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Ryan Preece on Door Foam Fire: ‘Whatever Happened is Completely Unnecessary’

Ryan Preece Wurth 400 door foam fire Dover Motor Speedway 2024

Photo Credit: John K Harrelson, NKP, Courtesy of Ford Performance

While Ryan Preece and the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team have only scored one top-10 finish this season, the redeeming quality for the driver and his team to this point in the season had been finishing all of the races. After the door foam in his Ford Mustang Dark Horse ignited early in Sunday’s Wurth 400 at Dover Motor Speedway, Preece had no choice but to take his race car to the garage after completing just 66 laps.

With changing out the door foam not being an option for the team, it meant that was the end of the day for Preece, who would be credited with a last-place finish and his first DNF of the year.

RELATED: NASCAR Cup Series Wurth 400 Official Race Results

After climbing from his race car, Preece spoke to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass about the situation, and the 33-year-old gave a pretty chilling recollection of what went on in his race car.

“I felt like I was on fire,” Preece explained. “I went the first 70 laps, just trying to push through. And then it got so bad that I couldn’t put my hands on the wheel. And I was worried that an oil line or something would melt and then the whole car engulfs in fire, and I don’t want to be trapped in there having that happen. I pulled off.”

That’s a pretty scary thought that Preece was continuing to log laps while not only the door foam had ignited, but that he himself felt like he was on fire. It was a gutsy performance to even get to complete 66 laps, but ultimately, Preece made the correct call in taking the car behind the wall.

The FS1 broadcast first picked up on the issue for Preece at Lap 21 of Sunday’s race, where the in-car shot showed smoke inside the cockpit of the No. 41 machine.

By lap 70, Preece had radioed to his team that it was the door foam that was indeed on fire, and that he needed to make a trip to the garage, which ultimately resulted in the DNF:

Preece was frustrated by the incident because he felt like it was preventable.

“Whatever happened is completely unnecessary, and we can’t afford days like this,” Preece stated.

When pressed on what happened to cause the door foam fire, Preece responded with, “I’m not going to be the one to say what happened, but it wasn’t necessary. It could have been prevented.”

I would expect whatever was missed heading into Sunday’s Wurth 400 at Dover, which led to the door foam catching on fire on Preece’s car, will now be on the weekly checklist for the Stewart-Haas Racing team. But for Preece, the damage is already done.

The Connecticut native was already playing from behind the eight ball due to a 35-point penalty assessed to his team for issues with their roof rail deflectors in Atlanta. By collecting four top-15 finishes, including a season’s best ninth-place effort at Martinsville Speedway, Preece had clawed his way from 36th in the point standings to 23rd.

After Sunday’s early exit, Preece fell five places back to 28th in the championship standings.

Now, Preece sits 102 points below the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs cutline with 15 races left until the Playoff field is completely set. It will likely take a win for Preece to secure his spot in the Playoff field, now.

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