DAYTONA BEACH, Fla: Ryan Preece will sleep very well the rest of the week.
After losing their team charter during the off-season, JTG Daugherty Racing arrived at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway knowing they had to make the “Great American Race” based on their qualifying speed Wednesday night.
With Wednesday afternoon’s Daytona 500 practice speeds mixed with cars in both drafting and single-car modes, it was hard to determine how much speed Preece’s No. 37 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE actually had.
Less than 60 seconds in his one-lap run, Preece found himself far up the leaderboard before landing eighth quickest overall and the fastest of the non-charter teams assuring himself a starting position in Sunday’s 200-lap Super Bowl event.
“I knew we would have speed in our No. 37 Cottonelle Chevrolet, but I am really proud of the effort that everyone at JTG Daugherty Racing organization put in to get our car as fast as it is and qualify on speed into the DAYTONA 500,” said Preece. “We ran some solid laps in practice today and I think that prepared me for tonight and to put down one solid lap to qualify us into the race on Sunday.”
Preece’s and JTG’s tough work is behind him as they’ll surge forward and focus on Thursday night’s Duels at Daytona where his finishing position will determine his starting spot for his third Daytona 500.
The former NASCAR Xfinity Series winner says his plan for the duel is firm, race.
“We’re also racing in the same duel as our teammate, and it’ll be good to practice drafting with them tomorrow night,” added Preece. “This is the best start to Speedweeks and the 2021 season that we could think of and I’m looking forward to a strong night tomorrow and a stronger race on Sunday.”
In his previous two starts in the Daytona 500, Preece finished eighth after starting 21st in 2019.
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