Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – TALLADEGA, AL – Ryan Preece’s performance after the Daytona 500 had taken a sharp dive until Sunday afternoon’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. His third place finish at the historic Alabama track helped to prove his Daytona 500 result was no fluke.
On social media, Preece commented about his weekend.
“About what you’d expect I guess. It’s Talladega and it’s different.”
With all the changes NASCAR threw at teams with the new non-restrictor plate package, it was in essence more of the same. Cars built for Talladega and its sister track Daytona are always built vastly different than their more usual counterparts. So a change in mindset, strategy and driving habits is always the norm.
“You go through your qualifying and practice and you’re not quite sure what you’re going to have for the race. We started out the race and we were really, really loose. The plan was to just ride around until about 50 to go in that last stage after the pit stop and we got ourselves into position I feel to have a good day.”
Preece steadily moved toward the front over that final 50 laps. Never making risky moves, the Connecticut native smartly picked his way through car after car and avoided the wrecks as the intensity increased.
“That last restart really couldn’t have worked out any better for everybody with Chevy because we were all committed to pushing one another. I’m just happy that was the case and I wasn’t the odd man out there.”
Once Preece slotted into fourth, he made one final move to slide into third place and then worked with his Chevy compatriots to get to the finish.
“It felt good those last three or four laps knowing that I wasn’t going to get moved out of the way or shuffled. Ultimately we were able to keep everyone in line and finish third.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads next to Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 5th for the Gander RV 400.