Ryan Preece both happy and frustrated with "intense" 500 debut

NASCAR Cup Series rookie Ryan Preece survived late-race carnage to come home eighth in Sunday’s Daytona 500 but feels he could have finished higher.

Ryan Preece both happy and frustrated with "intense" 500 debut
Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express leads the final few feet before the checkered flag and finish line
Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger.com
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Discount Tire, Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger.com, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Chocolate Bar, Matt Tifft, Front Row Motorsports, Ford Mustang
Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger.com
Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger.com
#11: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Express leads
 Ryan Preece, JTG Daugherty Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Kroger.com

There might have been some curious thoughts and questions to why JTG Daugherty Racing selected Preece to drive one its Cup Series cars this season, but the rookie proved he belonged Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.

Preece lined up in the top five on the final restart and helped push Joey Logano into the top three before falling back on the final lap in overtime to finish eighth in the Great American Race in his first start.

Although he was happy with the solid finish, the former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion was frustrated with his performance on the final lap.

“All in all it (was) a good day,” said Preece. “I’m just really disappointed in myself right there (on the final lap) with not being more aggressive with my blocking. But how can you be upset with a top-10 (finish) in my first Daytona 500?”

Preece was able to miss the carnage on the final accident that set up overtime and decided to help Logano make a charge to the front on the final restart but as Logano was racing Kyle Busch, Preece fell back.

 

“It’s intense, man,” said Preece. “It’s something I’ve never been a part of. So, I have a lot of learning to do, for sure. Today was the type of day that you just wanted to race around these guys and not be erratic and not do anything stupid and hopefully when we go to Talladega or come back to Daytona, I can get a little bit more help.

“But, all in all, it’s really great for this Kroger Camaro. I’m looking forward to Atlanta next week.”

That’s something he said he’ll probably watch and get frustrated at himself later.

“I felt like I just needed to be more aggressive at the right time,” said Preece. “I’ll watch it (the race) and probably get frustrated with myself because there were probably a couple of things I could have done differently.

“I was so focused on helping Joey and I should have been more focused on helping myself. I’m used to racing for wins and being competitive (in the modifieds) and I’ll watch this and feel we could have finished fifth or third in the race.”

Despite the last lap, the Belin, Conn., native feels his performance at Daytona will help him and his team on the next superspeedway race and throughout the season.

“A lot of the employees at JTG have been working really hard this offseason,” he added. “I’ve been hands on on our race cars and I’ve see all the gains we’ve been making. I’m looking forward to getting to Atlanta and picking up where we left off.”

Read Also:

shares
comments
Daytona 500: Denny Hamlin wins as JGR goes 1-2-3

Previous article

Daytona 500: Denny Hamlin wins as JGR goes 1-2-3

Next article

"Heartbreaking" wreck ends DiBenedetto's "amazing" Daytona 500

"Heartbreaking" wreck ends DiBenedetto's "amazing" Daytona 500
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Daytona 500
Drivers Ryan Preece
Teams JTG Daugherty Racing
Author Tim Southers
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020