MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Fans of the Stenhouse Jr./Marshall Racing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series team can rejoice: they won’t have to be on the lookout for a new number next year.
Team principal Ricky Stenhouse Jr. confirmed over the weekend at Martinsville Speedway that despite his pending move to JTG Daugherty Racing for 2020, his sprint car team will still carry the No. 17 – the same number he has campaigned since 2013 in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Fenway Racing.
Stenhouse also added that NOS Energy Drink will continue as a part of the operation as well.
“It’ll still be NOS Energy Drink,” Stenhouse told SPEED SPORT after qualifying on Saturday in regards to his team’s 2020 look. “And we’ll keep the 17 going. I kind of liked that number, so at least the font and everything is different than the Cup car (going forward).”
With Sheldon Haudenschild handling driving duties this year, the SJM No. 17 is eighth in World of Outlaws points with the season-ending World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on tap, with two wins, 21 top fives and 43 top 10s this season in 65 feature starts.
As far as his own driving plans, Stenhouse hopes to head to California following the NASCAR Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway on Nov. 17 to compete in one of the crown jewels of the NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series season.
Stenhouse plans to run the Elk Grove Ford Hangtown 100 at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway, an event being promoted by West Coast-owner Matt Wood that has become an all-star race of sorts even before its inaugural running has hit the track. The race is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 19-20.
The Olive Branch, Miss., native is expected to drive a midget for Clauson-Marshall Racing, the same team he raced in the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals and Driven2SaveLives BC39 for earlier in the year.
“I think I’m going to run the Hangtown 100, and then I’m working on scheduling … thinking of maybe doing St. Louis (the Gateway Dirt Nationals) and then the Chili Bowl,” Stenhouse said.
Should Stenhouse add the Gateway event at The Dome at America’s Center to his winter calendar, he’ll be looking for redemption after his race there last year started promising but ended abruptly.
“We were really fast at St. Louis last year; I think we actually went 20th to fifth in like 10 laps or so,” Stenhouse recalled. “And then everyone knows I hit a rut on the inside of (turns) three and four and flipped. So for me, it’s (about) dodging the potholes that were there last year. You never know what the track will be like, but you try to work with it the best you can.
“For me, it’s just nice to run a few midget races in the offseason versus just going straight to Chili Bowl and that being it,” he added. “I feel like if I can run a few, then I’m definitely more prepared when I get to Tulsa in January.”