BROOKLYN, Mich. – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie Ryan Preece, a mainstay in the Northeast modified world, says he still has a lot to learn at the top level of NASCAR.
This weekend marks Preece’s first visit to Michigan Int’l Speedway at NASCAR’s top level, a track that has seen qualifying speeds exceed 200 mph in years past.
“I don’t know anything to associate with Michigan,” said Preece. “You are wide open, but you are dealing with handling characteristics that you deal with at a mile and half race track. It’s all really new to me.
“Every week is a learning experience for me. I just want to come out of here with a clean car, great race and solid day. Just keep making improvements all day and hopefully at the end of the day is when we will have our car handling the best and be able to make some moves.”
Despite being a rookie in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Preece continues to maintain a presence in the tour-type modified world. He raced in Wednesday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Thompson (Conn.) Speedway Motorsports Park, finishing 14th.
“We will be out with the modified next at New Hampshire, depending on things, but that’s what I plan on doing,” Preece said. “There just isn’t much I can bring over from the modified to the Cup cars. Just race 100 percent all the time, that’s just about all I can bring over from the modifieds to this level. I am enjoying this though, it’s a challenge, but fun.”
Preece admits that the new rules package utilized by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams this year is different than anything he has ever raced with before. As a result, there has been a large learning curve for the 28-year-old native of Berlin, Conn.
“We are just trying to find direction in what works for me,” said Preece. “Something with this new package is completely different then I have ever had to deal with. Its unique, we are making gains every week, hopefully this weekend will be the week where we find the momentum and start clicking off some great runs. Practice, really, is just about getting your car to handle really well.
“The biggest thing for us is to be able to keep the car wide open, when you are following other cars trying to utilize the draft and stay directly behind that car, at least for us, even though you are losing 100 pounds of down force. During practice just find a mark, find somewhere, push it as hard as you possibly can so you don’t lose a lot of time.”