Ryan Preece Cup Series Sonoma Raceway Preview

(Press release from Stewart-Haas Racing)

● Event: Save Mart 350k (Round 16 of 36)
● Time / Date: 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 11
● Location: Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway
● Layout: 1.99-mile, 10-turn road course
 Laps / Miles: 110 laps / 218.9 miles (352.3 kilometers)
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 25 laps / Stage 2: 30 laps / Final Stage: 55 laps
● TV / Radio: FOX / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

● Ryan Preece and the No. 41 Autodesk Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are headed west for the weekend and will be going left and right on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Save Mart 350k. Race time is 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

● In two Cup Series starts at Sonoma, Preece has a best finish of 21st in 2021 for JTG-Daugherty Racing. He made his first series start at the track in 2019, when he started 20th and finished 29th. This weekend’s race will mark his first at Sonoma with SHR and first in a Ford. This will also be Preece’s first Sonoma start in the Next Gen car. He has been putting in a lot of time studying and on the simulator to prepare for this weekend’s 110-lap event.

● San Francisco-based Autodesk is back on the No. 41 this weekend, sporting the black and white colors for road-course racing just up the highway in Wine Country. From the greenest buildings to the cleanest cars, from the smartest factories to the biggest stories, amazing things are created every day with Autodesk. For four decades, Autodesk has worked together with its customers to transform how things are made and, in doing so, it has also transformed what can be made. A car’s performance now inspires the method of its manufacture, a city’s infrastructure helps predict the unpredictable, and the creation of ever-bigger universes shapes ever-bigger stories. Today, Autodesk’s solutions span countless industries empowering innovators everywhere. But the company is restless to do more. Autodesk doesn’t believe in waiting for progress, it believes in making it. By combining and recombining technologies. By blurring boundaries, reinventing rules, and merging fields. By unleashing talent and unlocking insights across industries. By helping customers converge on solutions to the challenges we all face today. Autodesk believes that when you have the right tools to work and think flexibly, you have the power to transform what actually needs making. The power to design and make a better world for all.

● It’ll be double the fun for Preece this weekend. Looking to maximize his track time on the Sonoma Raceway layout in preparation for Sunday’s Cup Series race, he’ll also be competing in the ARCA Menards Series West race Friday behind the wheel of the No. 9 Bonanza Ford for SHR with his Cup Series crew chief Chad Johnston atop the pitbox. Race time is 8:30 p.m. EDT, and it will be aired by CNBC on June 18 at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

● Bonanza, a Caymus Vineyards Lot 5 Cabernet Sauvignon, will be featured on Preece’s No. 9 Ford on Friday. The inspiration behind Bonanza was creating an enjoyable table wine that speaks to life’s simple pleasures. One of their biggest fortunes is good company, great food and delicious wine. “Bonanza celebrates the great state of California, as we seek out vineyards to produce delicious Cabernet. It’s about the thrill of discovery,” said Chuck Wagner, co-founder of Caymus Vineyards.

● Last weekend, the Cup Series visited Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis for the second year in a row. It marked Preece’s first career start at the 1.25-mile oval. He qualified 29th and finished 17th.

● The No. 41 SHR Ford Mustang team has seen improvement and consistency in recent weekends, providing a heightened sense of motivation. Preece had a career weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April, earning his first Cup Series pole and leading a career-high 135 laps. In 15 points-paying events this season, Preece has four top-15 finishes, two of which came in the last three points-paying races May 14 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and May 29 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

● Preece heads to Sonoma 27th in the driver standings with 245 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.

● 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.

What Ryan Is Saying:

With your short-track background, what has been your mindset in preparing for Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway?

“Obviously, these road courses are all about track position. That’s going to be huge for our team this weekend. It’s tough to pass and pit strategy will come into play. We know what we’ve got to do, and I know what I’ve got to do as a driver. I’ve been working hard in the simulator and talking to other drivers to get some insight. There’s going to be a lot of beating and banging, so I need to manage that and be smart. The track is worn out and it takes a toll on the tires. I never got to drive the old racetrack and I always did in the video games when I was a little kid. So, I get to check that box off my bucket list. From a road-course standpoint, I certainly didn’t grow up doing it but it’s something I enjoy doing because I enjoy the challenge. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”

The series visited Circuit of the Americas (COTA) earlier this season and that was a very up-and-down day for you. But got to experience how the racing on road courses is with this new car. Your thoughts on that?

“Yeah, I mean, these cars seem to handle a lot more so they can handle the beating and banging a little bit more, but I think it’s still important to be smart. I think the restarts are going to be important and we’ve seen how messy they can be, like at COTA. In these cars, it’s possible to make contact without completely ending your day, but you’ve got to be patient and smart. These races may not be as many laps but they’re long and I want to be in the right place at the end. We were looking to have a decent day at COTA, and then we were just completely wiped out.”

You’re running the ARCA Menards Series West race Friday. Are you looking forward to that?

“I am. Any chance to get behind the wheel of a racecar and be on track is something I look forward to. I’m excited and it gives me extra time on an unfamiliar track to study the layout and turns. I can take a lot from that race and use it on Sunday for the Cup race. Obviously, it’s a different car but, all in all, it’ll be a great experience for me and my team. I’m sure I’ll have some notes I can take back before we qualify Saturday, too. It’s cool and I’m glad I’m getting the opportunity.”


  1. 15 races down, 26 in points (after penalties to the 9,14, and now 43), zero top 10s, several upcoming road courses, I would not have been surprised to read S/H was putting a “ringer” in the car this weekend. Didn’t Jenson Button run a S/H car at the Texas road course? Team obviously struggling since the pole at Martinsville, as are the 10 and 14 teams.

  2. Suitcase Jake says

    Excellent… Go out in the ARCA race and get experience and hopefully a Top Finish, maybe a Win would really be great….Only can help for Sunday… Good Luck !!!

  3. The SHR 10 and 14 aren’t much better. Should those cars get a ringer for Sonoma?

  4. Note that Preece is being given extra seat time… to develop him faster.

  5. Is the trend your friend?
    Average finish first 6 points races-27.3
    Average finish last 6 races (Includes NW All Star race)-15.5
    Average finish last 5 points races-17.8
    Net positions gained last 5 points events- +52
    Average positions gained last 5 points events- +10.4/race

    Is it really as bad as many seem to think or is a turnaround afoot that we may be missing?

  6. Ricky might be pushing it a bit, but I must say that I was hoping for a little bit better results. He is on an upward trend. Hope he keeps it up!

  7. Ryan hasn’t been an improvement from Custer but not far off from his 25th in points last year & 20th average finish. I believe Preece is around 21st avg finish now. Was really hoping for more this year but SHR as a whole is horrible. Loudon could be a big day for a driver that can clearly get the job done in decent equipment. Hopefully this is not a one and done shot but if Custer goes on a tear on Saturdays there is no point keeping him there. Also think Almirola retiring or not will play a roll in Preece returning next year.

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