The opening round of the NASCAR Playoffs begins at Darlington Raceway Sunday night, followed by Kansas Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who is piloting the No. 47 Boost by Kroger Plus / Irish Spring Camaro, is one of 16 drivers fighting to advance to the next round of 12. The good news is that both Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and JTG Daugherty Racing have each experienced the Playoffs previously. They know the pressures looming and the perfect execution they need to make it to the Championship 4.
“It’s game time now,” said Stenhouse Jr. “It’s real. The reality is that everything matters. We know there’s no mulligans. Fortunately, going into the first round with our No. 47 Boost by Kroger Plus / Irish Spring Camaro, I really enjoy all the racetracks. I love Darlington, Kansas and Bristol. I still feel like we’ve been so close at Bristol, so many times, and I would love to get my first win there this year and then obviously move on to the next round.
“You’re looking at the first two rounds and you’re saying to yourself – I can definitely win at Bristol,” continued Stenhouse Jr. “I can definitely win at Talladega, and if the stars align, we’ll move onto the Round of 8.”
However, Stenhouse Jr. is taking it one round at a time, and he’s laser-focused on Darlington Raceway right now.
“For me, I’m focused on the first round,” said Stenhouse Jr. “For us, it’s really honing in on Darlington right now and my guys have been preparing for this weekend for some time now.”
Earlier this season, Stenhouse Jr. and the JTG Daugherty Racing team finished 13th after starting third at the1.366-mile oval. The 2023 DAYTONA 500 CHAMPION’S best finish at Darlington is 8th.
“We were good at Darlington earlier in the year,” said Stenhouse Jr. “We had kind of a misfortune with a flat left-rear tire that we lost time under green pitting. I feel good about where we are as a team. I don’t think we have to win in the first round to make it through by any means, so we’ll go do our jobs each and every week – try to be perfect and let others make mistakes to move on through that round.”
Regardless of what happens in the NASCAR Playoffs, Stenhouse Jr. and JTG Daugherty Racing are proud of what they have accomplished in the regular season. Heading into Darlington, they are looking to add to their Daytona 500 victory, two top-five, seven top-10 and 14 top-15 finishes.
“It’s not all or nothing,” said Stenhouse Jr. “Regardless, if we are eliminated in the Playoffs early on, there’s a ton left to race for, no matter what happens in the first round.”
Since the last time Irish Spring was on the No. 47 at Bristol Motor Speedway, the team has grown so much.
“We’re proud to have Irish Spring back on board to bring us some good luck this weekend,” Stenhouse Jr. said. “I feel like we’ve cleaned some things up and grown a lot as a team. We’ve gotten better in certain areas of our race team throughout the year and really things have stuck out where we need to be better, and I feel like we’ve corrected some of that. We’ll be ready to go this weekend.”
As the team is primed for the Playoffs, they will take a moment to recognize Colgate-Palmolive’s (Irish Spring’s parent company) employee Roman Yuzyuk during NASCAR’s Workforce Appreciation Weekend at Darlington Raceway. Roman is an Operations Technician I for the company, ensuring that the line is operating efficiently and producing high quality products. He’s being recognized for his leadership in stepping up on the lines and driving Operational Excellence at the Colgate-Palmolive Greenwood manufacturing facility, breaking a throughput record that stood in the plant for five years. He is consistently a top performer, a change maker, and a champion of Colgate-Palmolive’s Caring, Inclusive and Courageous values. There’s a full day planned for Roman and his wife Halyna on race day, some of which includes, NASCAR pace laps, time with the driver and team, attendance of the drivers’ meeting and much more!
“We’re looking forward to hosting Roman and his wife Halyna and recognizing Roman for his outstanding work at Colgate-Palmolive,” said Stenhouse Jr., who will carry Roman’s name on his passenger side window. “We’re looking forward to kicking off the Playoffs with them.”
Live coverage of the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway begins on Sunday, September 3rd 6 PM ET on USA, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
JTG Daugherty Racing PR