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KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - OCTOBER 18: Ryan Preece, driver of the #47 Kroger Chevrolet, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 18, 2019 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Jonathan Ferrey | Getty Images

Preece travels early to assist after No. 47 hauler fire: ‘We’re in it as a team’

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Ryan Preece made sure to step up when his team needed him this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

After the JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 hauler sustained significant damaged due to a fire en route to the 1.5-mile track Thursday morning, the team opted to use the No. 37 team’s backup car of teammate Chris Buescher as its own primary vehicle. That led to an early Friday morning, as NASCAR officials allowed the team to make the necessary changes before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage was open for business at noon local time.

While Preece wasn’t required to arrive at the track until later for the Hollywood Casino 400 (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) opening practice, he made it a point to travel early with his crew members to offer a helping hand.

“I came in with them this morning at 7 (a.m. CT),” Preece said. “I think we’re in this as a team, and I wasn’t just going to show up later in the afternoon to just show up and drive. I wanted them to know I’m right there with them. … I know some of these guys haven’t had much sleep, so I’m pretty proud of them.”

The focus of Preece’s assistance was mainly interior parts, getting the No. 37 backup car up to snuff and switching out the seat that was originally installed for Buescher since the two drivers race with different styles of carbon-fiber seating. The team missed roughly 10 minutes of opening practice in its efforts.

“It just goes to show how strong of a team JTG Daugherty actually is,” Preece said. “I don’t even know what time they started making plans to make this all happen, but it was less than 36 hours to figure it out. My hat’s off to them because I know what it takes to even plan a regular weekend and when you have something like this that comes up, nobody can plan for something like this.

“… I wanted to help in any way I could.”

JTG Daugherty wasn’t the only organization to experience hauler incidents. The No. 10 Kaulig Racing Xfinity Series team hauler of Ross Chastain crashed Wednesday going westbound on Interstate 40 in McDowell County, just east of Asheville, North Carolina, after the driver experienced medical issues, sending the tractor trailer through a guardrail and down an embankment.

The driver and co-driver of the No. 10 hauler were both treated and released from a local hospital and are now back at home.

Kaulig Racing was able to get another car out to Kansas in time for Friday’s Xfinity Series practice sessions prior to Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 (3 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), using its primary car originally slated for use at Texas Motor Speedway in November.