By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer
Our Sarah Handy recently spoke to NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece prior to the race at Road America. They discussed that event, his season thus far and the upcoming race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Road America / Atlanta
Heading into the Jockey Made in America 250 at Road America, JTG-Daugherty Racing’s Ryan Preece was coming off an eighth-place finish in the second race at Pocono. Preece’s finish marked a career best result in a Cup car at the track. It also was his third-top 10 finish on the season.
Kickin’ the Tires asked Preece about his thoughts on his season to that point following his top-10 at the Tricky Triangle. “I think we’re definitely having a strong year, but our goal is always to win or get the best finish we can every week,” said Preece. “We take each race one at a time, putting 100% into that weekend before moving on to the next.”
With the NASCAR Cup Series adding more road courses to the schedule this year, Preece said while he’s not a road course racer by nature, he does enjoy running on road courses. “It helps that we’ve been able to get the finishes we have at the road course races,” said Preece.
Preece went on to finish 40th at Road America due to an unfortunate engine issue. He did rebound to a 25thplace finish this past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His top-25 at Atlanta tied a Cup Series career best at the track from this past spring.
Next up for the NCS is Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race isn’t only the 22nd race on the schedule but also a home race for Preece who hails from Berlin, Connecticut.
Between the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Cup Series, Preece has spent plenty of time at The Magic Mile.
“New Hampshire is always a special place for me,” said Preece. “I’ve logged [a lot] of laps there and enjoy the track as it’s unique to any of the other “short tracks” we go to.”
As a driver, is there another track that Preece can compare the Magic Mile too? According to Preece personally, he says no. “I think [New Hampshire] is its own beast. With how flat it is, [and the] speed you can carry into the corner down the straightaway, it’s unique to any other track that we race at.”
In three NCS starts at New Hampshire, Preece has a career best finish of 16th which came in this same race, one year ago. As for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he has come close to finding victory lane twice. In five career NXS starts at Loudon, he has two top-five finishes including a second and third place finish in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Although Ryan Preece has raced in both the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he had yet to make his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. However, that all changed when the Truck Series visited Nashville Superspeedway on June 18. Making his series debut for David Gilliland Racing (DGR), Preece started the 150-lap event in the sixth position, and was able to come away with his first career series victory in his first start.
Has the Truck Series win sunk in yet for the 30-year-old driver? And what does he think about that guitar trophy? Preece answered both of those for Kickin’ the Tires. “The guitar is [definitely a] really cool trophy, you obviously don’t see that at any other races. My brother is a musician, so I’ll have to get him to teach me a few lessons, but it looks great at the shop. The truck win has sunk in, but I have a goal of winning every time I’m on the track and we were able to have a great race and execute that in Nashville.”
Preece went on to make one more start for DGR the following week at Pocono Raceway. He started that event in eighth and went on to finish in the ninth position. Unfortunately for Preece fans, he told Kickin’ the Tires those are the only two races he was scheduled to run. “I’m [really] thankful to DGR, Kevin Harvick, Morton Buildings and Hunt Brothers Pizza for allowing me to do that.”
In his fourth overall season in the NCS but third season running the full schedule, Preece is still seeking his first win at NASCAR’s elite level. This season, Preece sits as the highest ranked open-team without a charter, but he’s been consistent most of the season. with three top-10’s, five top-15 and 8 top-20’s not the season. With that said, has he felt any added pressure every week without having a charter behind him. He says no.
“No, I don’t have any added pressure. I just focus on one race at a time with the goal of winning or getting the best finish we can.”
However, the Connecticut native is still seeking his first win at NASCAR’s elite level. Does his first Cup win come at his home track of NHMS this weekend? He told us it’s all about taking one race at a time and his goal is to always win.
“We take every race week one at a time, and my goal is always to win,” expressed Preece. “I like winning and if we can’t win, my goal is to get the best finish we can at every race.”
The Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 from NHMS will take place on Sunday July 18 at 3:00 PM Eastern on NBCSN.