Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has been with JTG Daugherty Racing since the 2020 Cup Series season, and he has posted some strong finishes. However, he achieved something new at Kansas Speedway by finishing eighth overall.
The driver of the No. 47 posted a top-10 finish for the third consecutive week, following a runner-up at Dover Motor Speedway and an eighth-place finish at Darlington Raceway. This is the first time since he joined JTG Daugherty Racing that he has rattled off three in a row, and it is the first time since the 2017 season when he drove for Jack Roush.
Stenhouse did not have the strongest start to his weekend. He scraped the wall during practice and caused damage to the rear of the No. 47. The JTG Daugherty Racing crew had to make repairs, which dropped Stenhouse to the rear of the field for the start of the race. He was able to navigate his way through the field — making 96 green flag passes in the process — and work his way into the top 10 in the closing laps.
Stenhouse only has one top-five finish in 2022 so far, but he has already tied his previous best mark for top-10 finishes (four) in the No. 47 Chevrolet Camaro. He is now on pace to potentially tie or surpass his career-high of nine top-10s that he set during the two-win 2017 season.
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Stenhouse Still Has Work To Do
A third straight top-10 finish is a positive for the No. 47 team. After all, this team has struggled to perform consistently since Stenhouse joined the fold in 2020. It’s a step in the right direction, but the team has more work to do in the remaining regular-season races.
Stenhouse is currently 25th in points after the first 13 weeks of the season and well below the playoff cutline. He is running out of time to secure enough points, especially considering that 11 drivers have already won and left only five spots available.
“All-in-all, a really good day and another top-10 for our No. 47 Dillons/Louisiana Hot Sauce Camaro,” Stenhouse said after exiting the No. 47 on May 15. “After starting in the back from our issues in practice yesterday, I’m really happy with the result. We were solid on pit road. We made some good adjustments to get our car better.
“I felt like I was really strong at points, but we were around an eighth-place car. The top five were really, really fast, and I didn’t have anything for them. I’m really happy with where we ran. We didn’t make any mistakes and brought home another top-10. That was our goal coming in, to try and keep that momentum going.”
Stenhouse Has Another Goal to Check Off
The top-10 helped Stenhouse accumulate some much-needed points. It also helped him keep the positive momentum moving toward the summer. Now he has a different immediate goal to check off.
The next race on the schedule does not count in the points. Instead, it’s the annual All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. The drivers will battle for the $1 million prize while taking on a unique race format that features pit stop competitions and an altered lineup for the final stage.
Stenhouse doesn’t have a secure spot in the All-Star Race. He will have to lock himself into the main event during the All-Star Open. If he wins one of the first two stages or the race itself, he will move on to the All-Star Race. If not, he will have to hope that he wins the fan vote and takes the final spot on the starting grid.
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