The fraternity of NASCAR drivers will have a new member at its highest level next year — and he’s a Yankee.
Ryan Preece, a Berlin, Conn., native, will drive the No. 47 Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing full-time in 2019, the team announced Friday. The news came after days of rumors hinting that Preece would land the seat that will be vacated by A.J. Allmendinger.
Preece, 27, has been a folk hero among New England racing fans for some time. In between starts on the Whelen Modified Tour, where he won the 2013 championship and is one of the top drivers on a weekly basis, Preece has made several spot starts in the Xfinity Series, many of which were only made possible by him securing his own funding from sponsors.
He’s proven his chops as a driver with two wins and 10 top-10 finishes in 13 Xfinity starts over the last two years.
“It’s been many years of fighting for opportunities to compete and win races at NASCAR’s highest level, and it is nice to officially say that JTG Daugherty Racing is my new home for 2019,” Preece said in a statement. “I look forward to not only racing, but working with the team as well as to build speed and create a name for myself here.”
Preece will be one of two native New Englanders driving in Cup next season, along with Middletown, Conn., product Joey Logano. The most successful driver with Northeastern ties recently has been Martin Truex Jr., a New Jersey native who won the championship in 2017.