TALLADEGA, Ala – When the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to the high banks of Daytona this July, we can’t overlook the JTG Daugherty Racing team this time around. This has now gone on long enough – but we have to finally look at the duo as legitimate sleepers to win on superspeedways from here forward.
In Sunday’s GEICO 500, both JTG cars were running up front when it mattered the most. Unfortunately, Chris Buescher was caught up in a hard accident on the backstretch of the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway with seven laps-to-go in the race. He was running in the top six for a majority of the final laps, but was shuffled out and crashed – ending with a 30th place effort.
His teammate, Ryan Preece, well he avoided both big crashes in the final seven laps en route to a career best effort. Preece, brought his No. 47 Chevrolet home third in Sunday’s 188 Lap race which comes after scoring an eighth place run in the season opening Daytona 500 too.
“It was awesome,” said Preece after Sunday’s race.” I was only here one other time and that was in Talladega in 2016 in an Xfinity car and I was running third with three to go, went for the sucker hole and got flushed. I wasn’t going to do that today. … Great day for Kroger and JTG (Daugherty Racing) and hopefully we can keep this momentum moving forward.”
Preece, was the story of the race at Daytona. The feel good underdog who made head scratching maneuvers to avoid all the carnage and came away with a top 10. Unfortunately, he didn’t keep that momentum for long. While he was running in the top 10 the next week in Atlanta, he had a late race pit road mishap which hindered him to a 35th place effort. From then on, he finished better than 20th just once.
This No. 47 car has eight top 10 finishes in its last 11 superspeedway starts. Last year, it finished sixth in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona. This year, it finished eighth in the Daytona 500. After a third place run in Talladega, we need to start taking them seriously on superspeedway tracks.