Stewart-Haas Racing has given Ryan Preece the keys to the No. 41 Ford Mustang, making him a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver once again.
Preece ran full-time in the Cup Series from 2019 through 2021 with JTG Daugherty Racing. Last season, Preece served as a reserve driver for the Stewart-Haas last season and also did work for organization in the simulator and ran two races for Rick Ware Racing at Dover and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
But Preece also impressed with his limited starts in the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series. In three Xfinity Series starts, Preece picked up two top-10 finishes and in 10 starts in the Truck Series, he won at Nashville and had nine top-10 finishes.
“Ryan Preece has been a real asset to our race team this year as we’ve developed the Next Gen car,” said co-owner Tony Stewart. “The time and effort he’s put into our program, combined with his real-world racing experience, earned him this opportunity.”
“Ryan has bet on himself a couple of times in his career and it’s always paid off. Now we’re betting on him. I’ve run some Modified Tour races and it’s a tough series with a lot of talent.
“Ryan’s Mod Tour championship speaks to his talent, and I think he proved that when he pushed all his chips into the middle of the table and bet on himself by getting those Xfinity Series races with Gibbs. When he finally got the right opportunity, he delivered in a big way.
“Now, Ryan’s got the right opportunity in Cup. We’re proud to have him and look forward to seeing what he can do in our racecars.”
A crew chief and sponsors for Preece were not announced.
“This is the opportunity I’ve been working for,” said Preece. “Nothing was guaranteed at the start of this year, but I felt like if I put in the time, whether it was in a race car or in a simulator, that SHR was the place for me. It’s a company built by racers, for racers, and it’s exactly where I want to be.
“I know this season just finished, and most people are looking to take a break, but I can’t wait to get going.”
With Preece’s promotion to the No. 41 comes at the expense of Cole Custer, who is being moved back to the Xfinity Series in 2023. Custer will be a teammate to Riley Herbst, who was confirmed Tuesday as returning full-time in the No. 98 Ford.
“Cole Custer has been a part of SHR since 2017 and we’re glad to have him stay with us,” Stewart said. “Cole’s experience will be invaluable to Riley Herbst as he continues his development in the Xfinity Series.”