Possible Trackhouse drivers for 2023: No. 3 – Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo’s affinity for NASCAR has been well-documented, going back to his childhood days. He has shown his fandom for the late Dale Earnhardt, paying homage to the NASCAR Hall of Famer by running the number 3 himself in Formula 1. Additionally, Ricciardo was able to drive Earnhardt’s 1984 Monte Carlo at Circuit of the Americas last year.
But Ricciardo’s desire to compete in NASCAR could present another hill to climb for the Perth, Australia native. His entire career has been spent in open-wheel racing, specifically in Formula 1. He currently races for McLaren, with his best finish so far this year being a sixth place finish in the Australian Grand Prix.
Making the transition from open-wheel racing to stock car racing can be quite the challenge, especially when rushed. Danica Patrick found a ride pretty quickly in NASCAR, but she was never able to finish a Cup Series race in the top five, nor make the playoffs. Kimi Raikkonen’s 2011 appearances took place due to his timely departure from open-wheel racing.
Other names who fall into the black and white scenario that is the jump from open-wheel racing to stock car racing are Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Speed. Montoya is a two-time winner in the Cup Series, but Speed was most likely found in the back of the pack or in the garage by the time the checkered flag fell.
It takes a mix of time, talent, and equipment if an open-wheel driver is going to be successful in stock car racing. But with mutual interest, Ricciardo and Trackhouse Racing Team could be quite the pairing. A road course race would make the most sense with Ricciardo’s background, but a short track may let him live out his dream of using the “bump and run” that his childhood hero made a living on.
If the stars align, and if Ricciardo is ever going to hop into a NASCAR vehicle, the #91 Chevrolet seems like the perfect fit.