There have been many rumors circulating when it comes to the future of Ryan Preece and JTG Daugherty Racing. It was rumored that Erik Jones could take over the No. 37 car. However, he ended up signing with Richard Petty Motorsports. With the 2020 NASCAR season over, it seems like JTG Daugherty Racing made their decision.
According to Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern, Ryan Preece is expected to return to JTG Daugherty Racing for the 2021 season. Preece finished with two top-10 finishes and an average finishing position of 24.3 in his second year with the team.
Preece ran the full NASCAR Xfinity Series season with JD Motorsports in 2016. After not doing much with the organization, he moved into a part-time role with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2017 and 2018 season. Preece won two races in 19 total starts with the team. He then moved to the NASCAR Cup Series with JTG Daugherty Racing at the start of the 2019 season.
Related: NASCAR rankings heading into 2021
What does Ryan Preece bring back to JTG Daugherty Racing?
Ryan Preece is one of NASCAR’s best stories as he had to climb his way through a part-time ride to the NASCAR Cup Series. He struggled throughout the regular season but started to step up during the playoffs. The 30-year-old Connecticut native had eight top-20 finishes during the last 10 races of the season after only seven during the regular season.
Preece showed during the playoffs that he can run well if not involved in other drivers’ incidents. During the regular season, there was a four-race stretch where Preece was involved in either a crash, not of his doing, or had a transmission issue. He completed all ten races without an issue outside of the final race without an incident. If Preece can bring that consistency back next year, it will improve his results drastically.
He has proven he can win at the NASCAR level and that he can run upfront. Even though it was because of pit strategy, Preece ran upfront during the Charlotte ROVAL race in the playoffs. He held off NASCAR’s best drivers and led a few laps. While he obviously won’t be able to replicate that performance consistency, it’s a good sign that he can run up there with the best.
The bottom line
There was a possibility that Ryan Preece would not return to JTG Daugherty Racing in 2021. At one point, it seemed inevitable that the 30-year-old driver would not return to the team. However, based on his playoff performance, it may have saved his ride for the 2021 season.
Preece is an underrated driver who runs better than the results from this season shows. He was involved in eight incidents this season that took him out of the race. While the regular season was rough, if he can take his final ten races of the season into next season, he could be on the edge of making the playoffs or in the top-20 in the points standings.
The move is a perfect scenario for both sides. At this time in NASCAR silly season, there is no one that could take over Preece’s spot and do a better job than he can. Preece also cannot find a better ride than his No. 37 Chevrolet due to the lineup for 2021 being mostly filled out. Both will go into the 2021 season looking to bring momentum from a strong playoff performance.