Ryan Preece NASCAR Cup Series Gateway Preview

(Press release from Stewart-Haas Racing)

(Image: Stewart-Haas Racing)

●  Event:  Enjoy Illinois 300 (Round 15 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 2

●  Location:  Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois (near St. Louis)

●  Layout:  1.25-mile oval

●  Laps/Miles:  240 laps/300 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 45 laps / Stage 2: 95 laps / Final Stage: 100 laps

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

●  Ryan Preece is gearing up for Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. This will be the NASCAR Cup Series’ third visit to the 1.25-mile oval and Preece’s second time competing there. He made his Gateway Cup Series debut last June, finishing 17th after starting 29th.

●  Preece heads to Gateway after finishing 26th in last Sunday’s rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. He gained five spots from his 31st-place starting position, the 11th time in 14 races this season Preece has finished better than he started, including each of the last four races. Preece’s ninth-place finish April 7 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway remains his best of the year.  

●  In 14 points-paying races this season, Preece has four top-15 finishes and six top-20s, matching his performance after last year’s first 14 races. His ninth-place finish at Martinsville came in the eighth race of the season.

●  Preece returned to his roots in last weekend’s SMART Modified Tour Kenny Minter Classic at Franklin County (Va.) Speedway. He started on the pole and led laps before an incident relegated him to an 18th-place finish. Preece has one career win in the series, which came at South Boston (Va.) Speedway in April 2021. Preece’s Modified career features 26 wins and the 2013 championship in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

●  Overstock.com adorns Preece’s No. 41 Ford Mustang Dark Horse at Gateway. The partnership amplifies the recent relaunch of Overstock.com, home of crazy good deals that offer quality and style for less. Overstock.com is for the savvy shopper who loves the thrill of the hunt and it includes product categories customers know and love, like patio furniture, home furniture and area rugs, while reintroducing jewelry, watches and health-and-beauty products.  

What Ryan Is Saying:

You finished 17th at Gateway last season in your only start at the track. What are your thoughts heading into the weekend?

“I’ve only been to Gateway once, so it’s definitely a new track for me. It’s not a short track, but I feel like it drives like a short track and shares a lot of those similarities. Based on what we learned there last year and what we’ve learned this year at different tracks, it’s a place that I feel pretty good about going to. Hopefully, we can show up with speed and put together the strong run that I know we’re capable of having.”

We’ve seen the importance of qualifying this season. How important is qualifying well at Gateway?

“I think qualifying is important everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you’re racing. It’s one of the most important things right now for us drivers and teams. It’s something that our team is emphasizing and focusing on to put ourselves in the best position possible when it’s time to race.”

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

“It will probably be tough to pass. I think that’s something we saw there last year, but it’s also tough to pass, in general. The field is closer than it’s ever been, but if you have a car that’s maneuverable and can go where the other drivers aren’t, you can find a way to move forward. I think strategy will factor into the racing, as well, and that almost certainly makes things interesting.”

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