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The Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 took place at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on a humid Friday afternoon. Rain blew through the Daytona Beach area around 2:00pm EST, cancelling qualifying for the upcoming NASCAR Xfinity Series race. The field would be set by owner’s points, placing the No. 18 Rheem Toyota Camry in the pole position.
Crew chief, Eric Phillips, told Preece pre-race that the goal for the day to was make sure that he kept the car clean and to find a fast drafting line and stick with it. The race went green throughout the first stage with the field shifting positions many times as the draft lines would pick up speed and break apart. Preece was able to keep his car clean and out of trouble in the first stage, crossing the stripe in 15th. Preece would tell his team “You can’t make it by yourself”, when referring to having help in the draft lines. The team would give Preece four fresh tires, an air pressure adjustment, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Preece would restart the race from the 15th position on lap 35.
Preece would come over the radio on lap 49 and told his team that the water temp in his Rheem Camry spiked and that he feels like there could be a problem with the Engine. Preece would come down pit road two laps later where the team determined that a piece of debris punctured the radiator, leading to his engine overheating. While on pit road, the team said the car wouldn’t be salvageable and that the No. 18 Rheem Toyota would be done for the day. The finish was not what the team was looking for, but that is racing and there are sometimes things that can’t be controlled. Preece will sport the Rheem colors again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in September.
What did you feel in the car, was it something with radiator?
“Yes. We felt the motor go down and it was right when we were starting to go up there and start working the bottom. Motor sounded funny that last lap. Changed pitch and I didn’t want to throw a grenade in front of the field and wreck everyone. Unfortunate. I felt like we were just starting to get the side draft and really work the bottom. But, we’ll never know. Daytona has never been really good for me. I’ll look forward to my next race in New Hampshire in two weeks and see what we can do there.”
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