Ryan Preece NASCAR Cup Series Chicago Street Course Preview

(Press release from Stewart-Haas Racing)

Ryan Preece (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

●  Event:  Grant Park 165 (Round 20 of 36)

●  Time/Date:  4:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 7

●  Location:  Chicago Street Course

●  Layout:  2.2-mile, 12-turn street course

●  Laps/Miles:  75 laps/165 miles

●  Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 20 laps / Stage 2: 25 laps / Final Stage: 30 laps

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

●  Ryan Preece and the No. 41 team head back to the streets of downtown Chicago for Sunday’s Grant Park 165. Incorporating some of the city’s most famous landmarks, like South Lake Shore Drive and the Buckingham Fountain, the second edition of the Chicago Street Course Race is the only such race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Preece returns to Chicago after scoring a 15th-place finish on the 2.2-mile, 12-turn circuit in the inaugural event last July. The result was his sixth of 12 top-15s of 2023.

●  Preece heads to Chicago riding the momentum of his first top-five finish this year. He finished fourth last Sunday at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway after starting 22nd. Preece’s fourth-place run at Nashville is the fourth top-five of his Cup Series career and second with Stewart-Haas Racing. His finish at Nashville is also his best for Stewart-Haas since joining the team last year, bettering his fifth-place finish in last year’s July race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

●  Sunday’s Grant Park 165 marks the Cup Series’ third race on a road course in 2024. Preece finished 23rd on March 24 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, and 18th on June 9 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Preece has 19 career road-course starts in the Cup Series. He had a standout performance at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course in February 2021 for JTG Daugherty Racing, qualifying sixth and finishing ninth for his best starting spot and finish on a road course to date. His best finish on a road course for Stewart-Haas Racing is 11th, which he scored last year on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval.

●  Joining Preece and the No. 41 Ford Mustang at the Chicago Street Course event 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:

The Chicago Street Course is unlike any other racetrack on the Cup Series schedule. What makes racing on streets different from a typical road course?

“It’s just insane when you’re trying to keep the car under control within these tiny barriers. You can’t slow down. You can’t give up pace. There’s just a lot of things. The bumps throw our cars around. We’re trying to go 160 to 170 miles per hour on roads that average people take to go to work or wherever they have to go. There are a lot of challenges, but it’s certainly a lot of fun. I enjoyed going there last year.”

Do you think the Chicago Street Course is one of the more challenging racetracks on the Cup Series schedule?

“Yeah. I think last year we kind of saw it as a race of survival. The track is just so narrow, but I think it’s an opportunity for us, in the 41 camp, to have another solid day. We ran really well at Chicago in our first race on the streets, and I’m hoping for even more this year.”

What were your thoughts of racing on the Chicago Street Course last year? Would you like to see another street course on the schedule?

“I really enjoyed it. I think there was a lot of speculation going into it because I’d never been on a street course before. I had a lot of fun and certainly wish we had one or two more on the schedule. I think it would be pretty cool to go to New York City or Boston, just because I’m from the Northeast and those are places the sport would have a good impact.”

What’s different about the racecar’s setup for the Chicago Street Course versus a permanent road course?

“There are a lot of things the crew chief and teams change from the shock absorber side. It’s important that the shock absorbers are just right with how bumpy the roads are there. The shocks help keep the racecar balanced over the bumps, and with little room to lose the racecar, we need to have as much handling as possible.”

How much do you have to prepare to race on the streets in Chicago?

“There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. A lot of us don’t have any experience racing on streets, so it’s just something totally different and something that all of us drivers and teams have to look into closely. With that said, I enjoy racing on road courses, and I’m excited to head up to Chicago with another fast No. 41 Ford Mustang Dark Horse.”

You’re coming off your first top-five finish of the season heading to Chicago. How important was that result in Nashville?

“It was certainly a step in the right direction. Leading up to it wasn’t pretty. Track position was a tough thing, and we seem to always be on the other side of it, but for once when it mattered, we happened to be in the right spot. All of the cautions at the end and doing the right things when it counted saved our day. I’m proud of everyone on the team, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going and knock down a few more top-10s and top-fives in the races ahead.”

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