With 103 laps complete, NASCAR officials waved the checkered flag over Ryan Preece's No. 6 machine as he crossed over the Bristol Motor Speedway start/finish line. After a battle with Woody Pitkat that raged all race long, Mother Nature decided to put an end to the fight at the Last Great Colosseum. In a make-shift victory lane Preece was awarded the trophy at the famous half-mile in the Tennessee mountains.
"I can't believe it," screamed Preece over his team's radio as he took the checkered flag. "It's Bristol Baby!"
Preece started on the outside of the front row, with Pitkat to his inside, as the sun was still shining in the early portion of the evening. Two laps later, the caution flag waved for a big crash involving Doug Coby, Justin Bonsignore, Todd Szegedy and Brendon Bock. Then the rain came.
A brief shower drenched the race track and delayed the race for more than three hours as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ran their race to completion.
When the race resumed, Preece and Pitkat showed that they were still the drivers to beat, even at night with different track conditions.
The two drivers, who also lead the championship points standings, fought throughout the race for the top spot. One driver would get the jump on a restart, and then the other would come fighting right back.
It remained that way until the competition caution at halfway. Preece got the advantage on the restart and that was all he needed to retain the lead en route to his fourth victory of the season.
"We just seemed to fire off on restarts, and we could take advantage of that," said Preece. "The car was much better after the break. I really started to find something with the right front up at the top. It really started to help me turn."
Pitkat finished second, and said that even if the race went the distance, he probably wouldn't have had anything for Preece.
"The rain was probably a blessing in disguise," said Pitkat. "We were just getting so tight. We must have had a bad tire. Obviously at the end of the day you want to finish strong and win the race, but we were just getting so tight that if we went 150 laps we probably would have been somewhere near seventh. It's probably good, but it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth."
For Preece, it doesn't matter that the race was shortened by rain, because he said the win still ranks near the top of his career accomplishments.
"Nothing beats this place," he said. "When you win big races, especially at Bristol, the Last Great Colosseum, it's just phenomenal. Now I can say I won at Bristol, baby."
With the victory, Preece now takes the lead in the championship standing with Pitkat falling to second in the tally.
To see an on-demand replay of today's NASCAR Home Tracks Race Central Live coverage powered by Speed51.com, click here: http://hometracks.nascar.com/home-tracks/race-central-live-powered-speed51-bristol_08192015
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor - Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Bush Beans 150
Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee
|15||28||George Brunnhoelzl III|
|19||19||Joe Ryan Osborne|