RACE: Lilly Diabetes 250
TRACK: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Ryan Preece Comes Home 28th After Late Wreck
The Lilly Diabetes 250 took place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday September 10th at 10:00am EST. Both Friday practices and qualifying were rained out for the weekend as a tropical storm blew through the region. The field would be set for the race based off of owners points with Ryan Preece starting the race from third.
With the teams having no practice time, NASCAR opted to have a competition caution on lap 10 so teams could evaluate their cars. Preece said he was a little free to start out so Eric Phillips, crew chief, gave the No. 18 Rheem Toyota Camry four sticker tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. With some cars opting to pit before the caution to advance position, Preece would restart from the 11th position on lap 15.
Caution flew again on lap 24 with Preece in the seventh position. Preece came over the team radio and told the guys that a lot of drivers are driving way too aggressive, making poor decisions early on. Almost half of the field would pit before the stage break, allowing Preece to move up to fourth for the ensuing restart.
Stage one came to a conclusion on lap 30 with Preece in second. Preece reported that the car was running well and that he didn’t think it needed anything major. Phillips would give Preece four sticker tires and fuel. Preece would be the first car off pit road that took four tires, restarting the race from the 14th position.
The race stayed green until the field took the green/checkered flag again to close out Stage two. Preece told the team that he was fighting a really tight racecar and that he needed a lot of help to keep on the throttle. Phillips had the pit crew give Preece four sticker tires, fuel, an air pressure change and a track bar adjustment.
Caution flew again on lap 72 with Preece in seventh. Preece reported a minor vibration but was told that there isn’t anything to worry about with it. For the ensuing restart Preece would take the green flag from sixth on lap 79.
As the field started exiting turn two on lap 79, Preece would catch the air off of the No. 42 car triggering his Camry to spin. The spin would put Preece in the wall hard, ending a great run for the Rheem machine. Preece will compete for the remainder of the season in the No. 18 Xfinity car for Joe Gibbs Racing.
What led to that spin?
“It felt like somebody got into my left rear or the air just completely whipped the back of the car around. We had a really good Rheem No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota. I don’t know, man. These restarts are tough for sure. The air is just off it at that point. I don’t know. It’s tough. You try to get all that you can. Probably when he (John Hunter Nemechek) got loose is when I felt the air right there. Tough deal. It’s upsetting for sure, but I’ll be back in the next eight weeks.”
That looked like a hard hit. Was it?
“Yeah, I guess. Tough, tough situation for sure. Wish it was different. Wish I was still out there. This is a pretty special place to me, so to be out early definitely isn’t something I wanted to be, but we had a pretty fast race car today. Our Rheem No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota, it was almost as fast as Xfinity internet. Just really upsetting to be out this early.”