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DGM Racing inked a multi-race partnership with CreatiVets, kicking off their collaboration by debuting a patriotic scheme, with Weatherman behind the wheel of DGM Racing’s No. 91 Chevrolet at the highly anticipated Alsco Uniforms 300 on Saturday, May 27. CreatiVets will also serve as an associate sponsor of Ross Chastain’s No. 91 at Sonoma Raceway and Indianapolis Road Course.
CreatiVets, a non-profit organization founded by U.S. Marine Veteran, Richard Casper, was born out of a deeply personal experience. CreatiVets was established to help veterans cope with and heal from service-related trauma through arts and music. When Casper’s best friend, Luke Yepsen, tragically passed away, Casper found solace in expressing his emotions and sharing his story with the world. CreatiVets aims to honor Luke's memory by also placing his name within the paint scheme of the No. 91 car, symbolizing the lasting impact one can have even after death.
This marks a significant moment for both CreatiVets and the racing community as this partnership increases their ability to save the lives of our military members. The NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 is a fitting event to showcase the collaboration between CreatiVets and DGM Racing. As Memorial Day approaches, this race serves as a tribute to the brave men and women who have served in the military.
Casper expressed his enthusiasm for partnering with Chastain, Weatherman, and DGM Racing for the NASCAR Salutes Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He stated, "Ross has quickly become a favorite among veterans, military personnel, and race fans around the country, while Kyle’s shared passion for the men and women that serve and protect the U.S. aligns perfectly with our organizational goals. Together, I am confident they will amplify our mission to reach veterans who may not be seeking help and inspire them to participate in our life-altering and life-saving programs. Through this partnership, we are confident that we can change the lives of thousands of veterans."
Driver of the CreatiVets Chevrolet, Kyle Weatherman, shared his excitement for the partnership saying, “As someone with service members in my family, our U.S. veterans hold a very special place in my heart, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for those that serve our country. Though it is nothing compared to the sacrifices of our service members, working with CreatiVets is an organization that I am very excited and proud to represent, especially on Memorial Day weekend!” Weatherman’s dedication to his craft and drive to succeed, combined with his genuine connection to the veteran community, makes him the perfect ambassador for CreatiVets' cause.
CreatiVets has partnered with Grunt Style to create a limited edition shirt. All proceeds from the sale of these shirts go directly toward CreatiVets' life saving art and music programs. Click here to purchase: CreatiVets.org/shirt
“Each year, the entire NASCAR community comes together to honor the brave men and women who have fought for our country through the NASCAR Salutes campaign. This is the perfect weekend to debut this partnership and introduce the NASCAR community to an incredible organization,” said Chastain. “I am humbled with this opportunity to recognize an inspiring group who is going above and beyond for our nation’s veterans, and be a small part of a campaign that honors and gives back to the men and women who risk their lives for our great country.”
DGM Racing, known for its commitment to excellence in the racing world, is thrilled to have Kyle Weatherman as its driver for this prestigious race. “It is truly a privilege to honor the selfless members of our military and share this event with their loved ones,” said DGM Racing owner, Mario Gosselin. “I am looking forward to welcoming the CreatiVets to our team for a very special weekend of racing together.”
Mark your calendars to witness the No. 91 CreatiVets Chevrolet Camaro in action at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 on May 27th. Join us in honoring the memory of Luke Yepsen and supporting the courageous men and women who have served our country.
DGM Racing PR
Mission Accomplished: Mission 600 Rolls on for Sixth Year In Advance of Patriotic Coca-Cola 600
Mission accomplished. For the sixth consecutive year, ahead of the Coca-Cola 600 each Memorial Day Weekend, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Mission 600 set out to honor the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces by pairing Coca-Cola Racing Family and other drivers alongside units from different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. This year defending Coca-Cola 600 winner Denny Hamlin and fellow Coca-Cola Family Racing drivers Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano, along with Aric Almirola visited military to educate the NASCAR community about the day-to-day lives of the men and women who serve. This year’s campaign included a mix of in-person and virtual visits spanning from the Middle East and Arlington National Cemetery to bases in North Carolina and Virginia.
“The Coca-Cola 600, being on the eve of Memorial Day, it’s a nice reminder to be able to bring the stars of our sport out so they can actually see what the military does each and every day – that sense of team, that sense of service, that sense of duty – the same characteristics that make for a successful race team,” said Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter. “When we bring these drivers out for Mission 600, it’s really cool to see them kind of rethink things. They see the military there during pre-race, but to be able to interact with them outside of the race weekend and see how they work to protect our freedoms, it’s a unique connection point for our sport to the military.”
Austin Dillon/Paul Swan visited Fort Bragg, NC (April 19)
Dillon and Swan, alongside Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter, spent the day learning about the equipment and training that members of the 82nd Airborne receive. The trio toured Fort Bragg in a UH-60 Black Hawk and fired an M119A2 Howitzer, rode in Infantry Squad Vehicles, dined with service members in the Warrior Restaurant, took part in an Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and participated in live-fire exercises.
Daniel Suarez visited virtually Area Support Group – Jordan (April 27)
During the hour-long virtual visit, members of ASG-J shared with Suárez, Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter and Performance Racing Network President Doug Rice insights into their mission to provide logistics, communications needs, force protection and host nation coordination throughout the region. Over the course of the conversation, Suárez and the unit found common ground on topics ranging from the importance of teamwork to persevering through adversity.
Denny Hamlin visit Arlington National Cemetery (May 3)
Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing President Dave Alpern joined Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, executives from Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and Coca-Cola Consolidated, as well as Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, continuing an annual tradition for the defending Coca-Cola 600 race winner to kick off Military Appreciation Month each May in Arlington, Va. The group also toured the cemetery’s artifacts room, visited with members of the Old Guard and toured the Pentagon.
Joey Logano visits Naval Station Norfolk (May 10)
Logano, alongside Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter and NASCAR Salutes ambassador Jesse Iwuji, toured the expansive USS Nitze destroyer, met with commanding officers and the crew, toured the ship’s bridge and aft missle deck, and served chow to sailors. Following the tour, Logano participated in a ship handling trainer simulation, which gave the veteran driver an in-depth education in maneuvering a warship at sea.
Aric Almirola visited Camp Lejeune (May 16)
Almirola, along with Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter, met with Marines from the 2D LAR (Light Armor Reconnaissance) Battalion, flew in an MV-22 Osprey, participated in a tire-changing demonstration, learned about a variety of weapons systems, and fired an M242 Bushmaster from an LAV (Light Armored Vehicle). Almirola also served lunch to dozens of Marines, courtesy of Smithfield.
Log on to www.CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com for tickets, schedules and more information on the weekend’s three days of action-packed racing. Kids 12 and under get in FREE on Friday and Saturday.
Keep track of all of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s events by following on Twitter and Instagram or become a Facebook fan. Keep up with all the latest news and information with the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.
South Boston Speedway’s July 1 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 Will Be an All-Amercan Celebration
Patriotic festivities, the excitement and drama of one of the country’s top Late Model Stock Car races, and a dazzling Fourth of July fireworks show to end the night make South Boston Speedway’s July 1 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort event an All-American celebration.
The region’s top competitors will converge on the .4-mile oval for South Boston Speedway’s premier 200-lap Late Model Stock Car Division race which annually serves as the kickoff race of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown. The winner will take home a $10,000 prize and each driver to start the race will earn at least $800.
“This event is our crown jewel race and one of the biggest Late Model Stock Car races in the region” said South Boston Speedway General Manager Chase Brashears. “We always enjoy putting on a spectacular show with the kickoff to the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, a ton of patriotic festivities and much more on tap.
“Fans were on their feet cheering loudly last year as Corey Heim and Jacob Borst were sideways across the finish line to take the checkered flag, with Heim getting the win by only a couple of feet,” Brashears added. “There is always excitement and drama in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort, and we expect it to be true again this year.”
The July 1 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort will also feature a celebration of Independence Day. A dazzling Fourth of July fireworks show will light up the night sky immediately following the conclusion of the night’s racing activities. Plenty of patriotic festivities to honor America will be featured that evening.
In addition to the 200-lap race for the Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division, fans will see a 40-lap race for the Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division, a 20-lap race for the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division, and a 20-lap race for the Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division.
The format for the 200-lap Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division race will be very similar to that of past years. Qualifying will take place via group qualifying with the fastest 30 cars being locked into the 200-lap race. All remaining cars will compete in a 20-lap Last Chance Qualifier Race to set the field up to a maximum of 40 cars. Two promotor’s provisional starting positions can be used to set starting positions 39 and 40.
This year’s race will be run in four stages with the first stage ending with a caution at lap 50. The second stage ends at lap 100 with a caution followed by a 10-minute halfway break. Stage three will end with a caution at lap 150 and the fourth stage concludes at lap 200 with the end of the race.
Caution laps will not count during the stage breaks at the end of stage one, stage two/halfway and stage three. In addition, caution laps will not count in the final 10 laps of the race.
The July 1 race day schedule has registration and pit gates opening at 10 a.m. Frontstretch spectator gates will open at 12:30 p.m. and practice will begin at 1 p.m. Backstretch and Turn 4 trackside tailgating gates will open at 3:30 p.m. Qualifying will begin at 4:15 p.m. An autograph session will be held on the frontstretch of the speedway at 5:15 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies will start at 6:35 p.m. and the first race of the night will start at 7 p.m.
Advance adult general admission tickets for the July 1 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort are priced at $20 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, www.southbostonspeedway.com, or by calling the speedway office at 434-572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.
Tickets at the gate on race day will be $25 each. Seniors ages 65 and older, military, healthcare workers, and students (with ID) can purchase tickets for $20 each at the gate on race day.
Fans and competitors can find the latest news and updates from South Boston Speedway on the speedway’s website, www.southbostonspeedway.com, on the track’s social media channels, and by phoning the speedway at 1-434-572-4947 or toll free 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.
RACE ADVANCE: Kaz Grala at Charlotte Motor Speedway
"I’m pumped for Charlotte this weekend. I’ve only raced on the oval once in the Xfinity Series, but it was a top-10 finish with our family-run team in 2018. I grew up competing in Bandoleros and Legend Cars in the infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway and won many races and championships along the way. I used to look out at the 'big track' and dream of someday racing on it, so Charlotte is always a reminder of how cool it is to still be chasing my dreams. We’ll be sharing the excitement this weekend with Fire Dept. Coffee in our beautiful Shellback Espresso car. I'm excited to run this special paint scheme in honor of our U.S. veterans and military on Memorial Day weekend. Fire Department Coffee's CEO, Luke, is a U.S. Navy veteran himself. We’re riding some momentum lately, and I hope to continue to build on that with another great result this weekend."
-- Kaz Grala, Driver of the No. 26 Fire Dept. Coffee Shellback Espresso GR Supra
Breakthrough! Bacon Wins First Tony Hulman Classic at Terre Haute
NASCAR Garage 56 Le Mans display coming to American SpeedFest 10
American SpeedFest 10, powered by Lucas Oil, strengthens its ties with NASCAR following confirmation that the NASCAR Next Gen Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be displayed at Brands Hatch on June 17-18. This exciting attraction at the SpeedFest programme comes in addition to a thrilling on-track line-up headlined by the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, with NASCAR demonstrations and a curated selection of themed support races.
NASCAR will enter the machine at the 24 Hours of Le Mans a week prior to American SpeedFest on June 10-11, as it celebrates its 75th anniversary and the 100th running of the endurance race. Seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will share driving duties with 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button and two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller.
The NASCAR Next Gen Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has been specially adapted to take a NASCAR-style stock car back to the “twice around the clock” endurance classic for the first time since 1976, when a Ford Torino and Dodge Charger entered the race. The Garage 56 exhibit will feature the car on static display in a bespoke fan zone at SpeedFest 10, with spectators able to take a closer look at this unique machine.
Jerome Galpin, NWES President and CEO, said: “It’s an honor to bring the Garage 56 NASCAR car to the British audience which has been one of the best for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series all over the past ten years. The car and its participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans are the perfect tools to put NASCAR even more under the spotlight in Europe and showcase the direct link with the NASCAR official European series. I am sure the fans will once again enjoy the show provided by EuroNASCAR: emotions, close door-to-door racing, unparalleled access to teams and drivers in a unique American atmosphere.”
Chad Seigler, NASCAR Chief International Officer, said: “The American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch regularly attracts tens of thousands of race fans from across Europe and this year’s 10th anniversary edition will be no different. We’re excited to offer our fans the opportunity to see the NASCAR Next Gen Garage 56 car in person immediately following the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The project has been an important initiative for NASCAR to bring the sights and sounds of our sport to one of the most prestigious races in the world.”
There will be an extensive range of off-circuit attractions at American SpeedFest 10 too, including a huge American car display, the new SpeedFest Country music festival and a Live Action Arena headlined by monster truck shows. All qualifying and race sessions at the Indy Circuit of Brands Hatch will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from all around the world.
Fans invited to free Midwest is Best party with NASCAR star Ty Majeski Saturday, June 3, at World Wide Technology Raceway
Ticketed fans attending the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday, June 3, are invited to a free Midwest is Best party in the Party Pavilion near the drag strip.
The Midwest is Best party starts at 8 a.m. and concludes at 9 a.m. The festivities include free coffee, donuts, and breakfast sandwiches.
Wisconsin native and NASCAR star Ty Majeski will participate in a Q&A session, hosted by announcer Eric Huenefeld and Al McKarns.
The event flyer is the fans’ free ticket to the event. Simply screenshot the flyer on your phone or print it out, but you must bring it to the party gate for entry.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota 200 will start at 12:30 p.m. The Toyota 200 is the opening act for Sunday’s main event, the second annual Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter NASCAR Cup Series race.
For tickets and additional information, please call WWTR at (618) 215-8888 or visit www.wwtraceway.com. Follow @WWTRaceway on social media.
THURSDAY, JUNE 1
4-7 p.m. -- Fanfest at Ballpark Village, downtown St. Louis.
FRIDAY, JUNE 2 – FREE FRIDAY
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. -- NASCAR haulers Touch-a-Truck. Located in the Special Events lot. See the NASCAR haulers, meet the hauler drivers. Photo opportunities. Open to everyone.
11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. -- Lunch with Legends featuring Kenny Wallace. This is a ticketed event and is sold out. Lunch at 11 a.m. Q&A session at 11:30 a.m. Located on Midway Stage No. 3.
12 p.m. – NASCAR Cup Series haulers parade to the all-new Gateway Garage. Fans invited to the grandstands to watch the parade of NASCAR Cup Series haulers as they enter the track.
2 p.m. -- Guided fan Track Walk. Fans may walk a lap around the World Wide Technology Raceway oval with a special guest from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. (Driver TBA).
3 p.m. to 8 p.m. – NASCAR Cup Series technical inspections. Fans with Saturday or Sunday Infield Fan Experience passes may watch the NASCAR Cup Series’ technical inspection process and get a preview of the all-new Gateway Garage Experience.
5 p.m. -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota 200 practice.
5:30 p.m. -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota 200 qualifying.
SATURDAY, JUNE 3 – NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES TOYOTA 200, CONFLUENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, JACKIE JOYNER-KERSEE JJK 5k
6 a.m. – Parking lots open.
7 a.m. -- Spectator gates and Infield Fan Experience open. All Midway stages go live for Confluence Music Festival.
8 a.m. – Free Midwest is Best party with driver Ty Majewski in the Party Pavilion (near the drag strip).
9 a.m. -- NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter practice.
9:45 a.m. -- NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter qualifying.
11 a.m. – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver autograph session (Infield Fan Experience).
12 p.m. – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota 200 driver introductions.
12:30 p.m. – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota 200 (160 laps).
3:30 p.m. – Jackie Joyner-Kersee JJK 5k.
4 p.m. – Car show (pit road).
5:15 p.m. – Flo Rida performance.
6:30 p.m. -- Tim Dugger: Saturday Wrap-Up Party on the Midway.
8 p.m. – Campground concert.
8:30 p.m. – Track gates closed.
SUNDAY, JUNE 4 -- NASCAR CUP SERIES ENJOY ILLINOIS 300, CONFLUENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL STARRING DIERKS BENTLEY
6 a.m. -- Parking lots open.
7 a.m. – Spectator gates and Infield Fan Experience open. All Midway stages go live for Confluence Music Festival.
8 a.m. – Motor Racing Outreach non-denominational Sunday service (stage near Turn 4 tunnel).
9 a.m. -- Garage Guys Live (stage near Turn 4 tunnel).
9:30 a.m. -- Kenny Wallace Live! with John Roberts (Midway).
10 a.m. -- Track open to fan access.
10:30 a.m. -- Confluence main stage: Brittney Spencer.
11:15 a.m. -- Confluence main stage: Bailey Zimmerman.
12:30 p.m. -- Confluence main stage: Brothers Osborne.
1:50 p.m. – NASCAR drivers Red Carpet Walk.
1:55 p.m. – NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter driver introductions.
2:30 p.m. – NASCAR Cup Series Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter (240 laps, 300 miles).
6 p.m. -- Post-race Track Walk, fan access for concert (time approximate).
6:30 p.m. – Confluence main stage: Dierks Bentley.
7 p.m. – Infield Fan Experience closes.
Schedule subject to change.
Daniel Suárez Trackhouse Racing Coca-Cola 600 Race Advance
Trackhouse Racing PR
HaasTooling.com Racing: Ryan Preece Charlotte Advance
Notes of Interest
● This weekend, as part of #NASCARSalutes and the yearly 600 Miles of Remembrance initiative at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, the No. 41 team will be honoring Sergeant Bradley J. Harper of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Born on Nov. 1, 1979, Harper was raised in Dresden, Ohio and joined the Marine Corps in December 1998. He attended boot camp in the spring of 1999 and was assigned to Lima Company (Co.), 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines out of Brook Park, Ohio, after the completion of boot camp. Harper served as a reservist until 2004, when he and his wife, Kendra Kellerman (Schiewe), moved to Chesapeake, Virginia. He transferred to the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion stationed in Little Creek, Virginia. While he was living in Virginia, he worked as a police officer with the Virginia Beach Police Department. In 2005, Harper and his unit were mobilized to Iraq, where he was on the same base as his previous unit from Brook Park. On Aug. 3, Lima Co. conducted patrol operations and Harper volunteered to go on patrol with his former Marines. The vehicle that he and 13 other Marines were riding in ran over a roadside IED in Haditha, Iraq. All 13 Marines were killed in the attack.
● Sgt. Harper’s name will be on the windshield of Preece’s red, white and blue HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang as the series takes on the longest race of the season during Memorial Day Weekend.
● Preece will make his sixth NASCAR Cup Series start at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Sunday and his fifth Coca-Cola 600 start. His first was in 2019 for JTG-Daugherty Racing, when he started 24th but finished 31st due to a suspension issue. He has a best Charlotte finish of 22nd, which came in May 2020. Preece completed just 16 laps in last May’s Coca-Cola 600 event for Rick Ware Racing due to the Damaged Vehicle Policy. This weekend’s start will be Preece’s first Charlotte with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
● In three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Charlotte, Preece has a best start of third and best finish of fifth, both of which occurred last May while driving for B.J. McLeod Motorsports in the No. 5 Ford. Preece’s lone NASCAR Truck Series start at Charlotte also came last May, when he started eighth and finished 11th for David Gilliland Racing.
● Last weekend, the series made its highly anticipated return to the newly revived North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway for the 2023 NASCAR All-Star Race and All-Star Open. Preece was one of 16 drivers who needed to race his way into the main event by finishing first or second in Sunday’s All-Star Open, or by winning the Fan Vote. Preece started the 100-lap Open eighth, and his team made significant adjustments during the lap-42 competition caution, which brought Preece’s car to life. He was able to work through traffic and avoid multiple incidents on his way to finishing fourth.
● Through the first third of the Cup Series season, Preece has shown improvement and consistency at a variety of racetracks, bringing a heightened sense of motivation to the No. 41 team. He had a career weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April, earning his first Cup Series pole and leading a career-high 135 laps. Since then, although the results haven’t shown it, Preece has started coming into his own.
● Preece heads to Charlotte 29th in the driver standings with 201 points.
● Preece kicked off the 2023 season with a strong showing in the non-points Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, leading a race-high 43 laps but ultimately finishing seventh after a fuel pump issue. He has a best points-paying finish of 12th this season, which came at Phoenix Raceway in March.
● HaasTooling.com, back again in 2023 on the No. 41 SHR Ford Musting, the cutting tool division of Haas Automation led by SHR co-owner Gene Haas. HaasTooling.com was launched as a way for 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. HaasTooling.com products became available nationally in July 2020. 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.
● RaceChoice.com, a proud partner of Preece, has launched a special racing experience giveaway for fans. The winner will receive airfare and a two-night stay during Coke Zero 400 weekend at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. RaceChoice.com will also give the winners two pit passes for the race, set for Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. ET, preceded by a meet-and-greet with Preece, driver of the No. 41 SHR Ford Mustang. Visit https://racechoice.com/
Ryan Preece, Driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What does it mean to you to honor and remember Sgt. Bradley Harper on your No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang this Memorial Day weekend?
“I love what NASCAR does for the military and I truly don’t think there’s another sport out there that honors and supports the military and armed forces the way we do. It’s so special to be part of it and the celebration that the track and the sport puts on all weekend is unlike anything else. To be part of it is something I really appreciate and it’s always an honor to have a military member on the windshield of the car riding with me. All of us drivers want to do them and their family proud in the race and I hope that we can do that this weekend. I think anyone who comes to the Coca-Cola 600 race weekend can see just how much this sport supports the military, and it is truly very extraordinary.”
The Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race of the season. Do you have to prepare differently for it because of its length?
“For me, hydration this week is going to be really important. Because of how long the race is, the hydration preparation has already started. We need to make sure we’re good to go way before that green flag drops so we’re in good shape to make it all the way to the end. Aside from that, everything I do is like any other race weekend and race day. I’ve been working hard in the gym with my guys and trying to be in the best shape I can be, so that will definitely help me, too.”
What’s your mindset heading into this weekend’s race?
"It’s just trying to figure out where your car needs to be in the beginning in order to have it good at the end. We all talk about that because the track goes through temperature changes throughout the race with how long it is. Charlotte is one of the most temperamental racetracks that we go to, I feel like, from day to night, from track temperature and cooling off. It’s going to be extremely important to keep up with the racetrack and with communication on what you need, how much you need and at what point in the race it makes the most sense to make those adjustments. Mindset will be important, too, because when you’re at the end of Stage 1, you’re already 100 laps into the race but you’ve still got 300 more to go and, by the end of the second stage, you feel like you’ve completed an entire race, already. It’s just keeping your head in it, remaining patient and, as always, staying out of the messes so you can be up front and in position for the win at the end. We’ve seen a lot of Charlotte wins come during the last few laps, so you’ve got to be ready.”
What would it mean to you to win a crown jewel event like the Coca-Cola 600?
“Any win is very special, and I’m still going after my first Cup Series win, so for it to come on Memorial Day weekend at the Coca-Cola 600, wow, that would just be amazing. To be able to have your name on one of those trophies and in that record book when the whole industry is close to home would be so awesome. But for me, every win is special in every series, I don’t take any of them for granted in my career. But getting a win in the Cup Series is my goal. It’s been my goal for a long time and that’s what I’ve been working so hard on. So, getting to victory lane, especially this weekend, would be the ultimate win.”
Fourteen points-paying races into the season, how would you assess the No. 41 team right now?
“We’ve grown so much as a team just from Daytona. We’re a tight-knit group and that’s something that’s important to me. The relationships I have with my guys is important because every single person on this team is an intricate part of the process and we all want the same thing – to win. There are always things we can get better at and we will continue to do those things but, as far as our team morale, we all get along great and we all work together great. We’re just putting all the pieces together, now. We’ve had some really terrible luck, but we also have fast racecars and that will transition into what we want as long as we keep fighting for it, and that’s what we’re going to do. There are certainly some races I’ve got circled on my calendar coming up and we’re looking forward to those, too.”