Race Weekend Central

Hometown Hero Ryan Preece’s Brakes Fail While Leading at Stafford

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. – The stage was set for Berlin, Connecticut’s Ryan Preece to win in front of a home crowd at Stafford Motor Speedway on Thursday night (July 20).

Then his brakes failed.

“My brake pedal went to the floor, so I don’t …,” Preece told Frontstretch. “Like it wasn’t even like I had a pedal fade. They just went. So I don’t know.”

Preece was dominating the Camping World SRX Series’ second race in a row at Stafford on Thursday. He received challenges from fellow NASCAR Cup Series regular Daniel Suarez and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan but always managed to stay ahead, leading 41 of the opening 46 laps.

See also
Ryan Newman Is An SRX Winner Again at Stafford

But entering turn 1 on lap 47, Preece got sideways, clipped the grass and slid up into the outside wall, with Kanaan passing him by on the inside. Preece held his ground near the front for a while after but, by lap 65, he had fallen back to eighth.

Three laps later, Preece pulled the No. 41 machine onto pit road and parked it for good, citing brake issues as the culprit. Despite the dominant showing, Preece left Stafford with a last-place finish in the 13-car field.

Preece thought he had the field covered had the brakes held up.

“Just had a lot of fun though,” Preece said. “Still really cool. We had a good car. Just can’t really do much about that.”

The 32-year-old driver was a late addition to the race, being added as the 13th entry after SRX had to relocate the series’ second race of 2023 from Thunder Road Speedbowl to Stafford due to the flooding in Vermont. That gave the fans a local hero to cheer for, similar to Doug Coby in the inaugural SRX race at Stafford in 2021.

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Friday Faceoff: Should NASCAR Change Its Restart Policies?

Entering the event, Preece had more laps at Stafford than any other driver in the field, including nine wins there in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Out the gate he was fast, topping Hailie Deegan at the top of the charts late in the lone practice session.

Preece then gained six spots in both of the heats, going from 11th to fifth in the first and eighth to second in the second heat. That was good enough to put the No. 41 Haas Automation car on the pole for the main event.

He and Suarez swapped the lead back and forth early on in the main event. But once Preece got the lead on lap 9, he did not relinquish it until his brake problems started with the incident on lap 47.

Still, the crowd in the Stafford grandstands erupted when Preece thanked them during his interview on the track’s PA system.

Preece does not have any more SRX planned for the year.

About the author

Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

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Johnny Cuda

Racefans – I live about an hour away from Stafford. I arrived at Stafford at 2:30. Gates opened at 3:00. There was SRX practice for a bit. After practice, out on the midway, they had questions and answers with all 13 drivers – 3 or 4 drivers at a time. Jack Arute was doing his radio show live just behind turn one. He spoke with Biffle, Deegan, Keselowski, Schrader, Newman. It was a great afternoon to be up close to the drivers. SK Modifieds had a 30 lap race. Then the SRX race. Ryan Preece was definitely the hometown favorite. Great racing! A great day. I highly recommend getting to an SRX race if they are at a track near you.

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