chevy racing–atlanta–ryan preece

RYAN PREECE, NO. 37 PLANTERS CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Teleconference Transcript: HOW’S THE CAR AND WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING BACK IN A MODIFIED TODAY AT MARTINSVILLE?“Man, this place was made for it I can tell you that. Modifieds are light and fast, and they’ve got a lot of tire and a lot of grip. So, all smiles out of me today. It’s pretty cool.”
IN THE TOUR-TYPE MODIFIED COMMUNITY HERE IN THE SOUTH, IT’S STARTING TO HAVE A RESURGENCE. WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO HOOK SOUTHERNERS ON TOUR-TYPE MODIFIED RACING?“We’re all racers. We all enjoy racing. To be honest with you, there’s plenty of racing to go around; whether you’re a Late Model fan or a full-body fan, or if you’re an open wheel Sprint Car guy. Modifieds are just special, right? They’re a fun race car to go out and basically drive really, really hard. The harder you drive it, the more rewarded you are. That’s what is exciting about it. It was actually really cool. I saw a picture Matt Dillner posted of Caraway, and they actually had a really great crowd. They had a good car count. And it is cool to see how healthy Modified racing is in general is becoming; and obviously healthy the Modified Tour is, where they’re getting 35-plus cars week-in and week-out. That’s what you want to see as a racer. It’s really cool to see the direction the Tour is heading in and all the changes that have been put in place to help the teams and to make it easier for newer teams to come in.”
THE TOUR IS BEING CHALLENGED AND THERE ARE A LOT OF ALTERNATIVES IN THE NEW ENGLAND AREA. SO, WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT YOU GUYS AS RACERS AND TEAMS, PRIORITIZE AS IT PERTAINS TO THE NASCAR TOUR. WHAT DO THEY NEED TO DO TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE STILL P1 ON THE TOUR-TYPE HUBS?“Well, I think they did a really important step, which was releasing some of those purse structures that usually most people don’t get to see. The majority of the races on the Modified Tour, I think all of them, are over $10,000 to win, which is a great step. That’s something some of the other series and shows, they’ve been really making a big effort and paying more money. I know the Modified Tour does a great job in doing that and also making it pay throughout the field for people who are just showing up, or if you have a bad night, or whatever it might be. At the end of the day, I don’t kind of look at which series I’m going to run or not run. Obviously, the Modified Tour has always been the spotlight, kind of like the World of Outlaws, I feel, or the All-Star Series are kind of like the two big series in Sprint Cars. Really, I just want to race. That’s what I’m concerned about. It’s really awesome that NASCAR and the Whelen Modified Tour have been able to put this all together to come to Martinsville and to go to Richmond and go to these premier race tracks because it’s a great opportunity for guys like myself and Ryan Newman and other drivers that wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to run at a historic race track like here or Richmond; and go out and race and put on a great race for the fans.”
WHAT’S MORE FUN TO DRIVE?  A MODIFIED OR A CUP CAR?“Man, I love race cars. I love racing. A Cup car is a lot of fun. I really enjoy it. I love working with JTG and the No. 37 guys and just fine-tuning those things. But I also enjoy racing Modifieds, just like I’m sure Kyle Larson enjoys racing his Sprint car or Christopher Bell enjoys running his Midget or some of these guys doing those things. So, it’s a nice refresher to kind of come out here and it’s no different than if you’re a kid going and racing a Go Kart in a sense. You get excited. I’m having a lot of fun here today. I’m lucky enough that Ed and Connie Partridge, who own the Modified team that I race for, they have a new guy that’s taken over maintaining and setting these cars up. He’s a young kid that I have a lot of faith in, and I’m really excited about working with him this year.”
YOU GET TO HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO BY RACING IN NASCAR CUP AND ALSO THE MODIFIED TOUR. DO YOU FEEL BLESSED TO BE ABLE TO JUMP BACK AND FORTH A LITTLE BIT?“Yeah, for sure. As a racer, your ultimate goal is to get to NASCAR’s Cup Series. That’s where it is. That’s where you want to be. But at the same time, I know where my roots are. I know where I’ve cut my teeth. I know where I’ve put many hours in the race shop to go and win races. And I enjoy racing these race cars and I know quite a bit about them and they’re a lot of fun to race. So, I obviously enjoy doing it, for sure. But yeah, I’m definitely pretty blessed to be able to have owners like Tad and Jodi (Geschickter) that allow me to come do things like this and do these races, and it’s a lot of fun. The best thing for a race car driver is to be in the seat all the time.”
YOU ARE 14TH IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES SEASON. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE START OF THE SEASON SO FAR?“I feel like it’s important to get off to a good start like that. We had two really solid runs back-to-back with the Daytona Superspeedway and the Daytona Road Course; capitalizing on getting some Stage points, which I knew was going to be extremely important. And, we had a pretty good run at Las Vegas. It probably, I felt like, could have been a Top 10. And then just a bad weekend last weekend. It’s just part of those things. It’s like I was talking to my crew chief yesterday, we want to forget about Phoenix. We want to learn from it but we want to look forward to Atlanta and rebounding and putting a solid run together because right now, it’s important to stay consistent and stay out of wrecks and we do our job an execute, we can really shock some people this year. So, we’re excited about it and I’m definitely pumped about how we started the season.
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO BRISTOL DIRT AND POTENTIALLY ANOTHER RACE WHERE YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO QUALIFY IN?‘’Yes. Pressure doesn’t bother me. We talked about it for the 500, trying to qualify in or even race your way in, it’s just part of the deal. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to race my way in. I’ve been to races where I’ve had to qualify and there have been 60-plus cars there and I’ve done it. So, ultimately you do as much preparation as you can, as a race car driver, which, dirt stuff, I haven’t done a whole lot of dirt experience but, I have been watching their broadcasts and kind of seeing what the track is doing. And I do have a teammate that does run a lot of dirt races, so I’m sure I’m going to lean on him. I’ve also been lucky enough to have a sponsor like Mohawk Construction, who owns Big Block Dirt Modifieds and a race track in New York. So, I’m going to be on quite a few people over the next week, but right now I’m focused on Atlanta and having a solid run there.”
ANY UPDATES ON YOUR CUP SCHEDULE? IF THERE IS A POINT WHERE YOU HAVE TO SKIP A RACE, HAS THAT BEEN DETERMINED?“Every week I’m focused on whatever race is scheduled. So, I I know Tad and JTG and their entire marketing team have been working extremely hard to sell the rest of the races. But my job as a race car driver is to be as well-prepared as I possibly can and to keep pushing out good finishes so we can stay up there in points.”
WHAT TRACK WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE MODIFIED TOUR?“How about Daytona Superspeedway? No, I’m kidding. I don’t really know. You start talking about those 1-mile plus race tracks, it starts getting really, really fast; and things can happen there. But I’d like to see a road course again. They’re pretty fun. But I don’t really know. I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into it. I guess there are some really cool short tracks out there. New Smyrna would be a really cool race track to see open up on the Modified Tour. Hopefully it can happen soon.”