HaasTooling.com Racing: Ryan Preece Kansas Advance

Stewart-Haas Racing

●  Ryan Preece and the No. 41 HaasTooling.com team return to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Sunday’s AdventHealth 400 NASCAR Cup Series race aiming to have another strong showing on an intermediate-style oval. In the series’ most recent visit to an intermediate track, the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on April 14, Preece had an impressive performance during which he ran inside the top-10 for a majority of the race en route to a solid 12th-place finish. It was his best career finish at Texas in eight Cup Series starts.

●  Sunday’s 267-lap race marks Preece’s ninth Cup Series start at Kansas and his third for Stewart-Haas Racing. He hits the Heartland of America having scored three top-15 finishes in the past four races. Last Sunday at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway, the driver of the No. 41 Ford Mustang Dark Horse was forced to retire 66 laps into the 400-lap race due to a highly unusual issue with his racecar. A part failure led to smoke engulfing the cockpit, and his 37th-place result marked his first DNF (Did Not Finish) since last August at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

●  Preece has three starts outside of the Cup Series at Kansas, two in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and one in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. His most recent Xfinity Series outing at Kansas came in October 2018 behind the wheel of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry. It started well, with Preece advancing from his seventh starting position and moving into the top-five before finished third in the opening stage. But a multicar accident on lap 91 of the 200-lap race took him out of contention, leaving him with a 21st-place finish. In his lone Truck Series start at Kansas with David Gilliland Racing in September 2022, Preece started seventh and earned an impressive third-place finish, collecting 13 stage points along the way.

●  Returning to Preece’s No. 41 Ford Mustang Dark Horse at Kansas is HaasTooling.com, which has adorned the hood of his car for seven of the 11 races this season. As the cutting tool division of Haas Automation, HaasTooling.com allows CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. These cutting tools are sold exclusively online at HaasTooling.com and shipped directly to users. Haas Automation, founded in 1983 by team co-owner Gene Haas, 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.

Ryan Preece, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse

You had a strong performance at Texas, the most recent mile-and-a-half track on the schedule. Could we see the same type of performance at Kansas?

“I look back at Texas as being our first real mile-and-a-half race of the season. Vegas didn’t give us a lot. Not being able to turn many laps in practice and switching to a back-up car for the race there didn’t give us an opportunity to see what we had for the mile-and-a-half racetracks this season. So, looking back at Texas, I felt pretty good about our race there. We had good speed during the race. Our emphasis for Kansas is qualifying better. If we don’t do that, it makes for a long day, especially when track position is important like it will be on Sunday.”

You’re 11 races into the season and you’ve put together a string of solid runs over the past several races. What changed from the beginning of the season, when things didn’t seem to be going in your favor? 

“The potential has always been there for us. If you look at the beginning of the season, there were two superspeedway races with a lot of unknowns, the wreck in practice at Vegas, and the strategy that didn’t work out at Phoenix. Those things didn’t work in our favor, but we’ve certainly had a few strong runs in the past several races, which is what we wanted to do heading into April. Obviously, things didn’t work out as we had hoped at Dover, but I feel like we would’ve had another good car if not for the issue there. We just really need to work on qualifying better to give us a good shot when it comes time to race.”

How is the race craft different at each of the mile-and-a-half tracks? 

“Kansas is totally different from the others, just because the outside is the dominant lane. You need to be able to move around and go where they can’t to have a good run there.”

How does the first Kansas race prepare you for that track when the series returns in September?

“It’s a very different mile-and-a-half racetrack. Conditions can definitely be different from the first to the second time we go there. Depending on how cool or warm it is during the race on Sunday, we can take what we learn and apply it the next time we race there in the fall, when conditions are most likely to be on the warmer side. It’s all about what the racetrack gives us on Sunday, and how close those conditions are to what the racetrack gives us in the fall.”


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