By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Although over two months have passed, Ryan Preece is looking to go back-to-back in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The last time Preece competed in the Xfinity Series, he won at Bristol Motor Speedway, capturing the XFINITY Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus in the process.
The Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 will mark Preece’s third trip to Daytona International Speedway. As he did when he won at Bristol, he will drive the No. 18 Rheem Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. In his two previous starts at ‘The World Center of Racing,’ Preece has a best finish of 34th, an accident and engine trouble plaguing his previous runs.
“I am thrilled to be back in the Xfinity Series driving my Rheem Camry,” Preece said. “This week I have the awesome opportunity to debut the new black paint scheme that Rheem will run through the remainder of the regular season.”
Although Preece has been away from the Xfinity Series, he has been competing in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He has experience in a form of drafting, as the Modified Tour famously runs a drafting package at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Preece has 21 starts at the ‘Magic Mile’ in the Modified Tour. He is also comping off of his second Modified win of the season at Langley Speedway.
“There is a lot of history at Daytona and I just can’t wait to be a part of it again,” Preece explained. “We do a lot of drafting in modifieds, so Daytona is always a track I highlight on my calendar. This is my first race back after my Bristol win and I want to pick up right where I left off.”
Joe Gibbs Racing has four victories at Daytona International Speedway with four different drivers. The team swept both races at Daytona in 2008 with Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin taking the trips to victory lane. Joey Logano won in 2011 and Matt Kenseth in 2013.
Following Friday night’s race, the next scheduled start for Preece is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in September.