Ryan Preece has been a popular name in discussions about the future of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. The belief is that he could replace Aric Almirola, but the Connecticut native has nothing set for the 2023 Cup Series season.
Preece addressed his uncertain future prior to making a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He explained that he has optimism about the 2023 season and the potential of making numerous starts. Though Preece also reiterated that he has not signed anything regarding future opportunities.
“Here’s what I can tell you — I can tell you that I feel as confident as ever that partners and all these things could come together and it will be a great fairytale ending for myself,” Preece said, transcript courtesy of NASCAR Media. “But at the same time, there’s nothing, certainly by any means, on paper. And until all the stars and all those things align, I have absolutely nothing right now. It takes everything to fall into place.”
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Preece Has Spent 2022 in a Unique Role
Preece, who spent three seasons at JTG Daugherty Racing, took on a different role in January. He signed with Stewart-Haas Racing as a reserve driver. This deal did not include a full-time seat, but it featured starts across the three national series.
Preece has made 11 starts in 2022 across the three national series, all through technical alliances between SHR and other teams. He has joined Rick Ware Racing for the Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum, as well as trips to Dover Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The veteran’s list of starts also includes three in the Xfinity Series for BJ McLeod Motorsports, which resulted in two top-10 finishes and one top-five. He finished fifth at Charlotte Motor Speedway while pulling triple duty.
Preece has made the most starts (six) in the Camping World Truck Series, all with David Gilliland Racing. He won at Nashville Superspeedway — his second Truck Series victory at the track — and he posted five total top-five finishes. The only exception was an 11th-place run at Charlotte Motor Speedway after contact from Carson Hocevar took away a chance for victory in overtime.
Preece Has 2 Big Hurdles To Overcome
Preece has the goal of running full-time in the Cup Series once again while attempting to reach the playoffs and pursue a championship. He has two major hurdles to overcome in order to achieve this goal.
The first — and most obvious — hurdle is the opportunity. Preece needs a seat to be open. The No. 10 is the most frequently mentioned option, but Aric Almirola recently acknowledged that he has thought about returning after decision-makers kept asking him. If Almirola does change his plans and return, Preece will have to potentially look elsewhere for another opportunity.
The second hurdle is sponsorship. Preece will have to prove to teams that he can bring businesses to the table that will support a full-season run. His part-time schedule in 2022 has included races with Hunt Brothers Pizza and United Rentals on his various vehicles. Kevin Harvick‘s management company represents Preece and helped make the Hunt Brothers Pizza deal possible in both 2021 and 2022.
There are questions about whether Preece will overcome these hurdles and secure an opportunity in 2022. He doesn’t have the answers, but he remains steadfast in his belief that he is ready to go full-time once again and contend for some wins.
“My entire career is known as that guy who just kind of fills in whenever somebody needs someone, or if they have eight races where they want to go out and they want to compete for a win,” Preece added. “I don’t want to just be that guy. I feel like I’ve worked really hard in my career to continue to work and give myself opportunities. So I’m ready for that step. I’m ready for that role.”