Why does it seem like someone that nobody expects is always on the pole for the 500?
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has wheeled his new JTG Daugherty Racing ride to the pole. It’s not surprising seeing how fast that car has been running and how well he generally does at superspeedways, but there’s still always something to seeing RSJ in the top spot.
He’s been a driver with many struggles in his career. Having his girlfriend be his greatest highlight in a nine year career is one example. It seems he’s not ready to fade away into obscurity after losing his ride at Roush-Fenway though.
RSJ has become one of the best drivers at the Daytona and Talladega. Surly his abilities on these types of tracks is what attracted Tad and Jodi Geschickter to him in the first place.
I admire how much time and effort this team has taken to attempt to become a top tier team in NASCAR. When I saw them hire RSJ, my first thought was “why waste your time?” He’s never going to become a championship driver and outside of superspeedways, you’ll never find consistent contention.
I thought that they might continue to look for up and coming names needing a home like Chris Buescher and Ryan Preece. Drivers who still have a ceiling to try and reach.
This seems to be their intentions with the Stenhouse hire however. Perhaps a change of scenery will revive the driver that took over the Nationwide Series once upon a time. Even if you could just get a small pinch of that guy.
The worst case is you run in the twenties as usual and then have a shot to win restrictor plate races.
Going out and winning the pole only further cements RSJ as an elite restrictor plate driver and giving JTG Daugherty some media attention for the biggest race of the year. So far, this seems to be the best case for a small team like this bringing in a troubled driver.
I don’t give Stenhouse a lot of credit, but he’s doing exactly what he needs to do for this team.