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Injured but fit Ryan Preece returns in clear health after Daytona crash

DARLINGTON, SC — Ryan Preece said he had a recent conversation with mixed martial arts fighter Miesha Tate, apparently taking notes on the effects of a facial injury and how to handle it after his dramatic flip at Daytona International Speedway. wanted to compare. When he briefly removed his sunglasses during a media appearance outside his team’s Heller on Saturday, the 32-year-old driver looked like a boxer who had put in several rounds in a heavyweight bout.

Bloodshot, black and blue but otherwise fit, Pryce was back in the NASCAR Cup Series garage at Darlington Raceway on Saturday morning, a week after the Daytona barrel roll that sent the Stewart-Haas Racing driver to a local hospital for evaluation. He announced Friday morning that he has been cleared to return to competition, and he will return to the cockpit of SHR’s No. 41 Ford in Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM, NBC Sports App) Ready to return. Historic Darlington Track.

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“They’re not bad,” Preece said when asked about his eyes, which were black from bleeding from the force of the flip. But showing the results, he said he wanted to address any concerns, adding that neither his approach nor the overall sentiment had been compromised.

Preece said, “I wanted to clear it up as quickly as possible, because I felt good.” “I didn’t want to feel like there was an optics issue with me coming here to race this weekend and do my job and fulfill my commitment as a race car driver to my team, but with Same happened with my people here because they are very important to me.”

Preece was collected in a late-race crash at the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the regular season finale at Daytona. His No. 41 Mustang veered off the line at the back and slid toward the grass of the infield, and flipped over sharply after becoming airborne.

Preece said he was eager to leave the hospital as Saturday approached midnight, shortly after the checkered flag of the Daytona race, but stayed until the next morning as a precaution. He said his eye injury and bruises were common among sprint-car drivers, whose cars flipped more regularly, but he did not feel any pain in the days following the accident.

“My wife even made fun of me on Monday morning, saying, ‘You got out of bed earlier than me,’” Preece said. “So, as a person, my dad raised me to be who I am, how tough I am and how I want to be as a person, so it’s okay to be like that.”

Preece also stated that he has not reported any signs of injury, adding that he could be prevented from proceeding to resume his racing schedule if he poses a danger to himself or others. . With his clean health, sitting out Sunday’s race is not a consideration, he said.

“As a racer, why?” Preece said. “You talk to anybody who has been driving a 410 (sprint car) or a modified car, we love to race, and I feel totally fine. So why stop? You know what I mean? I understand what you are saying. It’s okay not to race, but it’s okay to race, and I think that’s really what needs to be said here.”

Preece’s No. 41 car was taken to the NASCAR Research & Development Center for further evaluation, and NASCAR officials indicated that preliminary findings showed that the driver’s compartment remained intact with limited intrusion. Officials said the investigation is ongoing, with more details expected to be shared in the coming weeks.

“As drivers, we want to be very involved in the process,” said Preece, who said he hasn’t seen her since she left the car last weekend. “Moving on, I’d like to go see the car. I would like them to explain what I went through and also find a way to help keep the car on the ground. I mean, we’ve come a long way since the early ’90s, with the roof flaps and all that stuff.

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Aric Almirola, one of Pryce’s fellow drivers at Stewart-Haas, was among those who said he was excited by the early details.

“Obviously, this being one of my teammates, we want to make sure that everything we’re doing as an organization inside the race car, the way we do our seats and steering bracket put everything inside the car in order and they did that,” Almirola said. “He did really well. Really encouraged about it, the way the people around him in the driver’s compartment The cocoon stayed intact and didn’t really take a lot of beating. So really, the way everybody’s happy – obviously in NASCAR, but especially in Stewart-Haas Racing – they’ve paid close attention to detail to make sure Given that they could make the race car as safe as possible, they did an amazing job.”

Preece is more than two-thirds of the way through his first Cup Series season with Stewart-Haas Racing and his fourth full-time campaign overall. He didn’t qualify for the playoffs, which begin this weekend at Darlington, but he claimed his first Cup Series pole position earlier this year at Martinsville Speedway.

Preece may be relatively new to SHR’s four-driver Cup Series roster, but he has been acclaimed as a veteran of the highly competitive Modified Tour circuit. The Cup Series has its own brand of competition, but he said the community has also provided support in the wake of his Daytona crash.

He added, “We compete against each other, and there are times we definitely want to smash each other’s heads in, but we all care about it.” “We don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”


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