Ryan Preece could be months away from getting his shot.
The Berlin, Conn., native is one of the most popular names on the NASCAR regional circuit: He has 22 Whelen Modified Tour wins and three Whelen Southern Modified Tour victories since 2007. But despite that success, as well as his impressive performance in limited NASCAR Xfinity Series opportunities (two wins, eight top-10s in 46 starts), Preece still is waiting for a full-time ride on NASCAR’s highest level.
However, he might well get that chance next season, RacinBoys’ Lee Spencer reported Saturday. And if that happens, Preece’s ascension to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series might come at the expense of JTG Daugherty Racing driver A.J. Allmendinger.
“Ryan Preece has been rumored as Allmendinger’s replacement,” Spencer wrote. “When I asked Preece at (Watkins Glen International) if he was going into the No. 47, he replied, ‘No.’
“Of course, that’s what he should say, but sources insist the 27-year-old New Englander is headed that way.”
Allmendinger is in the third year of a five-year extension he signed with JTG in 2015. Since signing the deal, the 36-year-old has just four top-five finishes and zero wins in 94 Cup starts.
Now, does Allmendinger, a former IndyCar and Champ Car driver, deserve all the blame for the No. 47 team’s failures? Of course not, as JTG clearly doesn’t put him in competitive equipment on a weekly basis.
But NASCAR is in the midst of a full-blown youth movement, and it makes sense that team owner Tad Geschickter wants to hop on the bandwagon.
Preece does have some experience in NASCAR’s premier series. He ran five races for Premium Motorsports in 2015, failing to finish higher than 32nd in any start. Whether he truly is ready for a full-time Cup ride is subject for debate, but it appears it’s only a matter of time before he gets the call.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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