Rookie Ryan Preece avoids trouble at Talladega and gets rewarded with career-best finish

TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 28: #88: Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Nationwide and #47: Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger pressure #9: Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Mountain Dew / Little Caesar's during the late stages of the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on April 28, 2019 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ryan Preece did what a rookie is supposed to do at Talladega. He stayed out of trouble and finished the race.

And when caution flew on the final lap of the GEICO 500, Preece was running third behind race winner Chase Elliott and runner-up Alex Bowman.

Driving the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Chevrolet, Preece, a star of the first magnitude in the modified ranks, had his best career finish in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“It was awesome,” Preece said. “I was only here one other time, and that was in an Xfinity car in 2016, and I was running third with three to go and went for the hole and got flushed. So, I wasn’t going to do that today.

“Ultimately, it was a perfect situation for Chevy there on that restart, being able to line up and push each other and really not give the other manufacturers an opportunity to get by us. So a great day for (sponsor) Kroger and for JTG, and hopefully we can use this momentum moving forward.”