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NASCAR Cup Series

Modified Speed Brings Cup Confidence for Preece

LOUDON, NH – @RyanPreece_ knows his Whelen Modified Tour car and his Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet that he’ll race on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway are two different breeds. But, the confidence of being fastest in the final Modified practice spills over to his debut with Premium Motorsports at NASCAR’s top level.

“When it comes to the cars, it’s really apples and oranges,” said Preece, “but knowing that I’ve got a good handle on the track keeps me in a good mindset.”

Preece currently leads the Championship standings in the NASCAR’s oldest division by one point over Woody Pitkat with just three races remaining on the schedule.

Preece, who’s Sprint Cup Series team has support this weekend from Tommy Baldwin Racing, has two different agendas.

“Obviously, we’re trying to win another Modified Championship — so my expectations are really high for Saturday. With the Cup car, our goal is to qualify as best as we can and complete all the laps. We have very realistic goals for Sunday. It’s all about learning as much about these cars as I can. I’m fortunate to have some really good people around me.”

At 25 years old, Preece is at a point in his career where the future is upon him. If he’s going get to the next level he’s going to have to make some good strides.

“The biggest thing for me is to not make mistakes,” said Preece. “Wrecks and mechanical problems are sometimes out of your control, but I’m going to do my job as best I can and get the best possible results.”

One thing that a driver is always responsible for is the effort. And if that’s the measuring stick for Sunday’s success, Ryan Preece should leave the track with the feeling of accomplishment.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Ryan Preece Hoping to Make Most of Cup Debut at NHMS

In a short amount of time, Ryan Preece has established himself as one of the most decorated NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champions of recent memory, but he still has dreams of becoming so much more — a star at the highest level of the sport.

A son of the Northeast, Preece originally honed his skills within the competitive regional Modified ranks prior to graduating to the NASCAR Tour, where he won the 2013 championship and has finished second three other times.

Once again, Preece finds himself the Tour championship leader with three events remaining but will take aim at his ultimate goal this weekend when he makes his Sprint Cup Series debut in the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He will do so for Premium Motorsports in the No. 98 Chevrolet with technical and strategic support from Tommy Baldwin Racing, which previously fielded entries for Preece in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. It was his relationship and a common love for the Modified Tour that first set Preece and Baldwin on the path to the Cup Series together.

“I’m friends with Tommy and we have a really good relationship,” Preece told Popular Speed on Wednesday night. “So I’m racing at Stafford in the Tour race (on August 27) and I sent Tommy a text message, joking, that said he needed to put me in a Cup car if I won that night.

“So I won and I sent him another text that said, ‘Cup car?’ and he eventually got back to me saying that he set me up with Jay Robinson for the No. 98 team. This is a really big deal for and we all have high expectations.”

Preece made a combined three starts in the XFINITY Series for Baldwin from 2013-to-2014 with a best finish of 14th at New Hampshire in July of 2014. He believes that race should have ended with his first career national touring top-10 but also concluded that it prepared him for the challenges that lie ahead on Sunday.

“I was just learning the past couple of years when I made those starts with Tommy in the XFINITY Series,” Preece said. “But I do feel like we should have had a top-10 that day. Tommy has always put good cars under me and this weekend shouldn’t be any different with help from Jay and his group.

“When Tommy does something, he does it the right way.”

With that in mind, Preece has set lofty goals. While he knows this isn’t a car that can contend for a top-10, the popular short tracker is hoping to finish somewhere between 25th-to-30th in his first career start.

“I feel like the goal is a moving target and will get set and reset as we go through the weekend,” Preece said. “There are two goals that I have to balance in the back of my mind. There is the Ryan the races in the Modified Tour that knows he should win every race that he enters.

“Then there’s the realistic Ryan that knows he has really good equipment but also understands that we’re not at the point where we can contend with Hendrick, Gibbs and Penske, so a top-30 would be a fantastic day. I’m going to get every bit of what I can out of the car, learn everything that I can, and have a lot of fun. I feel like that is what everyone expects of me.”

EMAIL MATT AT matt.weaver@popularspeed.com

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