United Rentals Racing: Ryan Preece Darlington Advance

Stewart-Haas Racing

● When you think of a hero, you think of someone who has made a lasting, positive impression on your life. For Ryan Preece, that person has always been his father, Jeff Preece. Through the good and through the bad (in life and in racing), one thing remained the same – the life lessons and opportunity Jeff has always worked hard to give Ryan. Racing has always been in Preece’s blood and, growing up, it was one of the only things he knew. His dad was always working on his cars and, as Preece got older, they would work on the cars together. That’s where his love of racing came from. The Preece family did everything on its own – building the cars, transporting the cars, fielding the cars, racing the cars. In turn, a strong father-son bond was built that continues to grow every weekend at the racetrack now that Preece has made it to NASCAR’s largest stage. Jeff Preece can usually be found around the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) hauler, at the car, near the pit box or various other places at the racetrack supporting and cheering on his son.

● One of Preece’s first and fondest racing memories growing up was his dad putting him on the floor of his Pro Stock (No. 4 car pictured above) while driving up the road in their small town in Connecticut. “That’s the significance to me, that’s when I kind of found my passion for racing coming to light and knew that I really wanted to do it,” he said. For this weekend’s NASCAR Throwback weekend at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Preece will honor his father and the car that started it all with a simple white paint scheme with blue accents that has meant so much to the father-son duo.

● United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE: URI), the largest equipment rental company in the world, is serving as the primary sponsor of Ryan Preece and the No. 41 SHR team for select NASCAR Cup Series races in 2023. The partnership began with the non-points Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum, Feb. 4-5 in Los Angeles. United Rentals has an integrated network of 1,449 rental locations in North America, 13 in Europe, 27 in Australia and 19 in New Zealand. In North America, the company operates in 49 states and every Canadian province. The company’s approximately 24,700 employees serve construction and industrial customers, utilities, municipalities, homeowners and others. The company offers approximately 4,700 classes of equipment for rent with a total original cost of $19.3 billion. United Rentals is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, the Barron’s 400 Index and the Russell 3000 Index®. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. Additional information about United Rentals is available at UnitedRentals.com.

● This weekend at the track “Too Tough to Tame,” Preece will make his seventh career Darlington start in the Cup Series and his first with SHR. He first raced there in September 2019 for JTG-Daugherty Racing, when he started 20th and finished 22nd. In his previous six Darlington starts, he has a best finish of 12th in his most recent start there in September 2021. He started on the pole in the midweek night race on May 20, 2020, the lineup determined by top-20 invert from the finishing positions of the Sunday race three days prior, but an early engine issue cut his race short. In his lone NASCAR Xfinity Series start at the track in September 2016, Preece started 22nd and finished 10th for JD Motorsports. Last May, Preece made his first NASCAR Truck Series start at Darlington, starting 13th and finishing seventh in a David Gilliland Racing entry.

● Last weekend, the Cup Series followed the “Yellow Brick Road” to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Preece’s seventh career start on the 1.5-mile oval. He qualified 28th and finished 27th.

● Through the first third of the season, Preece has shown improvement and consistency each weekend and has appeared to be coming into his own. He had a career weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April, earning his first Cup Series pole and leading a career-high 135 laps. Since then, although the results don’t show it, Preece has shown strength at various racetracks on the circuit.

● Preece heads to Darlington 28th in the driver standings with 179 points.  

● Preece kicked off the 2023 season with a strong showing in the non-points Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, leading a race-high 43 laps but ultimately finishing seventh after a fuel pump issue. He has a best points-paying finish of 12th this season, which came at Phoenix Raceway in March.

● RaceChoice.com, a proud partner of Preece, has launched a special racing experience giveaway for fans. The winner will receive airfare and a two-night stay during Coke Zero 400 weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. RaceChoice.com will also give the winners two pit passes for the race, set for Saturday, Aug. 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.

What does this opportunity to honor your dad over NASCAR Throwback Weekend with this paint scheme mean to you?

“He sacrificed so much for me growing up – I know he has. He didn’t have the opportunities, but he gave me every opportunity to succeed as a racer. So, I feel like this is an opportunity to really say thank you and have his car on the racetrack. This experience right here is probably the coolest one that we’ve had yet. My dad comes to a lot of the races, he tries to be at all of them. It’s special that he’s at the track every weekend now, and it’s even more special that this weekend he gets the recognition he deserves.”

How did the idea of running a throwback to your dad’s Pro Stock come about, and how special is this for you and your dad?

“My father had a Pro Stock, that’s what they used to call them, and he raced at Thompson, from what I remember growing up. When I was a little kid, I used to go out there and he’d be working on it. One of my first memories in a racecar was sitting next to him on the floor and him driving up the road. That’s the significance to me. That’s when I kind of felt my passion for racing coming to light and really wanting to do it. There are a lot of Cup cars and a lot of old Cup cars and guys who have been in the sport for a long time but, to me, this is something that was special to me. This is something that I can really tell a story behind and tell the story of my love for racing. It was the beginning of racing for me.”

Talk about the paint scheme and what it’s been like bringing that back to life?

“We didn’t have a lot of crazy designs on our own racecars – they were pretty plain, nothing crazy. But the biggest thing for me that stands out is the roof being all blue. His racecar at the time, the pillars and the roof were solid blue with solid blue numbers, and him being the No. 4 back in the day, I felt like this was the closest opportunity I could get to doing something like that.”

What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from your dad?

“Don’t be OK with being average. This is something that I say all the time, but he wouldn’t ever let me sit down and just not do anything. If I was sitting around, he’d tell me to find something to do. Well, when you’re in a racecar, you’re always working. You’re always pushing to get that next spot or whatever, you’re never content. Well, that’s the same thing outside the racecar. My dad taught me that, he’s always been a really hard worker. He was always working and I’m the same way now. I’m always doing something and, if I’m not, I’m finding something to do. That’s something my dad instilled in me.”

Heading to Darlington this weekend, what is the racing like at a track that has a huge emphasis on tire management?

“Darlington is a place that you have to be smart at. You want to race as hard as you can and get your car up front and in that clean air. But with the tire fall-off, you’ve got to be careful not to tear yourself up. The guys around you are going to be doing the same thing and you can easily get scooped up in another mess, too. Restarts are pretty crucial at Darlington, too, because it’s easy to get caught up in that moment and not be able to get back into the right place in line. Everyone knows about the ‘Darlington Stripe,’ too. There’s a fine line between getting a stripe and running that wall, and not running the wall and completely losing it or wrecking your car. We’re on defense right now, I’ve been saying that for a few weeks and our team knows it. I know what we have to do and I want to be there at the end, but we will also have to be patient this weekend so we can be there at the end.”

You’ve had some solid finishes in other series at Darlington, most recently in the Truck Series last year. Does that experience help you at all for this weekend?

“I mean, the cars and trucks are so different than the Cup cars, but I think any experience on a track is important and makes a difference. With my situation last year and not running fulltime in the Cup Series, having a start there, even in the Trucks, is definitely something. Thankfully, I’ve been to the track plenty of other times in Cup, and although it hasn’t been with the NextGen car, it’s still experience. That means something and I’ve taken a lot of notes, as well as relied on my teammates and my crew chief to put together our plan to execute this weekend. I’m excited, I think we’ll be good and I’m ready to get out there.”


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