Current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour racer Ryan Preece will drive in two NASCAR XFINITY Series event for Joe Gibbs Racing this year.
Preece’s first event for Gibbs will be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with his second coming at the second Iowa Speedway event.
A native of Berlin, Conn., Preece currently sits eighth in the Modified Tour standings after missing a race. His success on the tour, coupled with past experience in the XFINITY Series, are noted as determining factors in the team’s decision.
Preece has seen much success on the Modified Tour, which consolidated both the northern and Whelen Southern Modified Tour of year’s past into one touring division for 2017. That change hasn’t bothered Preece as he has already captured two victories in five events this year. His career 17 NWMT tour event wins, 61 top fives and 87 top-10 finishes are among the most respectable stats on the tour today.
The 26-year-old’s XFINITY career has been a bit more trying as he ran the entire schedule for JD Motorsports in 2016. Preece was hoping for a strong campaign, but earned one top-10 finish in 35 races, finishing 17th in the standings before opting to return to the modifieds.
He also boasts five starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, with a best finish of 32nd at New Hampshire in 2015. Preece inked a part-time deal in the Cup Series late that season after losing a bet to team owner Tommy Baldwin at a NWMT race, eventually leading to his full-time run in the XFINITY Series with JD Motorsports.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to race for Joe Gibbs Racing and my crew chief Chris Gabehart and the whole [No.] 20 team,” Preece said a team release. “It seems like a great group and they obviously have a great team. I am looking forward to being a part of the [No.] 20 team and having a winning car. Now I need to put in the time, the effort, the work and get it done. I’m very excited.”
“Ryan is the latest young driver to help us with our NASCAR XFINITY Series program. He has been on fire this year with the Modifieds and we have him starting at his home track in New Hampshire for us,” Steve deSouza, executive vice president of XFINITY and development for Joe Gibbs Racing, said. “He is very excited about the opportunity and we are looking forward to working with him.”
The NASCAR XFINITY Series heads to Kentucky Speedway Friday for the running of the Alsco 300.