● Joining the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang camp this weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway is Hunt Brothers Pizza. It marks the fifth time in company history that Hunt Brothers Pizza appears in a NASCAR Cup Series race as a primary racecar partner since its inception in 2008. With more than 9,000 locations across the country – including 900 in Alabama – Hunt Brothers Pizza is the nation’s largest brand of made-to-order pizza in the convenience store industry. Hunt Brothers Pizza offers original and thin crust pizzas available as a grab-and-go Hunk A Pizza®, perfect for today’s on-the-go lifestyle, or as a customizable whole pizza that is an exceptional value with All Toppings No Extra Charge®. Hunt Brothers Pizza is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, and is family owned and operated. For additional information, visit www.HuntBrothersPizza.com or download the app.
● After back-to-back weekends on the half-mile ovals at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the Cup Series heads to its largest oval, the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, for Sunday’s GEICO 500, set for 3 p.m. EDT on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
● Preece is coming into his own this season, showing speed on a variety of the tracks and running up front during multiple events. He’s coming off a career weekend at Martinsville, where he earned his first Cup Series pole and led a race- and career-high 135 laps. Prior to Sunday’s race, he led a total of 29 laps in 123 Cup Series starts. Preece led all 80 laps of Stage 1 at Martinsville en route to his first career Cup Series stage win, then led the opening 55 laps of Stage 2. He earned 10 bonus points and one playoff point for his stage win. A pit road speeding penalty during Stage 2 sent Preece to the rear of the field, from where he battled back for a 15th-place finish on the .526-mile Martinsville paperclip-shaped oval.
● Preece hopes to ride the momentum from his Martinsville to the high banks of Talladega this weekend, where he has one top-five finish and two top-10s in six career Cup Series career starts with a best finish of third coming in his debut in 2019. In his lone NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Talladega, he started 26th and finished 15th for JD Motorsports in 2016. Last season, Preece made his first NASCAR Truck Series start at Talladega in the No. 17 David Gilliland Racing entry. He started 10th and finished fourth.
● Nine races into this season, Preece is 27th in the driver standings with 162 points.
● Preece kicked off the 2023 season with a strong showing during the non-points-paying Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where he led a race-high 43 laps of the feature and ultimately finished seventh after a fuel pump issue. In this year’s nine points-paying events, he has a best finish of 12th at Phoenix Raceway in March.
● Win a trip to the 2023 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and meet Ryan Preece! RaceChoice.com, a proud partner of Preece, has launched a giveaway for fans. The winner will receive airfare and a two-night stay in Daytona Beach. RaceChoice.com will also give the winners two pit passes for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, August 26 at 7 p.m. ET, preceded by a meet-and-greet with Preece, driver of the No. 41 SHR Ford Mustang. Visit https://racechoice.com/2023-daytona-giveaway/for more information.
You won your first career pole last weekend at Martinsville, won the first stage, and led the most laps of your career. Then you battled for a 15th-place finish after a speeding penalty sent you to the back of the field. How would you sum up your day?
“I sped off pit road, I guess. That ultimately cost us the track position. We had a really fast racecar, so once we got in the back it was so hard to do anything, so that’s on me. I’ll take blame for that. I was trying to beat them out and ultimately got snapped speeding. I pride myself on not making mistakes, so that was pretty brutal there, but, like I’ve said, we have a fast racecar and really felt like we could have probably swept the stages and ran top-three or top-five. We were just as good as anybody, but it’s really tough.”
Although it wasn’t the finish you hoped for, can you take anything from the strong showing you had at Martinsville?
“Yeah, I mean, it was nice to get the pole and be the fastest in qualifying. We weren’t the fastest during practice, but I knew we had a capable racecar. All the SHR cars were really fast during the qualifying session. So yeah, it was definitely a momentum builder for the team to start on the front row. Same thing with leading laps. It was great to lead laps. We have fast racecars, there’s no question about that. I say it every week and it’s true. I’ve been to these tracks before, it’s not like it’s my first time, but now I’m in equipment that best suits me and that I can get the job done in. We just need to put it all together and we’re getting there. I’m frustrated in myself but the clock resets and I’m headed down and focused on Talladega now.”
Your thoughts about racing at Talladega this weekend?
“Talladega is always fun but it’s also one of those tracks that you never know what’s going to happen. That’s the part of it that all the fans like, I guess. We’re going to go out there and do what we do every weekend. We want to be fast and qualify well, and then it’s just maintaining and staying out of the ‘Big One.’ If you can do that and be there at the end, there’s always a chance of taking home the win. That’s what our goal is. Consistency and being smart on the track so, yeah, I’m looking forward to the race.”
What’s it like being a driver at a track like Talladega?
“Your adrenaline is high, your emotions are high and you’re going 200 mph. Meanwhile you’re two, three-wide getting pushed in the pack from behind, there’s just a lot going on. It’s hard to explain to people how many thoughts and things you’re trying to keep track of as a driver when you’re racing at Talladega. Talladega and superspeedway racing have typically been pretty good for me. So, going into this weekend, we need to be aggressive because stage points with the current points system means so much but at the same time, we just have to have a good day.”