Ryan Preece NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Weekend Preview

(Press release from Stewart-Haas Racing)

Ryan Preece (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

●  Event:  Shriners Children’s 500k (Round 4 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 10

●  Location:  Phoenix Raceway

●  Layout:  1-mile oval

●  Laps/Miles:  312 laps/312 miles (502 kilometers)

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 60 laps / Stage 2: 125 laps / Final Stage: 127 laps

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

●  Ryan Preece and his NASCAR Cup Series counterparts head to Phoenix Raceway this weekend for the Shriners Children’s 500k NASCAR Cup Series race. Sunday’s 312-lap contest around the 1-mile oval debuts a new short-track rules package, as Preece’s No. 41 United Rentals Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Stewart-Haas Racing will be outfitted with a simplified rear diffuser and a higher rear spoiler compared to last year’s specifications. The aim is to put more of the race in the driver’s hands, where nuanced throttle control will be key to maintaining grip and managing tire wear. The updated package is a welcome one for Preece, who honed these exact traits on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour – NASCAR’s oldest division and the only open-wheel series sanctioned by NASCAR. Preece won the Tour championship in 2013 and properly leveraged that title and his 26 Tour victories into additional opportunities across NASCAR’s top-three national touring series – Craftsman Truck, Xfinity and Cup.

●  The Shriners Children’s 500k will mark Preece’s 10th career NASCAR Cup Series start at Phoenix. The best of his previous nine outings came last year in his first season with Stewart-Haas. Preece finish 12th in the March race and 14th in November’s season finale.

●  Outside of the NASCAR Cup Series, Preece has three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Phoenix with his best result being a fifth-place drive in November 2018.

●  Joining Preece this weekend at Phoenix is United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE: URI), the largest equipment rental company in the world. United Rentals has an integrated network of 1,449 rental locations in North America, 13 in Europe, 27 in Australia and 19 in New Zealand. In North America, the company operates in 49 states and every Canadian province. The company’s approximately 24,700 employees serve construction and industrial customers, utilities, municipalities, homeowners and others. The company offers approximately 4,700 classes of equipment for rent with a total original cost of $19.3 billion. United Rentals is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, the Barron’s 400 Index and the Russell 3000 Index®. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. Additional information about United Rentals is available at UnitedRentals.com

What Ryan Is Saying:

Phoenix isn’t necessarily a short track as it’s a mile in length, but it features qualities that are similar with its minimal banking and relatively flat straights. What approach are you and the team taking into this race? 

“I feel like last year, our strength as a company was at the short tracks. Phoenix falls under that category to us. In the last race at Phoenix, I felt like we had a top-15 car. My hope for this year, with the improvements that have been made, is that we can continue to take steps forward and consistently be where we want to be on performance. We’re excited for the short tracks coming up and want to kick off the first one by running a clean race with a car that is able to do everything right.”

Stewart-Haas has been historically strong at Phoenix. Does that bring added motivation to you and the No. 41 team this weekend?

“I think it has to add motivation. We’re going to know exactly some of the gains that have been made with the new Ford Mustang Dark Horse body, as well as some things that we need to work on as a team after Las Vegas. All of us were able to have good days at Phoenix last year, so we expect them to be even better this year with some the updates that have been and made to the cars.”

Cars will run a simplified diffuser and a higher rear spoiler. How will the changes impact the racing at Phoenix? 

“It’s pretty much a reset from what we experienced last year. The cars will be so much different. The effects that it will have on the racing at Phoenix is kind of an unknown until we hit the track this weekend.”

This is your second season with Stewart-Haas. How has the dynamic evolved now that you’ve had more than a year to get to know the team and for the team to get to know you?

“I feel like there has been more time to develop communication, to figure out exactly where we need to be balance-wise, and then to determine what we’re all happy with and what makes it feel like home. It’s the same team and same group of people as last year, so it definitely helps in developing those relationships, which are important to help us go out and capitalize on strong runs.” 


  1. Should have asked him how his outlook is after the first 3 races.
    Caught in a big one at daytona, a shoot yourself in the foot speeding penalty at atlanta from which he never recovered, illegal roof rails for him and gragson for which he is docked 35 points, (no appeal by haas) and a slap the wall in the primary car in practice at LV so he did not qualify, started back in the back of pack and finish 23 in an ill handling backup car. 36 th in points heading into Phoenix, all other haas cars ahead of him.
    If Steward is pissed with haas performance, i’d bet preece first cut. May not be all preece’s fault which I get, but he needs a win. Anything less, and its probably lights out.
    Thats a lot of pressure, particularly where the 10 finished in 6th this week. And I still say that Berry gets the first win in that organization this year, if a win happens for any of the haas cars. Put up time. Results are all that matters.

  2. Preece isn’t what you think he is.

  3. I think he needs a new crew chief. The 10 and the 4 were the best SHR cars last year and this year. New drivers same CF’s.

    14 and 41 have the same CF’s and are in the same positions as last year, time for a change.

    At Atlanta, wasn’t Ryan hit from behind at pit in by the 23, which caused the speeding penalty? Not self inflicted.

  4. Well John P, Dareal said the same thing last year. I was willing to give it a little more time.
    I’ve been saying right along, that Berry will win next in Haas due to Rodney Childers. So I guess I should have seen a call for a crew chief change coming. And probably rightfully so. But I’m open to the fact that maybe it’s not the crew chief after all. Without a change though, I must concede, I guess I’d never know.
    As for the 23 hitting him from behind on pit road causing the speeding penalty, I’ll give benefit of doubt, as I did not see that at all. I certainly could have missed that. But its not like the camera’s follow the 41 to any great extent. As a matter of fact, my opinion is, if it wasn’t for the fact of Mike Joy in the booth, Preece would never be mentioned at all! But I can’t shake the fact that this is not his first speeding penalty. Particularly painful the one at Martinsville last year with a great car….
    Carl, I’ll admit, I don’t know Ryan personally. Never met him. But I have followed his modified career, and to that extent, I like the fact of having a guy from the Northeast, trying to do something at the cup level. It gives me something to look forward to when I watch cup, and makes it much more interesting for me. The biggest problem is if he is not running in the top 15, any info on him in the broadcast booth is scarce at best. So maybe he is not who I think he is. I only think he is a racer from up here that I can follow on Sunday. Another guy from NE modified ranks trying to take it to cup regulars. To that extent, I hope he gets a win.
    On a totally different note, Doug, if you are out there, hope you are doing ok. Very unusual not to see posts from you.

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