Ryan Preece will drive the No. 41 automobile for Stewart-Haas Racing within the NASCAR Cup Sequence

Ryan Preece has turned down races in NASCAR’s growth sequence in latest months realizing he might probably drive Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 Cup automobile in 2023.

It was removed from a certainty, however his funding was coming collectively and he knew that SHR may contemplate a change to driver Cole Custer. Preece can be a pure match as SHR’s present reserve pilot and simulator.

Staff proprietor Gene Haas even stated a month in the past that workforce co-owner Tony Stewart wished to offer Preece an opportunity, whereas Haas wished to offer Custer one other yr in Cup.

With no ensures, Preece additionally knew he could possibly be with no journey or an identical season into 2022, when he made a couple of Cup begins, a couple of Xfinity begins and a handful of truck begins.

“There have been fairly a couple of totally different groups that got here to me, whether or not it was full-time or part-time, and I assumed if there was even the slightest likelihood for me to finish up at Stewart-Haas, I am not going to go,” Preece stated.

“I used to be keen to take a seat there till there was completely no hope and probably be out of a job, probably not have a car, however I used to be keen to take that threat.”

Ryan Preece on transferring to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2023

Ryan Preece on moving to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2023

Ryan Preece stated he turned down some potential Xfinity rides and vehicles, hoping to get the SHR No. 41 Cup automobile. He explains why he did it and why he thinks he can win at SHR.

His endurance was rewarded this week when SHR opted to have Preece change Custer within the Cup Sequence subsequent season. Custer will drive within the Xfinity Sequence for SHR subsequent yr when SHR expands to 2 automobiles.

Preece, 32, has two Xfinity Sequence wins and two truck wins in 74 mixed begins. So he is aware of win, but it surely’s been a wrestle in inventory automobiles for the 2013 NASCAR Modified Sequence champion.

Preece returns to a sequence through which he hasn’t been very profitable. He posted two top-fives and 9 top-10s in three years at JTG Daugherty Racing, ending twenty sixth, twenty ninth and twenty seventh in standings.

“Ryan Preece has been an actual asset to our racing workforce this yr as we now have developed the [new-in-2022] Subsequent technology automobile,” Stewart stated. “The effort and time he has put into our program, mixed together with his real-world racing expertise, earned him this chance.”

Preece is used to creating unconventional strikes. After driving for JD Motorsports in Xfinity in 2016, he drove a partial schedule of simply 4 Xfinity races in 2017 whereas returning to mods full-time. However these 4 Xfinity races went to Joe Gibbs Racing, and he completed within the high 5 in all 4, together with one win.

That helped him improve his schedule in 2018 to fifteen Xfinity races earlier than touchdown the Cup journey at JTG. After three years and extra irritating days than glimmers of hope, Preece discovered himself with no Cup experience and opted for the reserve function for SHR in 2022.

“It is 5 years later [after 2017] and I take into consideration that threat and I am like, ‘Man, that would have been so much totally different,’ similar to this might have been so much totally different,” Preece stated. “However I’ve by no means been the conservative kind of individual.”

Now all Preece has to do is win and carry out. Simpler stated than accomplished: Custer has 12 profession wins in Xfinity and vehicles, however struggled with a Cup win his rookie yr and simply 5 top-10 finishes up to now two seasons.

Preece is in a company that has much more depth (4 groups as a substitute of the 2 JTG Daugherty had on the time with Preece) in addition to extra producer assist.

“I’ve realized what I want as a racing driver to speak or get probably the most out of the individuals who work with me or what I can do higher,” Preece stated.

“So it is a second likelihood, however on the identical time, there’s so much to be stated for having [manufacturer] assist and have Ford Efficiency in your nook. Every thing they convey to our desk creates an incredible alternative for me.”

Ryan Preece holds off Smith and Hocevar to win in Nashville

In June, Ryan Preece held off late charges from Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar to win a Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, Preece’s second straight series victory at the track.

Preece said his crew chief has yet to be determined.

“I’m pretty sure there were a lot of people very close to me who thought I was crazy a month and a half ago, where people ask you to drive their race cars and you’re basically saying, ‘I can’t get away from [SHR]. I’m not willing to do that,'” Preece said.

“I’m not going to look in the mirror and wonder… To me, it made a lot of sense. I hoped for the best and did all the things I felt I could do to help drive it forward and at the end of the day, it took everything and everything. everyone to make this happen. And it happened.”

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Thinking out loud

With Joe Gibbs Racing making it official that Ty Gibbs will drive full-time in Cup next year, it sets up a solid Rookie of the Year battle between Gibbs and Petty GMS driver Noah Gragson.

The drivers don’t like each other, so it will be an even more enjoyable rivalry to follow.

At least that’s the hope. NASCAR now determines rookie status on a case-by-case basis. Both Gibbs and Gragson should receive that status. Gibbs had 15 Cup starts in 2022; Gragson had 18. This will be the first time those drivers have earned points in the series.

NASCAR has had several rookie standards, but overall I didn’t want to disqualify anyone. But it shouldn’t be a guessing game, it should be clear to everyone who will be declared a rookie.

The simple solution? Any driver who has not competed in 67% of the races in any season of the series should be eligible (with the caveat that a driver can only declare one time as a rookie in the series). If NASCAR is concerned about a driver serving multiple years with partial programs, then limit the limit to, say, 50 races.

social focus

they said it

“He’s a talented, talented young man, and he’s going to do great things in the sport.” —Toyota Racing Development President David Wilson on Ty Gibbs

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 Daytona 500, with stints on ESPN, Sporting News, the NASCAR Scene Magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrassand enroll within the FOX Sports activities NASCAR E-newsletter with Bob Pockrass.


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