Ryan Preece NASCAR Cup Series Pocono Preview

(Press release from Stewart-Haas Racing)

● Event: HighPoint.com 400 (Round 21 of 36)

● Time/Date: 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 23
● Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway
● Layout: 2.5-mile triangle
● Laps/Miles: 160 laps/400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 30 laps / Stage 2: 65 laps / Final Stage: 65 laps
● TV/Radio: USA / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

● Staying Up North: Ryan Preece and the No. 41 Mohawk Northeast Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will stay in the Northeast for the second race weekend in a row, this time at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The Cup Series action will take place at the 2.5-mile triangle Sunday at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

● By The Numbers: Sunday’s HighPoint.com 400 will mark Preece’s seventh Cup Series start at Pocono. His previous six outings were with JTG-Daugherty Racing, beginning with the June 2019 race when he started 29th and finished 23rd. Preece started on the pole but finished 25th in the second race of the Pocono doubleheader weekend in 2020. In his most recent Pocono appearance, the second race of the June 2021 weekend doubleheader, Preece started 23rd and finished eighth, his best at the track. In two career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, Preece has a best finish of fourth, which came in 2019 with JR Motorsports after starting eighth. Preece has also made two NASCAR Truck Series starts at Pocono, both with David Gilliland Racing. The first was in 2021, when he started eighth and finished ninth, and the second last season, when he started 22nd and finished second after leading six laps.

● SRX at Stafford: It was announced last week that Preece will be making his Camping World SRX Series debut Thursday at Stafford Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. The series will return for Thursday Night Thunder at Stafford for the second week in a row due to the flooding conditions at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont, where the series was originally scheduled to race Thursday. Preece is a local legend at Stafford, having grown up racing at the half-mile, semi-banked paved oval. He is one of the most successful drivers in the track’s history and SRX added him to its field as this week’s 13th driver. The race is set for 9 p.m. EDT with a live broadcast on ESPN.

● Welcome Back, Mohawk: This weekend marks the third race as the primary partner on the No. 41 SHR Ford Musting for Mohawk Northeast. A longtime supporter of Preece, Mohawk Northeast will bring its blue, white, and red colors to Pocono this weekend. Mohawk Northeast Inc., is one of the premier heavy-civil contractors in the Northeast. Since 1967 Mohawk has been providing the highest-quality construction services to a wide variety of clients. Specializing in heavy highway, railroad, movable and fixed bridges, and marine construction, Mohawk has completed countless projects within the industry safely, on time, and within budget. Mohawk has the ability to self-perform all phases of construction, including electrical, mechanical, structural steel repair and erection, deep foundations, pier and bulkheads, fabrication and coating (AISC & SSPC Certified), and a wide range of marine services. With an extensive fleet of cranes, barges, offshore tugboats, and many other pieces of heavy equipment, Mohawk is a well-established leader in Heavy Civil Construction. Clients include the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, USACE, General Dynamics – Electric Boat, Connecticut DOT, Massachusetts DOT, New York DOT, Metro North Railroad, Amtrak, and various private-sector clients.

● Looking Back: Monday, the No. 41 team took on Preece’s home track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He qualified 21st for the race that was postponed to Monday due to rain. Preece and the team worked all race long to find the right adjustments to a tight-handling racecar. He finished 28th.

● ARCA Menards Series West Win: In June, Cup Series competitors took on Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway for the season’s second road-course race. Preece kicked off the weekend on the West Coast with a victory in the ARCA Menards Series West race Friday afternoon. He qualified his No. 9 Bonanza Ford on the pole. From there, he dominated the race by leading 55 of 64 laps and crossed the finish line 9.675 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Sammy Smith.

● Movin’ On Up: The No. 41 SHR Ford Mustang team has continued to improve in recent weeks and has seen more and more consistency, 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 19 points-paying events this season, Preece has six top-15 finishes – March 12 at Phoenix Raceway, April 16 at Marinsville (Va.) Speedway, May 14 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, May 29 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, June 11 at Sonoma and July 2 at the Chicago Street Course.

● Where He Stands: Preece heads to Pocono 26th in the driver standings with 335 points.

● Started Things Off: 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.

Ryan Preece (Photo: Stewart-Haas Racing)

What Ryan Is Saying:

Looking ahead to the next handful of races, how do you feel the No. 41 team will stack up?

“So when I look at these next seven races, these tracks fit under my wheelhouse. I kind of felt that the mile-and-a-half months, that spring run when you go to a lot of mile-and-a-halves, that was probably going to be our weaker point of the season. But when we got to the end of May, June, July and August, those are my strengths. New Hampshire is my strength. Pocono is a track where I enjoy racing. Richmond, that’s another one I enjoy. Watkins Glen. Daytona – I love superspeedway racing, and unfortunately, we got wrecked there in the final few laps, but we’ve been in contention, we’ve been aggressive and we’ve led laps. So, these final races of the regular season heading into the playoffs are certainly something I’m comfortable with, and every week is a new week.”

You have a good amount of experience at Pocono and some really good results there in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series. What is it about Pocono that you like?

“It just really fits my style of racing. I really enjoy the racing that Pocono provides. Our team has been really emphasizing a handful of tracks and this is one of them, just like New Hampshire was. New Hampshire just didn’t go our way last weekend, which was a bummer because I really hoped for a better result. We’ve been working really hard on the simulator and making sure our car is just right when it comes off the truck. That’s important for our team, and then qualifying well is key. We’ve seen how important qualifying at the front is at these tracks because you don’t know if you’ll be able to maneuver the track and make those passes necessary to get up there and contend. We’re consistently moving in the right direction and this weekend will be no different.”

It was announced last week that you’re running the SRX race at Stafford. Are you excited?

“Yeah, that was really unexpected. First and foremost, everything that’s going on up there in Vermont, my thoughts and prayers are with all the families that are losing a lot right now. Obviously, it’s not under the best conditions. I’m a huge fan of Thunder Road myself, but I’m excited for a great opportunity to race with those guys and have some fun at my home track. I think many people in the short-track-racing world know that I came from Stafford Speedway, and I’ve won championships and a lot of races there, and it’s a great opportunity for the hometown fans to see a hometown guy they can root for.”

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