Toyota Racing Ryan Preece
NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)
New Hampshire Motor Speedway – July 20, 2018
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Ryan Preece was made available to the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
RYAN PREECE, No. 18 Falmouth Ready Mix Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What would it mean to you to get a win this weekend?
“Yeah, it would be pretty nice. It’s definitely special to me just because this is what really started this whole thing last year when we finished second to Kyle (Busch), so it was – it’s nice to be back and obviously I love New Hampshire. I’ve been coming here since 2007, so, you know, hopefully we can have a strong day both in the Xfinity car and the modifieds and we’re still going to keep trying to make some gains in the modified. We struggled with tires, so not really sure – going to have to use that All-Star Race as a test session, but I think at the end when it counts on Saturday we should have pretty good race cars.”
How did this Xfintiy Series race get added to your schedule?
“Yeah, I mean, a lot of the people that supported me last year to do those two races, they wanted to get involved and do it again and so we put it together so we can come back and race here in New Hampshire in front of all their friends and family and my friends and family. It was a really big deal last year, so we ended up putting it together and hopefully we can do one spot better.”
Is your path of success something you wear as a badge of honor?
“I mean, it’s just one of those deals where I – I mean, I pretty much won championships at every track that I raced at in the northeast. I won the Whelen Modified Tour championship. I’ve won a lot of prestigious races and opportunities just weren’t coming. It’s not that I felt like I couldn’t do the job. They just weren’t coming, so what are you going to do? If those opportunities aren’t coming and you know you can do it and pretty much I had to do whatever I had to do to get in that ride and get that opportunity and show these guys, hey, you know I may race modifieds, but I can do the job that needs to be done.”
Is that something you’re proud of in a way?
“I mean, it is what it is. At the end of the day, I did the job that I felt like anybody – I did the job as best as I could have done or I really don’t know much more that I could have done, you know what I’m saying?”
Do you get the sense the NASCAR fan base is growing in New England?
“I think so. I mean, there’s always just – there’s a huge racing fan base in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, all of those states. It’s just we don’t have anybody in this series that’s raced in our states other than Joey (Logano), so I’d say yeah. I mean, I notice a lot more people getting – even coming to the short tracks now because like, ‘Oh, we see you on TV,’ or when I come to these races it’s like, ‘Oh, we see you at Stafford,’ or Thompson or whatever race track it may be in the northeast, so, yeah, I agree. I definitely think the northeast fan base is starting to get more involved at this level.”
How crazy is a weekend like this for you with multiple races?
“I’m used to it, so I do a lot of running around when it comes to our local short tracks. I race two, three divisions all the time. It’s just a lot further to run from that garage to this garage than it is at my local short track. As far as running around, I enjoy it. I love it. I actually just pulled some random guy with a golf kart and said, ‘Hey, come here, give me a ride,’ so – but I love it. It keeps you moving. It keeps you busy and you don’t sit down and think about things. You just do, so I enjoy it. And after the weekend, I’m pretty wiped.”
What’s in the works for next year and is it full-time Xfinity Series?
“Right now, there’s not really much talk about next year. It’s just looking forward to the races that I have left and try and capitalize on those, so as long as I do my job and I go out there and try to win these races or actually, yeah, just win these races ‘cause it’s – that’s really what’s gotten me here and kept me in this car, so I haven’t really thought about it much to be honest with you and as far as how I’d feel about having a full-time ride, I mean, I want one. Of course I do, but I think what needs to be said is sponsors need to come to the team and say we need Ryan Preece or something like that, so I’m just going to keep doing my job and that’s trying to win races and hopefully the sponsors will come.”
Have you felt any movement with other drivers talking about how good you are?
“It’s always good when you have Cup drivers like Kevin Harvick’s been great, Dale (Earnhardt Jr.), Ryan Newman – numerous amount of guys, they’ve been extremely helpful, but I’m not really big on the marketing side right now. I just try to do my job in the racing. I dabble in it a little bit, but it’s just not something that I’m good at, you know, with the explaining or how to put packages together. It’s not for me, but we have people that are working on that and they do a great job, so just, you know, it’s like you said, you need somebody that gives you that support that says, ‘Hey, he can do this,’ and that tends to get the ball rolling for sure.”
Do you feel like your known in the Xfintiy garage now or do you still feel like a humble, local racer?
“A lot of people that know me know I’m just Ryan Preece. I’m some goofy guy that walks around the garage area that drives a race car, but, you know, a lot of Daniel, Ryan Truex, we all know each other, but as far as pumping your chest out or walk around like I’m – I’m not that type of person and would never do that, so walk into that garage like I put my shoes on just like each and every one of you. Just another guy that’s lucky enough to come here at a national stage and race in the series.”
How important is it to get seat time in different cars?
“Well, you know, from my standpoint, I have a strong opinion on this. There always seems like there’s some people feel like they need to do that direct path – ‘I’ve got to go from a Legends car to a late model to a K&N car to, you know, a Truck, Xfinity,’ whatever. I didn’t do that. I was lucky enough early on a lot of support from Tommy Baldwin who kind of got me dabbling in this Xfinity Series, but I raced modifieds, I raced midgets, I raced a whole bunch of stuff and then by the age of 16 I’m from Connecticut – I’m not going to go out west, so I pretty much just stayed in the modifieds – ran SK modifieds, tour-type modifieds, all different touring series and I was winning a lot throughout the northeast. I’ve won ever since 2012 – Nic Teto right here could probably tell you – I’ve won probably at least 15 or so more races each year that I’ve race, so just I think the best thing to do is race because you love to race and not, you know, you’re chasing a dream, but at the same time, you love the sport, so that was the mentality I had pretty much all my career and then I – Tommy got me involved in this and I said, ‘Okay, well I want to be successful in this,’ and so I started to chasing after the dream, you know? And luckily and fortunate I have great supports – Falmouth Ready Mix, they do so much for me. They were some really big supporters last year to really make this happen and GMI Asphalt and Wildco last year and GMI came back on this year. Just without the support of those people, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. I wouldn’t have won Iowa. I wouldn’t have even had the opportunity that I had, so I think a lot of is just you’ve got have good people around you and you’ve got to want to do it because you love the sport and not just because you’re chasing after it to be in front of TV cameras and the whole deal.”