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What NASCAR's Ryan Preece Said about Vicious Crash That Sent His Car Airborne, Flipping 10 Times
The dramatic wreck briefly sent the No. 41 Ford Mustang driver to the hospital, though he was released.
As if heeding Denny Hamlin’s prophetic words that the final race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season would be an explosive one where aggressive, tight driving could lead to big wrecks, Daytona International Speedway did not disappoint.
First, near the end of Stage 2, Christopher Bell gave Ty Gibbs a nudge that caused the 20-year-old driver in the No. 54 Toyota Camry to get loose and force Ryan Blaney in Team Penske’s No. 12 Ford Mustang hard into the wall. Following that impact, Ricky Stenhouse, Alex Bowman and A.J. Allmendinger found themselves caught in a portion of the pile-up, while Austin Cindric, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin, Harrison Burton, Kyle Larson and Riley Herbst endured another pocket of the chaos. The race was on Lap 96 when the red flag came out and a cleanup crew came out to clear the track of debris.
In total, 16 different cars were involved in that wreck but, as harrowing of an ordeal as that was, the real fireworks would come later in the race.
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Driving the No. 41 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing, Preece caught a bump from behind by Erik Jones, causing Preece to lose traction and slide sideways as he came out of Turn 2 on Lap 156. The momentum caused Preece to slam into his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Chase Briscoe. That subsequent contact forced Preece into the grass where the air underneath rocketed the No. 41 Ford into a scary, airborne barrel roll, savagely flipping the car 10 times before finally coming to a stop.
“This is just violent,” stated NBC analyst Jeff Burton of Preece’s crash during the broadcast. “Look at this car. That is just amazing that something that weighs over 3,500 pounds can get in the air like that.”
After witnessing the vicious wreck, concerned race fans held their breath as they looked on and, miraculously, Preece was able to exit his vehicle and speak with the attending emergency medical personnel. Following precautionary NASCAR safety protocol, he was then placed on a stretcher and taken to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida for further evaluation, according to NASCAR.
Upon being released from the hospital, Preece’s team at Stewart-Haas Racing said the wheelman of the No. 41 Ford was “awake, alert and mobile” and “had been communicating with family and friends,” FOX News reported.
In another positive sign that the 32-year-old from Berlin, Connecticut was doing well, Preece posted an encouraging message on X, the social media platform formerly named Twitter.
“If you want to be a race car driver, you better be tough,” wrote Preece in the post. “Dammit. Fast
@racechoice @FordPerformance Mustang. I’m coming back.”
After winning Cup Series’ season finale in Daytona, Chris Buescher, who NBC Sports reports is a friend of Preece, spoke about the inherent dangers of the sport.
“[I’m] Appreciative of how safe our race cars are,” a thankful Buescher noted after cruising to his third Cup Series victory of the 2023 season. “I think as an industry that sometimes we forget it’s dangerous still. That can certainly lead to some of our wilder moments.”
“It’s a dangerous sport,” he continued. “We know that getting in. Sometimes, we push it a little too far in the back of our minds.”
With the 2023 Cup Series Playoff field locked, the 10-race postseason begins September 3with the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on USA Network.