Ryan Preece, just one week after his scary crash at Daytona, will return to the track Sunday.
Preece, 32, was cleared to drive at the Southern 500 at Darlington, S.C. and will ride his No. 41 Ford from the 34th pole position when the race begins at 6 p.m. ET.
Preece survived largely unscathed after a multi-flip crash late in last Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at the the Daytona International Speedway. His car flipped nearly a dozen times across part of the infield of the track before it eventually came to a stop on its wheels and appeared to be on fire.
Preece eventually was able to leave the car on his own power with some assistance and was taken to an infield care center. Later, he was transported to a local hospital.
“It’s OK to not race,” Preece said Saturday at Darlington, his first public comments since the crash. “But it’s OK to race, and I think that’s what needs to be said.”
Did Ryan Preece suffer any injuries from his crash at Daytona?
He spent Saturday night at a local hospital, the Halifax Health Medical Center, but was discharged the following day. Prior to his release, his team at Stewart-Haas Racing said Preece was “awake, alert and mobile” and “has been communicating with family and friends.”
Preece said Saturday he was not sore from the wreck, though he spoke to reporters with bruises under both eyes.
“If I had headaches or blurry vision or anything like that that I felt I was endangering myself or anybody else here, I wouldn’t be racing,” Preece said Saturday. “I have a family that I have to worry about as well. This is my job, this is what I want to do and I feel completely fine.”
What else has Ryan Preece said about his crash at Daytona?
Just hours after the crash, Preece took to social media with a pledge: “I’m coming back.” He added that “if you want to be a race car driver, you better be tough.”
There still remained questions about when Preece would return to race, but he appeared Friday in a video on social media announcing he was cleared and would be participating in the Southern 500. When meeting with reporters at the track Saturday, Preece elaborated on his experience during the crash.
“I’ve seen other interviews from drivers in the past that as you get sideways and as you go in the air, it’s gets real quiet,” he said. “After experiencing that, that’s 100% true. Beyond that, everything’s happening so fast, you’re just flipping through the air. Until that ride stops, all you’re thinking about is just trying to contain yourself.
“You tense up and you hope you’re going to be OK, which obviously I am.”
How did Ryan Preece’s crash at Daytona happen?
Preece got loose after potentially getting bumped, and his car swerved down toward the infield, catching up teammate Chase Briscoe in the No. 14 in the process. Preece’s car took flight when he hit the infield grass, bouncing on his hood and then spinning several times through the air. The car eventually landed on its wheels and appeared to be on fire when it finally came to a stop.
Medical personnel rushed out to attend to Preece. He was able to get out of the car with some help and was then placed on a gurney and taken by ambulance to the infield care center. He was later taken to a local hospital.
Contributing: Jace Evans