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Top 3 limited-budget NASCAR Cup Series drivers at the 2020 Consumers Energy 400

Image Reference: Michael Kumm via Wikipedia, 13/6/10, CC BY 2.0

It may be a quiet first half of the day.

But a few wild mishaps during the final stage changed the field for the limited-budget stars to stamp their opportunities in the end.

We grade the Top 3 performers out of today’s Cup race at Michigan based in this category.

Ryan Preece

Image Reference: Wikipedia

From 25th, he did fire off a couple of spots closer to the Top 20 mark.

But he’s in and out of the Top 25 while trying to search for the feel in the No.37 machine.

Again, nothing much has changed in Stage 2 with the checkpoint still caution-free & into the first half of stage 3 despite the early cautions.

Fortunately, the late yellow with 20 to go solved his long-run speed woes during the last reset.

It Preece found his touch via the short runs that saw him back up at P16.

Christopher Bell

Image Reference: Wikipedia

He had the greatest of starts from a top half position thanks to his long-run speed that helped him run quietly at P2 after Stage 1.

A slow stop may have pushed him some spots back ahead of the next restart.

But again, he made up lost time, and nothing much changed too towards the halfway point at P4.

Though the first half of Stage 3 didn’t go his way.

That stop during the pit break saw him lose a spot or two followed by another few places lost at the next restart.

Despite the early caution from the Ryan Blaney & Brad Keselowski mishap, Tyler Reddick bumped him & spun out while trying to retain the best spot possible, which wasn’t his fault.

And he had to be patient for nearly the rest of the final stage under a lap down before the late caution with 20 to go gave him a lifeline via the lucky dog.

At least, it gave Bell a sigh of relief to bounce back in another Top 20 run at P17 with the long-run speeds still there.

Ty Dillon

Image Reference: Wikipedia

He, too, jumped well ahead inside the Top 20 at the start in the short-run speed.

Likewise, from Ryan Preece, the long-runs held him back a couple of spots just outside the Top 25 zone.

Nothing much has happened in Stage 2, and despite a series of early yellows, he did lose a couple of spots at the restart & stayed there midway under green still needing that long-run feel.

Fortunately, that late caution with under 20 to go helped him play to his strengths.

It helped him rediscover the momentum he hoped for at the start that assisted his P18 finish.

Final Thoughts

Ryan Preece had to remain patient to stay ahead of the race field through two quiet stages while trying to look for that long-run feel.

Then the 2nd early caution in Stage 3, I think, is when he began to bounce back a place or two before the late caution helped rediscover the momentum he built from the start.

It helped him pick up the strength of the short runs with no resets on the run home became behind his fantastic Sunday afternoon at P16.

I felt sorry for Bell, who unfortunately got hurt by the spin-off Tyler Reddick earlier in Stage 3 & had to restart things all over again.

Apart from that, he’s such a power horse via the long-runs as seen yesterday in the top half of the field today with two first stage Top 5 finishes.

Fortunately, it’s still there to pull off a fantastic comeback closer to the Top 15 bubble thanks to the late caution via the lucky dog.

If it weren’t for that spin, he would’ve had the best chance to steal the Sunday win. He has a few opportunities to strike his first Cup win late & get inside the Playoffs zone by the end of this month.

And credit to Ty Dillon for his P18 finish.

He may not have the fastest car despite firing off with the short runs during the caution-free runs, which took so long.

Fortunately, he capitalized on the other drivers’ errors who didn’t have their great late moments with a few cautions in the final stage.

It gave time for Ty Dillon and his No.13 crew the pros and cons so far before pulling off his best strengths that he saw from the beginning & applied this at the right time towards the end.

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