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December 8, 2023

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2023 season in review

Ricky Stenhouse lift Daytona 500 trophy.
Jared C. Tilton
Getty Images

Editor’s note: This continues a series of season reviews for the top 20 drivers in 2023 NASCAR Cup Series points.

Season in review: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Mike Kelley
Final 2023 Ranking: 16th
Key stats: 1 win, 2 top fives, 9 top 10s, 39 laps led

How 2023 ended: Unfortunately for Stenhouse and his JTG Daugherty team, the season did not conclude the way it started – by celebrating a huge victory. By virtue of his Daytona 500 win, Stenhouse qualified for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for the first time since he won a pair of races in 2017. Although he ultimately scored a pair of top 10s during the playoff run, he was among the first four drivers eliminated after the first round. He had only one top-20 showing in the final five races.

RELATED: Explaining how Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Daytona 500

Best race: Stenhouse’s best race was on the sport’s grandest stage. He started the season with an acclaimed victory in NASCAR’s biggest event, the Daytona 500. He led two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and former winner Joey Logano across the finish line under caution after two overtime restarts. Stenhouse took the lead on the first overtime restart and held off the field for the final 10 fast-and-furious laps to claim his third career Cup Series win.

Other season highlights: Although Stenhouse would have liked to advance further in the playoffs, he still turned in one of the best statistical years of his career. He earned multiple top-five finishes (two) for the first time in three years. His average finish (17.8) is his best in seven years and his nine top-10 finishes equaled his previous single-season best (2017).

MORE: Daytona 500 champ Stenhouse Jr. taking on winless mindset for regular season

Stat to Know: Stenhouse’s lead-lap finishes (25) marked a career high.

Quotable: “Winning the Daytona 500 this year and being able to represent our sport all over the country was special. I take pride in that. It was a great opportunity to promote our race team, our partners and all of NASCAR.”

Looking ahead: Winning the biggest race on the 2023 calendar certainly lifted the confidence and the can-do attitude of both Stenhouse and his single-car JTG Daugherty Racing team. As importantly, the team excelled in several key statistical categories, something the organization can build on going into next season. Stenhouse also proved the team competitive on multiple track types scoring top-10 finishes on a superspeedway (Daytona), 1.5-milers (at Atlanta and Charlotte), road courses (Austin), short tracks (Martinsville and Bristol); even the Bristol dirt track. That consistent versatility bodes well for Stenhouse and the team as it hopes to improve its championship run in 2023.

RELATED: Stenhouse aiming for repeat at 2024 Daytona 500