Ryan Preece

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NASCAR issues two fines for unsecured lug nuts at Auto Club Speedway

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NASCAR announced two crew chief fines for unsecured lug nuts last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Adam Stevens, crew chief on Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

In the Xfinity Series, Eric Phillips, the crew chief for Ryan Preece‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

No other penalties were announced.

NASCAR America: Ryan Preece ready to get back in Xfinity car (video)

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Ryan Preece makes his season debut in the Xfinity Series this weekend at Auto Club Speedway, driving the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing.

This will be the first of 10 Xfinity starts for Preece, who scored four top-five finishes — including a win at Iowa — in four series starts.

“I’m ready to get out to California,’’ Preece told NASCAR America’s Dave Burns.

Preece drove a modified in Florida, winning a couple of races, when NASCAR was at Daytona and raced a three-quarter midget indoors in the Northeast since his last Xfinity race last year in Miami.

Preece said he’s focused on more strong results.

“For me, this is the opportunity that I’ve been wanting for my entire life, to go there and compete for wins,’’ he said.

Preece talked about his racing plans for the rest of the season when he’s not driving in the Xfinity Series. Check out the above video for that and more.

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NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Interviews with Kevin Harvick, Rodney Childers & Ryan Preece

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Today’s packed NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Leigh Diffey hosts and is joined by Parker Kligerman, Kyle Petty and Nate Ryan.

On today’s show:

  • More on the late-breaking news that Lowe’s will not sponsor Jimmie Johnson’s car at Hendrick Motorsports after this season.
  • Tony Stewart is coming off a milestone weekend as an owner, with four cars finishing in the top 10. In his second full season outside of the car, how has his transition been from driver to owner and what is his impact on the team?
  • The hottest driver & crew chief join the show. Kevin Harvick looks ahead to his participation in the K&N Pro Series opener on Thursday, and Rodney Childers discusses how the No. 4 team has found so much success this season.
  • Fontana marks the end of the West Coast trip for NASCAR. Will Kyle Larson continue his recent dominance at 2-mile tracks? What other drivers can make some noise at Auto Club Speedway?
  • Our SOCIAL PIT STOP takes a look at how drivers are spending their final weekend on the West Coast including one driver’s first Laker game.
  • Ryan Preece found plenty of success in the Xfinity Series last season with four top-five finishes in his 4 races including his first career win. We’ll hear from the 27-year-old prior to his first race of the season.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you also can watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Elliott Sadler’s disappointing end to 2017 drives him forward

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For Elliott Sadler, “there’s nothing to say” about how his 2017 Xfinity season ended.

He had no interest in addressing how he was raced in the late stages at Homestead-Miami Speedway by Ryan Preece, and how it resulted in his No. 1 Chevrolet damaged and Sadler unable to win his first NASCAR championship.

The accident with 10 laps to go in the championship race came as Sadler tried to hold off his JR Motorsports teammate, William Byron. Whoever led the other at the checkered flag would be the champion.

Byron went on to to win. Sadler finished with his second runner-up finish in the Xfinity standings.

On that November night, Sadler called it the “most devastating and down and out” he’d ever felt in his NASCAR career, which began in 1995 in the Xfinity Series.

But two months later, there’s nothing to say.

On second thought…

“When you catch somebody like that, we had just made the pass on William and we’re pulling away and we’re less than 10 laps to go and you’re absolutely racing for nothing at all,” Sadler said last week during the NASCAR Media Tour. “Your owner’s championship guy is half a mile, half a lap ahead of you, (Team Penske’s) Sam Hornish (Jr.). Why not give the respect? The respect is due. We had earned that right I had felt like and I thought. That’s why it hurts so bad.”

It’s why the 42-year-old driver for JR Motorsports engaged in a shouting match with Preece on pit road after the race

It’s also why Sadler keeps coming back for more.

“I’ve been asked that question a few times this offseason. It’s motivation,” Sadler said.

A 17-time winner in NASCAR’s three national series, Sadler had his future on his mind two weeks ago when he visited with Dale Jarrett after the Hall of Fame induction.

Sadler asked his former Robert Yates Racing teammate and mentor when he knew it was time to retire.

“What kept you going when you were in the middle of it and what told you maybe it was time to step away?” Sadler asked.

“The biggest thing he and I kind of came to the conclusion of is, I’m still motivated every day. I still like going to the gym, I still like working out. I still like watching film of races. I still like studying what’s going on. That’s still in my mind.”

After 820 NASCAR starts, the sport still makes Sadler mad.

“I take it personal when stuff goes my way or doesn’t go my way,” Sadler said. “I still feel that. I don’t brush it off. Just like what happened after Homestead. That to me is telling me I still want to do it. I still have the drive. When I get to the day where I’m, (sighs) ‘We got to go where this weekend?’ You know what I’m saying to that extent, it’s time for me to do something else. Right now, I don’t have that.”

But Jarrett, who retired from NASCAR racing in 2008, told him he would know when his time was up.

“You will (know) when you’re ready to go to Daytona or you’re like, ‘I got to go to Daytona this weekend,'” Sadler said. “There’s a big difference in mindset. But right now when hunting season is over with and I know I’ve got six weeks to really get mentally and physically tough and ready for the season, was I going to feel like doing it or not? So far, yes.”

Once the season begins on Feb. 17 in Daytona, Sadler can look forward to at least 10 races where he’ll get a chance to compete against Preece. The 27-year-old driver will race part-time with JGR.

“He better not get anywhere near me,” Sadler let reporters know.

“That’s all I want to say.”

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Rheem to sponsor Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece in Xfinity Series

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Rheem will sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing across two cars in the Xfinity Series next season, sponsoring Christopher Bell and Ryan Preece.

The company will be on Bell’s No. 20 Toyota for 23 races and Preece’s No. 18 Toyota for 10 races.

Rheem, which manufactures heating, cooling, water heating, pool/spa heating and commercial refrigeration products, sponsored Richard Childress Racing cars for the last three seasons in Xfinity.

Rheem has sponsored Xfinity teams every year since 2008.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Rheem,” team owner Joe Gibbs said in a press release. “They have built a winning company in their industry with many of the same attributes we hold valuable at our race team. Rheem has a long history in our sport and they understand what it takes to be successful. We think Christopher (Bell) and Ryan (Preece) will represent them well both on and off the track.”

Bell enters his first full-time season with JGR after winning the Camping World Truck Series championship with Kyle Busch Motorsports. The 21-year old driver made eight Xfinity starts this season and earned his first win Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway.

Preece’s 10 races for 2018 come after he made four starts for JGR this season and finished in the top five in each, winning at Iowa Speedway on July 29.

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