Preece impresses, lands another Xfinity race with Joe Gibbs Racing

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Preece impresses, lands another Xfinity race with Joe Gibbs Racing
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Aug 4, 2017, 9:48 PM

Ryan Preece has landed another NASCAR Xfinity Series race with Joe Gibbs Racing and there may be even more to come.

Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Polesitter Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
Race winner Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Race winner Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and Chris Gabehart
Race winner Ryan Preece, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Steve deSouza, JGR’s executive vice president and general manager of the Xfinity and driver development programs, confirmed Preece would compete in the Sept. 23 Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway in JGR’s No. 20 Toyota.

In only two previous series starts with JGR this season, Preece finished second at New Hampshire and won last weekend’s race at Iowa for his first series victory.

“We had an open race and we were kind of holding it, we’ve had some interest in it. Ryan has a great group of people behind him and so we were able to make some things happen for him,” deSouza said. “We’re happy about that and we’ll see where it goes.”

Preece, who is currently competing in and a former champion in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, said he really likes Kentucky.

“I love how different each end of the track is from each other. I look at Kentucky as another opportunity to try and do what we did at New Hampshire and Iowa,” he said. “It's not easy to do what we did there, but there’s a lot of heart behind me in New England.

“I’m going to sure give it everything I have for every driver out there that is knocking at every door to try and get this opportunity. I’m thankful that I have a third opportunity to go out there and try to get another trophy.”

deSouza said JGR does not have its lineup set yet for the 2018 season.

“In talking to Joe (Gibbs), Coy (Gibbs) and our executive group, I wish I could tell you that we have an exact plan for everything to fit, but we’re having to let nature take its course,” he said. “I think we would love to get he, (Kyle) Benjamin, we got (Matt) Tifft, we got all these guys. We’ll see how it all ends up.

“Our main objective is to help all these guys, and if we can’t retain them at JGR, then we want to help them with their careers. Eventually we need race car drivers in Cup level and Xfinity level to race against.”

There has been some concern expressed that Preece’s age (26) could be a negative for a driver trying to ignite a career in the upper levels of NASCAR, but deSouza believes Preece can still have a long and productive NASCAR career.

“Today’s environment is a little different. To me, what Denny (Hamlin) had and what some of the guys in the 20-year range, which could be viewed as a little bit of a negative, but what they have is experience and maturity,” he said.

“When you’re younger, you don’t know what you don’t know. Experience teaches the lesson first. Talent is talent and if you look at a career, (Preece) could easily could have another 10 to 15 years out there. I don’t discount that.

“It comes down to talent level and in the end it’s about performance.”

So far, Preece’s performance has spoken volumes.

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ryan Preece
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Breaking news