● Under The Tennessee Lights: Ryan Preece and the No. 41 Operating Engineers Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head back to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway this weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Live coverage will be provided by USA, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Competitors will take to Bristol’s .533-mile concrete oval after racing on its dirt-covered surface in the eighth race of the season in April.
● By The Numbers: Saturday evening’s race will mark Preece’s sixth Cup Series start at the track. He has a best finish of ninth in the 2020 race after starting 22nd for JTG-Daugherty Racing. This weekend will also be Preece’s first with SHR at Bristol. In three Xfinity Series starts at Bristol, Preece has one win, one top five finish and two top-15s. His win came in 2018 for Joe Gibbs Racing after he started seventh and led 39 laps along the way. Preece, who favors short tracks due to his grassroots background in the Whelen Modified Tour, is looking forward to racing on the concrete at Bristol this weekend. He started eighth and finished 24th in April’s Food City Dirt Race.
● Get To Know The IUOE: This weekend marks the second race as the primary partner on the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). IUOE primarily represents operating engineers who work as heavy equipment operators, mechanics, pipeliners and surveyors in the construction industry, along with stationary engineers who work in operations and maintenance in building and industrial complexes, and in the service industries. Founded in 1896, the IUOE has more than 400,000 members in 106 local unions throughout the United States and Canada. The IUOE International Training & Education Center, along with over 100 local training and apprenticeship programs, ensures that IUOE members are the safest, most productive and highly skilled craft workers in North America.
● Join The IUOE: Operating Engineer members enjoy paid, on-the-job training with free classes at over 100 local training sites and at the International Training & Education Center. The 265-acre campus near Houston is the largest and most comprehensive training facility for union operating and stationary engineers in North America. More information is available by texting “JOIN” to 41041, or at www.IUOE.org/41.
● 2023 Driven To Give Gloves Program: This weekend under the lights at Bristol, Preece will be wearing a special pair of black-and-white skeleton gloves as he races his No. 41 Ford Mustang around the high banks of the concrete Bristol oval. Preece will sport the gloves to support the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Fund at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and their work to help kids everywhere. The race-worn gloves will be signed by Preece and Dale Earnhardt Jr., and will be auctioned off. Bidding begins on Friday and ends Monday at www.thedalejroundation.org.
● Last Weekend: Preece returned to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City last weekend for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400. The No. 41 team qualified 28th and struggled throughout the duration of the race with a loose-handling racecar. The team worked hard to make substantial adjustments during each pit stop and rallied for an 18th-place finish.
● Where He Stands: Preece heads to Bristol 27th in the driver standings with 457 points.
Is Bristol Motor Speedway a track that you have circled on your calendar with your background on short tracks?
“I’m really looking forward to getting to Bristol this weekend. I’ve won at Bristol in the Xfinity Series and a Modified. It’s a track on the circuit that we expect to be strong at. We were strong earlier this season at Bristol and that was on the dirt, which I didn’t have much experience on at all. I’m a short-track guy, so Bristol is one I always have circled on my calendar. We’ve been really good at short tracks this season and I think we’re going to have a really good car. I think Saturday’s race will be an opportunity for our team to have a really good day and execute so that we can keep that momentum going in the last handful of races.”
What’s it like racing at Bristol Motor Speedway?
“It’s a really fast short track and it’s a 500-lap race, so it’s a long one. Everything about it is different than the other short tracks. You’ve got the high banking, and the surface of the track makes the tires wear, so you have to manage that throughout the race. Pit road is so different and it’s tough at Bristol. We’ve got to be on it this weekend but I’m confident we will be. I think our car is going to be really good and I’m ready for it.”
What’s the main goal of the No. 41 team as the 2023 season winds down?
“Consistency. That’s been the goal all year but even moreso now. We need to be consistent each and every weekend and execute where we can. We have fast racecars and we are all putting in the work, so it’s just about putting it all together each weekend and performing. If we can consistently unload and qualify well and then stay consistent on strategy and maintaining position throughout the race, we’re going to see better results and that’s what we need.”