Ryan Preece entered Saturday’s Procore 200 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event at Sonoma Raceway with two objectives.
1. Gain valuable experience for Sunday’s Cup Series race at Sonoma.
2. Win the race.
As the race approached an overtime finish, it looked like Preece was about to check both items off his list. That is until a very borderline black flag was called for Preece’s No. 47 car jumping the restart. Preece won the opening Stage of the race and had led nearly every lap in the second half of the event as well, before being stripped of the win on the final lap.
Preece would go on to be the field to the finish line, but Noah Gragson who crossed the stripe in second would be awarded the victory.
After climbing from the car, to say Preece was peeved would be an understatement to say the least. According to Preece, he didn’t punch the gas any sooner than he had on the restart previous to the final one that ended in a penalty.
“The restart before that I was rolling it pretty fast and Daniel [Hemric] I think was restarting in second gear and I heard that coming to the green and so I backed down for the restart and slowed down and down shift and that’s why he didn’t get going,” Preece explained. “So maybe it looked like it, but I didn’t go any sooner.”
Preece was furious, and in his mind he knows who should have been hoisting the trophy in wine country on Saturday.
“I’m pissed,” said Preece. “It’s bullshit. I won that race.”
Preece was asked if he would talk to NASCAR about how the end of the race played out, and Preece basically said that nothing would change if he did.
“What are you going to do? It’s their play ground. It’s their sand box. They’re going to do what they want,” Preece stated in frustration. “They manipulated the race at the end of the day. We won that race.”
Each week at every race track in the NASCAR National Series ranks there is a designated restart zone, and as long as the leader accelerates inside that zone there is no foul. Preece felt he wasn’t allowed that luxury on Saturday and that he was placed into a box.
“You might as well hold my hands behind my back and tie them up if you want me to go at the same line every single time,” Preece said. “I’m just pissed off. I like to win races, and when you get them robbed like that it’s some bullshit.”
Needless to say, Preece is pretty upset about the outcome of Saturday’s race. But once the disappointment subsides, he may just realize that what he did win Saturday at Sonoma was a wealth of knowledge about how to race for the win at a track he has never competed at before — Sonoma Raceway.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.