, so obviously he made a great call there to get two tires instead of four, but, man, this one is for all the short track guys out there that might not ever get the opportunity, but I work hard week in and week out with that modified, so to be able to have this opportunity to me. I’ve got to thank MoHawk Northeast, Falmouth Ready Mix, DMI Asphalt for coming on board. Lot of people sacrifices a lot to put me in this car, so it means a lot.”
Proof of Preece’s impressive run can be seen in his stage finishes. He finished Stage 1 in second and Stage 2 in fourth. In all three stages, he was the highest finishing driver earning Xfinity Series points. This is even though Preece is not competing full-time in the Xfinity Series.
Now Preece will look to carry this excitement and momentum into his next race, also in the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing, at Iowa Speedway on July 29. After that, he will return to his regular series, the NASCAR Wheel Modified Tour, for the Stafford 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway.