Ryan Preece finished sixth at the Daytona 500 on Sunday, his second top 10 finish in the race in only his third attempt. A week ago he wasn’t even in the race. A recap:
- Preece was not guaranteed a spot because JTG Daugherty Racing does not have a team charter this year. It didn’t seem to bother him. He was quoted as saying, “I'm not stressed at all. We're going to go down, and if everything works out the way I think it's laid out, we should qualify on speed. So, I feel pretty confident with it." He qualified last Wednesday night by being the fastest non-charter driver in qualifying.
- Then he left Daytona and raced that night in the John Blewett III Memorial 76 Tour-Type Modified race at New Smyrna Speedway. Because he was at Daytona, Preece missed the qualifying at New Smyrna and had to start last in the race. He won it.
- On Thursday night, the starting lineup was set after the Daytona Duel races. In Duel 1 Preece finished fifth, and he would start 11th in the 500.
- On Sunday in the early part of the race there was a 16-car crash. Somehow, some way he avoided the crash. That takes some extraordinary driving skills.
- NBC Sports said Preece ran in the top 15 for 97.5 percent of the laps behind only Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick.
- The race was delayed by rain for more than 5 hours and did not end until after midnight, so it started on Feb. 14 and ended on Feb. 15. It took about 9 hours. There also was a crash on the final lap.
- In the latest NBC Sports NASCAR Power Ranking, Preece was ranked eighth. He was unranked in the preseason.