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NASCAR Cup Darlington II

Preece on Daytona wreck: "My vision is perfect" despite bruises

Ryan Preece says that his vicious wreck last Saturday night at Daytona looked far worse than it actually was.

Preece, who drives the No. 41 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, got turned by driver Erik Jones late in Saturday night’s regular season finale at Daytona International Speedway. Preece’s car darted across the track and collected the No. 14 Ford of his teammate Chase Briscoe.

As Preece slid from the asphalt onto the grass on the backstretch, the car went airborne and eventually flipped nearly a dozen times before coming to a violent stop on its wheels.

Preece eventually emerged from the car. He was taken by ambulance to the infield care center and eventually to a local hospital for evaluation. He was released from the hospital the next morning and on Friday he was medically cleared to race this weekend at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Visiting with the media outside his team’s hauler on Saturday morning, Preece looked no worse for wear outside of bruises under both of his eyes.

“They aren’t bad,” Preece said of his eyes. “I’m just going to put an end to it right now because what I want you all to know is racing in general, whether you’re racing a sprint car, a modified or anything, it’s dangerous.

“There are consequences to everything, but what we do as race car drivers is we respect one another to not put ourselves in positions to be like that. I’m fine. My vision is perfect, everything about it. They don’t hurt.

“What I can tell you is I went through all the tests. I feel fine. If I didn’t feel fine, I wouldn’t be in this car this weekend, but, obviously, I’m grateful and excited to be here.”

 

Preece said prior to the start of last Saturday night’s race at Darlington, he and his crew chief, Chad Johnston, had talked about whether Preece wanted to drive a sprint car sometime.

“I said I would, but, ‘I don’t want to go for a flip like they do’ and go figure. I’m good. I’m OK,” he said. “I’ve got no broken bones. I’m not sore.

“I wasn’t sore after it – a little bit of bruising, but nothing too crazy.”

Preece said he would like to be a part of NASCAR’s look into his crash and believes it will find modifications that can be made to help prevent the airborne nature of his accident in the future.

In the meantime, the 32-year-old former NASCAR modified star said he never considered not racing this weekend.

“No way. Why? I mean, as a racer, why? You go talk to a guy that’s racing a 410 or a modified, we love to race, and I feel completely fine, so why stop?” he said.

“I get what you’re saying. It’s OK to not race, but it’s OK to race, and I think that’s what really needs to be said here.”

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