DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Though Ryan Preece made his name in motorsports behind the wheel of tour-type modifieds, it didn’t mean they were the only type of race cars he wanted to drive.
Preece was enamored with other open-wheel divisions on pavement, and said during the recent Daytona 500 Media Week that he’d like to delve into other disciplines when asked what type of racing is on his bucket list.
“It would probably be an asphalt sprint car or (USAC) Silver Crown car,” said the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion. “Those are things that I’ve always enjoyed watching through the years. I wasn’t from that part of the country, so it was a lot more difficult for me to do that type of racing. If there’s something that I would love to do, it would probably be in one of those cars or even the Night Before The 500 in a midget.
“Those are some pretty sweet race cars.”
Preece wouldn’t be the first modified racer to dip his toe into the waters of sprint car or Silver Crown racing. Bobby Santos III, the 2010 NASCAR modified titlist, frequents both disciplines.
Santos is the defending winner of the Little 500, a non-winged sprint car race that takes place annually at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway, as well as a two-time Must See Racing victor in a winged 410 sprint car on pavement.
On the Silver Crown side, Santos is a 10-time victor, with his most recent score coming in the 2018 Copper Cup at Arizona’s Phoenix Raceway. Those 10 wins have come in only 57 Silver Crown starts.
Comparing the pair’s exploits on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, they each have one championship, while Preece has 22 wins and 16 poles to Santos’ 19 wins and 17 poles.
Preece’s most recent full-time season on the Tour was 2015, while Santos’ last title run was a year later.
Preece’s comments continue a recent trend of NASCAR drivers branching out into or exploring other disciplines.
Defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott recently raced a dirt midget at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals and in Ocala, Fla., while Austin Dillon competed in a sports car at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and Matt DiBenedetto hopes to make a Chili Bowl attempt next January.