Ryan Preece has been named the next driver of the No. 47 at JTG Daugherty Racing beginning in 2019.
“Really thankful for the opportunity for being able to race with Tad and Jodi [Geschickter] and Brad [Daugherty] and those guys,” Preece said Friday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It’s a dream come true. A lot of you know the path that I’ve gone down and the sleepless nights that I’ve gone through to chase after trophies and win races, so to finally get to this level and earn it, it’s really a short tracker’s dream to get here and to race for people with such class.”
Preece will take the ride from AJ Allmendinger, who is set to be released from the team at the end of the season. The Daytona 500 in February will kick start Preece’s first full year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as he has just five career starts from back in 2015.
At 27 years old, Preece has been competing on a limited basis in the Xfinity Series this season, as he did last year, with Joe Gibbs Racing. Preece has maintained he was going to bet on himself, and turned small funding into a winning opportunity at Gibbs, garnering enough attention to put his name in the silly season conversation.
In 49 career starts in the Xfinity Series, Preece has two career wins and 11 top-10 finishes. Preece has competed in nine races this season and went to victory lane at Bristol in the spring.
“Oh, I’m excited,” said competition director Ernie Cope. “I started watching him at the end of , there at Homestead, he drove hard there. And we got into the springtime here and watched that Bristol race and watched him go after it, and I was like, man, that guy is something. And then they talked about his story. I was like, that guy is right up my alley.
“I started looking into his background. He builds and drives and works on his own equipment, and that’s the mold I’m looking for. I want someone that’s a race car driver who has done it his whole life. Every time I’ve called him, he’s in the shop. He is always underneath that race car or going to the shop. That’s all he does is race.”
Preece will be teammates with Chris Buescher, who JTG announced will return next season in the No. 37 Chevrolet. Tad Geschickter also said the organization would begin using engines from Hendrick Motorsports; the team is in its final year of an agreement with ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing) motors.
“I’ve got to just mention that if you all get a chance to come and look at the infrastructure that Ernie Cope has built around our race shop in two years and the way we are going about our business, we are really serious and have invested heavily to have the right tools, the right talent, and people,” said Geschickter. “There are people in our engineering department that are used to winning. I think it really needs to be called out.
“I think Ryan probably came through as a courtesy to come look at our place and he is enough of a racer to look at what is in place to say, wow, this thing is ready to go to the next level. If you get a chance to come through and walk through we would welcome you just to show you how we are going about our business and I think it’s in the right way.”