Wednesday, 21 August 2019
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NASCAR rookie Ryan Preece always confident at NHMS – Concord Monitor

Chris Buescher enjoys short-track racing, but he’s still trying to solve the Magic Mile at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He’s leaning on his new JTG Daugherty Racing teammate, Ryan Preece, to give him some tips.

Preece, a rookie in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, has turned countless laps around this track. The 28-year-old from Berlin, Conn., cut his teeth racing on short tracks across the region and spent 12 years on the Whelen Modified Tour, where he made 12 top-10 finishes in 23 races at NHMS.

He also has two top-five finishes out of four races on the Loudon mile in the Xfinity Series, including a third-place showing here in last summer’s race driving for Joe Gibbs.

Buescher, meanwhile, has an average finish of 25th place in five Cup races here. He’s improved in each race and cracked the top 20 here in 2018.

“I’m trying to learn from him and look at as much data as I can because this is not one of my best tracks,” Buescher told the Monitor on Friday. “It’s definitely a good opportunity for me to take some of the tens of thousands of laps that he’s got around here and try to apply that to what I’ve got going on.”

Past experience at NHMS goes a long way on this flat, 1-mile oval. Consider this: six current Cup drivers are three-time winners at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Preece made his Cup series debut here last year and finished 32nd driving the No. 98 Chevrolet for Mike Curb. His opportunity to run full-time in the Cup series opened up when AJ Allmendinger gave up his seat with JTG Daugherty Racing two years before his contract expired.

The team handed the keys over to Preece, who quickly turned in an eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 in February, one of two top-10 finishes this year.

Preece said the adjustment to the big Cup car hasn’t been a challenge – he’s been jumping in and out of race cars his whole life. His goal is to consistently run in the top 20, and then the top 15.

“It’s our rookie year right now, so we’re just trying to get on the right path and find what we need and get that speed that we’re working on,” he said.

Like any driver, running well isn’t the only thing Preece is looking for. He wants to be in Victory Lane. And while a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway would be a storybook moment for Preece, he’d be happy to have his first Cup victory come at any track.

“You’ve just got to win,” he said. “That’s what keeps you going, that’s what makes you love racing. That’s what has fueled my passion for racing.”

That passion is illustrated by Preece pulling double driving duty at the track this weekend. Before getting in his Cup car on Sunday, Preece placed 19th in Saturday’s Whelen Modified Eastern Propane & Oil 100. He also ran in Friday’s Modified All-Star Shootout, finishing 13th.

With seven races to go before the 16-driver playoff field is set, Preece is looking for that first Cup win to lock him in. He’s 57 points behind Daniel Hemric in the race for Rookie of the Year.

This weekend, though, Preece doesn’t feel like a rookie.

“I feel like I have a lot of laps and I know what to look for when I come here,” he said. “If there’s a place where we should run really good, it should be here.”

Preece will start Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301 (3 p.m., NBCSN) from the 14th row next to Bubba Wallace. He turned in a qualifying lap Friday at 133 mph.

Buescher will start in front of them on row 13.

“Ryan has come in and adapted really well to the Cup series,” Buescher said. “Having a limited time in the Xfinity series, it’s a hard transition no matter how much time you have there. I know there’s a lot riding on him this week at his home track, and I know he loves this place.”

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3321, nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)

Source: https://www.concordmonitor.com/Why-Ryan-Preece-has-Loudon-circled-on-the-schedule-in-his-first-full-season-in-Cup-27104813

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NASCAR rookie Ryan Preece always confident at NHMS – Concord Monitor

Chris Buescher enjoys short-track racing, but he’s still trying to solve the Magic Mile at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He’s leaning on his new JTG Daugherty Racing teammate, Ryan Preece, to give him some tips.

Preece, a rookie in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, has turned countless laps around this track. The 28-year-old from Berlin, Conn., cut his teeth racing on short tracks across the region and spent 12 years on the Whelen Modified Tour, where he made 12 top-10 finishes in 23 races at NHMS.

He also has two top-five finishes out of four races on the Loudon mile in the Xfinity Series, including a third-place showing here in last summer’s race driving for Joe Gibbs.

Buescher, meanwhile, has an average finish of 25th place in five Cup races here. He’s improved in each race and cracked the top 20 here in 2018.

“I’m trying to learn from him and look at as much data as I can because this is not one of my best tracks,” Buescher told the Monitor on Friday. “It’s definitely a good opportunity for me to take some of the tens of thousands of laps that he’s got around here and try to apply that to what I’ve got going on.”

Past experience at NHMS goes a long way on this flat, 1-mile oval. Consider this: six current Cup drivers are three-time winners at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Preece made his Cup series debut here last year and finished 32nd driving the No. 98 Chevrolet for Mike Curb. His opportunity to run full-time in the Cup series opened up when AJ Allmendinger gave up his seat with JTG Daugherty Racing two years before his contract expired.

The team handed the keys over to Preece, who quickly turned in an eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 in February, one of two top-10 finishes this year.

Preece said the adjustment to the big Cup car hasn’t been a challenge – he’s been jumping in and out of race cars his whole life. His goal is to consistently run in the top 20, and then the top 15.

“It’s our rookie year right now, so we’re just trying to get on the right path and find what we need and get that speed that we’re working on,” he said.

Like any driver, running well isn’t the only thing Preece is looking for. He wants to be in Victory Lane. And while a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway would be a storybook moment for Preece, he’d be happy to have his first Cup victory come at any track.

“You’ve just got to win,” he said. “That’s what keeps you going, that’s what makes you love racing. That’s what has fueled my passion for racing.”

That passion is illustrated by Preece pulling double driving duty at the track this weekend. Before getting in his Cup car on Sunday, Preece placed 19th in Saturday’s Whelen Modified Eastern Propane & Oil 100. He also ran in Friday’s Modified All-Star Shootout, finishing 13th.

With seven races to go before the 16-driver playoff field is set, Preece is looking for that first Cup win to lock him in. He’s 57 points behind Daniel Hemric in the race for Rookie of the Year.

This weekend, though, Preece doesn’t feel like a rookie.

“I feel like I have a lot of laps and I know what to look for when I come here,” he said. “If there’s a place where we should run really good, it should be here.”

Preece will start Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort & Casino 301 (3 p.m., NBCSN) from the 14th row next to Bubba Wallace. He turned in a qualifying lap Friday at 133 mph.

Buescher will start in front of them on row 13.

“Ryan has come in and adapted really well to the Cup series,” Buescher said. “Having a limited time in the Xfinity series, it’s a hard transition no matter how much time you have there. I know there’s a lot riding on him this week at his home track, and I know he loves this place.”

(Nick Stoico can be reached at 369-3321, nstoico@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @NickStoico.)

Source: https://www.concordmonitor.com/Why-Ryan-Preece-has-Loudon-circled-on-the-schedule-in-his-first-full-season-in-Cup-27104813

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