Pit Road Wreck Ends Day For Ryan Preece In Cup Race At Atlanta

Ryan Preece (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Last week at Daytona International Speedway, Ryan Preece turned plenty of heads with an eighth place finish in his first Daytona 500. 

Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway the Monster Energy Cup Series rookie and former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion looked primed to score a second consecutive top-10 finish for his JTG Daugherty Racing team. 

Then the day went from good to done in the blink of any eye thanks to a pit road miscue.

Preece started 25thin the Fold of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta and had crawled his way through the field and was running toward the back end of the top-10. 

He was seventh in the running order with 54 laps remaining when he went to pit road during a round of green flag stops. 

After getting his car serviced Preece was coming out of his pit box when he crashed hard into the car of BJ McLeod, who was multiple laps down from the leaders and slowing to come into his pit box. 

“I was just trying to make sure I wasn’t speeding and when I looked up he was coming into the pits,” Preece said. “… What are you going to do? It’s unfortunate for us because we were having a really good run. We’re going to have some good cars. … I look forward to next week.” 

Forced to retire from the event after the crash, Preece ended up 35th. 

 It was the second week in a row that McLeod has been involved in a pit road crash that took out lead laps cars while he was laps down. In the Daytona 500 McLeod and Cody Ware set off a chain reaction crash coming onto pit road that collected Jimmie Johnson. 

Brad Keselowski won the the event at Atlanta. Martin Truex Jr. was second and Kurt Bursch third.

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  1. Stuart Fearn says

    He had a heck of a race going and everyone (especially Mike Joy) were all heaping on the praise! Top 10 or 11 in the last 50 or so laps at Atlanta will make people sit up and take notice that’s for sure. Mike Joy did point out later the 52 car was pitting 5 spots before his actual pit stall so I can’t even blame Preece’s spotter (my original place of fault LOL). Pretty sure 52 ran out of talent last week at daytona too and ran over JJ from behind and ruined his day.
    Just bad luck but a great run today

  2. I love Ryan but I hate to say it this kinda of falls on him. The guy apparently couldn’t find his pit stall! But Ryan looked down at his tach at the wrong time. I am glad Ryan came back to speak to the media after he walked away. PR is everything in this business. Ryan has received a lot of publicity and glad he didn’t blow IT by not coming to talk to the media people. It is what it is ,he’ll be back next week! He Will be ROOKIE OF THE YEAR!!!

  3. Preece was making very certain and steady progress. I had him finishing in the top 10 at least. But what was with the 52, it darn near stopped in front of Preece!!! 🤬🤬🤬

    Interesting how the Hendricks cars did not do that well, but the Hendricks engines in other cars did better.

  4. Dareal, he didn’t practically stop, he stopped. The guy is a wreck waiting to happen. Can’t fault Ryan at all, the guy was 10 laps down, pits with the leaders, and then comes to an abrupt stop in the middle of pit road 5 spots from his pit. Before that it looked like Ryan was headed for a top 15. Oh well on to Vegas.

  5. The helmet cam feed from Preece was awesome, I watched that along with the regular race coverage.

    It really sucked to get in a pit row accident when the green was out and there weren’t many other cars on pit row.

  6. You are going to get some slow cars and lesser talents in the field when you can’t get a full field. What did they have 37 cars for 40 starting spots down from 43 a few years ago. Its the second race of the season and they cant pull a full field.

    Its a shame what happened to Ryan but any accident in which you rear end someone you are at fault. It was nice to see him interviewed and the announcers talk about him. I will say with Ryan Preece in the field I have already watched more cup races this season than all of last season. It is nice to have someone with local ties to root for on Sundays. Is he planning on running any local Modified Tour races this year, and do you think local tracks will see an increase in crowd when he races.

  7. The “5 spots away from his pit stall” thing is not true. The 52 pit stall was right in front of the 12, which was the car behind Ryan when the incident happened. Think about it – if the 52 was five stalls away from his pit, then why was his crew right there to service the backwards car?

    It sucks that it happened, and I think there’s blame to go in every direction, but the “five stalls away” thing is a fallacy that has grown legs thanks to Mike Joy’s comments. Here’s a snippet of the pit map:


  8. I’m with The Reg, if Ryan is looking up it doesn’t happen. You guys ever get rear-ended and take the blame? I doubt it. Preece has to own that and move on. That is the most animated/ biased I’ve ever heard Mike Joy.
    In BJ’s defense, they planned to not pit around the leaders but he had a tire going down and they needed the car for next week. I get that. There were only three cars on pit road. That can’t happen. It sounds like the gasman escaped serious injury but that was a close call for sure.

  9. I think this incident along with the other numerous in the pit altercations in the past is a good argument for rev limiters for pit road speed. The technology exists perhaps using it would make for a safer workplace for all those on pit road. Thankfully no one was seriously injured this time.

  10. This is racing… you don’t expect to see a car darn near stopped in the path you will be taking in front of you just as you are pulling out of your pit stall. *Especially* a car that has a pit stall way further ahead. Per the pit stall map posted by Andrew B., the 52 pit stall was indeed several stalls in front of the 47. That it happened just as Ryan was on his way out of his stall is just bizarre. It looked like the 52 was lost, looking for this stall and darn near stopped in right front of Preece. Rule on pit row: get in your stall as fast as possible to get out of the way. Per the map Andrew B. posted, the 52 should not have been that slow at that point, he should have been cruising along to his stall that was indeed further ahead. Ryan said he was looking at his tach, which means he was accelerating, not yet up to pit road speed, but in doing so, drove into another car. That means the other car must have been traveling much slower than pit road speed. The 52 should not have been that slow, darn near stopped, when it was so close to the 47 stall.

    I watched Ryan’s helmet cam feed most of the race and I was stunned when this happened. On the helmet cam feed, it looked like the 52 was trying to block the 47 in his pit stall.

  11. Andrew B. wrote, “The “5 spots away from his pit stall” thing is not true.”

    Help me out here… per the picture of pit stall assignments that you posted, the 47 was in pit stall 35, the 52 was in pit stall 27. That is easily 10 car lengths or more, plus what appears to be a driveway between stalls 34 and 33. So per the pit stall map you posted, the 52 put stall was indeed way far ahead of the 47 pit stall. Which begs the question: why was the 52 darn near stopped, effectively blocking the 47 from leaving his pit stall?

    Even if Ryan was not looking at his tach, you never expect a car to stop in front of you like that. Given that the pit stall for the 52 was further down, the spotter never expected the 52 to try to stop where it did.

  12. Oh man. The race last week, a good Xfinity finish and potentially a great finish in Atlanta. A heart breaker.
    Ryan’s moved on and if he checks in here on occasion thank you for those outstanding post race video’s even when you are flipping the bird. And thank you as CG said for giving us a reason to watch the Cup series again with one of our favorites in the field and the potential to out perform expectations going in.
    As far as fault a question. In all the decades of racing the sum total of the entirety of the racedayct audience has watched how many times has this happened?

  13. Okay, I found more video… it is still bizarre. Did the 52 end up spun into its pit stall?

    Looks like Preece was able to get somewhat away from his pit stall before he hit the 52. Either the 47 was WAY speeding, or the 52 was trying to slow down hard. It looks like the 52 was spun into its pit stall. If that is so, then it probably would have passed its pit stall if not hit by Preece and hooked.

    Strange accident.

  14. Agree with you again rev limiters would be the way to go. The cars already have the onboard engine management, so it would be a matter of adding a button ,and a few lines of programing. Definitely would make pit road safer

  15. Again only three cars on a long pit road. We don’t need to change the rules. The 47 needs to keep his eyes up and not run into cars in front of him. Slow, parked, or otherwise. I’m pulling for Preece to do well but lets pull the fan boy glasses off. He messed up. The world won’t end. Rookie mistake on his part. Mistake on BJs part for the second week in a row as well.

    The 52 ended up in 37 pit stall. Took out the 37 gasman.

  16. OK all you Monday morning QB’s who viewed the race from the comfort of your recliners. The kids first mistake in his second ever Monster Energy Cup race. I have seen seasoned veterans make dumber mistakes than that and you tattoo this kid who is a rookie? Give him a freaking break!

  17. Jim Corrigan says

    Watching the Hub. If you go back and review what happened, you will see that the car in front of him was serviced and on his way. Ryan knowing the Car in front of him was gone. No need to be concerned and ready to move back to the track. This could have been prevented, if Jason pitted correctly which was 5 pits further down on Pit road. Ryan, you were a gentleman by taking the responsibility!!!!!! However, the video and the pit mistake proves it was Jason that caused the accident. Keep doing what you are doing!!!

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