Cool Down Lap: Ricky Stenhouse Has No Friends But Gave Us A New Winner

Daytona is always a wild card but the last two seasons have provided some of the more random finishing orders in recent NASCAR memory. Back in February, it was Austin Dillon taking his #3 to victory lane in a victory no one saw coming. Literally, no one, check the sportsbooks.

Saturday Night was no different at the beach. Two massive accidents within 5 laps both triggered by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. altered the outcome of the race and added a new driver to the locked in playoff field.

Ricky’s Uh-oh’s

On lap 55 Stenhouse hit the back of Brad Keselowski’s #2 car sending the 2012 champ into the wall and ultimately collecting 26 cars that either received damage or spun in the melee. All the contenders, ALL OF THEM, were out of the race before the halfway point and Stenhouse skirted through and won the stage. Stenhouse would win the first two stages Saturday night as he desperately tried to win and secure a playoff spot.

A mere 5 laps later Stenhouse struck again.

This time he hooked the #18 as he tried to side draft him. That hook caused the #18 to clip the #24 and all hell broke loose once again. Can’t-lose the race if there’s no one left running at the finish. Stenhouse’s idea apparently at that point made all the sense in the world. One more big accident like that and the #17 could cruise into victory lane easily or he might need a police escort out of the track.

Should We Thank Ricky For Giving Us A New Winner?

As the race wound down there was a legit possibility two of the big three drivers were going to win the race. Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick made their way to the front as any championship contender would. Survive and pounce when the time comes. Unfortunately for Harvick incompetency runs rampant in plate races and he got caught in a wreck.

For Truex, he had a legit shot to win on the final restart. What is unfortunate for Truex is everyone knows he has three wins already and no drivers were really willing to work with him. We saw Kasey Kahne and others skirt away from the #78 like he had the plague.

What all of the crashing Stenhouse cause set up for was a new winner this season. Only six drivers have won this year and Saturday night was a prime time for a 7th. Would it be Kasey Kahne, one of the JTG cars, or maybe Ryan Newman?

Nope, it was that Jones boy who would capture his first career win. Erik Jones is now locked into the playoffs and his excitement and shock from winning is one of the best parts of racing. Jones couldn’t stop smiling, with his mullet showing off to the world the Michigan kid celebrated on the front stretch then drove into the famed victory lane at Daytona.

All in all, it was a shitshow of a race but that’s what we’ve come to expect at Daytona and Talladega. Driver skill matters still but luck plays a much bigger role in it than people want to admit sometimes. Erik Jones put himself in position to win and that’s all that matters.

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