Today’s JTG Daugherty Racing preview continues NASCAR.com’s countdown of team previews for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, starting with new chartered teams then ranked in reverse order of best finish in last year’s owner standings.
JTG DAUGHERTY RACING
Driver-crew chief pairings: Ryan Preece-Trent Owens (No. 37), Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-Brian Pattie (No. 47)
What’s new: Rhythm and familiarity. The current JTG Daugherty stable has a full season of preparation under its belt, returning both driver-crew chief pairings from a year ago after one of its strongest collective seasons to date. The newly formed partnership between Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing is also a positive, potentially providing a much-needed spark to the performance of Chevrolet camps overall.
Team outlook: Developing a stronger JTG Daugherty performance in 2021 can be achieved by cleaning up the little mistakes, starting with finding ways to finish races after 16 combined DNFs a year ago. Without those incidents, the organization has the ability for both drivers to compete inside the top 20 each week and in the final season points standings. It has had a full year to work out the wrinkles, now their biggest challenge is being consistent each time out on the track.
Racing Insights’ stats break: Strong run in 2020 started with a pole in the Daytona 500 and a third-place finish in the second race of the season (both by Stenhouse). The team finished 2020 with three top fives, after having only one in 2019, and both drivers (Preece and Stenhouse) had multiple top-10 finishes. The pair returns in 2021 after leading a combined 80 laps in 2020, the team’s most since 84 in 2010.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 47 Chevrolet
Experience: Ninth full season in NASCAR Cup Series
2020 stats: 24th in final standings; 0 wins, three top fives, four top 10s
2020 final Fantasy Live ranking: 23rd
2021 championship odds: 250-1
Outlook: Stenhouse flashed race-winning speed early in the year, but the impressive run of performances was sandwiched in between a plethora of inconsistent finishes — including a career-high eight DNFs. Expect the Cup Series veteran to clean up the tiny mistakes and put together a more solid body of work in his second year at JTG, making a strong push for a race win that would vault him into the playoffs.
RYAN PREECE, No. 37 Chevrolet
Experience: Third full season in NASCAR Cup Series
2020 stats: 29th in the final standings; 0 wins, 0 top fives, two top 10s
2020 final Fantasy Live ranking: 29th
2021 championship odds: 500-1
Outlook: Approaching his third full season in the Cup Series, it is time for Preece to crank it up a level. After one top five and three top 10s in 2019, the No. 37 wheelman took a step back in overall performance, and like Stenhouse, Preece had an astonishing eight DNFs — six of which came during the first half of the season. If Preece and company can simply start the 2021 season off on the right foot, he should have the pace to put together a career year.
NASCAR.com 2021 team previews schedule
Jan. 18: 23XI Racing
Jan. 19: Trackhouse Racing Team
Jan. 20: Live Fast Motorsports
Jan. 21: Spire Motorsports
Jan. 22: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 25: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 26: Richard Petty Motorsports
Jan. 27: Roush Fenway Racing
Jan. 28: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 29: Richard Childress Racing
Jan. 30: Non-chartered and teams outside the top 30
Feb. 1: Chip Ganassi Racing
Feb. 2: Stewart-Haas Racing
Feb. 3: Joe Gibbs Racing
Feb. 4: Team Penske
Feb. 5: Hendrick Motorsports