JTG Daugherty Racing driver Ryan Preece was a pit road observer in an intricate off-season power play between his employer and Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse was prepared to sign a contract extension with Roush Fenway on Aug. 1. The Roush group reneged on the deal with Stenhouse in late September and offered his ride to Chris Buescher, who was JTG Daugherty's flag bearer last season.

There wasn't a real discernible difference between the two drivers. Buescher finished 20th with 729 points while Stenhouse was 23rd with 679. Stenhouse brought the whole arrangement full circle when he signed with JTG Daugherty on Oct. 16 and brought celebrity crew chief Brian Pattie with him.

"I think Brian Pattie coming over with Ricky Stenhouse this year has brought a different dynamic which obviously we have utilized so far," said Preece. "I think this year could be a really good year for JTG Daugherty Racing and it its exciting for all our partners."

JTG enjoyed immediate gratification when Stenhouse captured the pole position for Sunday's 62nd annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Preece snagged the 9th slot in Duel 1, enhancing JTG Daugherty chances for a sold showing in the crown jewel of the NASCAR circuit.

"It showed that we have a lot of speed and that all the things that were done in the off season have really paid off," said Preece. "I was looking forward to getting into the duel and keeping the car clean and getting a good starting spot for the 500 and go from there and let the race unfold."

Preece was in a similar situation when he defected from Joe Gibbs Racing for JTG Dougherty after the 2018 season. Preece did spot Cup and Xfinity series starts at Joe Gibbs, but there was little room for advancement in the top heavy JGR stable.

Preece made an immediate impact for JTG when he when he placed 8th at Daytona. Preece finished his rookie campaign with 36 starts, one top five finish and three in the top 10.

"I think it takes every piece of the puzzle to make it work at this level so I think everybody has to do their job to the best of their ability," said Preece.

"There is a reason why everybody is in the place that they are because they are good at their job. If everybody does that, we can definitely meet those expectations and we have."

Preece is the current occupant of the No. 37 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and under the direction of crew chief Trent Owens, who was Beuscher's pit boss in 2019. The two found common ground from the onset.

"He did a phenomenal job last year with Chris and the consistency they were able to achieve and I'm expecting that we can maintain that same consistency," said Preece.

"But at the same time step up and improved on the things we had last year. I'm very excited about it and we both have a really solid chance in the Daytona 500. "

Preece is the proud product of New England racing and is looking forward to competing in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on July 19 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Preece came of age on the Magic Mile in the rough and tumble of the Whelen Modified Tour. Preece competed in 24 open-wheel races at NHMS with seven top five finishes and 12 in the top 10. Preece competed in last year's 301 and finished 21st, an outcome he intends to improve upon in July.

"I'm looking forward to getting back up there and making some improvements on what we had last year, that's definitely the goal," said Preece. "I know I have lot of laps at New Hampshire and hopefully we can make it work."

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