Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2018 Fantasy NASCAR Racing

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Points Finish 18th,  0 Wins,  3 Top Fives,  5 Top Ten,  22 Top Twenties, 19.4 Average Finish, 18.6 Average Running Position,  133 Laps Led, 71.25 Driver Rating

Strengths:

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is an elite plate racer who ranks as one of the best. At both plate tracks he’s a top five contender who’s capable of competing for the win.

Bristol has also consistently been a high-point for him on the schedule.

At intermediate tracks he’s been respectable and among non-Playoff drivers he’s one of the better options.

Weaknesses:

Road courses, Martinsville and Indy are all venues where you should go out of your way to avoid him.

Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – B

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a solid intermediate track driver. Among drivers who missed the post-season he ranked as  one of the best. Last season at these venues over the 17 combined races he finished in the top fifteen 41% percent of the time and in the top twenty 76% percent of the time.

In 2019 he’ll have Ryan Newman as a teammate. I think this should help him be more competitive on race weekends since his team should have better notes. I also think the new rules package should benefit him. I think it will allow drivers to race more aggressively and use the draft and both of those attributes are strong suites for him.

On this track type in 2019 would look for Stenhouse Jr. to typically be a mid to high-teens driver. That said he’ll also get a couple of results better than the range mentioned.

Flat Track Fantasy Value – B-

Flat tracks weren’t very friendly to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. last year. For the season at these venues he had a 24.0 average finish and a 19.5 average running position. On this track type his fantasy value will be the highest at shorter flat tracks and at those venues he’s a driver who’s only capable of sneaking in a good result every now and then.

At the Big Flat Tracks you should absolutely avoid him at Indy. He had an engine failure last season and over his six races he’s only once finished better than 24th. At Pocono he’s been more successful. He finished 22nd last summer but in the five races prior to that he had a 14.8 average finish.

At the Shorter Flat Tracks he has more fantasy viability and he’s been able to sneak in really good results from time to time. At New Hampshire he’s been pretty solid recently. Last year in the lone race held at New Hampshire he finished 30th. In 5 of the 6 races prior to that he finished between 10th to 17th. At IMS Raceway last year he had a clunker season and had results of 23rd and 33rd. In 2017 he swept the top ten with results of 4th and 8th. Last year at Richmond he finished 13th and 23rd.

Short Track Fantasy Value – B-

At short tracks I like Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at Bristol, not so much at the other venues.

Bristol ranks as one of his very best tracks. His average finish is 11.3 and in 3 of the last 5 races he’s finished in the top ten. Bristol really fits his aggressive driving style. In 2019 he should definitely be on your fantasy NASCAR radar at “Thunder Valley.” Among his tier of drivers you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option. Last year he finished 4th in the spring and 24th in the summer.

Martinsville is arguably his worst track. He should be an easy pass. He swept the top ten mysteriously in 2017 but in all of his other races since 2015 he’s finished 19th or worse and has a 34.5 average finish. Last season he had results of 19th and 37th.

At Richmond, he’s capable of coming home with respectable results but I think you should probably expect him to be a high-teens driver. Over the last six races he has a 17.2 average finish and a 17.3 average running position. Last year his results were 13th and 23rd.

Plate Track Fantasy Value – A

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is an elite restrictor plate racer who should be high on your fantasy NASCAR radar. He’s very aggressive on this track type and has a knack for running up front. Last year at these venues he scored the 2nd most points, in the two prior seasons he scored the 7th and 6th most points. At both plate tracks in 2017 he raced his way to victory lane.

On this track type I like him more at Talladega. In 4 of the last 5 races at that venue he’s finished in the top 5. Last year he recorded results of 3rd and 5th. In spring 2017 he raced his way to victory lane.

At Daytona he raced his way to victory lane in summer 2017. Last year he was very competitive in both events but had problems while running in the top five. Last summer he led 51 laps but was involved in a wreck while running near the front. In the Daytona 500 he also looked like a top five contender but he had engine overheating problems and wrecked.

Road Course Fantasy Value – C+

2018 was a good year for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. at road courses. At all three venues he had a career best finish. That said, road course racing isn’t a strength for him.

Last season at these venues he scored the 25th most points. In five prior seasons he scored the 29th, 35th, 25th, 26th and 24th most points. That should make it clear expectations should be kept low.

Last season at Sonoma he had his best result and finished 18th. In 2017 he crashed and finished 38th. His overall average finish minus his 2017 wreck is 24.4.

At Watkins Glen last summer he finished 16th which marks his best overall result on this track type. In 2017 he finished 20th. In his four lead lap finishes (6 total races) all of his results are between 16th to 20th.

When the Charlotte Road Course made its debut last year he crashed and finished 37th.