Make us your home page

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, 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

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)