Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rockets to first Daytona 500 pole

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. kicks off the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season with a new team the biggest pole of his career.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rockets to first Daytona 500 pole

Stenhouse, who went out 18th of the 42 cars who attempted to qualify, posted a blistering lap of 194.582 mph which held up the rest of the session to give him the pole for Sunday’s Daytona 500.

It’s only the third career pole for Stenhouse, whose most recent came in the 2017 season. It’s also just the third for the JTG Daugherty Racing organization and first on an oval track.

Stenhouse joined JTG in the offseason after seven seasons with Roush Fenway Racing. Stenhouse snapped a five-year Daytona 500 pole winning streak by Hendrick Motorsports drivers.

It his, however, the sixth consecutive Daytona 500 pole won by a Hendrick-powered engine.

“It’s cool,” Stenhouse said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be here and bring guys with me like (crew chief) Brian (Pattie) and Mike (Kelley). They’ve been working hard, they’ve are in my corner and they’ve been behind me throughout my career.

“The Hendrick horsepower was amazing. Obviously, we’ve got quite a few Hendrick cars lined up behind us. Our Camaro was really strong. The wind started picking up down the back straightaway – a little headwind.

“That was our goal coming down here. Pattie was working really hard in the offseason toward that goal. We cut bodies off and put them back on – so this goes out to the whole shop.”

Asked what it meant considering the offseason transition, Stenhouse said, “It’s huge. Anytime you can start the season off with a new organization and see all the work they put in – guys in the shop that I don’t even know are working late nights. All for benefit of me to come down here and jump in this car and run fast.

“This goes to a lot of people who work behind the scenes for me to come out and drive. It’s a cool way to start Speedweeks.”

Hendrick driver Alex Bowman ended up second (194.363 mph). Both Stenhouse and Bowman are the only drivers locked into their starting position for next Sunday’s 500.

Chase Elliott ended up third, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five in speeds.

Thursday’s duel qualifying races will set the lineup for the remainder of the field.

While their starting positions are not yet set, both Justin Haley and Brendan Gaughan – driving for non-charter teams – posted qualifying speeds fast enough to lock themselves in the 500 field regardless of how they perform on Thursday.

Read Also:

shares
comments
The other side of Alex Bowman: A new season

Previous article

The other side of Alex Bowman: A new season

Next article

Erik Jones wins crash-filled Busch Clash with push from Hamlin

Erik Jones wins crash-filled Busch Clash with push from Hamlin
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Daytona 500
Sub-event Qualifying
Author Jim Utter
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020