By: Ashley McCubbin
The box score will show that Ryan Preece led the most laps, in which he was dominant the first half. However, it does not share the tale of how he razzle dazzled himself to victory lane.
A couple mid-race cautions, combined with a strategy call to take three tires after coming down pit road twice, while his competitors made one trip down for a pair, are ultimately what led Preece to victory lane. Sure, he had a lightning fast car, as showcased through dominating the first 98 laps untouched from the pole.
However, this was no easy task coming back up through as he restarted seventh with 35 laps to go, against some of the best in the business. You can thank his pit crew as they struggled once again, somethin we’ve seen before. It sucks for him, but hey, we get to see the master at work.
The road back to the front, he was also heavily challenged by both Doug Coby and justin Bonsignore, as each of them made Preece work to get by. It came as a shock, considering before the first caution there was a five-second straightaway lead for the No. 6 Modified. But it took a couple laps each time, and mixing up his approach to get the run underneath and move forward.
While it did not feature the close finish like we had the past two races, this goes down as another classic modified race where the heavyweights battle out in respectful fashion, coming down to the final five laps.
The only question that remains is why did the first yellow flag fly on Lap 98? Trackpass did not show any stopped cars on-track or incidents, nor they did show the safety workers picking up debris. It makes you wonder if it was thrown by race officials in seeing how strung out everyone was, with only eight cars on the lead lap.
No doubt, NASCAR wants their events to exciting so the fans remain engaged and enjoy the show. However, allowing a fully green event to play out can be equally as strong. What if Preece continued to fade, stuck behind a couple more lap cars? He was already getting loose off of turn four, and it may have allowed Coby to close the gap. There was also other drivers finding their groove on the long run, like Ronnie Williams, who may have benefited and caught the top-four otherwise.
Long story shot, you can find excitement without phantom debris.
Unfortunately, that caution created another problem, something that we seen happen at Lancaster as well. Why do their races always turn into a bit of a demolition derby near the end. When can we keep our heads on straight and be a little smarter? I know the pay window is closing, but wrecking stuff isn’t a solution. Let’s use our heads some as we try to make moves to win.