November 15th, 2017
2018 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES DRIVER AND CREW CHIEF LINEUP
Joe Gibbs Racing Press Release
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today its driver and crew chief lineup for 2018 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The lineup will feature Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, Ryan Preece and an all-star lineup of current Monster Energy Cup Series drivers.
JGR announced last month that Christopher Bell would compete fulltime in the XFINITY Series next season. Since that time, he earned his first victory in the Series at Kansas Speedway on October 21. He will pilot the No. 20 Toyota Camry with Jason Ratcliff serving as the team’s crew chief. Ratcliff is currently the crew chief for JGR’s No. 20 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team.
Joining Bell fulltime next season will be Brandon Jones behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota Camry for JGR. Chris Gabehart will handle the crew chief duties for the team in 2018.
In addition, JGR announces that Ryan Preece will return to drive a partial schedule behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Camry, with Eric Phillips serving as crew chief. Preece competed in three races for JGR this season and earned a top-five finish in each, including his first-career win at Iowa Speedway. He will also be behind the wheel of the No. 18 this weekend in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Our NASCAR XFINITY Series program is so important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We are focused on the opportunities we have this weekend in Miami of course, but excited about the talented lineup of drivers we will have competing for us in 2018. The addition of Brandon Jones to our lineup will provide tremendous competition to the Series and give us two opportunities to run for the XFINITY Driver’s Championship, as well as the Owner’s Championship next season. For as young as he is, Brandon has gained a lot of experience across several different series and we are excited to see what he can do in our equipment and with Chris (Gabehart) leading that team.
“We’re proud of our crew chiefs in that series as well,” added Gibbs. “Jason (Ratcliff) is someone we obviously have a lot of confidence in having had great success for us in both the XFINITY and Cup Series. Having Chris (Gabehart) and Eric (Phillips) back gives us proven winners atop each pit box. We believe their experience and ability to work together will really help the development of our young drivers and help our veterans compete for wins each weekend.”
Jones has spent the past two seasons driving in the XFINITY Series. He has also competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), K&N Pro Series East, and ARCA this season. Over the course of his young career he has built an impressive resume of accomplishments which includes making the Chase in his NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie season (2016), compiling four second-place finishes in NCWTS and picking up a win in the K&N Pro Series (Iowa). He also has four ARCA Series wins, including two consecutive wins at Michigan, and was the first driver in ARCA history to win their first two races.
“I’m really fortunate to have gotten as much experience as I have to this point of my career and very thankful to have worked with so many great people and teams over the past several years,” said Jones. “When you look at what JGR has done with Toyota in the XFINITY Series over the past decade the results speak for themselves and I’m excited to go out next season knowing I have an opportunity to be successful each and every week.”
Preece has made three starts in the XFINITY Series for JGR this season and has earned one win, a second and a fourth-place finish. He will be driving JGR’s No. 18 entry on Saturday looking to earn the organization’s fifth Series owner’s Championship. The 26-year-old Berlin, Connecticut native is a very accomplished short-track racer with 20 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) career victories, 70 top-five and 96 top-10 finishes. He was crowned the 2013 season champion.
“Obviously I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities that I have already had with JGR this season and now to be able to increase the number of races next season is a great step in my career,” said Preece. “I’m looking forward to going out there and make the most out of the opportunity.”
Preece will share JGR’s third XFINITY Series entry with the organization’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Kyle Busch, the all-time leader in XFINITY Series wins with 91, is expected to run seven races in 2018, while Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Daniel Suárez and others will fill out the remaining races.
October 17th, 2017
Coby Adds To His Legacy With Fifth Title;
Ryan Preece Earns 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Owners Championship For Ed & Connie Partridge
By Kyle Souza, NASCARHomeTracks.com
THOMPSON, Conn. -- Back in April, Doug Coby walked away from a wrecked race car without even completing one lap in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Six months later, Coby capped the season at Thompson by completing an unthinkable comeback to win his fifth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
Sunday's fifth-place finish in the Sunoco World Series 150 was enough to completely erase his disastrous start to the season and wrap up his fourth straight title.
The Milford, Conn. driver becomes the first driver since the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour began in 1984 to accomplish the feat and only the third in the history of NASCAR modifieds, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Richie Evans and Jerry Cook.
"We just kind of tugged away this year," Coby said. "We won one race in 2014 when we won the championship and we only won once this year. We were just so consistent."
Timmy Solomito, who entered the race third in the championship standings and one of six drivers still in contention for the crown, used a pass with just two laps remaining to capture the victory the race that was pushed to 155 laps because of a late caution.
The victory was the fifth of the season for the Islip, New York, driver but it wasn't enough to get him the title.
Coby finished with 604 points, six ahead of Solomito. Justin Bonsignore finished third, 10 points back of Solomito, while Rowan Pennink and Eric Goodale rounded out the top five in the championship standings.
Coby was determined to control his own destiny. The points leader entering the finale, he started on the front row with polesitter Chase Dowling and immediately jumped to the front to lead the first 82 laps to clinch the bonus points for most laps led.
After his first pit stop, he restarted outside the top 10 and wasn't able to get all the way back to the front. But it didn't matter. A late charge was enough to hand him the championship behind the wheel of his No. 2 Mayhew Tools Chevrolet.
"We were good all year and we were kind of under the radar. This was a different championship because we to crawl all summer because we had to get back in it," Coby said. "We had to chip away this year. The common denominator in all of these titles was a team that never quit."
Dowling finished second -- crossing the finish line .043 seconds behind Solomito -- while Ron Silk was third and Pennink fourth.
Andrew Krause finished sixth, followed by Woody Pitkat, Dave Sapienza, Jamie Tomaino and Bonsignore.
Ryan Preece finished 26th in the race and fell to sixth in points. However, he was able to wrap up the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour owner's championship for Ed Partridge. Preece missed two races -- one for his wedding and one to run the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Kentucky Speedway -- and combined with George Brunnhoelzl III and Jon McKennedy to win the title for Partridge's No. 6 TS Hauler Chevrolet team.
Coby and Partridge will be honored as champion of the unified Whelen Modified Tour as part of the champions celebration in Charlotte, North Carolina in December.
September 3rd, 2017
Preece Keeps Up His Winning Ways
Passes Hirschman Late To Claim Whelen Modified Win At Oswego
A NASCARHomeTracks.com release
OSWEGO, N.Y. -- A spectacular summer for Ryan Preece continued Saturday night at Oswego Speedway in the Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s.
The Berlin, Connecticut, native took his fifth checkered flag of the season. Preece took the lead from Matt Hirschman on Lap 114 and never looked back.
“We came in and made a little bit of an adjustment because I felt he [Hirschman] was better in the first half,” said Preece of the halftime stop. "We were good. Just kind of tried to make him go hard the whole time.”
The victory was the 20th of Preece’s Whelen Modified Tour career and the first at Oswego. Preece ran up front all race long. After qualifying fourth, Preece quickly made his way up to second. On Lap 114, Preece dove underneath Hirschman in turn three. After taking the lead, Preece pulled away, with no one able to challenge the 25-year-old.
Preece took the checkers 2.849 seconds ahead of Hirschman. Earlier in the day, Hirschman won his second straight Coors Light Pole Award and went to lead a race-high 117 laps.
Preece also extended his point lead to nine over Doug Coby. Rowan Pennink is third, 16 points behind Preece and one ahead of Timmy Solomito.
Justin Bonsignore was sixth at Oswego and is six points behind Solomito. Craig Lutz, Max Zachem, Dave Sapienza and Pennink rounded out the top 10 at Oswego.
The Toyota Mod Classic 150 will air on NBCSN Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track Saturday, Sept. 16, at Riverhead Raceway in New York.
August 11th, 2017
Preece Charges Late at Thompson
Posts Second Straight Whelen Modified Win & Fourth of Season
A NASCARHomeTracks.com press release
THOMPSON, Conn. -- The wave of momentum for Ryan Preece continued on Wednesday night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
Preece charged to the front of the 28th Annual Bud "King of Beers" 150 for his second straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory and fourth of the season.
The Berlin, Connecticut, driver passed defending champion Doug Coby with just 16 laps remaining en route to the win. In his last six Whelen Modified Tour starts, he has four wins, a second and a fourth. It was his 19th career tour victory.
"Doug put a lot more pressure on me at the end then I thought he was going too," Preece said following his win. "I have to keep winning races. My career depends on that. We had a really good car tonight."
Wednesday's drive was filled with plenty of drama. While some of the top challengers pitted before the haflway point, Preece decided to wait things out and make a late pit stop for fresh rubber. However, on Lap 114, his No. 6 TS Haulers/Hoosier Tire of Calverton Chevrolet went spinning in Turn 2. Preece fired the car before going a lap down and pitted for tires two laps later.
From there, it was a hard charge to the front.
Preece worked his way into the top five and then passed leader Coby with just 16 laps remaining. While Preece showed the way for the final laps, Coby was not about to let him get away. However, on the final lap, Coby made contact with the Turn 1 wall. Coby was able to continue on and was scored as the runner-up as the race ended under caution. The yellow flag froze the field on the final lap, and NASCAR officials ruled Coby maintained a reasonable speed under caution given the track conditions.
Ted Christopher finished third, followed by Timmy Solomito and Bobby Santos.
Andrew Krause was sixth, followed by Rowan Pennink, Eric Goodale, Jon McKennedy and Woody Pitkat.
Solomito increased his championship points lead to 10 over Pennink, while Preece moved up to third -- 19 back of Solomito -- despite missing a race earlier in the season to get married. Coby and Goodale are each 11 points back of Preece.
The Bud "King of Beers" 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track next Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway with the running of the Bush's Beans 150.
August 4th, 2017
Preece Continues To Roll At Stafford
Late Pass Of Coby Nets Third Whelen Modified Win of Season
A NASCARHomeTracks.com release
STAFFORD, Conn. -- Ryan Preece has been nearly unbeatable of late when he straps behind the wheel of a race car.
Last weekend, Preece scored his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Iowa Speedway. He marked his return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Friday at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway with another trip to Victory Lane in the Stafford 150.
The Berlin, Connecticut, driver took the lead from four-time tour champion Doug Coby on a Lap 148 restart and didn't look back. The win was the 18th career in Whelen Modified Tour action for Preece and also his seventh at the half-mile Stafford. He won the NAPA Spring Sizzler at the track on April 30.
"I would have liked the restarts lane to go more my way, but we had a really good car tonight," said Preece, who started in the back after having his qualifying lap disallowed for failing post-qualifying technical inspection. "It was tough to have to start in the back, but my car was in the track all day. We've just had a great car all year long. I enjoy doing this. I enjoy showing up and knowing what I have and being successful."
Preece's No. 6 TS Hauler Chevrolet crossed the the finish line 0.302 seconds ahead of Coby, while Justin Bonsignore followed in third.
Although it looked like Coby was en route to winning for the 11th time at Stafford after leading 135 laps, a few late caution flags allowed the rest of the field to close to his back bumper. After a multiple car crash on the frontstretch on lap 144, Preece got his chance at Coby, lining up to his outside on a restart with just two laps remaining. When the green flag flew, Preece used the outside lane and powered around Coby going into turn one. He never looked back.
"I think the biggest thing was I had a better left-rear tire to fire (on the restart)," Preece said. "Having both fresher rear tires helped me be able to get in front of him and have the right line going into turn one."
Timmy Solomito took the championship points lead with a fourth-place finish, while Jon McKennedy completed the top five.
Rob Summers was sixth, followed by Dave Sapienza, Craig Lutz, Gary Putnam and Matt Swanson. Rowan Pennink, who held the points lead coming into the event, finished 17th and is seven points behind Solomito. Preece is fifth in points, one behind Eric Goodale and Bonsignore and 26 back of Solomito.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Wednesday night, with the running of the Bud 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. From there, the series will visit Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 16.
July 30th, 2017
Ryan Preece prevails at Iowa for first career Xfinity victory
A Chad Leistikow, USA TODAY article
NEWTON, Iowa — From scrounging up sponsorships to making a crucial phone call to — on Saturday — surviving three harrowing final restarts in the most important race of his career, Ryan Preece certainly earned every bit of his first win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Preece, 26, held off Kyle Benjamin and Brian Scott in an overtime finish to reach victory lane at the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by American Ethanol at Iowa Speedway.
Deflated after spending the entire 2016 season with an underfunded team in the Xfinity Series, Preece re-calibrated his career with a unique approach.
Rather than just getting by with a less-funded team, he decided to pool what sponsorships he could find and try to work his way into a seat in the car of a big-time team.
He was confident in his talent, having won multiple races and series championships in modifieds and late models in the Northeast.
“I believed in myself enough to do it,” Preece said. ”It is very risky. I had multiple people within the business tell me that they thought it was a little more risky than they would do.”
He placed a phone call to Joe Gibbs Racing’s top Xfinity Series executive, Steve deSouza, who didn’t answer. Preece left a message.
Thankfully, deSouza called him back.
They worked out a two-race deal, where Preece would drive at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Iowa in a span of three weekends.
He took the No. 20 Toyota to second (behind only Cup star Kyle Busch) two weeks ago; he rode to first Saturday.
A 1.5 average finish.
Not too bad, kid.
Not to mention Benjamin, also driving the Gibbs No. 18 on Saturday, finished second in just his fourth career Xfinity start.
“Joe just called,” deSouza said after Saturday’s race. “… He said, ‘What do we do now?’
“To be honest, we don’t really know the answers going forward, but we said, let’s go with them. Kyle, as well. And see what happens. If something opens up, that’s great. But these are the opportunities we all dream of.”
Preece had the car to beat this weekend, having won the pole position in Saturday morning’s qualifying.
He gained the lead in the final stage when leader Justin Allgaier chose not to pit under caution with 78 laps to go; a curious strategy.
A week ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Allgaier made a series of pit-road gaffes to take his car from the race lead to a 35th-place finish.
This week, Allgaier had another self-inflicted wound. When he opted to stay on the racetrack, everyone else behind him pitted, and he was a sitting duck on the restart.
He was hoping for another quick caution, but when one finally came with 18 to go, it was a few laps too late. Allgaier was already on pit road, two laps down, when Sam Hornish Jr.’s No. 22 Ford cut a tired and smashed the wall to bring out the fateful yellow.
Allgaier would finish 20th.
From there, Preece needed to deliver three successful restarts, and each time he showed the speed he needed to take the checkered flag.
Benjamin, 19, got to Preece’s door on the final lap but couldn’t make the pass.
“I would trade a lot of things to be in his position,” Benjamin said. “We were so close. It kind of hurts being that close.”
After Benjamin and Scott, Brennan Poole and Cole Custer rounded out the top five. William Byron, the winner of the June race here, finished ninth.
Preece, meanwhile, will be back at work Monday morning, at 8 a.m, getting ready for his next modified race.
The win doesn’t mean anything tangible for his future yet.
Except, of course, that he was right all along.
This was validation that walking away from a full-time ride at JD Motorsports was worth it, with a shot to make a name for himself.
Past winners at Iowa Speedway’s Xfinity races include Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones.
This may be the first time you’ve heard of Ryan Preece; there’s a good chance it won’t be the last.
“I’m not a racer to just be out there. I’m a racer to be right here,” he said, pointing to the winner’s podium, “to get those trophies, and be accomplished. And (to) be remembered in this sport.”
Chad Leistikow writes for The Des Moines Register, part of the USA TODAY Network.
FULL RESULTS (start position in parentheses):
1. (1) Ryan Preece, Toyota, 254.
2. (2) Kyle Benjamin, Toyota, 254.
3. (11) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 254.
4. (8) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 254.
5. (5) Cole Custer, Ford, 254.
6. (28) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 254.
7. (3) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 254.
8. (7) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 254.
9. (17) William Byron, Chevrolet, 254.
10. (19) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 254.
11. (21) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 254.
12. (6) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 254.
13. (16) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 254.
14. (25) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 254.
15. (26) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 254.
16. (9) Ty Majeski, Ford, 254.
17. (20) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 254.
18. (22) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 254.
19. (10) Matt Tifft, Toyota, 253.
20. (14) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 252.
21. (18) Ryan Reed, Ford, 252.
22. (31) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 252.
23. (13) Ben Kennedy, Chevrolet, 251.
24. (30) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 249.
25. (32) Dylan Lupton, Toyota, 249.
26. (36) David Starr, Chevrolet, 249.
27. (35) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 249.
28. (27) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 249.
29. (38) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 248.
30. (37) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 247.
31. (40) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 243.
32. (39) Stan Mullis, Chevrolet, 241.
33. (23) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 233.
34. (4) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, Accident, 229.
35. (34) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, Accident, 218.
36. (15) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 218.
37. (12) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, Accident, 170.
38. (33) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 46.
39. (29) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Transmission, 9.
40. (24) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Vibration, 3.
Average speed of winner: 96.9 mph.
Time of Race: 2 hours, 17 minutes, 37 seconds.
Margin of victory: 0.054 seconds.
Caution flags: 7 for 40 laps.
Lead changes: 4 among 4 drivers.
Lap leaders: R.Preece 1-63; K.Benjamin 64-68; E.Sadler 69-70; J.Allgaier 71-176; R.Preece 177-254.
Leaders summary (driver, times lead, laps led): R. Preece 2 times for 141 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 106 laps; K. Benjamin 1 time for 5 laps; E. Sadler 1 time for 2 laps.
July 15th, 2017
Two Good: Ryan Preece Finishes Second To Kyle Busch In Xfinity Series Overton’s 200 At NHMS
A www.racedayct.com article
(Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
LOUDON, N.H. – It’s a common refrain heard across the landscape of short track racing.
“How many articles have I read or seen, or short [track drivers] that you’ve heard of who have said ‘Man if I could just have that opportunity,’” Ryan Preece said of drivers talking about getting that one shot at a top level NASCAR series with a powerhouse team.
Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Preece ,of Berlin, got to live the dream that so many short track drivers only ever dream. It was the chance to run a NASCAR Xfinity Series event for a powerhouse stock car racing team. And Preece represented short track racers in glorious fashion in his first career start with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Preece finished second to Monster Energy Cup Series star Kyle Busch in the Xfinity Series Overton’s 200 Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The 26-year old Preece is a regular on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour – where he was the 2013 series champion – and a longtime regular in the weekly SK Modified divisions at Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway.
“What I really want to say is that this one is for all the short track guys out there that work week in and week in their race shops, getting ready to go on Friday nights and Saturday nights,” Preece said. “That’s what I do on my weekly grind. Monday morning I’m going to go back to work on my Modified to race on Friday. It means a lot to do it on this stage, to prove to people that I feel like I belong to be here. I would only get better with more seat time.”
Preece spent last year running full-time in the Xfinity Series with the underfunded Johnny Davis Motorsports team. He finished 17th in the series standings and stepped away from the ride after the 2016 season with the plan that he was better off chasing part-time opportunities with upper level organizations. He got that chance when Joe Gibbs Racing signed him to a two-race deal for Saturday’s race at NHMS and the July 29 Xfinity Series event at Iowa Speedway.
The second place in the Xfinity series event closed out a stellar weekend for Preece in Loudon. He won Friday’s Whelen Modified Tour All-Star Shootout and was second in the Whelen Modified Tour Eastern Propane & Oil 100 on Saturday prior to the Xfinity Series race.
“I like to win races,” Preece said. “… You really can’t complain if you get two seconds and a win in a weekend.”
Busch is the all-time winningest Xfinity Series driver with 89 victories, and he has won six of the last nine Xfinity Series events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway dating back to 2009.
“To win today was going to take beating Kyle Busch,” Preece said. “I’ve watched him win a lot of races in the Xfinity Series sitting on my couch at home so to be able to finish second to him today was a great accomplishment and something to build on.
“… We got second to Kyle Busch. What else can you do from there? Not quite the win, but it was definitely something.”
Preece started sixth in the Xfinity Series event and spent most of the event running in the top-five. He led two laps of the event.
“He just ran a good smart race,” Busch said. “From what I could see he just ran a smooth race and did a good job and kept his car under him. … He was keeping pace. … I think what was more impressive was him bouncing back and forth between as much as track time as he had with the Modified to deal with and then getting in the Xfinity car back and forth.”
Said Preece: “Iowa is the next task, the next goal. I’ve got to do as much as I can to prepare for there so we can have another solid finish. … To be able to have this opportunity means a lot to me. … A lot of people sacrificed a lot to put me in this car and that means a lot.”