Toyota NXS Homestead Post-Race Recap - 11.18.17
RYAN PREECE, No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
We saw words exchanged between you and Elliott Sadler, what’s your side of the story?
“I mean, really I got hired to race this race for the owner championship. We weren’t anywhere near the 22 (Sam Hornish Jr.), but we were racing the 9 (William Byron). It’s pretty much what I said. If it was the 7 (Justin Allgaier) and the 1 (Elliott Sadler) or anyone else that wasn’t in for that owner championship, probably, I definitely would have just laid right over. I’ve been an Elliott Sadler fan growing up, so if I wanted somebody to win that owner championship, or driver championship, it would have been him. Just, I can’t not listen to my owner. I can’t not listen to my, the guy who’s paying you in the end, so it’s just a tough deal. It’s crappy in the end - but I hate controversy.
Were you okay with the move you made on Elliott Sadler then?
“With what move? I was ahead of him. If anything - if there was no contact, I was going to let him go that corner. I pulled down in the middle, not running the top because I was letting him go. I mean, I don’t know. The only thing I could’ve done different was realistically gave up second in the owner championship and finished third. You know, hindsight 20/20, we ended up there because of what happened, but I also – as soon as the 9 (Byron) got me, I was going to let him go. I don’t know much more that I could really do, other than, than lay over on Joe (Gibbs) and Steve (deSouza, EVP of XFINITY and Development for Joe Gibbs Racing). If they came over the radio and said ‘hey, give up second in the owner championship and let these guys race,’ I would’ve done it. I’m just – team orders. I’m not afraid to lay over if it means – but just doing what I’m told.”
Is there anything you could have done different racing Elliott Sadler at the end?
“To be honest with you, if there’s a person you don’t want to cost a championship to it’s Elliott Sadler. You know, I’m just trying to do team orders here. I was racing for an owner championship. Yeah, we weren’t racing for the win right there, but we were still racing the 9 (William Byron). I got to thank Joe Gibbs (owner) for giving me this opportunity, Safelite Auto Glass, Toyota, everybody involved there. It felt – just, you know it’s not where I want to be right there, but obviously I hate it, but can’t take it back.”
Is there anything you could have done to move out of the way of Elliott Sadler?
“As soon as the 9 (William Byron) got by us, my, my point for racing him was gone, he was going to pull away, so I wanted to let him go, but you know obviously there was just contact. That’s the last thing you want. You know growing up, I was a huge Elliott Sadler fan and I know his spotter Brett (Griffin) very well, so you don’t want that type of scenario, especially right now. It is what it is. I got to thank Joe Gibbs again and we’ll look forward to 2018.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 GameStop/PowerA Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 36th
What happened to take you out of the race early?
“We were fighting through and making our GameStop Camry better as the race went on and unfortunately had a mechanical failure. The car was okay and we were making it better as we were racing. The first run I was really struggling. The second run I was getting better and as the sun was going down I think we were going to continue to improve. We had a great season and we’ll move on to next year.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.