By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
For the first time in two months — to the day — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scored a top-10 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series.
And though it wasn’t his first outside a superspeedway, perhaps Saturday’s 10th-place result at Dover International Speedway was his most surprising so far with JTG Daugherty Racing.
Starting 19th in Sunday’s Drydene 311 at Dover, Stenhouse’s No. 47 Chevrolet was forward focused from the drop of the rag. With slow, steady progression, the veteran inched inside the top 10 before the race’s halfway point, jumping as high as eighth on lap 134.
“That was a fun race in our No. 47 Kroger Chevrolet to mark off another top-10 finish,” Stenhouse said. “We were really tight at the start of the race, but [crew chief] Brian Pattie made some really good adjustments throughout the race to help us get faster and faster.”
Running eighth, Stenhouse lost four positions on the ensuing green-flag pit stop. Without hesitation or much struggle, he jumped back into the top 10, eventually beating out Cole Custer for the 10th position.
“Our cars this year have been some of the best I’ve had in my career,” he said. “This gives us a lot of confidence heading into tomorrow’s race.
The result was Stenhouse’s first top 10 since Talladega Superspeedway when he narrowly missed out on the race win. Additionally, it was only his third top-10 finish in 16 Dover starts.
“We learned a lot today and I’m excited for tomorrow to continue tuning this up tonight and have an even better day tomorrow at Dover,” he said.
Stenhouse has two more chances to win his way into the championship playoffs. The No. 47 will line up 10th in Sunday’s second leg of the Dover doubleheader.
— JTG Daugherty Racing (@JTGRacing) August 22, 2020