If you are reading this article, odds are you probably came across this on the Harrisburg Forum (Let's hope the admins continue letting me link these articles onto the page). During the week leading up to the Super Bowl, I had every intention to keep what I wrote about strictly about the NFL for that week. That was until the Clash at the Coliseum, which was awesome, by the way. I wanted to write about the significance of the race and what it meant for NASCAR moving forward. During my research on the event, I came across JTG Daugherty Racing.
As all of us from Harrisburg know, Cabarrus County is home to several race teams. It's hard to miss the Hendrick logos plastered around the county. Most of these teams are headquartered in either Concord or Mooresville, the home of the Earnhardt family. But, come to my surprise, a one-driver team calls Harrisburg home.
This NASCAR season, I am making it my mission to get the Town of Harrisburg to know our race team. After living in Harrisburg my entire life, I know what the community is capable of. While JTG Daughtery Racing is no Hendrick or Joe Gibbs, it is ours, and we should appreciate it.
Driver of the #47 Irish Spring and Kroger Car, Ricky Stenhouse, started the Daytona 500 in a less than desirable position, 18th. Daytona is tricky to navigate. You cannot rely solely on speed to win this race. Instead, you have to be smart and utilize drafting to move up in the field. Drafting is when the lead car displaces the air in front of it, creating a vacuum that typically will pull any car within a certain distance closer. This is something that Stenhouse excelled at, and by the end of stage 1 of the race, he had moved up to fourth place and earned seven points towards playoffs.
Stage two found a little less success for Stenhouse, but not much less. Stenhouse fought his way to the #5 position by the end of stage two, earning six more playoff points. The day was looking good at this point. Stenhouse has historically performed pretty well at Daytona. His last win fell in 2017 while he was driving for Roush Fenway at the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona.
Entering the final stage, Stenhouse was still not in first, but he managed to get there in the Kroger/Irish Spring Camaro, which, side note, looked awesome. After a caution, Stenhouse led the pack with seven laps to go. Grouped with eventual winner #2 Austin Cindric, #12 Ryan Blaney, and #6 Brad Keselowski, the fight for first was on. Heading into turn 3, Cindric and Stenhouse were neck and neck with one another. Turn four, Stenhouse began losing ground as Keselowski was giving him some bumps from behind that did not help. Those bumps would eventually lead to Stenhouse making a sharp left turn into Bubba Wallace and eventually into the wall. Stenhouse was sitting in third at the time of his crash.
Had Stenhouse not wrecked, he would have finished in the best position he had finished in since the 2020 Gieco 500 in Talladega (Unless you count the Bristol Dirt Race). This weekend, NASCAR travels to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California to compete in the WISE Power 400. Ricky has had relative success at Auto Club Speedway, and as long as Keselowski keeps his nose out of things, I fully expect a JTG Daughtery Racing Top-10 finish this coming weekend.