Ryan Preece kept talking about how aggressive that they were going to be in 2021. They had to. They didn’t know how long their season was going to last. See, Preece’s No. 37 Chevrolet didn’t have a charter this year. They only had funding for 24 or so races. The goal was to run all 36 points paying events, but how they did so would all come down to results.
Well, now that we’re leaving Daytona, Preece is an astounding seventh in the playoff standings. He finished fifth in his Duel to net six additional points. He then finished sixth in the Daytona 500. On top of that, Preece came home second in the opening stage of that race to get him nine more bonus points.
A sixth place result and 15 bonus points in just one race run. He accumulated as many points in one race weekend than he had in the first five races a year ago.
Now, he finished ninth in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 to get him dual top 10’s to kick start 2021.
“Our No. 37 Kroger/Coca-Cola Chevrolet was the best road course car we’ve had,” said Preece. “We struggled early in the race needing a little more forward drive, but Trent (Owens, crew chief) made some really great adjustments and kept working on it to get us where we could make moves. I’m really proud of everyone at JTG Daugherty Racing for giving us a car that was fast and even with the damage from a late-race caution, we were able to hold our track position and get a second top-10 finish for the season. It’s been a great start so far.”
Some drivers would love to trade places with Preece right now. You have playoff drivers last year of Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, William Byron and Matt DiBenedetto off to rough starts.
All were collected in that Lap 13 “big one” in last Sunday’s Daytona 500. Then, you factor in all being non factors in Sunday’s race and you get some less than desired starts for these four.
Almirola, has finished 34th and 17th respectively. Blaney was 30th and 15th himself. Byron (26th, 33rd) and DiBenedetto (33rd, 38th) are reeling.
While it’s still very early in the season and we’ve had races on a superspeedway and road course, they have time to turn this ship around. They just can’t afford to keep losing this may points.