Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece landed a full time NASCAR Cup Series with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). He will drive the No. 41 Ford Mustang beginning in 20223.
Preece had previously been a reserve driver for SHR throughout the 2022 season with the team detailing he “spent 2022 performing simulator work that has benefitted the entire team and its Cup Series driver lineup of Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer.”
He started two races in the NASCAR Cup Series and had an average finish of 18.5. He also started three Xfinity Series races, where he had one Top 5 and two Top 10s with an average finish of ninth.
He spent most of 2022 in the Camping World Truck Series. He started 10 races, had one win, 7 Top 5s, and 9 Top 10s. He also had one pole. His average finish was 4.6.
On top of all this he also managed to start in five NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races where he had 3 Top 10s and an average finish of 14th. Preece previously won the Modified Tour Championship back in 2013.
“Ryan Preece has been a real asset to our race team this year as we’ve developed the NextGen car. The time and effort he’s put into our program, combined with his real-world racing experience, earned him this opportunity,” said Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas.
Stewart also had high praise for Preece’s time in the Modified Tour, “I’ve run some Modified Tour races and it’s a tough series with a lot of talent. Ryan’s Mod Tour championship speaks to his talent, and I think he proved that when he pushed all his chips into the middle of the table and bet on himself by getting those Xfinity Series races with Gibbs. When he finally got the right opportunity, he delivered in a big way.”
“Now, Ryan’s got the right opportunity in Cup. We’re proud to have him and look forward to seeing what he can do in our racecars,” Stewart stated.
Preece’s bet was mortgaging his home in order to get two races with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017. He made the best of that opportunity finishing second in his debut at New Hampshire Speedway. He then went on to win at Iowa Speedway. In fact, in 2017 of the four races he started, he won one and finished in the Top 5 in all of them.
He followed that up in 2018, where he won at Bristol Motor Speedway, had 7 Top 5s, and 10 Top 10s while only starting 15 races. He previously raced in the NASCAR Cup Series for three full seasons from 2019 to 2021 for JTG Daughtery Racing. He had 2 Top 5s and 9 Top 10s.
“This is the opportunity I’ve been working for,” Preece said. “Nothing was guaranteed at the start of this year, but I felt like if I put in the time, whether it was in a racecar or in a simulator, that SHR was the place for me. It’s a company built by racers, for racers, and it’s exactly where I want to be.”
He added, “I know this season just finished and most people are looking to take a break, but I can’t wait to get going.”
Preece makes his debut in the No. 41 Ford Mustang at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum on February 5, 2023 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
With Preece winning the job of the No. 41 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series, Cole Custer is out of the car. However, he will be staying with SHR and will be returning to the Xfinity Series where he will be a teammate with Riley Herbst.
“Cole Custer has been a part of SHR since 2017 and we’re glad to have him stay with us,” Stewart said. “Cole’s experience will be invaluable to Riley Herbst as he continues his development in the Xfinity Series.”
Custer only had 3 Top 10s and one pole this past year. His average finish was 20.6.
What do you make of Ryan Preece getting a full time NASCAR Cup Series ride with Stewart-Haas Racing?