Notes of Interest

● As part of #NASCARSalutes and the 600 Miles of Remembrance initiative during the Coca-Cola 600, the No. 41 HaasTooling.com team will remember and honor SPC Jonathan Batista of the U.S. Army. A native of Rutherford, New Jersey, Batista was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He deployed with the 2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment out of the 4th Brigade Combat Team to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in February 2012. Batista’s courage and determination were second to none, and he gave his best every day. Batista gave his life protecting his brothers on July 8, 2012. He is survived by his mother, Jeannette Gaston.

● Ryan Preece enters Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway after posting a 17th-place finish in the last points-paying event May 12 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Preece’s best performance in his five previous Coca-Cola 600s came in his most recent drive in NASCAR’s longest race when he finished 13th last May.

● Preece has made three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts and one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start on Charlotte’s 1.5-mile oval. His best Xfinity Series outing came in May 2022 when he finished fifth for B.J. McLeod Motorsports, and his lone Truck Series start netted an 11th-place result for David Gilliland Racing.

● The Coca-Cola 600 marks the start of the second half of the regular season. Preece sits 28th in the driver standings with 192 points through the first 13 points-paying races. He sits seven points behind 27th-place Erik Jones and eight points behind 26th-place Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Preece has one top-10 finish this season – a ninth-place run April 7 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He also has seven top-15 finishes, compared to five at the same point last season. Preece is hitting his stride with career-best finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway (16th), Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas (23rd), Martinsville, and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (12th).

● Back with Preece and the No. 41 Ford Mustang Dark Horse at Charlotte is HaasTooling.com, the cutting tool division of Haas Automation. HaasTooling.com allows CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. Haas cutting tools are sold exclusively online at HaasTooling.com and shipped directly to end users. Haas Automation, founded in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers, rotaries and indexers, and automation solutions.

● Haas Automation is hosting Project MFG and its Clash of Trades competition this weekend at the Stewart-Haas facility in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Four schools from across the country will come together at Stewart-Haas this Friday, Saturday and Sunday to compete for $100,000 in a national advanced manufacturing competition. Autry Technology Center in Enid, Oklahoma, Calhoun Community College in Tanner, Alabama, Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City, Alabama, and Everett (Wash.) Community College will be the four schools competing. Each team will be tasked to build an engine manifold, and the three-day event will provide a platform for teams to showcase their expertise in a variety of areas such as CNC programming and machining, mill and lathe operations, three- and five-axis milling, TIG welding, metrology and precision assembly. The event will be filmed and air on YouTube in July. For more information on Project MFG and Clash of Trades, please visit projectmfg.com.

Ryan Preece, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse

You and the No. 41 team will be honoring and remembering SPC Jonathan Batista this weekend at the Coca-Cola 600. Talk about the importance of the annual #NASCARSalutes and 600 Miles of Remembrance.

“NASCAR’s tradition of recognizing our heroes at the Coca-Cola 600 certainly has an important place in the sport and all our hearts. It’s a great way to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed everything for our freedom. All of us drivers want to represent them and their families in the best way this weekend. For our team, it’s an honor to carry SPC Batista’s name on our car, and we’re going to do everything we can to have a good run for him and his family in the race.”

What do you have to do as a driver to prepare for the longest race of the season with the Coca-Cola 600 this Sunday at Charlotte?

“Temperatures look like they’re going to be high on Sunday. We’re getting into the heat of the summer, so hydrating before the race weekends coming up will certainly be important for all of us drivers, especially this weekend when we’re going to run 600 miles. You have to be hydrated to be on your game in a race like that. Outside of what we’ll have to do to hydrate, it’ll be about getting into the sim and having those conversations with the team to be sure we’re in the best position possible from a setup standpoint. I’ve felt pretty good about our team’s speed on the mile-and-a-half racetracks this year, so Sunday’s certainly an opportunity to have a good run and to begin turning things around in the right direction for the No. 41 team.”

Qualifying has proven to be challenging for you and the No. 41 team this season. What must happen to improve that performance?

“The potential has been there in qualifying this season. We just have to be sure we’re getting fast, clean laps in to get us further up the grid before the green flag falls on Sunday. It’s certainly an area that’s really important for us to improve on because track position is so important in the series right now.”

We’re halfway through the regular season. Are there any racetracks that you have circled to give you the best shot at gaining ground in the point standings?

“I’m a driver that looks at all the racetracks as places to have a strong run. New Hampshire has certainly been good to me in the past, and it’s a place that is very special to me, being so close to where I’m from and grew up racing. I’m a Northeast guy and racer, so I’m looking forward to getting up there in a few more races and having a strong run. Nashville and Iowa have also been a couple of good racetracks for me. I won my first Xfinity Series race at Iowa, and that win really changed everything for me and my career, so there are definitely a few racetracks coming up that we’re looking forward to going to, for sure.”

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