Ryan Preece Took a Risk With His Approach to 2023 NASCAR Opportunities

Ryan Preece

Getty Ryan Preece celebrates a Pole Award win.

Stewart-Haas Racing announced on November 16 that Ryan Preece would be the organization’s newest Cup Series driver. This move set up a return to full-time competition and justified a previous risk.

Preece met with media members after SHR announced his move to the No. 41 Ford Mustang. He faced a wide variety of questions, including one about other opportunities. Preece revealed that he had actually turned down multiple teams so that he could stay with SHR, which was a big risk at the time.

“I did turn down truck opportunities, Xfinity opportunities,” Preece said during his Zoom session. “There were quite a few different teams that came to me, whether they were full-time or part-time, and I thought about if there was the smallest bit of opportunity for me to end up at Stewart-Haas, I wasn’t gonna walk away.

“I was willing to sit there until there was absolutely no hope and possibly be jobless, possibly not have a ride, but I was willing to take that risk. Ultimately, it’s worked out and this opportunity has come.

“It’s kind of like when I think back to 2017 and the risk that I took then [mortgaging his house to secure starts with Joe Gibbs Racing]. It’s five years later and I think about that risk and think to myself, ‘Man, that could have gone way different,’ just like this could have gone way different, but I’ve never been the conservative type of person.”

Preece’s Risk Included Some Unique Insight

Ryan Preece

GettyRyan Preece prepares for a race at Road America on July 4.

Preece joined SHR ahead of the 2022 season, and he became the reserve driver. His deal only included a handful of starts with some other Ford Performance teams, but Preece used them to put his skills and hard work on display.

While Preece was making part-time starts for BJ McLeod Motorsports, Rick Ware Racing, and David Gilliland Racing, he was also receiving some unique insight. He was able to watch a champion work with his crew chief to make improvements.

“This year when I was doing the sim work and just being around the teams, it’s kind of seeing a first-hand look at how Kevin [Harvick] and Rodney [Childers] work their relationship or even Chase [Briscoe] with theirs,” Preece said in response to a question about why he will win with SHR.

“It’s kind of an eye-opening experience, but I’ve learned what I need as a race car driver in order to communicate or get the most out of the people that are working with me, or what I can do better. So it’s a second chance, but, at the same time, there’s a lot to be said for having OEM support and having Ford Performance in your corner and everything that they bring to our table creates a great opportunity for myself.”

Preece’s Will Now Combine Insight With Experience

Preece’s full-time run with SHR will begin officially with the Daytona 500. Though he will first drive the No. 41 during the Busch Light Clash exhibition race at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

The Daytona 500 will be his 116th career Cup Series start, and it will provide him with an opportunity. He will combine the insight that he gained in 2022 with his past experience at the top level of NASCAR, and he will use it to build on the foundation that started with JTG Daugherty Racing.

“I think I have enough experience and people know who I am or have been around me enough,” Preece said. “There’s definitely a truth to the racing up front. It’s a respect more than anything, so I would say you have to earn the respect of the people that are racing in the top five or top 10 week in and week out, but that’s something that I’ve done my entire career and I’ll continue to do that.”

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