Ryan Preece Daytona Accident Headshot
Ryan Preece talks to the media at Darlignton Raceway on September 2, 2023 about his wreck at Daytona. Image tweeted by NASCAR.

Ryan Preece discusses Daytona accident

Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang, spoke to members of the media before NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying today about his accident last weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

RYAN PREECE, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE YOU STANDING UP. “Yeah, me too. As far as the wreck goes, you guys saw it. I was just joking with Chad Johnston, my crew chief, earlier in the day that day, because we had talked about sprint cars and midgets and if I’d like to do it. I said I would, but I don’t want to go for a flip like they do and go figure. I’m good. I’m OK. I’ve got no broken bones. I’m not sore. I wasn’t sore after it – a little bit of bruising, but nothing too crazy.”

HOW ARE YOUR EYES? “I figured you were gonna ask, so here you go. They aren’t bad. I’m just gonna put an end to it right now because what I want you all to know is racing in general, whether you’re racing a sprint car, a modified or anything, it’s dangerous. There are consequences to everything, but what we do as race car drivers is we respect one another to not put ourselves in positions to be like that. I’m fine. My vision is perfect, everything about it. They don’t hurt. They look bad to you guys, but you look at a 410 driver after some flips and they get this. It’s from spinning in the air, all that, the blood flow, I don’t know. I’m not a doctor and a lot of other people out there aren’t either, so what I can tell you is I went through all the tests. I feel fine. If I didn’t feel fine, I wouldn’t be in this car this weekend, but, obviously, I’m grateful and excited to be here.”

DID THE CRASH FEEL LIKE A SECOND, A YEAR? HOW DID THAT UNFOLD? “I’ve seen interviews from other drivers in the past talking about when you get sideways like that and as you go in the air, it gets real quiet. After experiencing that, that’s 100 percent true. Everything beyond that everything is happening so fast and you’re just flipping through the air. Until that ride stops all you’re thinking about is trying to contain yourself. You tense up and you hope that you’re gonna be OK, which, obviously I am and was. Thank you to everybody at Daytona and the infield care center, the crew that came to me and then as well as the Daytona Med Center for taking care of me.”

DID YOU TAKE THE WINDOW NET DOWN? “The member came and took it completely down, but I can’t speak for a lot of what happened with the netting situation. I see there was a lot of people out there that are putting it in slow-mo and breaking down the video, but the worker did.”

HAVE YOU WATCHED THE VIDEO AND WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND? “Yeah. I feel like I’m watching a 410 sprint car, or not a wingless sprint car wreck. I saw a lot of comments talking about the under body and creating like a plywood effect. I’m sure that we’re all gonna look at this and work on something to help that if that situation occurs, that they car will not want to take off like it did, but from a safety standpoint, I feel like I’ve kind of been the test dummy, so to speak, with the frontal impact and then the rollover. I’m joking, obviously, but I feel fine and, to be honest with you, I was a lot more sore after the frontal impact than I was this one. I look, from an optics standpoint, worse today than I did after the front impact.”


HAVE YOU SEEN THE CAR? “Not yet. I took it easy. I was lucky enough. I talked to Miesha Tate from MMA about just some of this bruising for you guys because I wanted to clear that up as quick as possible because I felt fine. I didn’t want to feel like there was an optics issue of me showing up here to race this weekend and doing my job and fulfilling my commitment as a race car driver to my team, but as well as my guys in here because that means a lot to me.”

DO YOU WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS WHEN NASCAR LOOKS AT YOUR CAR AND WHAT’S BEING DONE? “Yeah. I think we all do. As drivers we want to be very involved in the process, so moving forward I’d like to go see the car. I’d like to explain to them what I went through as well as figuring out a way to help keep the car on the ground. I mean, we’ve come so far from the early nineties with the roof flaps and all that stuff.”

DID YOU GET HIT BY JONES AND THEN BRISCOE? IT WAS HARD TO TELL WHAT HAPPENED. “Erik went to push me, give me a bump draft, and with these cars I think I might have been checking up a little bit for the guy in front of me and it just hit me the wrong way and that sent me into Chase, so, from there, when I went across Chase’s front bumper and it turned us at that sideways angle, I don’t necessarily know how the air got under the car – if it was from going from the asphalt to the grass and it was bouncing. We run these cars really rigid to get the most performance out of them that we can and that’s just what we’re gonna do. I’m not saying that’s an issue at all, I’m just saying that whatever happened to allow the air under the car, it made it go up.”


WHAT ABOUT THE PIROUETTE? “We haven’t seen that in a long time. To be honest with you, that will go into just like years ago when they were able to keep cars on the ground, that will go into them looking at it and figuring out ways to stop that from happening. I don’t know. I’m not an aeronautical engineer by any means, I’m just a race car driver that loves racing, loves competition, loves adrenaline and wants to be here at the racetrack.”

WERE YOU SURPRISED YOU CAME OUT OF THIS AS WELL AS YOU DID? HOW DID YOU FEEL AT THE HOSPITAL? “At 11:30-12:00 I was looking at them saying, ‘Let me go. I’m ready to leave.’ But, I guess so they felt better I decided to stay until 6:00 in the morning, but I felt fine. That’s where we are. A lot of people, the difference between us and most people that would go and drive a car is that this is what we’re supposed to be – we’re supposed to be tough. And it’s OK to be tough. It’s OK to do those things. I feel good. My wife even joked with me on Monday morning and said, ‘You got out of bed quicker than me.’ Me as a person, my father raised me to be the way that I am, how tough I am and how I want to be as a person, so it’s OK to be that way.”

ALL 16 PLAYOFF DRIVERS SAID YOUR ACCIDENT WAS ONE OF THE MOST INTENSE THEY’VE SEEN. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE THAT KIND OF IMPACT? “I’d rather be a part of history for a better reason, for sure, but at the end of the day, this is a moment for our sport to continue evolving the car, which is important, not that I want to be the one or any of us to be that person to figure out what we need to work on, but it’s gonna help us get in the right direction.”

DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT NOT RACING THIS WEEK? WHY NOT SIT FOR A WEEK? “No way. Why? I mean, as a racer, why? You go talk to a guy that’s racing a 410 or a modified, we love to race and I feel completely fine, so why stop? I get what you’re saying. It’s OK to not race, but it’s OK to race, and I think that’s what really needs to be said here.”

NO CONCUSSION-LIKE SYMPTOMS? “I have no concussion-like symptoms. If I had headaches or blurry vision or anything like that, that I felt that I’d be endangering myself or anybody here racing, I wouldn’t be racing. I have a family at home that I have to worry about as well. This is my job. This is what I want to do and I feel completely fine to do it.”

DID YOU HUG YOUR WIFE AND DAUGHTER WHEN YOU GOT HOME? “Yeah, I held my daughter for the most part all day Sunday and gave my wife a hug and a kiss. It just goes to show you that sometimes when you think about making moves, and I’m not talking about mine I’m just saying in general, sometimes you’ll see some careless moves and no matter where you’re at racing in the country you’ve got to think about because as safe as we feel we are because of the safety of race cars and how things have evolved, there are still people in those race cars.”

DID YOU HAVE ANY BRUISING FROM THE BELTS? “I didn’t bruise from the belts.”

ANY SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS FROM THE TALLADEGA WRECK THAT WERE IN THIS CAR THAT BENEFITTED YOU IN THIS CRASH? “My crotch belt area didn’t hurt like it did after Kyle Larson and I wrecked at Talladega, so I guess so. But the wreck I had was different. Flipping was completely different, but the cage held up. I don’t think we’ve tested that, nor do I feel like you go through tests to see how that would. You’d just hope that it would and all that stuff was good.”

WHERE DID THE EYE BRUISING COME FROM? “I didn’t get hit in the face with anything. I don’t know. You’d have to ask a sprint car guy on why those things happen. We typically don’t flip that many times.”

WOULD YOU WANT THAT CAR BACK? “I don’t know. I’d rather a car from one day when I win. I don’t like to look at the bad days. The worst part about that day from an organization standpoint at Stewart-Haas is we were all really fast. We had such fast race cars and to not be able to capitalize on a car that I felt like would do everything I wanted it to do is frustrating as a race car driver. I’m more frustrated about that then the flipping.”

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THAT WRECK WAS USED IN ADVERTISING AND PROMOTING FUTURE RACES AT DAYTONA? “I think it’s a good opportunity for racechoice.com. They sell a lot of safety equipment, so hopefully this will help that and continue our partnership, but I’ve moved on. I’m ready for Darlington.”

WOULD YOU ADVOCATE FOR TAKING THE GRASS OUT OF THE FRONTSTRETCH AT DAYTONA? “From that standpoint, I’d rely on guys like Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch and guys that have been around a long time. I went through one tumble. I haven’t looked into the video as much as maybe some of those guys have, just because I don’t want to watch it. I’m focused on Darlington today and why continue to look backwards.”

KEVIN SAID HE TALKED TO YOU EVERY DAY. I’M GUESSING THE SUPPORT IN THE GARAGE HAS BEEN GRATIFYING? “Yeah. We race against each other and there are times we definitely want to ring each other’s head off, but we all care. We don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

— Ford Performance —