Ryan Preece is set for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season after landing a full-time ride with JTG Daugherty Racing. After AJ Allmendinger’s departure following 2018, Preece joins the team as a contender for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.
Preece had five Cup starts in 2015 while driving for Premium Motorsports with his best finish being 32nd at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. His road to NASCAR’s top series was a challenge that he was able to eventually overcome.
“I think the way I came up was the way … I mean it prepares you. I’ve been working and learning race cars and then winning,” Preece said. “Learning to be a winner. I wouldn’t want to come up any other way. It’s gotten me, what I feel, prepared for where I am now to be ready for those restarts, be ready for situations that I’ve been in.”
His decision to leave JD Motorsports following the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season led him to a part-time stint with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017 and 2018. That’s where Preece was able to take advantage of the equipment he had to show people his unique talent.
The No. 47 team has not ran where they intended too in the past season so a fresh driver brings new ideas to the mix.
“I’m doing the Vegas test, so we are going to see where we stack up and kind of go through some changes, figure out what we like, what we don’t like and where we can be better,” Preece said. “That is really going to kick off our season.”
It will also be the first time that Preece will be able to try new aero package that will be implemented on the Cup cars for the 2019 campaign.
“I think it’s a reset button like I said, but there is always going to be that one team that is going to figure something out and you never know who it’s going to be,” Preece said. The new aero package is something I’m looking forward to. It’s going to be a little different.”
For Preece, he will have to compete with Matt Tift, Tanner Berryhill and Daniel Hemric for this year’s rookie trophy. His top competition is Hemric who will be piloting the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Hemric having ran a few cup races last season with the same team gives him an advantage over Preece.
Rookie seasons can be roller coaster rides for drivers but Preece is ready for the challenge.
“I think it’s really going to come down to hard work,” Preece said. They have got all the pieces of the puzzle, I feel, at this point. Just putting them together and getting … you’ve got to have goals, you’ve got to start off top 15’s, top 10’s, top fives and when you are consistently there that is when the wins will come.”
It’s going to be a challenge for Preece, but he wants to see improvement every week.
“If there is progression, I’m happy and we will keep on progressing and never fall behind,” Preece said.
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