Connor McIntyre | June 12th, 2019
JTG Daugherty Racing driver Ryan Preece is currently one of the NASCAR Sunoco Rookie of the Year favorites. In the first 15 races of this season, he has two top 10s, a top five, and the best finish a third at Talladega. These aren’t spectacular stats, but they’re enough to put him ahead in the running for Rookie of the Year. Preece has shown signs of being a good driver and, for a rookie, has really been impressive in his first year. The only issue with him is the lack of experience and time driving in the top three NASCAR series.
Preece took a bit of a strange route to get into NASCAR’s top series. Preece started racing in the Whelen Modified Tour and was very successful. In just his third season, he finished second in the running for the championship and drastically improved compared to his first season. He added another second place finish in the championship running in 2012 and he finally won in 2013. His accomplishments in the Whelen Modified Tour put him towards the top of the list of Whelen Modified drivers. He has only raced in 58 NASCAR Xfinity Series races but has 2 wins and 18 top 10s. He has never raced in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Having a young guy with a winning attitude is something JTG has needed for years. A.J. Allmendinger was a struggling driver and, even though he had a good open-wheel career, his time with JTG was so far removed from his time there, that he had lost that attitude. Preece also gives JTG a young driver that can be developed but also has raw skill. His finishes in the top 10 at tracks like Daytona and Talladega are also impressive. His finish of third at Talladega is the best finish by a rookie this season. He has the most top 10s by a rookie this season and has shown great improvement over the first 15 races and has shown he can compete with some of the greats.
Preece’s future also looks very bright. His time in the Whelen Modified Tour has shown he is a quick learner and can make improvements when they’re needed. He finished on the podium in just his third season improving from 32nd two years previously. If he improves at the same rate in the Monster Energy Series, he could be a spectacular driver. JTG only has one win in its history and it was at Watkins Glen, which makes them hungry for a win. They have never won at an oval and Preece could easily give them their first win at an oval track. I would not be surprised if JTG becomes a competitive team due to Preece. He may even win this year at Talladega or Daytona. But even if he doesn’t win this year, expect him to be a competitor in many races next year and for his first win to be soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if that 47 car was in victory lane and became a very competitive car.
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