● New look! Ryan Preece and the No. 41 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Ford welcome Autodesk as a co-primary partner for the first time this season during Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The No. 41 will sport a new white, black and red paint scheme when the NASCAR Cup Series takes to the high-banked, 1.5-mile Georgia oval.
● Get to know Autodesk. From the greenest buildings to the cleanest cars, from the smartest factories to the biggest stories, amazing things are created every day with Autodesk. For four decades, Autodesk has worked together with its customers to transform how things are made, and in doing so, it has also transformed what can be made. A car’s performance now inspires the method of its manufacture, a city’s infrastructure helps predict the unpredictable, and the creation of ever-bigger universes shapes ever-bigger stories. Today, Autodesk’s solutions span countless industries empowering innovators everywhere. But the company is restless to do more. Autodesk doesn’t believe in waiting for progress, it believes in making it. By combining and recombining technologies. By blurring boundaries, reinventing rules, and merging fields. By unleashing talent and unlocking insights across industries. By helping customers converge on solutions to the challenges we all face today. Autodesk believes that when you have the right tools to work and think flexibly, you have the power to transform what actually needs making. The power to design and make a better world for all.
● Back again in 2023 and joining Autodesk as a co-primary partner this weekend is HaasTooling.com, the cutting tool division of Haas Automation led by SHR co-owner Gene Haas. HaasTooling.com was launched as a way for 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. HaasTooling.com products became available nationally in July 2020. 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.
● The Cup Series wrapped up this year’s West Coast swing last weekend at Phoenix Raceway and returns to the Southeast this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Sunday’s race will mark Preece’s fifth Cup Series start at the track. His best Atlanta finish is 25th, which came at both the March and July races in 2021. Preece has two Xfinity Series starts at Atlanta with a best finish of seventh in the February 2019 race for JR Motorsports. He also made one NASCAR Truck Series start there a year ago this weekend for David Gilliland Racing. He finished seventh.
● Preece made his eighth start at Phoenix Raceway last Sunday. He qualified 25th and finished 12th. A top-15 finish for the No. 41 team is just what the doctor ordered after a handful of tough outings during the opening weeks of the season. The team is working diligently to keep the positive momentum going this weekend at Atlanta.
● Preece was a victim of circumstances in the second event of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, getting caught up in a multicar accident on a lap-88 restart and ultimately finishing 33rd. The following weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Preece battled a tight racecar all day and was credited with a 23rd-place finish.
● Preece opened the 2023 season with a strong showing in the 65th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He and the No. 41 Ford Mustang qualified 20th and logged the best 10-consecutive-lap average in final practice. On race day, Preece finished second in Stage 1 before getting caught up in a multicar accident on lap 181. He was unable to return to the race and finished 36th.
You got a top-15 finish at Phoenix and you were previously saying that you and the team needed to be on offense. Do you feel like things are moving in the right direction?
“From how we were in practice to how we raced on Sunday, that was pretty much like a win for us. We now have something we can build on. I feel like where we were, right there all day, was just a few adjustments away from where I need to be and to where I’m happy with the car. We had a top-10 car, we just needed some adjustments that I don’t think we were going to be able to do on a pit stop. I’m very happy with 12th and I’m looking forward to getting to Atlanta and keeping things moving in the right direction.”
Although you have raced at Atlanta in the past, the track has undergone a lot of changes since your last visit with the Cup Series in 2021. How do you see the racing shaping up there this weekend?
“I truly have no idea what to expect this weekend, but I have a feeling the racing is going to be crazy. I haven’t raced in a Cup car on the new Atlanta track, but I think it’s going to be wild. It’s another race that you have to be smart about because there are going to be a lot of unknowns. We’ve got 260 laps to make something happen. I don’t want another repeat of Daytona – just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our cars have the speed, that hasn’t been an issue this season. So, we just need to qualify well and keep good track position to stay out of any danger and we will be good.”
Everyone is talking about how Atlanta races like a superspeedway with high-speed pack racing. How do you feel about that style of racing?
“Superspeedway racing is always really aggressive and intense. I think that with this new car, we’re going to see a lot of bump drafting and teams and manufacturers working together to stay up front. That’s what we’ve been seeing at the superspeedways last season and this season. I can only really go off of what I’ve seen from last year and learned from watching and being on the simulator. But, I’m hopeful that we unload with a lot of speed, qualify really well and can stay up front in clean air to be there at the end.”