Preece Takes Hard-Fought Victory at Bristol

Ryan Preece won the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It’s Preece’s second career XFINITY Series win and his first at Bristol. The race contained twelve cautions and one red flag.

On the initial start, Justin Allgaier got by polesitter Cole Custer on the outside as Custer had a big sideways moment. About five laps in, Christopher Bell slammed the wall after a tire went down on his No. 20, causing everyone to check up behind him. This caused a pileup involving Jeremy Clements, Ty Majeski, Chase Briscoe, Kaz Grala, and Alex Labbe.

When the race restarted, Allgaier again took the lead from the outside, getting in front of second-place Daniel Hemric. Allgaier led all the way until the competition yellow came out on lap 45. On pit stops, Cole Custer and Christopher Bell took two tires, lining up second and fourth on the restart. Daniel Hemric stayed out due to a miscommunication, while Allgaier took four tires and lined up third. Custer had a fire in his pit stall, but all his crewmen were okay and the flames were put out.

When the green flag flew again, Hemric took the lead early, but after a lap, Christopher Bell was able to get by him, fully recovered from his lap five incident. Matt Tifft and Elliott Sadler wrecked with less than 30 laps remaining in stage one after Tifft and Justin Allgaier collided, turning Tifft into the inside wall. Elliott Sadler and John Hunter Nemechek got together trying to avoid, sending Sadler into the outside wall. Sadler and Nemechek exchanged bumps during the resulting caution.

The race got back underway with 20 laps left in stage one, and immediately after the restart, Matt Tifft slammed the outside wall after his right front tire went down. The tire failure likely stemmed from damage sustained in the previous wreck. This time, Tifft wouldn’t be able to return to the track.

Christopher Bell led the field to the green, clearing Daniel Hemric once again. Hemric challenged Bell, making a little contact, but Bell was able to drive away and win a very eventful stage one. On pit stops, Ryan Reed took only two tires and jumped up to third. Ryan Preece and Justin Allgaier stayed out. Cole Custer was sent to the rear of the field due to a speeding penalty.

The race restarted at the lap 99 mark, and Ryan Preece easily jumped away. A couple laps later, Justin Allgaier and Brandon Jones got together, sending Allgaier spinning. Also involved were John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Majeski, Tommy Joe Martins, and Alex Labbe.

On the lap 110 restart, Daniel Hemric cleared Preece for the lead. With about 30 laps remaining in stage two, Vinnie Miller spun, collecting Cody Ware. Third place Christopher Bell flew passenger-door-first into the front end of Miller’s car, destroying both cars. Bell’s car hit so hard its roof buckled, but Bell would get out okay. NASCAR would elect to put out the red flag for seven minutes.

Once the race got back underway, Hemric got away, but Dylan Lupton had something go wrong, sending him into the outside wall, bringing out caution number eight at the halfway mark in the race.

The restart came with only nine to go in stage two. Hemric cleared Preece, but Preece decided that that wouldn’t do and took the lead away from Hemric. With two laps left in the stage, Cole Custer and Spencer Gallagher hit the wall after Elliott Sadler locked up his brakes got up into Custer. The incident didn’t bring out the yellow, but did knock all Sadler and Custer outside the top ten. On pit stops, Austin Cindric was first off pit road, while Chase Briscoe, Brandon Jones, and Tyler Reddick stayed out.

The race went back green with 123 laps remaining, and Briscoe, despite the damage he’d sustained early in the race, jumped to the lead past Brandon Jones. Jones, though, would get by Briscoe after a few laps, followed by Ryan Preece. A couple laps after Briscoe lost the lead, Daniel Hemric got into the back of him, sending the No. 98 car spinning, but Briscoe would get away without damage.

With 107 laps left, Brandon Jones led the field back to the green. Jones would stretch his lead to over a second after only a couple laps. With 30 laps to go, John Hunter Nemechek, who had been running inside the top five, pitted due to a suspected tire issue. With 24 laps to go, Cole Custer got into the outside wall, but maintained position in tenth, one lap down. With 18 to go, Shane Lee brought out caution number 11 as he blew a tire and slammed the outside wall. Leader Brandon Jones led the field down pit road and was the first one off pit road as well. Jones took two tires, while everyone else took four.

The restart took place with 10 to go, and Ryan Preece got by Jones, whose old tires were no match for the new tires of Preece and the rest of the field. Preece was able to get away from the field and take his first win of 2018. As Preece took the win, Austin Cindric got turned into the wall by Tyler Reddick and limped across the line in 12th.

Below are the full results from the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway:

  1. Ryan Preece (Stage two)
  2. Justin Allgaier
  3. Daniel Hemric
  4. Elliott Sadler
  5. Spencer Gallagher
  6. Brandon Jones
  7. Tyler Reddick
  8. Cole Custer
  9. Ross Chastain
  10. Ryan Truex
  11. Alex Labbe
  12. Austin Cindric
  13. John Hunter Nemechek
  14. Shane Lee
  15. Ryan Sieg
  16. Joey Gase
  17. Garrett Smithley
  18. Ryan Reed
  19. Joe Nemechek
  20. BJ McLeod
  21. Michael Annett
  22. Josh Williams
  23. Chase Briscoe
  24. David Starr
  25. Spencer Boyd
  26. Tommy Joe Martins
  27. Timmy Hill
  28. Stephen Leicht
  29. Christopher Bell (Stage one)
  30. Cody Ware
  31. Dylan Lupton
  32. Josh Bilicki
  33. Vinnie Miller
  34. Ty Majeski
  35. Matt Tifft
  36. Chad Finchum
  37. JJ Yeley
  38. Kaz Grala
  39. Jeff Green
  40. Jeremy Clements

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