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Countdown to Daytona - 54 Days

(Cover Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By Adam Carabine

In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.

27th Place – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 579 pts


87 less points than in 2021 – 2022 wasn’t Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s best year. In fact, it was his 2nd worst since he started racing in the Cup Series full-time. 2021 saw him earn 666 points, with a 22nd place overall finish. This year, Stenhouse Jr. dropped 5 spots in the standings, and finished with 579 points. While many of the smaller teams made strides this year with the development of the next-gen car, it seems JTG-Daugherty was one of the few teams that took a step back.

+292 Pass Differential in 2022 – This year was not a complete write-off for Ricky Stenhouse Jr., however. There were plenty of positives along the way as well. His +292 Pass Differential (in other words, passing others 292 more times than he was passed) ranked 4th of all the charters in 2022. He may not have had all the finishes he wanted, but he certainly is able to get by others on the track, which is a recipe for success.

6.25 Average Finish over a stretch of 4 races in 2022 – While Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s bread and butter has always been seen as Super Speedways, or “plate racing style” tracks, his best stretch of the season came at completely different tracks. Through the month of May, he finished 2nd at Dover, 8th at Darlington and Kansas, and finally 7th at the Coca-Cola 600. A single good finish could be written off as a lucky break, or a fluke, but 4 Top-10s in a row (at some difficult races, too) shows there’s more to Stenhouse Jr. than his Super Speedway acumen.

9 DNFs in 2022 – Unfortunately for Ricky, that ranks as the highest of all Cup Series chartered cars this year. That likely contributes to his underperforming this year compared to last. Many factors can contribute to DNFs, and not all of them are directly the driver’s fault. Of Stenhouse Jr.’s 9 DNFs, only 2 were not crash-related. A drivetrain issue at COTA, and an engine at the 2nd Atlanta race took him out early. The rest of the DNFs of 2022 are listed as “crashes,” though that can also be just bad luck – being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

77 Laps Led in 2022 – Obviously, the most important lap to lead is always the final one, but there is certainly much more pressure when you’re the leader – everyone is chasing you at that point. Not only did Ricky Stenhouse Jr. lead 77 laps this year, it was 42 laps more than 2021, despite a worse average finish.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is officially returning to JTG-Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 in 2023, as he signed a multi-year extension with them this year. He will have a new crew chief in 2023, as his former crew chief Brian Pattie will join KBM’s No. 51 in the Crafstman Truck Series. Mike Kelley (who has been with JTG-Daugherty since 2020 in a competition director role) will be his crew chief next year.

Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – #16 Car – Kaulig Racing!

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