Tony Stewart won the battle with partner Gene Haas over next year‘s NASCAR lineup by giving reserve driver Ryan Preece a shot with a top-tier Cup organization.

Preece spent this entire year doing simulator work for Stewart-Haas Racing that helped the organization adapt to NASCAR‘s new car. Haas said last month he and Stewart disagreed over the direction of the No. 41 Ford, with Stewart wanting to promote Preece but Haas preferring that Cole Custer return for a fourth season.

Haas, the founder of the NASCAR team, seemed inclined to follow Stewart‘s talent assessment and it became official Wednesday when Preece was given the seat. Custer will stay at SHR but move down to the second-tier Xfinity Series.

[Custer] will drive a new second Xfinity Series car as teammate to Riley Herbst, who SHR is bringing back for a third consecutive season.

Associated Press

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