Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ricky Stenhouse hopes to follow in Trevor Bayne's footsteps at Daytona 500

TAMPA — Ricky Stenhouse knows the odds are stacked against him in the Daytona 500.

After all, he has just one Sprint Cup race under his belt and has only a one-race deal to drive the No. 6 Ford for Roush-Fenway Racing.

But the second-tier Nationwide series defending champion knows unlikelier things have happened or, at least, as unlikely.

It happened last year to Stenhouse's friend Trevor Bayne.

Bayne, Stenhouse's Roush-Fenway teammate in Nationwide, parlayed a partial Sprint Cup deal with the Wood Brothers team into perhaps the biggest upset in Daytona history last year, becoming the youngest 500 winner ever, just a day after his 20th birthday.

"That's the one that you want to run," Stenhouse said last week about Daytona. "That's the one that everybody would pick."

Stenhouse's lone Sprint Cup race was last year's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. The 24-year-old finished a solid 11th and on the lead lap for the same No. 21 team that Bayne drove for at Daytona.

Still, on Feb. 26, when Stenhouse lines up for this year's Daytona 500 (he's guaranteed a spot because of owner's points that carry over for the No. 6 car), he knows repeating Bayne's feat will not be easy.

"Early in the (600-mile) race, I was racing just as hard for 28th as I did for fifth in the Nationwide race," Stenhouse said. "I don't expect it to be any different at Daytona. They got a lot of experience that I don't have."

The Mississippi native has picked up some laps at Daytona during testing, which has been a challenge as NASCAR continues to tinker with its rules.

"We had the test at Daytona with them changing rules," Stenhouse said. "With the drafting we did you could tell (drivers) were anxious to get back in it. It was exciting out there, and it was just a test."

Part of that excitement comes as NASCAR introduces steps to try to reduce the amount of two-car tandem racing at restrictor-plate tracks. That style has proved unpopular with fans, many of whom indicate they prefer the massive packs from the recent past.

"Hopefully the fans will be able to get both (packs and tandems)," Stenhouse said. "I think still the fastest way around is pushing each other, but if your motor can't take the heat — they've regulated it where the temperatures run up a lot faster, they start blowing out water a lot faster. Toward the end of the race maybe the last couple of laps you might see some steam coming out of the hood.

"I think the fans are going to have back what they wanted as far as the pack drafting."

Stenhouse said he likes the racing at a resurfaced Daytona International Speedway either way but, with track president Joie Chitwood present, joked that, "I'm waiting on Joie to go out and dig some holes and make it rough again."

Chitwood, who dealt with the pothole-delayed 2010 race, responded, "My last act as president of Daytona: President loses mind, digs pothole."

Clearly that's not going to happen. But Stenhouse, whose friendly off-track competitions with Bayne are chronicled on a website called RickyvsTrevor.com, wants a shot at 500 glory, even knowing how hard it will be in just his second Sprint Cup start.

After all, last year there was a driver in the race who made just his second start.

Guess which one.

Ricky Stenhouse hopes to follow in Trevor Bayne's footsteps at Daytona 500 02/08/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NFL Week 3: What we learned

    Bucs

    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. Bradenton high school senior Chasten Whitfield inspires young anglers

    Outdoors

    MADEIRA BEACH — The kids lined up single file, snow cones in hand, a procession of sweaty, excited grade schoolers watching Chasten Whitfield throw a cast net.

    Whitfield, a senior at Bradenton Manatee, demonstrates how to throw a cast net at the FishKids tournament in Madeira Beach. She also taught knot tying.
  5. Wreck helps Kyle Busch take control of Monster Cup's ISM 300

    Auto racing

    LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch saw little but billowing white smoke that engulfed the track and blinded enough drivers that it caused a tremendous wreck that notably altered the race running order.

    Kyle Busch celebrates with a burnout after his third victory of the season that earns a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs. He also has some fun with Loudon the Lobster.