Ryan Preece NASCAR Cup Series Martinsville Preview

(Press release from Stewart-Haas Racing)

Ryan Preece (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

●  Event:  Cook Out 400 (Round 8 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 7

●  Location:  Martinsville (Va.) Speedway

●  Layout:  .526-mile oval

●  Laps/Miles:  400 laps/210.4 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 100 laps / Final Stage: 220 laps

●  TV/Radio:  FS1 / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

●  Ticking like a grandfather clock, Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Stewart-Haas Racing, sets his sights on the Cook Out 400 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where he won his first-career NASCAR Cup Series pole in 2023 and led a career-best 135 laps. Preece has nine Cup Series starts at Martinsville and has completed an average of 92.1 percent of the laps at the historic .526-mile paperclip-shaped oval.

●  Preece sits 30th in the Cup Series driver standings entering Martinsville, a track where he’s been to victory lane twice in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, including last fall, when he dominated the feature and finished nearly a full second ahead of the night’s second-place finisher in October 2023. Preece’s other Modified Tour win at Martinsville came in 2008.

●  Known for his skills on short tracks, Preece is gearing up for a second consecutive weekend in Virginia. Last weekend, he and his fellow Cup Series competitors were up the road at Richmond Raceway, where Preece made a strong move into the top-10 during damp conditions at the outset of the Richmond 400, advancing from his 16th starting position. Preece went on to skillfully navigate around a spinning Daniel Suarez with just five laps left in Stage 1, ultimately securing a 10th-place finish in the stage. Preece had to settle for a 28th-place finish, however, after he was hit with a speeding penalty and an untimely caution in Stage 2, which dropped him to the tail of the 36-car field.

●  Back with Preece and the No. 41 Ford Mustang Dark Horse at Martinsville 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:

You qualified within the top-10 for both Cup Series races at Martinsville last season, one of which was a pole position.  Do you expect the momentum and speed to carry over from last year?

“We had a really fast car at Martinsville last season, but we had a speeding penalty that cost us quite a bit of track position. We were able to get stage points and some of those things. We really found ourselves a direction to head in for this year. Going into Martinsville, a lot of things have changed. With some of the changes that we’ve seen, it should be an interesting race, but we’re looking at carrying as much of that momentum and speed over as possible.”

What’s the key to having speed and racing competitively at Martinsville?

“When we have the right setup, the speed is there. We showed that at this event last year. Unfortunately, it also comes down to not speeding on pit road and losing track position. We are on a different tire and have a different aero package this year. There are a lot of things that are different, but it’s still the same track, so we just need to make sure that our group is continuing to make adjustments to be that much better. Looking back over the past couple of years, Stewart-Haas as a whole has definitely had speed at Martinsville, so we’re looking forward to it.”

What has the experience been like having Josh Berry as a teammate this year, given the similarity in both of your racing backgrounds. Both of you are short-track racers.

“Josh and I share a lot of common interests in terms of how we want to drive a racecar. We can have conversations about what the cars are doing and be speaking the same language, so to speak, when it comes to some of those things. He’s just easy to get along with.”

What do you think the racing will look like at Martinsville this weekend? 

“It’s been really nice to see some of the capabilities that we have had at the short tracks this year. I don’t think we will have much rubber build-up at Martinsville. It’s also going to be cooler temperatures this weekend, and based on past experience racing in those conditions, there typically isn’t a whole lot of build-up. However, we also had cooler temperatures at Bristol and had a lot of tire wear there. It will probably be tough to pass at Martinsville this weekend, but the biggest thing to emphasize is the field is closer than it’s ever been, so it’s not easy to pass in general. If you have a car that is maneuverable and can go where other drivers aren’t, you can find a way to pass. Outside of that, it’s going to be about strategy and track position.”


  1. While I am a Preece supporter, this race is probably pivotal for him and his team.
    If I’m him, I’m hearing the heavy breathing of Gragson, and in particular Berry, breathing down his neck. This will be one to look back on if dominos fall, imo. On the bright side, he can be good here, as long as he obeys the speed limit.

  2. Idaknow Bobf, give Preece the points back that were lost to the counterfeit parts and he’s up there with Josh Berry.

    The 41 needs much better car management calls during the race.

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