KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Stewart-Haas Racing has promoted Ryan Preece from his reserve driver role with the organization to the NASCAR Cup Series where the 32-year-old will drive the team’s No. 41 Ford Mustang in 2023.
Preece spent 2022 performing simulator work that has benefitted the entire team and its Cup Series driver lineup of Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer. In addition to his simulator work at the Ford Performance Center, Preece has run a mix of races across each of NASCAR’s top-three national touring series – Cup, Xfinity and Craftsman Truck – a schedule punctuated by a Truck Series win from the pole on June 24 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, his second straight at the 1.333-mile oval.
“Ryan Preece has been a real asset to our race team this year as we’ve developed the NextGen car. The time and effort he’s put into our program, combined with his real-world racing experience, earned him this opportunity,” said Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR.
Custer, who has driven the No. 41 Ford Mustang since his rookie year in 2020 when he delivered a victory at Kentucky Speedway in just his 20th career Cup Series start, will remain with SHR.
Custer will head back to the Xfinity Series, where he is a 10-time race winner, and be a teammate to Riley Herbst, who returns to SHR for a third straight season and his fourth full time year in the Xfinity Series.
“Cole Custer has been a part of SHR since 2017 and we’re glad to have him stay with us,” Stewart said. “Cole’s experience will be invaluable to Riley Herbst as he continues his development in the Xfinity Series.”
With wins in the Truck Series and the Xfinity Series, Preece aims to complete the trifecta in 2023 with a Cup Series win behind the wheel of the No. 41 Ford Mustang.
“This is the opportunity I’ve been working for,” Preece said. “Nothing was guaranteed at the start of this year, but I felt like if I put in the time, whether it was in a racecar or in a simulator, that SHR was the place for me. It’s a company built by racers, for racers, and it’s exactly where I want to be.
“I know this season just finished and most people are looking to take a break, but I can’t wait to get going.”