I'm finally ready to face the truth. As painful as it is, I'm ready. My hope for JTG Daugherty Racing has basically diminished completely. It is challenging to be hopeful when our team has finished in the bottom seventeen in seven of the eight races this season. Luckily, this weekend we get a change of pace and get off the pavement and onto the dirt.
I did say my hope for the team has basically diminished completely. However, I did not say it HAS diminished completely. Where I am finding that little bit of hope for this weekend comes from Stenhouse's performance at the 2021 Bristol Dirt Race. Last year's dirt race was the only race Stenhouse finished in the Top-3. This is likely because when Stenhouse is not stock car racing, he spends a lot of his time racing on dirt.
So, a bad outing this weekend will completely diminish my hope for the team this season. I know I have expected Top-10 finishes or better for the entirety of the season, but that was mostly my optimism coming out. This week, the team HAS to perform well. There is no excuse. They have the driver for a Top-10 finish. Now JTG Daugherty has to provide the car for a Top-10 finish.
I don't want to, but I will review the team's performance in Martinsville to be consistent. This may be the one time I write something I do not want to write about.
Speaking of consistency, the team finished in 27th or 28th for the fourth time this season. After a lengthy rain delay, the green flag would drop, and Stenhouse would start the race in 28th. By lap 30, Stenhouse would fall into 30th. However, Stenhouse would still put up Top-10 lap times despite being far back in the pack. Since Martinsville is a short track with a unique paper clip design, increasing track position is a challenging feat to accomplish. At the end of stage one, Stenhouse would find his way up to 27th.
The time between stages one and two would do some good for the #47 car as the car would sit at 24th to start the second stage. Ricky had minimal action in this stage, and he would finish in 25th. Stage three was more of the same. Again, minimal activity, but Stenhouse would fall back and finish the race in 27th.
This week is done and over with, and other than the Wise Power 400, I'm ready to put this start of the season behind me. We are just under a quarter of the way finished with the season, and as I mentioned last week, there really is not anywhere else we can go from here but up. I mean, there are 39 drivers with points, but it cannot get much worse. Hopefully, the dirt does some good for the team, and we will start seeing progress moving forward.