Ryan Preece New Hampshire Transcript

RYAN PREECE, No. 41 Mohawk Northeast Ford Mustang – WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE BEING CLOSER TO HOME? “Yeah, obviously being from New England, whether you’re from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont or Maine, you’re a big sports fan, right? So, when you love racing, you love your short track racing like Stafford where everyone was the other night, Thompson, or a lot of the other tracks in the Northeast. When New Hampshire comes into town with the Cup series and NASCAR, it’s a big thing. So, being up here, seeing a lot of familiar faces… for me, it’s a place where I grew up as a kid. So, I get excited coming here. I don’t know how to really put it into words… just really love the passion for racing and everything up here with the modifieds. So, I’m really excited for Sunday. We definitely put a lot of emphasis on this weekend, and I think we can be pretty fast.”


WHAT ARE YOUR FEELING OF BEING ADDED TO SRX NEXT WEEK? “That was really unexpected. First and foremost: Everything that’s going on up here in Vermont. My thoughts and prayers are for all the families that are losing a lot right now. Obviously, it’s not under the best conditions. I’m a huge fan of Thunder Road myself, but I’m excited for a great opportunity to race with those guys and have some fun at my home track. I think many people in the short track racing world know that I’ve come from Stafford Speedway, and I’ve won championships – a lot of races there, and it’s a great opportunity for the hometown fans to see a hometown guy go against them.”


WHAT IS YOUR COMFORT LEVEL AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY? “I just attack a weekend very similar to like L.A., right? Quarter-mile racing is something I grew up cutting my teeth doing, and I’m very comfortable doing it. New Hampshire is a place I’ve had a lot of laps on – a lot more than most tracks we go to. I feel really comfortable here. It’s that energy you have, that swagger, when you walk into a racetrack where you feel comfortable. New Hampshire was definitely a track, going into it, that I know what I need as a race car driver to find victory lane, or run really well. Same thing at L.A.: I remember when we unloaded and practiced. I was like, ‘Yeah, this is the feel we need.’ We didn’t qualify the best that day, but we drove from 16th to the lead. If we have that same sort of feel I’m looking for here, we can get the job done.”


DO YOU EVER LOOK BACK, TO MARTINSVILLE FOR EXAMPLE, WHERE YOU HAD A REAL CHANCE TO WIN? “Yeah, every time I look at that pole flag I think about it. But, I still got it. At the end of the day, we led a lot of laps, checked a box. That was a good moment, but obviously, a little dark – not exactly the way we wanted to end it. But, going into it, I remember walking pit road and asking questions. I felt like I did everything I needed to do. Unfortunately, we sped. Apparently, I can launch out of the pit box too well. Moving forward, I’ll never make that mistake again. We drivers move forward. If you’re going to constantly look behind at mistakes you’ve made, you can use it as an opportunity to learn from them and don’t look at them again. That’s what I’m going to do.”


HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE TEAM’S PROGRESS AND WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS STANDINGS? “The middle-month of May on, I felt like we’ve consistently made gains. We’ve been consistent. Last week at Atlanta, I thought we were going to have a really good run. We had a fast race car. We had a really good handling race car. So, statistically, if you look at an end number, it can be frustrating sometimes for Chad [Johnston] and myself. But to me, we know the gains we’re making and they’ll be showing in the second-half of the season.”


IS IT FRUSTRATING WHEN YOU GET QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR TEAM’S PERFORMANCE? “No. Because, at the end of the day, all I have to worry about is my team – within our group. People can look at it and get frustrated for themselves, but I know at the end of the day when I walk out of that racetrack and see progress, I’m happy.”


WITH SEVEN RACES LEFT IN THE REGULAR SEASON, HOW DO YOU BALANCE TAKING RISKS FOR WINS WITH HAVING A GOOD DAY? “So when I look at these next seven races, these tracks fit under my wheelhouse. I kind of felt that the mile and a half months, that Spring run when you go to a lot of mile and a halves, that was probably going to be our weaker point of the season. But when we got to the month of… end of May, June, July and August, those are my strengths. New Hampshire is my strength. Next week at Pocono is a track where I enjoy racing. Richmond: That’s another one I enjoy. Watkins Glen. Daytona – I love superspeedway racing, and unfortunately, we’ve got wrecked there in the final few laps, but we’ve been in contention, we’ve been aggressive and we’ve led laps. So, these next final races to get into the playoffs is certainly something I’m comfortable with, and every week is a new week.”


HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR DRIVERS TO HOP INTO SRX, MODIFIEDS AND AT LOCAL SHORT TRACKS IN ORDER TO BRIDGE THE GAP TO NASCAR? “For me, growing up as that kid at Stafford… I’ll give you an example. When I go to Stafford or a lot of my local short tracks where I come from I’m biased but, I see a lot of hard-working kids, and you don’t see a lot of it as much as you’d like sometimes. I go in there: I know a lot of those families and I see those guys mounting tires or cranking rounds into springs… all that stuff gets me excited. It’s awesome to see. For me, a lot of the fans that go there, it just puts a different type of energy in you. I know they thrive off of it, too. I’m really excited to go to Stafford this week. For me, it’s been a fight because I’ve been putting so much focus into this Cup car and not racing the modified. This will probably be my first time not planning to race a modified this year. It’s weird. Obviously, I want to win in this Cup series. I’ve sacrificed a lot going up to get here. So, I’m just going to keep digging on that.”


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