NEWTON, Iowa – Ryan Preece took a gamble on his NASCAR future by investing all of his sponsor support into two starts for Joe Gibbs Racing.
So far, that risk is paying off.
After a runner-up finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway earlier in the month, Preece won the pole at Iowa Speedway on Saturday morning and continued his roll in the ‘Heartland of America’ by winning the opening stage of the U.S. Cellular 250.
Preece led all 60 laps in a caution-free opening stint to notch his first-ever XFINITY Series stage win.
“We made some adjustments to our car, but I think it’s just (to combat) typical tire wear – nothing crazy,” Preece said. “We are just trying to make our car better, just like everybody else. I never dreamed I’d win a stage though. I hoped I would … never dreamed it would happen. This is pretty cool.”
After a slightly-slower pit stop knocked him back to sixth leaving pit road, Preece said patience will be key as he looks to work his way forward again.
“Patience is huge because we still have 190 laps to go,” he said. “I’m just going to try to get back up there and get that clean air; obviously it means a lot. Patience … patience is huge.”
Series points leader Elliott Sadler worked his way to second mid-way through the first stage and stayed there all the way to the stage break, coming to the green-checkered flag 2.228 seconds adrift of Preece.
Preece’s teammate Kyle Benjamin crossed third after starting on the front row, followed by Brennan Poole and multi-time Iowa winner Sam Hornish Jr.
Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Ben Kennedy and Blake Koch completed the points-scoring drivers in the top 10.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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