Stenhouse striving to turn JTG Daugherty into giant-killers

Fourteen years into his career, JTG Daugherty driver Ricky Stenhouse is one of the last men standing in a single car NASCAR Cup Series team. Despite the highs and lows that have punctuated his career, he has no designs on going anywhere soon.

“Well, it’s kind of odd,” Stenhouse remarked when asked for his take on his current place in the sport. “I feel really good about where our race team is, even though we don’t have a ton to show for it, you know? We were battling for the win at Daytona and we get in a wreck. We were running good at Atlanta and had a shot to win and then had bad luck. And then Vegas and Phoenix were not great races for us, but I felt like we executed really well as a race team, which is a good thing. And we qualified well at these races, which we struggled with last year.

“So then we go to Bristol, my favorite racetrack, and I felt like we had a top five to top 10 car, for sure. We got ran into and had some damage. It wasn’t really anything in our control and that was a bummer. We went to the road course at COTA and it felt like we were really good. I made a mistake, got loose and cut the track and had a penalty there. So I feel like we’ve we’ve been okay, we just don’t have a lot to show for it. However, all in all, I’m happy with where our team is and I feel like we’re working good together.”


Seven races into the 2024 Cup season, Stenhouse has raced to one top 10 finish (Atlanta). Outside of that, he has struggled to an average season finish of 25.1 and admits that the results can be hard to take.

“Sometimes it’s a bummer,” said Stenhouse. “You know, you’re looking around and you don’t have answers. Now I feel like we’ve got answers and solid answers and I feel confident we know what we’re lacking and where we need to be better. I think that’s better than struggling and scratching your head and not really having any answers. I feel good about it.”

“Everybody’s working hard, you know? It’s tough on the guys to struggle with finishes. I mean, we are all racers and they want to run well. They work really hard. So trying to keep them motivated is super important. For the most part, I think our team does a really good job of that.

“I do really enjoy being in the middle of all this. I think the biggest thing for me is that I just enjoy what I’m doing and I enjoy where I’m at. And I enjoy the challenge. You know, we’re not the biggest team out there. I would love to be on a Hendrick Motorsports team. You know, be on the best team and go out compete for the win every weekend. However, that’s not the spot I’m in right now. For me, it’s just taking where you’re at, whether it be in life or in racing, and just try and make the best of it all.

“I really, really enjoy all the people on our race team and everybody that’s around me. I think we work well together. And the more we learn with this race car, the better we’re going to continue to get. Last year was a really good step forward for us and I think some of the things that we look at this year might put more expectations on us compared to what we had last year. That’s part of moving forward. You have to keep moving the goal to get better so, yeah, so I feel really good about where we’re at.”

Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 47 team will be Martinsville Speedway.

“I think we can we get back on track in these next few races and get solid top 15 finishes and start racking up those good finishes that we had last year,” said Stenhouse. “We have got opportunities to win throughout the season. And we will take advantage of those opportunities when those times come. For me, it’s just getting back on track and getting those solid finishes and to really keep pushing the issue when we can go win a race.

“The craziest thing is with racing is that if you have a bad week, then the good news is that you race the next weekend. So there’s always next weekend. You don’t have to wait too long to go and turn around and to get another opportunity. I mean, you got to stay in the game. You can’t let a bad weekend keep you down and you’ve got to realize that you always have an opportunity to get better.”

Story originally appeared on Racer