Possible Kevin Harvick replacements – No. 3 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. opened up the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season with the biggest win of his career in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Many assumed that this win would be the lone bright spot of his season, with some already penciling him in as the 16th place finisher (lowest playoff driver) in the standings.
But he has held his own since then. He has all but one race and added four more top eight finishes, including a fourth place effort in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
While DNFs have been a problem and he is somewhat known for his aggressive style, which has led to the nickname “Wrecky Spinhouse”, Stenhouse has shown the ability to get the most out of his equipment and put his car higher up the order than it probably should be. Superspeedways aren’t the only tracks where he has had success.
Since 2014, he has recorded at least one top five finish in a non-superspeedway race each year, and keep in mind, he has done it with teams that are mid-pack at best. Roush Fenway Racing were well past their glory years during his seven-year run with the team, and JTG Daugherty Racing are generally viewed as a step down.
He could be exactly what Stewart-Haas Racing need. He did sign what was described as a “multi-year” contract extension with JTG Daugherty Racing in 2022, but stranger things have happened when it comes to drivers getting out of their deals a year early.
We also can’t forget to mention that Stenhouse is one of Kevin Harvick’s drivers, as he is managed by KHI (Kevin Harvick, Inc.) Management. Ryan Preece is also managed by KHI, and that certainly didn’t hurt his case when he was called upon by Stewart-Haas Racing to replace Cole Custer.