Ryan Preece has been promoted to Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 41 in the NASCAR Cup Series for 2023, SHR announced Nov. 16.
Preece replaces Cole Custer, who has been in the ride for the past three seasons.
The move follows reports that team co-owner Gene Haas wanted Custer to remain in the ride, while Tony Stewart wanted to place Preece in the ride. In the end, Stewart won out.
“This is the opportunity I’ve been working for,” Preece said in a statement. “Nothing was guaranteed at the start of this year, but I felt like if I put in the time, whether it was in a race car or in a simulator, that SHR was the place for me. It’s a company built by racers, for racers, and it’s exactly where I want to be.”
Preece spent time between all three series in 2022, making two starts in Cup, three in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and 10 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He earned a win in Trucks at Nashville Superspeedway with David Gilliland Racing. He also was the reserve driver for SHR during the season.
The 32-year-old has been in Cup before, running for JTG-Daugherty Racing from 2019-2021. He earned two top fives, nine top 10s and a best points finish of 26th in those three seasons.
“Ryan Preece has been a real asset to our race team this year as we’ve developed the Next Gen car,” Stewart said. “The time and effort he’s put into our program, combined with his real-world racing experience, earned him this opportunity.”
Custer will return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in a second car for SHR, who already fields an entry for Riley Herbst. Custer has 10 wins in the series, including one he earned in 2022 at Auto Club Speedway with SS Green Light Racing.
Sponsors for both and Custer’s number are to be announced.
About the author
Luken Glover arrived on the Frontstretch scene in 2020. He has been an avid NASCAR fan for the majority of his life, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who used to help former team owner Junie Donlavey in his garage. Glover covers news for the site and took over "The Underdog House" column in 2021. In addition to being a college junior, his hobbies include volunteering at church, playing basketball and tennis, racing go-karts, and helping at his high school alma mater.