DAYTON BEACH, Fla. (WGHP) — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is gearing up for a career first: starting from the pole at the upcoming Daytona 500.
Stenhouse, alongside Alex Bowman, has one of the two cars locked into the field as drivers race to qualify for the other 38 spots.
This strong start comes after Roush Racing dropped him last season.
“It was a shock, for sure,” Stenhouse said. “I definitely didn’t see it coming. Didn’t have any conversation prior to the news of telling me, which was 30 minutes before everybody else knew.”
Now, he’s driving the #47 Kroger Chevrolet for JTG Daugherty Racing.
“I couldn’t have wrote it up any better, the way we started this season,” he said. “… Everybody this offseason was working so hard to make sure that we built the best race cars that we could bring down here to Daytona for myself and my teammate, Ryan Priest, and they did a great job. I mean, they work their butts off, and I appreciate all that effort.”
Going into this race, instead of fighting to reach the top spot, Stenhouse will be fighting to keep it.
“It’s so tough, this race is,” he said. “You got people that pit on different strategies throughout the segments of the race, and It’s all working yourself and setting yourself up for that last run of the race.”
Above all, he said he’s planning to stay out of trouble and make no mistakes.