Ryan Preece proved that finishing last was ideal when he took the lead on the penultimate flyer lap of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, all four Stewart-Haas Racing cars made it to the championship round, but Daniel Suarez, in control of a Chevrolet, was in the top spot as Preece started his last two-lap run.
Preece finished his first lap in fourth place, but while many other racers didn’t speed up, he did, winning his first career pole with an average lap pace of 94.780 mph.
It was an enjoyable surprise for Preece, who has had a difficult start to the year while racing the No. 41 Ford for SHR.
“As a race car driver you want to come here, you want to compete, you want to win races and I know my team is capable of that. I know I’m capable of that,” Preece said. “I know my crew chief (Chad Johnston) is capable of that.
“It’s really just been trying to put it all together and get the finishes that you feel you deserve. It’s nice to not be starting in the back for one week. We have such a fast (car) and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Although Suarez and Aric Almirola tied for second quickest (94.298 mph), Suarez will move up to the front row due to owner points.
Almirola will line up third, Chase Briscoe fourth, and Martin Truex Jr. completes the top five.
Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, and Chris Buescher round out the top ten.
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Nascar, NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity, Ryan Preece, Stewart-Haas Racing, SHR, Ford, Martinsville Speedway