After a horrifying accident in the closing laps of last weekend’s regular-season finale for the NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway, Ryan Preece has been cleared to return to competition for Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Preece, who drives the No. 41 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, was transported to a local hospital following the accident on Saturday, which saw his RaceChoice.com-sponsored entry tumble down the backstretch after contact from teammate Chase Briscoe.
The Berlin, Connecticut native was subsequently released from Halifax Health Medical Center early Sunday, where he was sent back home to North Carolina. After some appointments during the week, Preece and Stewart-Haas announced the driver would run Darlington via a social media video.
— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) September 1, 2023
“I feel fine,” Preece said in the video. “Obviously, really grateful for everybody at Daytona and the infield care center, at the hospital, and all of the doctors here in North Carolina that I’ve been working with, just to make sure that everybody is comfortable with me going back racing. It was nice to go home and see my wife and my daughter. Just ready to get back in that race car.”
The 32-year-old driver, in his first season competing full-time at NASCAR’s top level for Stewart-Haas Racing, has had a difficult year, as has the organization, scoring a single top-10 finish throughout the season’s opening 26 events.
Despite the trials and tribulations, Preece is still on-track to better his career-best average finish in the NASCAR Cup Series, but above all else, is committed to returning to the track in his No. 41 Ford Mustang.
“Growing up, being around a lot of old-school racers, a lot of fabricators, and just local racers in Connecticut, the biggest thing about a racer is being tough, right,” Preece continued. “Is, no matter what it takes to be out there when you make commitments to your team, to the race team, to fulfill those commitments. So, that’s what I want to do as a race car driver, that’s who I want to be as a person, and whatever it takes to get out there and do my job.
Preece will return to Darlington Raceway for the second time this season, as he looks to improve upon the 15th-place result that he earned at the 1.366-mile facility in May for the Goodyear 400.