Heading into Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, JTG Daugherty Racing will have a different group of people pitting the No. 47 Chevrolet Camaro, driven by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., as part of a crew swap with RFK Racing.
The single-car organization, which worked with the same pit crew in the opening nine races of the season, will have four of its five crew members reassigned to RFK Racing, the team that provides JTG Daugherty Racing with pit crews, starting at Talladega.
Jakob Prall, Zach Yager, Dalton Leonard, and Nicholas Patterson will all continue in their usual positions on pit road, but will now work with Chris Buescher and Scott Graves on the No. 17 RFK Racing Ford Mustang.
As a result, Greg Donlin, Justin Edgell, Chris Shuman, and Matt Wilps have been reassigned to work with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Mike Kelley, who captured the Daytona 500 and three other top-10 results this year in the No. 47 Chevrolet Camaro.
“When you’re a team that is a customer of somebody else, I guess things like this happen,” Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. said Thursday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “For us, we were basically told we had our pit crew for the year. Then our guys performed the best on pit road this past week and [RFK Racing] called and said ‘Hey, we’re taking them’.”
With a victory in the 2023 Daytona 500, Stenhouse and JTG Daugherty Racing are off to a fantastic start this year, scoring an additional three top-10 results at Circuit of The Americas, Bristol Dirt, and Martinsville.
Coupling an uprise in performance with a pit crew performing at a high level, the team looks destined to continue improving as they make their way toward a spot in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
However, Stenhouse, a long-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, accredits the success of the pit crew to Mike Kelley, the new crew chief on the No. 47 for this season.
“I think one of the reasons our guys are good, is they enjoy working for Mike Kelley and our team,” Stenhouse continued. “So, I know Mike will take these guys and get them pumped up and ready to go. I feel like Mike gets a little bit more out of them than other people do.”
The immediate impact of the crew change between RFK and JTG could be felt as early as this weekend, as the NASCAR Cup Series returns to a superspeedway for the second time this year.
Should Stenhouse be able to follow up Daytona with a victory at Talladega, it would be the first time since 2017 that he would capture multiple wins in a season, ironically enough, driving for RFK Racing.