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Ryan Preece A First-Time Winner in Xfinity Series

U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway
Saturday, July 29, 2017

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Ryan Preece wins at Iowa Speedway
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
Ryan Preece's short-lived, but ambitious 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule began three weeks ago at his de facto home track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It ended Saturday in the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway - as confetti swirled and soared to highlight his first career series triumph in Victory Lane. 

Preece, held off a hard-charging Kyle Benjamin in a green-white checkered finish that came after the third restart in the race's final 17 pulse-quickening laps. 

"I thought this race would never end, that's for sure," an emotional Preece told the NBCSN after finally slowing his fast Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 car to a stop. "But man, nothing's going to beat today." 

No one could beat Preece, who ran full-time in 2016, but chose to funnel his 2017 XFINITY Series resources into this two-race stint with JGR.  

That high-stakes gamble clearly paid off - as Preece beamed and raised his arms, his season over, but his future visibly brighter. 

"I don't even know what to say," said Preece, who owns 17 career NASCAR Whelan All-American Modified Tour wins, including two this season. "I've got to thank everybody." 

So he did. 

Benjamin settled for second, which also is his best career finish. Veteran Brian Scott took third in his first start of the season. 

"I was very nervous," said Benjamin, who also runs part-time for JGR. "I wanted to make it happen right there." 

Preece did just that, from start to finish, with a slight hiccup in between.  

He earned his first career Coors Light Pole Award earlier Saturday, powering to a lap of 24.072 seconds at a top speed of 130.857 mph. That dominance carried over into the first stage, which Preece led in its entirety. 

He dropped to sixth off pit road, however, which allowed Justin Allgaier to surge to the front. Allgaier would narrowly hold off Preece to win the second stage and gain a coveted playoff point, but a later gamble would reap misfortune instead of reward. 

Drivers faced a dilemma when Spencer Gallagher hit the wall, drawing the caution flag with 80 laps to go. Every top contender eventually dove onto pit road. Everyone except Allgaier, that is, whose team hoped another caution would help the decision pay off. 

That didn't happen, as Allgaier swiftly dropped from first to seventh, then to 15th - and finally,  to a green flag pit stop that came with 25 laps to go. That longed-for caution finally flew shortly after Allgaier returned to the track when Sam Hornish Jr.'s No. 22 Ford hit the wall. 

Allgaier's second bad break in as many weeks preceded that nerve-fraying - and caution-filled - finish.  

Points leader Elliott Sadler raced near the front most of the day, but ended up 12th. He maintains a 54-point lead over William Byron, who finished ninth. 

Preece clearly wasn't racing for points. Only a win.  

And he edged Benjamin by a mere .054 seconds - a fitting margin to conclude a sprint-sized season that ended in happy incredulity.  

"I'm so at a loss of words right now," Preece said. "I don't know what to say. This is what emotion is, I can tell you that."

RACE RESULTS

 

Pos.#DriverMakeStartLapsLedStatusPointsPlayoff Points
120Ryan PreeceToyota1254141Running590
218Kyle BenjaminToyota22545Running490
33Brian ScottChevy112540Running340
448Brennan PooleChevy82540Running450
500Cole CusterFord52540Running390
614JJ YeleyToyota282540Running310
721Daniel HemricChevy32540Running300
811Blake KochChevy72540Running300
99William ByronChevy172540Running280
1033Brandon JonesChevy192540Running270
1196Brett MoffittChevy212540Running00
121Elliott SadlerChevy62542Running420
1362Brendan GaughanChevy162540Running240
1439Ryan SiegChevy252540Running230
1501Harrison RhodesChevy262540Running220
1660Ty MajeskiFord92540Running230
1728Dakoda ArmstrongToyota202540Running200
184Ross ChastainChevy222540Running190
1919Matt TifftToyota102530Running220
207Justin AllgaierChevy14252106Running320
2116Ryan ReedFord182520Running160
228BJ McLeodChevy312520Running150
232Ben KennedyChevy132510Running230
2452Joey GaseChevy302490Running130
2524Dylan LuptonToyota322490Running120
2699David StarrChevy362490Running110
2778Tommy Joe MartinsChevy352490Running100
2851Jeremy ClementsChevy272490Running90
2990Brandon BrownChevy382480Running80
3007Ray Black JrChevy372470Running70
3174Mike HarmonDodge402430Running60
3240Stan MullisChevy392410Running50
335Michael AnnettChevy232330Running40
3422Sam Hornish JrFord42290Accident130
350Garrett SmithleyChevy342180Accident20
3642Tyler ReddickChevy152180Running10
3723Spencer GallagherChevy121700Accident10
3889Morgan ShepherdChevy33460Handling10
3915Reed SorensonChevy2990Transmission00
4093Jeff GreenChevy2430Vibration10



 

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