Despite having only two prior NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, Preston Pardus will enter Saturday’s Pennzoil 150 with a distinct advantage over a large portion of the field.
Preston, the 23-year old son of Dan Pardus – a former NASCAR and ARCA competitor in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s — is one of the few drivers entered in Saturday’s race, who has experience on any variation of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, making a last-lap pass in order to take the victory in the 2017 SCCA Runoffs, the event often referred to as the “Olympics of Amateur Road Racing”, which Pardus admits is probably the biggest accomplishment of his racing career thus far.
The Florida-native’s racing background has been primarily focused on road racing at the national events in the SCCA’s Spec Miata class, the series where Pardus got the 2017 SCCA Runoffs victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Later that year, Pardus was one of four drivers selected by Mazda Motorsports as a finalist to compete at the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, a post-season event that awards the winner a $100,000 scholarship from Mazda Motorsports, in order to compete in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.
When Pardus isn’t racing, he works for his family-owned underground utility company, Danus Utilities, Inc., one of the sponsors on his No. 36 DGM Racing Chevrolet for Saturday’s race at Indianapolis. Pardus’ No. 36 will carry primary sponsorship from Chinchor Electric Inc., the same primary sponsor – and paint scheme — that Pardus had on his family-owner No. 43 for two races last season.
The plan at the beginning of the season was for Pardus to run a limited schedule in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, running just the road-course events at Road America and the Charlotte “ROVAL”. When NASCAR announced that Indianapolis would be holding a road-course event for the NASCAR Xfinity Series instead of a race on the oval, Pardus was excited to add an additional race to his schedule in 2020
Pardus offered a unique perspective, in the way that his experience in the Spec Miata could translate over to the NASCAR Xfinity Series car he will run this weekend:
“The [NASCAR] Xfinity [Series] car and Spec Miata, really do not have have that much in common. However, I feel like some of the driving traits from the Spec Miata do carry over to the stock car. The Spec Miata, with it being low on horsepower, makes it a very momentum-based car. When you get back in the Xfinity car, it really makes you focus on trying to roll the center of the corners better.”
“I would say the only benefit from my experience in the Spec Miata would maybe be that we are constantly racing road courses. In the Spec Miata we also visit tracks that are on the NASCAR schedule such as Road America, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, and a trip to Indy once before.” Pardus said in an interview with TobyChristie.com
In the future, Pardus says he would not be opposed to running an increased NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule, including some races on oval tracks, but also mentioned that he would love to attempt to make the field for the Daytona 500 one day, a feat his father tried three times in his career, never being able to make “The Great American Race”. In order for those things to materialize though, Pardus says that the right oppurtunity would have to present itself, an opportunity that would more than likely have to include finding the funding to make it work.