Ryan Preece NASCAR Cup Series Bristol Event Preview

(Press release from Stewart-Haas Racing)

Ryan Preece (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

●  Event:  Food City 500 (Round 5 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 17

●  Location:  Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway

●  Layout:  .533-mile, concrete oval

●  Laps/Miles:  500 laps/266.5 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 125 laps / Stage 2: 125 laps / Final Stage: 250 laps

●  TV/Radio:  FOX / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

●  Sunday’s Food City 500 returns to the concrete of Bristol Motor Speedway and Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Stewart-Haas Racing, is poised for a breakthrough performance on the half-mile, high-banked oval in Eastern Tennessee. Preece has competed in three different racing divisions at Bristol – the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour – for a total of 17 starts and 4,877 laps, or the equivalent of 2,600 miles, roughly the same distance between Preece’s hometown of Berlin, Connecticut, and Phoenix Raceway, site of last Sunday’s Cup Series race.

●  Preece endured an eventful race at Phoenix. After narrowly avoiding a multicar accident on just the seventh tour of the 312-lap race, Preece began a relentless ascent, climbing from his 27th-place starting spot to as high as second during the race’s final stage. However, with the race going green for the final 92 laps, fuel mileage became a factor. Preece was forced to make a late-race stop for fuel and fresh tires, which left him an unsatisfied 23rd.

●  The Food City 500 will mark Preece’s seventh career NASCAR Cup Series start at Bristol. In his six previous starts, Preece has never finished outside the top-25. In fact, he has three results of 12th or better to earn an average finish of 15.5. His best finish was a ninth-place drive in September 2020.

●  Preece won at Bristol in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In his third and most recent Xfinity Series start at the track, Preece won the 2018 Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. He led four times for 39 laps in the April event, including the final 10 circuits to take the victory over Justin Allgaier.

●  Preece’s Bristol success in the NASCAR Xfinity Series was preceded by his success on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. In eight starts at Bristol in the only open-wheel series sanctioned by NASCAR, Preece never finished worse than 11th. He had seven top-10 finishes with five top-fives and three podiums. Preece finished third in his Tour debut at Bristol in August 2009 and then equaled that finish in August 2022 before earning an impressive win in August 2015 when he led three times for 47 laps to take the victory over Woody Pitkat. Preece left Bristol atop the championship standings by two points over Pitkat, but eventually succumbed to Connecticut counterpart Doug Coby, who took the title by 11 points over Preece. It was one of four runner-up finishes for Preece in the Modified Tour championship. However, Preece did take the Modified Tour crown in 2013, which highlighted a four-year run where he never finished outside the top-two in points (2012-2015).

●  Back with Preece and the No. 41 Ford Mustang Dark Horse at Bristol is HaasTooling.com, the cutting tool division of Haas Automation. HaasTooling.com allows 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. 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.

What Ryan Is Saying:

What are your thoughts on leaving the dirt and returning to the concrete surface for the Food City 500 at Bristol? 

“I’m someone who has grown up around short-track racing. Bristol is the world’s fastest half-mile, and I think moving back to the concrete is something everyone is happy about. It was a great event to do on dirt, but I think it was time to go back to the concrete and what we all love. I, for one, am someone who is certainly happy that we’re going back to the concrete, even though we ran good on the dirt, as well.”

Do you feel that Bristol is one of the best opportunities for you and the team to potentially capitalize on with a strong finishing position, based on your past success at the track?

“It’s certainly been a track that has been good to me. It’s one of the stronger racetracks that we go to, so the confidence is pretty high. We’re building toward being consistent, and hopefully we can show up and have that speed.”

Can you share a glimpse into your journey from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and how those experiences shaped who you are as a driver, and how that experience has prepared you to tackle the short tracks on the Cup Series schedule today?

“Obviously, when it comes to short-track racing, and the experience that I have in Modifieds, all the experience racing at my local tracks and on the Whelen Modified Tour, have certainly shaped who I am as a driver. I’ve won at Bristol in a Modified, and I’ve won there in an Xfinity car. I would say that the grit of having to pass cars and find a way to the front is there.”

What role does having discipline play into succeeding at Bristol? How do you balance the need for speed and aggression with patience?

“Bristol is a really fast short track, so doing the whole bump-and-run is kind of risky now, but at the same time, there are points during that race that we will need to force the issue, and just knowing how to do that correctly plays a big part.”

Take someone who doesn’t drive racecars into your perspective behind the wheel and tell us what it’s like driving at Bristol, and how it’s different from other short tracks?

“Bristol is super fast, high-banked, and not very forgiving, so it’s a track that can bite you pretty quickly. At the same time, it’s one of my favorite tracks. We can run on the top and run on the bottom, so as a driver, you’re never locked into a spot and never feel like you can’t move forward.”


  1. A top 10 would go a long way here… starting up front would help. If not in the top 15 and a poor finish, something needs to change, likely at the CF position, we all know Ryan knows how to get around Bristol..

  2. Yeah, something isn’t right.
    Driver, crew chief, or combination of both?
    Can only lean on “getting caught up in somebody else’s mess” for so long.
    Look at the 10 in the last 2 weeks. Jeesh. And for the most part 14 competitive.
    To me, preece has always had an issue on using up his stuff too early. Due to bad setups and overdriving to compensate, or is that just how he is? One thing for sure, better figure it out quick, or someone else will be eating his lunch. And soon! Right now, in such a huge hole, his inly shot to be in, is a win. And, he has to move up in points for that to count, I believe. Could be wrong, I need to look that up.
    Doug, if you are out there, hope all is ok….

  3. His cars haven’t been that good. On long runs, he simply fades from the historically better cars. Let’s also address that SHR cars overall have not been that good this year at all.

  4. Agree dareal.
    But, 10 and 14 showing promise.
    So what gives?

  5. Bob, not sure.

    All SHR cars seemed to show promise here or there, but nothing to show it will happen all the damn time. I believe that given decent cars, Preece will do extremely well.

    The 10 and 14 are aren’t that exciting, a DNF or poor finish away from a tumble in the points.

    What gets me is that Preece is in 35th place in points, yet hasn’t finished worse than 23rd.

  6. I thought you new everything , points get taken away when you get caught cheating 🤔

  7. Yeah dareal. The 35 driver points penalty from the illegal roof rails in his and gragson’s car heading into atlanta, killed them in the points standings for sure. Funny that the the 10 and 41 had illegal rails and were penalized, yet the 4 and 14 did not. Same organization. Crazy.
    Both the 10 and 41 will have to win to be in. have to win to be in.
    The 4 qualified in 2nd place for bristol race.
    Here comes rodney childers!!!

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