Preston Pardus, a three-time sports car national champion, will join forces with SS GreenLight Racing in Saturday’s Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland International Raceway.
The 26-year-old driver, who frequently competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series road course events, will get behind the wheel of the No. 08 Ford Mustang in the series’ second trip to the Portland, Oregon road course.
“I’ve been friends with his dad (Dan Pardus) since he drove in NASCAR and ARCA action,” said Bobby Dotter, owner of SS GreenLight Racing. “We helped each other out some through the years, and I’ve kept an eye on Preston. He’s a very good road racer. I had an opening for a driver in Portland and was looking for someone with some road-course expertise.”
Pardus, who has accumulated 20 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has run all but one event in a family-owned car over the years, in which time he’s collected three top-10s, with a career-best of seventh coming at Charlotte’s ROVAL in 2021.
I wanted to race out there last year, but it just didn’t work out – so we watched the race on the couch and stayed dry,” Pardus said with a laugh. “So the only notebook those guys have so far is from a torrential downpour. Still, you can pick up on a lot of things. I’ll definitely go back this week and study video to see braking and shift points they were using. And I’ll rely on some knowledge from fellow racers who will help me – to a point.”
Last season at Auto Club Speedway, Dotter was able to score his first victory as a team owner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with Cole Custer behind the wheel of the No. 07 Ford Mustang. However, that isn’t the expectation he has for Pardus at Portland.
“If we can fire off and we’re good enough to be somewhere near that top 10, I’d like to say that we go for some stage points,” he said. “But ultimately the goal is to get a good finish. That car’s 31st in owner points, and 30th place gets bonus money each race from NASCAR. That’s important for me as a team owner.”
Making a single start earlier this season at Circuit of The Americas, Pardus was sidelined just 16 laps into the race by a suspension failure, keeping the Florida native from recording a solid finish for his sponsors.
Pardus, like the remainder of the Xfinity Series field, will have a 20-minute practice session on Saturday, before qualifying, and then the Pacific Office Automation 147, where the field will tackle the track – this time in dry conditions.