Free Agent: Ryan Preece Looking For Next Option At NASCAR National Series Level For 2022

Ryan Preece walks down pit road following the Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

In 2019 former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece landed a full-time ride in the NASCAR Cup Series with JTG Daugherty Racing.

It was the culmination of a dream for the Berlin racer to land a spot running regularly at the top level of NASCAR.

After three years together, Preece and the JTG Daughtery team will go their separate ways at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

But Preece isn’t looking at the loss of his ride as the end of his journey at the upper levels of NASCAR.

Preece said as of right now he has no full-time offers for rides in the Cup Series, Xfinity Series or Camping World Truck Series for 2022, but he’s determined to find a place before the start of next season.

“I think right now, and this is just the way the sport is, no matter what level you’re at, people want winners,” Preece told RaceDayCT. “Well if you don’t have all the tools around to do that, even if you’re a winning race car driver, it won’t make you look like a winning race car driver. So the one’s that can fund those opportunities, they get in those cars that have all the resources and all the things around them to do that.

“Like I’ve said over and over and over again, I want to win races, I want to win a championship. I’ve sacrificed the last six years of my racing career chasing after championships to chase this dream and I’m not going to walk away now and just say it is what it is because that’s not who I am as a person or as a race car driver. I’m going to figure it out to make it happen.”

JTG Daugherty announced earlier this week that the team will cut back from a two-car stable to a one car team for the 2022 season. Preece drives the No. 37 JTG Daugherty car as a teammate to Ricky Stenhouse in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty ride.

Although nobody from JTG Daughterty has definitively said who will be in their car for 2022, Preece said he knows it will not be him.

“I don’t plan on being there next year,” Preece said. “I’m not going to be the driver of the No. 47 car next year, let’s put it that way. I really don’t know anything more than that.”

In 98 Cup Series starts since 2019 with JTG Daugherty Racing the 30-year old Preece has two top-five finishes and nine top-10’s. He finished fourth in the most recent Cup Series event Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

In 2019 Preece became the first former or current Whelen Modified Tour regular to land a full-time Cup Series ride since Steve Park in 1999.

Preece has raced full-time with the Whelen Modified Tour since he was 16 years old. He won the 2013 series championship and has 24 victories in 165 starts since 2007.

He raced full-time in the Xfinity Series in 2016 for the underfunded JD Motorsports team and finished 17th in the series standings.

In 2017, through the backing of local sponsors including Al and Cathy Moniz from Falmouth (Mass.) Ready Mix, Al Heinke from Mowhawk Northeast Inc. in Plantsville and Mizzy Construction in Bristol, Preece was able to secure the funding to get two starts in the Xfinity Series with the Joe Gibbs Racing.

In the first start he finished second to former Cup Series champion Kyle Busch at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2017.

On July 29, 2017 at Iowa Speedway, in his second start with the team, he got his first Xfinity Series win.

The victory opened the door to two more starts with the team before the end of the 2017 season with Preece recording finishes of fourth and fifth at Kentucky Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway respectively.

Preece was able to land a 10-race Xfinity Series deal with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2018 season, which eventually ballooned to 14 events.

In his third Xfinity Series race of the 2018 season Preece scored his second series win at Bristol Motor Speedway. The wins and consistent performances made him a hot commodity around the garage both with Xfinity Series teams and Cup Series teams.

Preece has won SK Modified championships at Thompson Speedway (2012, 2014) and Stafford Speedway (2011) and is a three-time Modified champion at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway. He was part of the “NASCAR Next” classes of 2013 and 2014, which recognize the top up and coming talent across the spectrum of NASCAR divisions.

Preece has been a regular in the Tour Type Modified ranks this season. He has two victories in six Whelen Modified Tour starts this year. He has also run events with the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, the Race Of Champions Modified Series, the Southern Modified Auto Racing Tour Type and Open events at Stafford, Thompson and New Smyrna.  

Preece won in his first career Camping World Truck Series appearance in June at Nashville Superspeedway.


  1. knuckles mahoney says

    Great driver, garbage car. Who the hell wants to run around in 15th-20th place when as a pure driver he’s better than most of those hacks up front with daddy’s money.

  2. Agree knuckles,
    More than half of the cup field is funding their rides regardless of talent. Ryan has proven he can win in good equipment. I had hoped his JTG would be for a year and he could have gotten a better ride: what has JTG won with any driver lately, much less the last 5-10 years. They are another field filler and wild card at the Daytona and Talledega. At those two tracks anyone that avoids the wrecks can win. Just ask Michael McDowell and Derrick Cope. Glad Ryan has a good attitude and hope he comes up with a quality ride. With all of this talk about this next gen car.: are the current cup cars going to the xfinity series: I have seen not heard nothing of what they are running next year. maybe they are keeping their current cars the same:

  3. IMHO, Ryan needs to land a ride in a high profile car to get the sponsorship needed. However, when there are no quality rides available that will be a tall task. The kid can drive no question but when you are in equipment that can’t show your talent that makes it doubly hard.

    Best of luck Ryan hopefully something will come your way for 2022.

  4. A great engine can compensate for a lesser chassis, not the other way around.

    A great driver can not make a sub-par car any better.

  5. Ryan needs to understand that his team mate has run better than him every year. So if he has issues it was with his Owner, He has flip flopped rides. He comes back up here where he is a big fish in a small pond. Good for him, but, we all know he has the best equipment in the Modifieds, and it is not the end all be all. He is a great driver. But, I am done defending him. By the way Knuckles Mahoney, he would be better in whatever series he runs in. He has got his foot in the door. He tried and has never been better than his teammates. He needs to look internally as far as that is concerned. Done.

  6. He did get the one year extra after many left him for dead last fall so that’s good. And mostly a full year when it looked like it could be cut short because of lack of sponsorship. And he did have some really good finishes that will be in the record books forever.
    He’s been living the dream competing with the elite.
    Sure it would be nice to see him in a top ride winning races and competing for a championship but that’s a tough bid certainly at the Cup level. My only hope for him is he can continue to carve out a career for himself making a real living as a professional race car driver in any series or any car the furthers that goal. Or even some other position with a top team if there are no seats available.
    Coming back here to drive modifieds full time would not be going in the right direction at all.

  7. I think Ryan will come up with something better than the JTG ride. Just Look at AJ Almendinger. He persevered, and lo and behold, things came together for him. Ryan will also persevere. Good Luck Ryan.

  8. He will land on His feet Somewhere……!!!! Steve Park got in top equipment and Won in Xfinity., Moved up to Cup and Won in good equipment on His Talent alone… Dale Sr. saw His drive running multiple divisions and His will to Win..!! Boy the times have changed, your Dad needs to own a Casino or top notch Buisness to even get a whiff in Nascar …. I hope He can land another part time Ride in Maybe JR motorsports or Harvick Racing or Gibbs and continue Winning. Maybe part time Trucks too, His Will to Win and go go race attitude will go a long way to writing the REST OF THE STORY……

  9. The saddest note in that article was that it took TWENTY years for another Modified guy to get a full time ride in the Cup Series after Steve Park.

  10. Agree with Earl

  11. Good article I especially like how you mentioned the local sponsors that helped Ryan Preece get into the upper tiers of Nascar. They should be mentioned and praised for their support.

    This decision is not surprising but still a little disappointing for us fans. If he cant catch another ride at the National level, he has proven he can run with those guys. He should be proud of what he accomplished at the National level. Anytime he was in top shelf equipment he brought home great results. I hope some Nascar team owner notices that and gives him a shot in some respectable equipment but now it seems money is the more determining factor over talent in landing rides. If he doesnt land a national ride I would love to see him back in the SK and tour types around the Notheast.

    Last week I was at a local Lowes last week. Someone was wearing and MRS t Shirt. We started talking in the returns line. I asked him who his favorite driver was. He said Ryan Preece. I said yeah I pull for him in cup too. Honestly, I followed the Cup series a lot closer these past few years with Preece running. I really wish he could have gotten a win at the Cup level. It would have been a herculean task in that equipment but that would have been awesome.

  12. I was trying to figure how jtg could afford the next gen car. Got my answer. Just cut 1 team. Problem solved.

  13. Well, this is where Kevin Harvick Inc. Management comes in.

  14. When Ryan made this comment in a previous article about withdrawing from the Seekonk TTOMS race;

    “I’ve got other things I’ve got to worry about,” Preece said Friday at Stafford Speedway. “I’m working on trying to figure out something for next year and I have to be around to do those things.”

    That unfortunately told the story.

  15. There was one comment here that was hard of Preece. Or was is more realistic?
    A blurb on Facebook had Preece in a Sirius radio interview restating his total commitment to winning races and mentioned he’s building a Super Late Model for the Snowball Derby. I’ve yet to hear him go on about his ability to help promote sponsors products.
    We loved all the races he ran up here and the success he had but was that the best decision career wise? Did he go the extra mile to do appearance in local Hooterville grocery stores trying to sell the products appearing in his car?
    In these sound bites and quotes he should consider linking the total commitment to winning races angle with winning promotional battles for potential sponsors. Especially since he’s got that big smile and charismatic personality you want doing the promotion.

  16. Doug, I think it’s important to consider the effects of the pandemic on the promotional and appearance aspect of Ryan’s career as of recently. In 2019, he and Chris Buescher had significantly more appearances for Kroger and their associates promoted on both their personal social media and JTG Daugherty’s social media. Even the beginning of 2020 with Ricky Stenhouse, there was more push. I believe 2021 has been a byproduct of 2020 in that appearances in grocery stores were limited due to COVID restrictions. Social media promotion efforts on behalf of the JTG Daugherty sponsors would not be directed by Ryan or his team; that could be all contractual as to whether how, or even if he can, present those sponsors otherwise. His promotion of his sponsors like Morton Buildings do not seem to lack.

  17. With all his open wheel experience, would he consider Indy car? Or would someone from Indy car consider him? Would be cool to root for a local hero in the 500.

  18. That’s all well and good guys. You are correct, you have to do the sponsorship duties. And hopefully, that duty (and smile) speaks volumes to a company, that someone in that “company” notices. And they say “hey”! We would like to sponsor you in a car! Any OWNERS that you know of Ryan, that you think may be interested? Let us know!
    As big of fan of Ryan as I am, he has to bring sponsorship in some way, shape, or form to any owner at this point. Next gen car, youth movement. Can’t ignore that. And though not his fault, he has not won in cup. That would go a long way in cup, unfair as that comparison is.
    Almirola did not get the 10 because haas or Stewart liked the guy immensely. It was because he brought Smithfield from the 43. And, even if almirola did not win in nh, I don’t care how much Harvick management shops Preece for the 10 ride, almirola goes nowhere, if Smithfield wants him in the car.
    But this is NASCAR national level. Things change in a heartbeat.
    I hope he somehow stays in a national spotlight, top tier series. I really do. He has accomplished a lot at the local level, and it certainly is understandable, that he should be moving up, if that is his goal, as he has demonstrated.
    Building a derby car? Well, maybe he thinks nobody at the bigs respects many modified racers, no matter how much they have accomplished.
    At the end of the day though, you keep plugging away. He is extremely dedicated to his craft. So try another method. Be versatile. Good things usually come to those that work hard.
    I’m confident he will land on his feet. It just feels like it’s a higher jump level at the crossbar right now is all. jmo.


  20. I have a hard time believing that sponsors consider social media as a main component to their marketing program nor that the pandemic was a major factor in curtailing personal appearances as the 2021 season unfolded with the vaccines starting to take hold. On August 21 Preece looked every bit the big time Cup driver at a personal appearance at the Kroger in Ypsilanti, MI. He’s also made himself available at races including Stafford to meet fans, sign autographs and sell merchandise.
    I don’t know a lot like his contractual obligations regarding promotion but he’s Ryan Preece so you can bet he’s fulfilling whatever terms that were stipulated. I also don’t know if there is a voluntary component to promotion where you go the extra mile to promote products of your sponsors to give them more bang for their buck. A kind of value added that makes the rounds in racing circles and enhances a drivers chances of getting the attention of decision makers.
    Ted Christopher was a great driver but would never be in the hunt for a Cup ride because of his personality. Coby as well can be magnetic but has a record on social media of being outspoken and provocative. Preece in all his communications with the greater racing public is pure racing 24/7 with never a hint of surliness, politics or any other thing that would raise red flags. He’s a combination of Speed Racer and Richie Cunningham almost impossible to find something to dislike.
    The only observation I was making was not a criticism so much as a missed opportunity. He’s got that charismatic personality and enthusiasm for racing that’s infectious. If he’s making the point repeatedly that he has a unquenchable thirst for competition and winning which he does it seems only prudent to link it to product promotion when he’s trying to sell himself in this period of uncertainty.

  21. No doubt, he is doing everything he can. But sometimes you have to have pull, or luck, or both, in addition to be being talented, dedicated, and a good representative. I hope someone who can get him in a quality ride recognizes that this year, as he maneuvers the shark infested waters of free agency.

  22. He keeps wrecking Logano,,,,,,,,, he take a page out of TC’s book? Owners get tired of that non-sense.

  23. his only real shot has been on the superspeedways with this team,lojoie stuck it up front with a low budget team at daytona.i think you will see him really overdrive this car the rest of the season to prove he belongs in cup,and i hope he does it coud be his last chance.

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