Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Ricky Stenhouse Jr is an American racing driver who competes in NASCAR and is also known as a former boyfriend of another NASCAR racer Danica Patrick.
Ricky recorded over 360 starts in the NASCAR national divisions between 2009 and 2019, winning two times in the Cup Series and eight times in the Nationwide Series. He's a two-time Nationwide champion (2011 and 2012). He was Rookie of the Year in the 2010 Nationwide Series and Rookie of the Year in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series.
Beginning of the racing career
Richard Lynn Stenhouse Jr was born on October 2, 1987 in Olive Branch, the suburb of Memphis, Mississippi. He is gone from a youngster driving winged sprinters from United Sprint Car Series to the popular levels of the United States Auto Club, to navigating the most massive racing venues in the US. In 2007, Ricky was named Rookie of the Year in USAC’s National Series and Midget Car series.
After that, Stenhouse was called by Roush Fenway Racing to drive in ARCA Racing Series and almost won the title in his first attempt. At the end of the season, he was 4th overall with two wins in his books.
In 2009, Ricky Stenhouse Jr debuted in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as a part-time driver. He drove in eight races and twice managed to finish in top 10. The following year, he jumped into the seat of Roush Fenway Racing’s Ford #6 and became a full-time driver. Ricky scored eight finishes in top 10 and was named Rookie of the Year after he has finished 16th overall.
The first of two consecutive titles
The beginning of 2011 was good after Stenhouse had many top 10 places before he scored his maiden win at Iowa Speedway. His good form continued throughout the season. Ricky won another race at Iowa and he became a champion, beating Elliott Sadler by 45 points.
The same year he also made a debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driving a Wood Brother Racing’s Ford #21, Stenhouse finished 11th in Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of the most important races of the season.
Defending the NASCAR Nationwide title
As a reigning champion of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Stenhouse was full of confidence in 2012 and showed that he can cope with pressure. His performances were even better than in 2011. Ricky again won the title and he finished ahead of Elliot Sadler by a margin of 23 points. He scored 6 wins and 21 top 10 places.
That year Stenhouse finished in 12th place at Dover and he also debuted in Daytona 500 race and finished 20th.
First full-time year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
After graduating in the Nationwide Series, Stenhouse was ready for the drive in the NASCAR’s top division. Driving a Roush Fenway Racing’s Ford #17, Stenhouse was named 2013 Sprint Cup Series’ Rookie of the Year and finished 19th overall which is his best result.
The first half of the season went relatively well but the second half was even better. For the first time, Ricky finished in top 10, at Richmond. It was followed by the 8th place at Chicagoland and, finally with the 3rd position at Talladega.
Four winless seasons in the Cup Series
In 2014, Ricky scored only one top 5 finish, at Bristol, and had other four top 10 places, which was below the expectations. From the 19th place in 2013, Stenhouse dropped to the 27th position.
The season of 2015 was pretty much the same as the previous one. Only one top 5, again at Bristol, and only two top 10 spots, which was enough only for the 25th place in the Drivers’ championship. In 2016, Ricky continued with Roush Fenway Racing, but this season was again pretty similar to the previous two.
Two Cup Series wins in 2017
And then, in 2017, Stenhouse Jr scored not one but two Cup Series victories in the #17 Ford Fusion. His first win came at Talladega's Geico 500 in May. In July, he scored one more superspeedway victory, winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
Other results weren't so bright, he was in the Top 10 just five more times, ending a season 13th in the points.
Apart from his racing achievements, Stenhouse is often in the center of media attention because of his private life. He was in a relationship with Danica Patrick who is also a popular NASCAR Cup Series driver. They've been dating from 2012 to 2017.