Prior to Sunday, Ryan Preece led 25 laps in 123 NASCAR Cup Series starts. After claiming the pole for Sunday’s NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway, Preece led a race-high 135 laps and won the race’s first stage.
Yet, a pit road speeding penalty after Stage 1 during a caution period effectively ended Preece’s chance at picking up his first Cup Series win.
“I pride myself on not making mistakes, so that was pretty brutal there, but, like I’ve said, we have a fast race car and really felt like we could have probably swept the stages and ran top three or top five,” Preece said.
The penalty mired Preece outside of the Top-20. He was able to finish 15th, his highest finish in the last five races.
“That ultimately cost us the track position,” Preece said. “We had a really fast race car, so once we got in the back it was so hard to do anything, so that’s on me. I’ll take blame for that. I was trying to beat them out and ultimately got snapped speeding.”
After nine races into the 2023 season, Preece is ranked 27th in points. His highest finish is 12th at Phoenix in March.
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