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Why Would SHR Keep Ryan Preece For 2024?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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Ryan Preece officially announced his 2024 plans on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday, saying he would return to Stewart-Haas Racing in the 41 car. Given his performance and the performance of the race team, some wondered whether or not his seat was up for grabs in 2024, but, he will return. The question is why would they give Preece another chance, and is this the right decision?

A Look at Preece’s Performance

Ryan Preece has had a very bad season driving the 41 car, but, so has pretty much everyone else at Stewart-Haas Racing. He sits 25th in points, but teammates Aric Almirola and Chase Briscoe sit 22nd and 30th respectively with Kevin Harvick out of the Playoffs in the Round of 16. It’s obvious that the struggles of Ryan Preece are far bigger than just his performance itself.

With that being said, oddly enough, this is Preece’s best statistical in his career in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has led more laps this season than any of his previous Cup Series seasons combined, his best average finish, his best average start, and is tied for the most lead lap finishes he has ever had in his career.

He has talent, and that has been proven by his performance in the lower series. He won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship, and he has two wins each in the NASCR Xfinity and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. People were clambering for him to finally get a good ride in the Cup Series, and he seemed to finally get it.

Even in the Cup Series, he has shown flashes of how good he can be when given good equipment, particularly on short tracks. At Martinsville in the spring, Preece won the pole and led 135 laps before a speeding penalty did him in. He also recorded his only top-10 of the season in a tire strategy race at Richmond Raceway in July.

The talent is there, it seems he just needs a good opportunity to show what he can do, but it seems SHR is not there at the moment. So, why would SHR keep him around?

Why Would SHR Keep Him Around?

Ryan Preece is in a unique spot with a car that Gene Haas partially helps personally fund himself. As a result, SHR’s options for who can drive that car are more than other cars in their stable.

However, Preece adds some much-needed stability to SHR if he keeps himself around. It is a team with a lot of change going on next year with the elder statesman Kevin Harvick retiring, Josh Berry coming in, and Aric Almirola potentially retiring. Therefore, keeping Preece means some stability for SHR. It also means that Preece gets a second chance.

It is hard to judge Preece fully based off of one year where the entire organization is on a downward trend. As a result, he is worth getting a second chance at SHR. As the organization hopefully improves, hopefully, Preece improves with it.

There is no real good reason to get rid of Preece, so why not keep him around? On top of that, Ford’s stable of young drivers is not great, so, that is all the more reason to keep Preece.

Keeping Preece makes sense for SHR, and it is not a major surprise that he is staying. The question becomes how much longer SHR will keep him around given his performance.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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