chevy racing–nascar–martinsville–ryan preece

RYAN PREECE, NO. 37 LOUISIANA HOT SAUCE CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Teleconference transcript: YOU’VE GOT A LOT GOING ON THIS WEEKEND WITH RUNNING DOUBLE-DUTY WITH BOTH THE NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR AND THE NASCAR CUP RACE AT MARTINSVILLE. WE JUST CAME BACK FROM A DIRT RACE AT BRISTOL AND NOW TALKING LOOSELY ABOUT A STREET COURSE RACE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT STREET COURSE RACING FOR NASCAR?“I’m for whatever we need to do, I guess. At the end of the day, we’re all doing pretty much what we’re supposed to do and that’s competing. I’m a huge fan of short track. And I did go to South Boston this weekend. I thought that place, it would be cool to see if they can hold a Cup race because there are two pit roads there. But as far as street courses go, I like road racing. It’s not something that I come from. It’s not my background but I think it would be interesting for sure.”
A WIN THE OTHER NIGHT, AND IF YOU WIN TOMORROW NIGHT, DOES IT MATTER A WHOLE LOT FOR SATURDAY? ARE YOU MORE EXCITED AND A BETTER PERSON TO BE AROUND? OR NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS THURSDAY, ARE YOU IN THE SAME MENTAL STATE FOR SATURDAY?“I think winning is always a good boost for morale, right? I think my wife would tell you I’m a happier person to be around when I do win. I just said that the other day. Even after South Boston you’re just happier, right? You won. I mean it’s just seat time is seat time, whether it’s in a truck or Xfinity or a Modified, a Sprint Car, a Midget, whatever it is, when you keep racing and you’re running good; it just kind of gets you in that mindset and keeps things rolling, so to speak. So, I guess to answer your question, I’m going to attack Saturday like I would attack tomorrow. And as the race plays out, and what you have that day, you kind of have to manage whatever you have going on. But every race, I always have my expectations.”
IT’S CERTAINLY A TALE OF TWO SEASONS LAST YEAR AND THIS YEAR. DO YOU DRIVE DIFFERENTLY BEING 18th IN POINTS AS OPPOSED TO LAST YEAR BEING 30th IN POINTS AND IN MORE OF A LEVEL OF DESPERATION?“Well, and it’s crazy to think, we’ve had two runs this year that I felt like probably could have been another two Top 10’s or Top 5’s that kind of slipped away from us. But I feel like we could even be higher in points. But as far as driving differently, I don’t drive any different. I didn’t wake up this year and say man, I’m going to hustle this thing. Me, as a racer, no matter what car it is, I get in it and attack it the same. So, I feel like communication has gotten better. I’m not a believer in good luck or bad luck. I’ve always believed that you kind of make your own luck, until last year. There were just a lot of things that were out of my control, out of our control which, I’m not putting blame on anything. It’s just this year, certainly, we started on the right foot. And it’s kind of helped us really stay where we are. And I feel like there are some tracks; I know statistically, Martinsville isn’t as exciting, or Richmond, as I would like it to be as a short track racer; but I feel like optimistic with what we’ve got going, that we can go to Martinsville and have a strong run and then go to Richmond and improve on what we’ve done there. And then obviously Talladega is a superspeedway and those can go either way, but I feel like everything is going well for us right now and hopefully we can keep it going that way.”
YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS HAD TIE-INS WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS. HOW MUCH DOES THAT HELP OR HOW MUCH DOES THAT IMPACT THINGS ON YOUR SIDE?“I want to say we use their engines, but we do build our own cars. So, I can’t honestly tell you how much we use from them because JTG in itself, they do a lot of their own research. Wind tunnel time, everything, is strictly through our organization. So, for really, for what everybody over there at JTG Daugherty does, for what we have…..Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.) has put together some really good runs these past four weeks and last week. We brought two really solid cars for that dirt race. Unfortunately, we overheated, and something happened with the motor at lap 25 or 30, but we had a really good race car there. But yeah, as far as Hendrick and that affiliation, I mean, we get great horsepower and I know we use their SIM tools, so it’s been good.”
YOU’VE HAD A VERY STRONG START TO THE YEAR. YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN COMPETITIVE. HAS THAT CHANGED ANYTHING WITH YOUR SECURITY WITH THE TEAM FOR THE DURATION OF THE SEASON ON SPONSORSHIP OR ANYTHING?“I attack every week like it’s my last, I guess. Me, as a race car driver, I’m just showing up at every single race giving it 150 percent and let it kind of be what it’s going to be.”
THIS IS YOUR SECOND YEAR WORKING WITH RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. WHAT HAS THAT RELATIONSHIP BEEN LIKE AND HAVE YOU TAKEN ANY LESSONS FROM HIM ON THE TRACK?“I like he and Brian Pattie (crew chief) work really well together. How long have they been working together, period? Last year was my first working with Trent (Owens, crew chief) and I felt like we had a lot of good runs that unfortunately, statistically, when you look on a piece of paper, weren’t as good. But if you actually look back at those races, we had our shining moments. So, I feel like had those shining moments again. Two of those races, Las Vegas, I felt like we could have ended up with a Top 10 but we just had a slow stop that last green flag run and it cost us some spots; and then Bristol, with our overheating issues, those were two really good days that were in the making and unfortunately, we didn’t have anything to show it. So, I do feel like Ricky and Brian had brought a little bit of speed over for those superspeedways and the 1.5-mile program. So, everybody over at the team has been doing a great job and really, you’ve got to have flawless races. You can’t have any loose ends. If everybody does their job, we can have those good days.”
HOW VITAL HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU AND THE NO. 37 TEAM BECAUSE YOUR STARTING POSITION IS UP FROM LIKE 25th, TO 15th AND YOU’LL START IN ROW 9 THIS WEEKEND. HOW IMPORTANT IS A STARTING POSITION FOR YOU?“Track position is huge. It’s so hard to pass. Ricky’s got some great position to start this race. We’re starting 17th. For me, that’s 10 to 12 spots further ahead than I was last year. So, I feel really optimistic about Martinsville with the short track package we’re bringing. Hopefully we can fire off the race and move forward and then keep that track position all day. But it definitely plays a huge role in how your day is going to work.”
YOU’VE HAD SOME GREAT STARTS TO THE SEASON. WHAT HAS BEEN THE THING THAT’S HELPED YOU GET THOSE GOOD RESULTS IN THE FIRST SEVEN RACES?“It’s a combination of things. The Daytona 500 finish was a good jump-start for us. It got us track position for the Road Course at Daytona, which plays another huge part; and just showing up closer. When you show-up close and you don’t have start sticking wrenches in it, it just allows you to have good pit stops and allow everything to flow. And that’s what it comes down to. So, at the end of the day, everything is just kind of been going our way and we’ve just got to keep it going that way and keep putting good runs together.”
AS A MODIFIED GUY BEING INVOLVED IN THE SERIES FOR A LONG TIME, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE BOTH THE TOUR AND NASCAR AT MARTINSVILLE THIS WEEKEND?“It’s cool. Modifieds have a lot of roots and have big roots at Martinsville. So, having them there, I know it’s a really great racing track. I think it’s going to be two grooves for the Modifieds. It’ll probably widen out there, some. And, sharing that stage kind of being that first start to the weekend for all the racing there, is awesome. And being under the lights in all three series will be cool also.” YOU GOT TO TEST THERE NOT TOO LONG AGO. WHAT STANDS OUT TO YOU THE MOST?“We went there to shake things down. I didn’t really need to test. It’s more of just a new chassis that we’re running this year in the Modifieds. And I kind of wanted to be one step ahead instead of one step behind. So, I feel really confident with the package we’re bringing and hopefully like I said earlier, we can go there and win the race and bring home a clock.”
WE OFTEN HEAR ABOUT EXPERIENCE AND TRACK TIME AND LAP IN CARS BEING KEY. WITH ALL THE LIMITED PRACTICE TIME IN THE SERIES, HOW MUCH HAS THAT IMPACTED DRIVERS? OR, HAS SIMULATIONAND IRACING LEVELED THE PLAYING FIELD TO WHERE TRACK TIME DOESN’T MATTER?“I don’t get SIM time, to be honest with you. I don’t get to go in a simulator like some of these other teams do. We don’t have that luxury at the end of the day. When we say SIMs and SIM tools, it’s what teams are setting the race cars up off of. So, without testing I think there is a gap, for sure, from guys in the early or mid 2000’s, where if you weren’t racing, you were off somewhere testing and putting those laps in. My generation from whatever year testing was banned, we don’t do that. We jump in a race car and we go. So, learning what that feel that you want or having the ability to go test and try different things and find that balance that you like, you’re doing that at the races now. You’re just kind of showing up with something and hoping it sticks and hoping it’s in the right direction. And then, you just kind of follow that. So, it’s a lot more difficult than it used to be. But that’s kind of what we’re all dealing with. Everybody is in the same boat and some can find those feels quicker than others. So, it’s a process. I feel like it’s a process that Trent and I have definitely been working at and getting closer to where I feel like we need to be. I feel like there are places where I do shine, which happens to be the 750 hp tracks where we’ll run good; at road courses or the one-miles or places like that. But the 1.5-miles is where it’s strictly momentum-based and being in the throttle and really not having much room for error when it comes to being loose or tight, we’ve just got to be a little bit closer and that’s something we work at each and every week.”