Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the longest Daytona 500 in history
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a roller coaster career in which he struggled to keep a job, losing his seat at a NASCAR powerhouse team and opened the 14th season in a five-year losing streak.
To say this Daytona 500 is an important race is an understatement – for Stenhouse and NASCAR.
Stenhouse won the Daytona 500 in double injury time and was cautious on Sunday night in the longest run of “The Great American Race”. Two extra innings pushed the race’s 65th lap to a record 212 laps — dozens of laps ahead of the expected distance and a whopping 530 miles (850 kilometers).
It delivers suspenseful moments ahead of a landmark celebration: the first Daytona 500 winning team co-owned by a black man and a woman.
Stenhouse’s win for JTG Daugherty Racing was the third of his career. JTG is the first singles team to win the Daytona 500 since The Wood Brothers Racing did so with Trevor Bayne in 2011.
The team is owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter along with former NBA player Brad Daugherty.
Daugherty, who left the track on Sunday earlier with a tear in his eye, was the first Black car owner to win the race and Jodi Geschickter joined Teresa Earnhardt as female owner. auto won the Daytona 500. Earnhardt ran Dale Earnhardt Inc. when Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 in 2003 and 2004.
Toward Sunday’s victory, JTG stuck with Stenhouse and even reunited him this season with the squad leader, who led him to a pair of Xfinity Series titles years ago.
Mike Kelly’s biggest task is to convince Stenhouse that he can indeed win races. So, before Daytona 500, he stuck a note inside chevrolet. Message? The team trusts the driver.
Kelly said: “When I woke up today, I told myself I would do something I used to do for Ricky when we were having a hard time. “I just wrote him a note that only he can see. It’s at the top of the roll bar in front of him, and it just said, ‘We believe.’ That’s been our motto throughout the season – that we believe in.
“We’re trying to get people to believe in Ricky Stenhouse Jr. once again.”
Stenhouse’s only other wins came in 2017, at Talladega and the summer race at Daytona.
Now, the 35-year-old driver from Olive Branch, Mississippi, has repeated his win over Daytona in NASCAR’s biggest race of the season.
“I think this whole season Mike just preached how much we all trust each other. They left me a note in the car saying they trust me and get the job done,” Stenhouse said. “God, this is unbelievable. This was my last win venue in 2017. We worked really hard. Last year we had a couple of attempts to win. won and lost.
“It’s been a tough season, but man, we’ve done it, the Daytona 500.”
Kyle Larson was collected in a collision at the end of the race after he jumped out of line too early to try to win. His disappointment was eased by Stenhouse’s win.
“Glad Ricky won. I’m super happy. That’s all I could think about after the collision, waiting for him to win,” Larson said. I was hoping it would stay green for me or him to win.
“I can’t wait to go change and hug him tight because he’s one of my great friends.”
Defending champion Joey Logano finished second in one Ford for Team Penske, which won last year’s race against Austin Cindric.
“Second is the worst, man,” Logano said. “Congratulations Ricky. There’s nothing like winning the Daytona 500. That’s why it loves coming in second.”
Christopher Bell came in third in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and followed by Chris Buescher in the Ford for RFK Racing and Hendrick Motorsports poleman Alex Bowman in the Chevrolet. It marked the first time that the pole watchman broke into the top five since Bill Elliott in 2001.
AJ Allmendinger was sixth for Kaulig Racing, Daniel Suarez seventh for Trackhouse Racing and Ryan Blaney eighth for Team Penske. Trackhouse’s Ross Chastain and Rick Ware Racing’s Riley Herbst made the top 10.
Action sports star Travis Pastrana ranked 11th in his Daytona 500 launch and Kevin Harvick placed 12th in his last Daytona 500. Harvick will retire at the end of the year.
Kyle Busch dropped to zero at 18th in the Daytona 500 but ran for his new Richard Childress Racing team. He was the lead ahead of teammate Austin Dillon with three laps remaining in allotment when a Daniel Suarez swing caused caution and sent the race into injury time.
“Back in 1998, that would be victory, boys,” Busch told his team over the radio, referring to the late Dale Earnhardt winning his only Daytona 500. There was no extra time after that and Earnhardt won cautiously.
Busch finished 19th after the crash at the end of the race in second overtime.
“I think this is my first time leading round 200, so I wish it was the law of 1998. But, no, that’s just par for the course, just get used to it and come here every year to find out. understand when and where I’m going to crash and in what round I’ll get out of the care center,” Busch said. Winner? I don’t even know who was lucky enough to get in there.”
Busch was told that Stenhouse was the winner.
“I have it,” he replied.
Seven-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson is back with the series and ran in the top 15 for most of the race. He was collected in one of the crashes in extra time and placed 31st. Johnson is back after two years of racing in the IndyCar Series as a part owner of the IndyCar Series. Heritage Motor club and he plans to do some races.
Brad Keselowski led the highest 42 laps but finished 22nd. He refused to speak to reporters after falling to zero in 14th place in a race he so desperately wanted to win.
The Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, next Sunday in the final race of the track’s current configuration. It will be renovated into a short track after the race — a project that will prevent the track from hosting any races in 2024. Kyle Larson won last year’s race.
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