Stewart-Haas Racing promotes Preece to full-time Cup ride in No. 41 Ford

Ryan Preece in Hunt Brothers Pizza fire suit
Buda Mendes
Getty Images

Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Wednesday that Ryan Preece will join the organization in a full-time capacity to drive the No. 41 Ford Mustang in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

The 32-year-old Preece has most recently been a reserve driver for the team but will be brought into the full-time fold to compete for next year’s championship. The Berlin, Connecticut, native will join 2014 Cup champion Kevin Harvick and returning drivers Aric Almirola and Chase Briscoe to round out the team’s quartet.

Preece replaces incumbent Cole Custer, who piloted the No. 41 for the past three seasons and is moving to the Xfinity Series to team with Riley Herbst.

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“This is the opportunity I’ve been working for,” Preece said in a team release. “Nothing was guaranteed at the start of this year, but I felt like if I put in the time, whether it was in a race car or in a simulator, that SHR was the place for me. It’s a company built by racers, for racers, and it’s exactly where I want to be.

“I know this season just finished and most people are looking to take a break, but I can’t wait to get going.”

Preece appeared in a pair of Cup Series races in 2022, driving the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford to a best finish of 25th at Dover Motor Speedway. He also made a combined 13 starts across Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series action, winning in the No. 17 David Gilliland Racing Ford F-150 in June at Nashville Superspeedway.

Custer landed three top 10s and a pole in 2022, and won at Kentucky Speedway during his rookie season in 2020.

“Cole Custer has been a part of SHR since 2017 and we’re glad to have him stay with us,” team co-owner and three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart said. “Cole’s experience will be invaluable to Riley Herbst as he continues his development in the Xfinity Series.”

SHR did not announce Preece’s crew chief.