NASCAR Truck SeriesNASCAR Xfinity Series

Kevin Harvick and Ryan Preece join Gilliland for Truck starts, Harvick to also run Xfinity road races for SHR

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Credit: David Gilliland Racing

Kevin Harvick has not raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in six years while fellow Cup Series driver Ryan Preece has never done so in his career. Both are set to change as Harvick’s talent agency KHI Management announced on Wednesday that the pair have joined David Gilliland Racing for part-time slates. Harvick will also race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the first time in three years for Stewart-Haas Racing.

The duo will drive the #17 Ford F-150 for DGR. While Harvick is scheduled to do a one-off at Bristol Motor Speedway‘s dirt event on 27 March, Preece will enter the Nashville Superspeedway and Pocono Raceway races on 18 and 26 June, respectively. Hunt Brothers Pizza, a longtime partner of Harvick, will provide sponsorship for both drivers. At the Xfinity level, SHR will field a car for Harvick at three road course races: Circuit of the Americas (22 May), Road America (3 July), and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (14 August); a number and sponsorship were not immediately revealed.

Harvick made his Truck début during the series’ inaugural season in 1995, while his most recent race came in 2015 for JR Motorsports when he finished second at Pocono to Cup peer Kyle Busch. A fourteen-time series winner, he won on Bristol’s regular concrete layout in 2011. KHI was also a Truck Series team from 2001 to 2011, winning forty-three races and a pair of championships with Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. in 2007 and 2009.

In the Xfinity Series, Harvick’s forty-seven victories is the third most in history, while he also has two championships in 2002 and 2006. Although he competed sporadically in the series after his second title, he halted his starts after 2018 with SHR; his latest Xfinity race ended with a crash and finish of twenty-ninth at Darlington.

Much like any other Cup driver coming down to the lower series, the Xfinity and Truck starts serve as additional preparation for the top level races. Bristol’s dirt configuration and the three road courses are new tracks on the Cup calendar, with Bristol dirt and COTA being new stops for NASCAR as a whole. Harvick has also never raced at Road America or the Indianapolis road course at the Xfinity level, though he has two road wins in the series at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Watkins Glen.

Harvick is not the only Cup driver set to race at Bristol as SHR team-mate Chase Briscoe is also entered for Roper Racing. Busch will join Harvick in representing the Cup drivers at the COTA Xfinity event.

“I tell all of the drivers we represent at KHI Management that nothing beats seat time, and that goes for me as well,” Harvick stated. “I can learn and have some fun, all at the same time. Road-course racing and dirt-track racing is a challenge, and I’m always up for a challenge.”

Amusingly, Harvick has never been a proponent of the Cup Series competing on dirt. Although he and many of his Cup brethren participated in the charity Prelude to the Dream late model event at his boss Tony Stewart‘s Eldora Speedway in the late 2000s, he often showed disdain for dirt racing on Twitter during the past decade.

The 2014 Cup champion currently sits seventh in his main series’ standings with three top-ten finishes and a best run of fourth in the opening Daytona 500.

Although he races with Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing in the Cup Series, Preece will be a part of the Ford camp when he débuts as a Truck driver. Now in his third year of full-time Cup competition, he is thirteenth in points with a pair of top tens at the two Daytona races.

Preece has never competed at Nashville, which will host NASCAR races for the first time since 2011, while his best Cup finish at Pocono in four starts is twentieth in 2020’s first event. The 2013 Whelen Modified Tour champion has also raced at Pocono twice as an Xfinity driver with a highest run of fourth in 2019.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to run Nashville and Pocono and partner with Hunt Brothers Pizza and Morton Buildings,” Preece commented. “DGR has done an awesome job building its program from the short tracks to the national level. I said it at the beginning of the season, I’m going to be in the seat as much as I can be. Cup, Truck, Modifieds – whatever has four wheels and an engine that will give me the opportunity to chase after trophies.”

DGR currently fields the #1 and #15 full-time for Hailie Deegan and Tanner Gray, respectively. The #17 is split between numerous drivers with team owner David Gilliland and SHR’s Xfinity driver Riley Herbst having made starts across the first three races of the season; Herbst finished fifth at the Daytona road course in his one-off.

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