Ryan Preece Cup Series Charlotte Coca-Cola 600 Preview

(Press release from Stewart-Haas Racing)

● Event: Coca-Cola 600 (Round 14 of 36)
● Time/Date: 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 28
● Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway
● Layout: 1.5-mile oval
 Laps/Miles: 400 laps/600 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 100 laps / Stage 2: 100 laps / Stage 3: 100 laps / Final Stage: 100 laps
● TV/Radio: FOX / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

● This weekend, as part of #NASCARSalutes and the yearly 600 Miles of Remembrance initiative at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, the No. 41 team will be honoring Sergeant Bradley J. Harper of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Born on Nov. 1, 1979, Harper was raised in Dresden, Ohio and joined the Marine Corps in December 1998. He attended boot camp in the spring of 1999 and was assigned to Lima Company (Co.), 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines out of Brook Park, Ohio, after the completion of boot camp. Harper served as a reservist until 2004, when he and his wife, Kendra Kellerman (Schiewe), moved to Chesapeake, Virginia. He transferred to the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion stationed in Little Creek, Virginia. While he was living in Virginia, he worked as a police officer with the Virginia Beach Police Department. In 2005, Harper and his unit were mobilized to Iraq, where he was on the same base as his previous unit from Brook Park. On Aug. 3, Lima Co. conducted patrol operations and Harper volunteered to go on patrol with his former Marines. The vehicle that he and 13 other Marines were riding in ran over a roadside IED in Haditha, Iraq. All 13 Marines were killed in the attack.

● Sgt. Harper’s name will be on the windshield of Preece’s red, white and blue HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang as the series takes on the longest race of the season during Memorial Day Weekend.

● Preece will make his sixth NASCAR Cup Series start at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Sunday and his fifth Coca-Cola 600 start. His first was in 2019 for JTG-Daugherty Racing, when he started 24th but finished 31st due to a suspension issue. He has a best Charlotte finish of 22nd, which came in May 2020. Preece completed just 16 laps in last May’s Coca-Cola 600 event for Rick Ware Racing due to the Damaged Vehicle Policy. This weekend’s start will be Preece’s first Charlotte with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

● In three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Charlotte, Preece has a best start of third and best finish of fifth, both of which occurred last May while driving for B.J. McLeod Motorsports in the No. 5 Ford. Preece’s lone NASCAR Truck Series start at Charlotte also came last May, when he started eighth and finished 11th for David Gilliland Racing.

● Last weekend, the series made its highly anticipated return to the newly revived North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway for the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race and All-Star Open. Preece was one of 16 drivers who needed to race his way into the main event by finishing first or second in Sunday’s All-Star Open, or by winning the Fan Vote. Preece started the 100-lap Open eighth, and his team made significant adjustments during the lap-42 competition caution, which brought Preece’s car to life. He was able to work through traffic and avoid multiple incidents on his way to finishing fourth.

● Through the first third of the Cup Series season, Preece has shown improvement and consistency at a variety of racetracks, bringing a heightened sense of motivation to the No. 41 team. He had a career weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April, earning his first Cup Series pole and leading a career-high 135 laps. Since then, although the results haven’t shown it, Preece has started coming into his own.

● Preece heads to Charlotte 29th in the driver standings with 201 points.  

● Preece kicked off the 2023 season with a strong showing in the non-points Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, leading a race-high 43 laps but ultimately finishing seventh after a fuel pump issue. He has a best points-paying finish of 12th this season, which came at Phoenix Raceway in March.

● HaasTooling.com, back again in 2023 on the No. 41 SHR Ford Musting, the cutting tool division of Haas Automation led by SHR co-owner Gene Haas. HaasTooling.com was launched as a way for CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. Haas cutting tools are sold exclusively online at HaasTooling.com and shipped directly to end users. HaasTooling.com products became available nationally in July 2020. Haas Automation, founded in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers, rotaries and indexers, and automation solutions.

● RaceChoice.com, a proud partner of Preece, has launched a special racing experience giveaway for fans. The winner will receive airfare and a two-night stay during Coke Zero 400 weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. RaceChoice.com will also give the winners two pit passes for the race, set for Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. ET, preceded by a meet-and-greet with Preece, driver of the No. 41 SHR Ford Mustang. Visit https://racechoice.com/2023-daytona-giveaway/ for more information.

Ryan Preece (Photo: Stewart-Haas Racing)

What Ryan Is Saying:

What does it mean to you to honor and remember Sgt. Bradley Harper on your No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang this Memorial Day weekend?

“I love what NASCAR does for the military and I truly don’t think there’s another sport out there that honors and supports the military and armed forces the way we do. It’s so special to be part of it and the celebration that the track and the sport puts on all weekend is unlike anything else. To be part of it is something I really appreciate and it’s always an honor to have a military member on the windshield of the car riding with me. All of us drivers want to do them and their family proud in the race and I hope that we can do that this weekend. I think anyone who comes to the Coca-Cola 600 race weekend can see just how much this sport supports the military, and it is truly very extraordinary.”

The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race of the season. Do you have to prepare differently for it because of its length?

“For me, hydration this week is going to be really important. Because of how long the race is, the hydration preparation has already started. We need to make sure we’re good to go way before that green flag drops so we’re in good shape to make it all the way to the end. Aside from that, everything I do is like any other race weekend and race day. I’ve been working hard in the gym with my guys and trying to be in the best shape I can be, so that will definitely help me, too.”

What’s your mindset heading into this weekend’s race?

“It’s just trying to figure out where your car needs to be in the beginning in order to have it good at the end. We all talk about that because the track goes through temperature changes throughout the race with how long it is. Charlotte is one of the most temperamental racetracks that we go to, I feel like, from day to night, from track temperature and cooling off. It’s going to be extremely important to keep up with the racetrack and with communication on what you need, how much you need and at what point in the race it makes the most sense to make those adjustments. Mindset will be important, too, because when you’re at the end of Stage 1, you’re already 100 laps into the race but you’ve still got 300 more to go and, by the end of the second stage, you feel like you’ve completed an entire race, already. It’s just keeping your head in it, remaining patient and, as always, staying out of the messes so you can be up front and in position for the win at the end. We’ve seen a lot of Charlotte wins come during the last few laps, so you’ve got to be ready.”

What would it mean to you to win a crown jewel event like the Coca-Cola 600?

“Any win is very special, and I’m still going after my first Cup Series win, so for it to come on Memorial Day weekend at the Coca-Cola 600, wow, that would just be amazing. To be able to have your name on one of those trophies and in that record book when the whole industry is close to home would be so awesome. But for me, every win is special in every series, I don’t take any of them for granted in my career. But getting a win in the Cup Series is my goal. It’s been my goal for a long time and that’s what I’ve been working so hard on. So, getting to victory lane, especially this weekend, would be the ultimate win.”

Fourteen points-paying races into the season, how would you assess the No. 41 team right now?

“We’ve grown so much as a team just from Daytona. We’re a tight-knit group and that’s something that’s important to me. The relationships I have with my guys is important because every single person on this team is an intricate part of the process and we all want the same thing – to win. There are always things we can get better at and we will continue to do those things but, as far as our team morale, we all get along great and we all work together great. We’re just putting all the pieces together, now. We’ve had some really terrible luck, but we also have fast racecars and that will transition into what we want as long as we keep fighting for it, and that’s what we’re going to do. There are certainly some races I’ve got circled on my calendar coming up and we’re looking forward to those, too.”


  1. Gettin’ close to “put up” time….

  2. but he has some stage points. Time to trade them in for 10 cents off a gallon of Sunoco fuel.

    Seriously he needs a good finish. He is the only driver in the top 30 in points without a top 10 finish on the year. For perspective, the cup races typically only get 36 cars for a 40 car field. 29th in points is pretty poor when considering only 32 cars have made every race. Preece is 74 points out of 16th in points, the top 16 make the playoffs. So far no one outside the top 16 in points has a win to take a playoff spot away from a top 16 points driver. He is behind in points to drivers who have missed multiple races due to injury. Alex Bowman sits 17th in points having missed 3 races, Chase Elliot, 28th in points missed 6 races. Neither of those drivers have a win yet. If you are comparing apples to apples he is the lowest points driver for Stewart Haas team.

    Watching the races he doesn’t look as bad as the stats appear. He may be the unluckiest driver in the field in the running and doesn’t get a good finish. If you look at laps lead, Ryan Preece has 141 which would be 8th highest on the year to date. That total is highest on Stewart Haas and second highest Ford to Joey Lagano. The team can use some luck and they really need a great finish.

  3. Henry Lecomte says

    Ryan needs to step up his game with Stewart Haas looking to sign Josh Berry I feel Ryans days would be in question.

  4. Well Henry, certainly agree that ryan has to get some positive, consistent results here. As far as I’m concerned , make or break time for him.
    As for Berry, no doubt he is on everyone’s radar.
    But I think he is solidly in the chevy camp.
    I know this will bug a few people out there when I say this as well, but imo, big difference is that Berry subbed in Hendrik equipment vs haas, childress, et al. Yeah, I think that makes a huge difference.
    If junior were to take a venture at cup level next year (rumors anyone) I’d have to think Berry would be his guy. If Haas stays 4 car, I think Herbst may fill one of those seats. And I’m not so sure that Custer may have been “sent down” just to give Ryan a tryout. You may see him back if Custer turns it around in xfinity. Total conjecture on my part, for all opinions stated above. In reality, consistent results for all haas team drivers (sans harvick) are not stellar.

  5. Look, the SHR lineup is not doing that great. Harvick has clawed himself up in the points. Preece is doing just as well as Almirola and Briscoe. Almirola and Briscoe have been moving up slowly, they are a bad race away from tumbling down the points. Not making excuses for Preece, but take away all the wrecks he got dragged into and problems not of his making, and he would be the #2 SHR car in the standings, by far. He lost tons of points because all the problems of others he got caught up in. It is very frustrating, every race is like watching Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown.

    I have tremendous respect and admiration for SHR for taking on Preece, and developing this incredible talent. SHR needs to know that if they make sure Preece gets the car he can work with, they will have a winner and hero on their team.

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