Things got pretty low for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as he was released from the only team he had ever known — Roush Fenway Racing — in favor of Chris Buescher for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. Sunday, in Daytona 500 qualifying Stenhouse got sweet redemption in the form of his first-career Daytona 500 pole.
“It’s cool,” Said Stenhouse.
“Just thankful for the opportunity to be here and to bring people with me like Brian [Pattie] and Mike,” Stenhouse explained. “They’ve been working really hard. They’re in my corner. They’ve been behind me throughout my whole career.”
Stenhouse, 32, now drives for JTG Daugherty Racing in the No. 47 Chevrolet Camaro and put down a lap of 194.582 mph in the session. Stenhouse’s lap on Kroger pole day in the Kroger-sponsored car was five-hundredths of a second better than any other car.
This marks Stenhouse’s third pole of his Cup Series career.
Things were just as sweet for Stenhouse’s crew chief Brian Pattie, who followed Stenhouse from Roush Fenway to JTG Daugherty.
“This is pretty nice,” said Pattie. “A lot of work over the winter. Guys have done a really good job. Just go through your deal and make sure you have everything on the table, you know qualifying time which was today and it was enough, which is good.”
Alex Bowman, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, will start second in next Sunday’s Daytona 500.
No other positions are secured during Daytona 500 qualifying day, as the remainder of the starting lineup will be determined in Thursday’s BlueGreen Vacation Duel qualifying races, but two non-chartered teams know that they will be locked into the starting grid.
Justin Haley, who drives the No. 16 car for Kaulig Racing and Brendan Gaughan, who drives the No. 62 for Beard Motorsports both secured a place in the Great American Race by way of speed.
Daniel Suarez, who moved to the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing team will be one of five drivers that will need to race their way into the starting lineup by way of the Duels. The other drivers that will need to race their way in are: Chad Finchum, Timmy Hill, Reed Sorenson and JJ Yeley.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.