Ryan Preece made a difficult decision a little over a year ago. See, Preece had enough funding to drive for another underbudget team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. But, he knew with this new found youth movement in the sport, it would be career suicide.
Preece, was 26 years ago and in NASCAR’s terms, getting ready to be over the hill. When all these teenagers are signing manufacturer development deals, he would likely be passed over. So, he needed to do something drastic.
He’d bet on himself.
Instead of racing for top 20 finishes, he took his money and signed a deal with a top team in the feeder series to make select starts. Originally, it was a two race deal with Joe Gibbs Racing for 2017. That’s it. Two chances to show his worth. But, what happens if his engine blew or he was caught up in a crash? His career would be shot.
Preece didn’t care. He knew he could drive with the big boys of this sport.
He’s proved it now too.
In his first start with them last summer in New Hampshire, he’d finish second. In 36 previous starts in the series, he had one total top 10 finish, all with underfunded teams. With top notch equipment, he impressed that day. In his next opportunity at Iowa, he’d win.
Second and first in two tries. That led him with two more opportunities. He’d race at Kentucky and Homestead in the playoffs, finishing fourth and fifth respectively. That in turn, led him to a 10 race deal for 2018 with the team.
He’s already won in three tries so far, winning at Bristol at that and taking home $100k in the Dash 4 Cash as well. He was ninth (Fontana) and fifth (Texas) in his other two starts this year.
So far, that’s seven starts with JGR and in those races, he has two wins, a runner-up and six top fives. His worst finish is ninth.
What more does he need to prove?
This kid is a star in the making and just needs a shot. He’s a Cup driver racing in the XFINITY Series.