Ryan Preece and wife Heather talk on the grid prior to the 2021 Rackley Roofing 200 at Nashville Superspeedway
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Ryan Preece and Heather DesRoschers Once Competed on the Racetrack, and Now They're Happily Married

Long before they fell in love with each other, Ryan and Heather Preece fell in love with racing. In fact, the two Connecticut natives (Ryan's originally from Berlin, while Heather grew up in Granby) met at a racetrack in 2009, and two years later, they were actually competing against each other in the SK Modified Series. They immediately went from competitors to lovers, and today, they're a happily married couple of nearly six years. Time flies when you're in love and living the ultimate racing dream.

Getting to Know Ryan and Heather Preece

Ryan Preece and wife Heather celebrate in victory lane after Ryan won the 2021 Rackley Roofing 200 at Nashville Superspeedway

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As it turns out, Heather DesRochers had dreams of making it as a NASCAR driver before tying the knot with her now-husband Ryan Preece. In 2009, when she was just 20 years old, Heather was one of 30 drivers selected to participate in the NASCAR "Drive for Diversity" combine. Unfortunately, Heather didn't make the cut (she unsuccessfully tried again in 2010), but the year wasn't a complete wash, because she ended up meeting Ryan at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. According to Heather, "it was not love at first sight" (to be fair, Ryan was a fresh high school graduate, and as Heather put it, "he was a little young at the time"). Two years later, Heather and Ryan were competitors in the SK Modified Series, and that's when their relationship really started to blossom. It didn't hurt that they both had solid seasons that year: Heather was named the series' Rookie of the Year and Ryan won the championship. In 2017, after six years of dating, Ryan and Heather got married.

Heather has been with Ryan through every level on his professional career. She was there when he was named the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion. She was there when he ran his first full season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with JD Motorsports in 2016. She was there one year later when he won his first Xfinity race with Joe Gibbs Racing at Iowa Speedway. She was there when he made the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2019, and she's been there as the 32-year-old Ryan takes the next big step in his career in the No. 41 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Above all else, Heather is the perfect support system for Ryan, and he said as much during an interview with Dale Jarrett back in 2019.

"At the end of the day, if I do something wrong on that racetrack, she's gonna tell me," Preece said, adding, "she's somebody that I can always vent to, and she understands it."

Heather herself admitted that she isn't afraid to rely on her past racing experience and break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of Ryan's races. She doesn't sugarcoat things, either.

"I'm also pretty honest," she said. "So, whenever there's an incident on the track, we talk about it after, and I play devil's advocate. I think that's important."

Heather and Ryan's love story definitely isn't your typical one. Not too many couples could survive actually competing against each other (Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. particularly comes to mind). But, I'm sure if you were to ask the Preeces, they wouldn't have things any other way.

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